Scuba diving St. Eustatius
Clean, unhurried and unspoiled. Pristine living, practically no crime, reefs teeming with fish. Gentle trade winds. Warm and genuinely friendly people.
Saint Eustatius, also known affectionately to the locals as Statia or Stay-sha, lies in the northern Leeward Islands portion of the West Indies, southeast of the Virgin Islands, immediately to the northwest of Saint Kitts & Nevis and to the southeast of Saba.
Unaffected by regional tourism trends and fads St Eustatius is not your average Caribbean island, so just close your eyes and imagine the Caribbean about 25 or 30 years ago. Clean, unhurried and unspoiled. Pristine living, practically no crime, reefs teeming with fish. Gentle trade winds. People as warm and genuinely friendly as ever.
St. Eustatius or Statia was the first country to recognize the United States and an independent nation. The island of Statia has diving life like no other destination in the Caribbean. The warm water and the underwater volcanic fissures and canyons have given this area a diversified diving selection.
St. Eustatius belongs to the Netherlands: As of the 10th of October 2010 Statia along with Saba & Bonaire were united to form the BES Islands. Each island is now a Dutch Special Municipality. The Dutch Caribbean, consists of three islands : Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba.
SCUBA DIVING ST. EUSTATIUS
The water surrounding the island of St. Eustatius are a protected marine park that was established in 1998 to ensure the pristine nature of the fragile reefs and ecosystem. If you want to dive in St. St. Eustatius and you are a visitor, you’ll only be allowed to dive with a local guide. This is to ensure that historical artifacts and the reefs are left intact for future generations. Diving is allowed in only certain areas within the marine park area.
Lucky for divers, the reefs and marine life are abundant and the reefs are in great shape, making diving here an unforgettable experience for all levels of divers. Natural reefs, walls, mini-walls, wrecks, ledges, drop-offs, volcanic fissures, pinnacles and more await you just offshore.
More recently, the marine park has been creating an artificial reef with sunken ships. Two tugs, two barges and even some old oil pipes are now available for diver exploration.
HIGHLIGHT DIVE SITES
Double Wreck – Here you get two wrecks in one dive, in about 60 feet of water. See the talked-about flying gurnards, grunts, snappers, barracuda, morays and southern stingrays.
The Cliffs – At the southern tip of the island, this dive starts in a coral garden at 65 feet and drops off to 250 feet. The wall is covered with corals and sponges and marine life abounds with turtles and blacktip sharks frequently observed.
Hangover Reef – A shallow 45-60 foot dive, here you’ll see interesting fishlife like permits, horse-eye jack, and more. There are many cracks and crevices here when you might get a chance to see the elusive long lure frogfish and longsnout seahorse.
Grand Canyon – Offerings here include volcanic fissures, which are still active and deposit mounds of sand on the bottom at about 125 feet. Great diving can be had higher up where the wall starts at about 70 feet.
Barracuda – A mini wall starting at about 50 feet offers a good chance to see the predatory barracuda. Check out the ledge that’s home to many critters like lobsters, porcupine fish and more.
Charlie Brown – The Charlie Brown is an AT&T cable repair ship that sunk in 2003 at about 100 feet. It’s a popular dive for all levels.
Chien Tong – This 170-foot Taiwanese fishing ship was sunk by Statia in 2004 to provide a new artificial reef habitat. At a depth of 77 feet, this is an excellent dive for divers of all levels.
Mushroom Garden – A stunning wall dive where sharks are frequently sighted.
Blue Bead Hole – Keep that magnifying glass handy: This is the best spot on the island for finding treasured trinkets as well as flying gurnards, peacock flounders and a potpourri of macro critters, including seahorses and sailfin blennies.
Dive Season – You can dive the St. Eustatius all year long, but the tropical, rainy season runs from October to January. Hurricane season is June to the end of November.
Visibility – Generally the viz runs 24-45 metres/80-150 feet. While the weather is consistently good year-round, during the rainy season (roughly October to January) visibility can dip below the usual 30-45 meters/100-150 feet.
Water Temperature – Nice warm water, varying from – Jan. to March 26°C/78,8°F(Winter) and June to October 29°C/84.2°F (Summer)
Currents – Mostly mild, but can vary by location
Weather – Warm tropical weather is the norm, with little change in temperature from winter to summer. Average annual temperature is 85° F/29.4° C. Humidity is usually high, especially from May to September.
Diving Skill Level – Divers of all levels will find the St. Eustatius exciting.
Dive Access – Most of the diving is via boat. Although St. Eustatius also offers accessible shore diving to great coral reefs with little to no current.
Featured Creatures – One can dive coral and sponge covered walls and pinnacles with dramatic backdrops of visual delights. These walls a frequented by black grey reef sharks, eagle rays, hawksbill turtles, Green turtles and larger fish varieties such as nurse sharks. The shallower reefs of 40 feet (12 metres) to 75 feet (23 metres) have been carved from volcanic fingers that are covered with a variety of soft and hard corals. Barrel sponges and pillar coral seem to be the norm for the visual backdrops.
CLIMATE: Generally dry and sunny. Light constant northeast trade winds bring constant cool breezes and sufficient moisture to keep the average daytime temperature down to about 27 degrees Celsius. The average night temperature drops to a comfortable 23 degrees. Rainfall occurs in showers of medium duration during the months of April, June and September. Check the current weather forecast.
LANGUAGE: English is spoken everywhere on Statia but Dutch is the official language used in government administration and schools.
ELECTRICITY: The voltage is 110 A.C. 60 cycles. 220 voltage A.C. will not work without a transformer. Plugs tend to be two flat prongs. Please conserve energy.
CURRENCY & CREDIT CARDS: U.S Currancy accepted. Most major credit cards are accepted. If you are in any doubt, do check before you commit yourself.
GRATUITIES: There is a 7% service charge on room rates. At hotels, the service charge on food and beverage is 15% in lieu of gratuities.
PHONE & INTERNET SERVICE: You can get in touch with the entire world from this tiny dot in the Caribbean. Statia enjoys an up-to-date communication system. Information – Telephone: (+599) 318-2210. The local telephone company is the St. Eustatius Telephone Company N.V. Colourful CaribTel calling cards are for sale starting at NAF 18 or $US10. Cards. Public access to the internet is available from the Public Library in Oranjestad and at Computers & More
VISA & PASSPORT REQUIREMENTS: A valid passport is the entry requirement for visitors to St. Eustatius including USA and Canadian citizens. Birth Certificates and drivers licenses are no longer accepted.
CUSTOMS: There are no customs regulations as Statia is a free port.
DEPARTURE TAX: Everyone leaving Statia has to pay a departure tax of US $15.
HOW TO GET THERE: Winair operates 5 daily flights from St. Maarten. Flight time is approximately 20 minutes.
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