Dive Sites in St. Maarten and St. Martin
HIGHLIGHT Dive Sites in St. Martin
Tug Boat – The Tugboat is located on the northern side of Tintamarre. Here there is a 50 foot Tugboat that was intentionally sunk. It lies upright, making for fantastic photos, and is in about 45 foot of sand. Surrounding the Tug are beds of eel grass that sometimes have eagle rays and sting rays hunting for food. The Tug has become covered in coral over the years and always has tons of fish around it. In January, February and March it has been known to see Dolphins here, as they like the northern side of Tintamarre to hang out. About 100 feet away from the wreck there is a beautiful reef with a small wall that comes up from the sand at 45 feet to about 20 feet.
Chico – Chico is located on the southern side of Tintamarre and is part of the Nature Reserve on the French Side. In the sand, it is about 70 ft, but the top of the reef is about 35 feet. The difference between Chico and Japanese is the type of corals. Chico has more fan coral swaying in the current, and mushroom corals are abundant.
Circus – Circus is on the northern eastern tip of Tintamarre. It is about 45 feet to the bottom. This dive site is also called Lava Tubes, as that is the main feature of the site. There are various caves and swim through which make for an awesome dive. There are loads of great examples of Elk Horn coral, which is an endangered species.
Base Espagnole – Basse Espagnole lies in the channel between Saint Martin and Tintamarre. With a maximum depth of 45 feet and a minimum depth of 15 feet the life here is amazing. It is characterized by slabs of rocks that have become completely covered in corals and surrounded by fish. Here you are likely to see juvenile sharks, millions of lobsters, tons of barracuda and exceptional corals. Basse Espagnole can only be dived when the weather is calm. As the reef becomes so shallow, and the site is exposed to the swells coming through the channel, when it is rough waves will be breaking on the top of the reef.
Japanese Garden – Japanese Garden is located on the southern side of Tintamarre (or Flat Island as the locals call it). It is part of the French Nature Reserve and it is absolutely stunning. It is maximum 70 feet and minimum 30 feet, although you could stay at either depth and have a great dive. At Japanese the coral is in really healthy condition and is accented by canyons of sand that run down the reef. Here we see lots of nurse sharks, turtles, lobsters and rays. As you go travel west down the reef there is a sunken garden at 60 – 70 feet about 40 feet off of the reef.
Fish Pot – Fish Pot is an elongated reef located between St Martin and Anguilla. One side of the reef lies at about 45 feet (14 meters) and then slopes down to about 60 feet (20 meters) on the far Anguilla side of the reef. There are beautiful old Pillar Corals here that have created a home for many juvenile fish, who in turn attract the larger fish as well. Dolphins are often seen here in the winter months as well as eagle rays, turtles and a very healthy area of staghorn coral (which is rare on most reefs in the Caribbean).
More information on St. Martin
HIGHLIGHT Dive Sites in St. Maarten
The sites on the Dutch side of St Martin are completely different to the dive sites on the French side of the island. There are more wrecks on the Dutch side of the island and the reefs have a higher density of barrel sponges.
Long Bay Reef – Beautiful reef (maximum depth 57 feet) with lots of caves and crevasses, good chance to find some good size King crabs and lobsters. On top of the reef: big barrel sponges and a variety of hard and soft corals. Lots of fish, good chance to spot turtles.
Gregory – This is a wreck dive, a flat bottom barge – deliberately sunk as a dive site. She turned upside down as she sank. Maximum depth about 55 feet. Check out the enormous props! Our favourite dive site for night dives, we prefer to call it Turtle Hotel then… Nice reef surrounding this wreck with big barrel sponges and lots of marine life.
Fuh Sheng – This is a wreck that lies at 110 feet deep on a sandy bottom. Big fishing vessel mainly intact, lying on her port side. A dive site for advanced divers!
Porpoise – This is a tugboat that was sunk on purpose, lying on a sandy bottom at 90 feet deep. It’s slightly tilted towards her starboard side. Beautiful gorgonians growing on it. Take a look in the engine room. Lots of fish, good chance to see stingrays. Eel garden next to the wreck.
The Bridge – The old Simpson Bay Bridge surrounded by 3 sunken sailboats. Maximum depth: 50 feet. The remains of the bridge are encrusted with corals and sponges, a great artificial reef with lots of marine life. Moray eels, lobsters, stingrays are often seen here. Sometimes a reef shark passes by. Big schools of small fish, loved by photographers!
Carib Cargo – Cargo ship at a depth of 65 feet. This ship was badly damaged as a result of hurricane Luis in 1995. Another hurricane in 1996, Bertha made her sunk. She’s 200 feet long and lying on a sandy bottom, with a good chance of spotting stingrays. You can penetrate the wreck, use the bathroom. Divers often see turtles, spotted eagle rays and sometimes a reef shark passing by at this dive site.
Proselyte – A famous historical dive site! In 1802 the HMS Proselyte ran into this beautiful reef, they tried to keep the vessel afloat by throwing overboard their heavy load like anchors and cannons. Unfortunately the ship went down, not much left of it since it was made out of wood and became part of the reef. What’s left are the 13 cannons and 3 enormous anchors, all encrusted with corals. Great reef with walls encrusted with colorful sponges everywhere. Beautiful dive with a maximum depth of 50 feet.
Fish Bowl – At 60 feet there’s this great reef with a fantastic swim through – lots of spiny lobsters in there! Apart from that, a good variety of corals and sponges with its marine life. There’s a good chance for reef sharks!
More information on St. Maarten
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