With its cloud-shrouded volcanic peaks, misty valleys and dense rainforests, St. Vincent exudes an exotic quality. Cast in the Eastern Caribbean, it is one of the Windward islands in the Lesser Antilles just north of Venezuela. Here is a destination for the avid underwater explorer who wants to see tiny dragons and other types of magical marine life.
Best Diving Destinations in St. Vincent
Known for it’s giant soft corals, this is an excellent shallow second dive. Sea plumes, sea whips, sea fans and gorgonians constantly sway in the ever present surge, the surf breaking on the rocks of the nearby shore. There is a channel along the rocks where you can watch the waves breaking overhead.
The Garden is full of corals, both hard and soft.
Massive cliffs protrude into open sea, and beneath them, the undersea extension has a lushness that rivals the topside verdant flora. The wall is full of black corals in various forms and colors. Gorgonians are huge and lacy, interspersed with barrel and vase sponges. A steady stream of chromis and creole wrasse give this gorgeous scene vitality. The red banded lobster from the cover of Paul Humann’s Reef Creatures book can be photographed here.
The Seimstrand is an intact 120ft long coastal freighter lying in 85ft of water in Kingstown Harbor. Sunk in 1984, she is a refuge for all types of fish. Off her stern is an ancient wreck of unknown origin, marked by 2 cannons and an anchor.
This site is full of critters and creatures and makes an excellent night dive. It is a wonderful area for macro photography, as on a typical dive you will see several types of seahorses, fingerprint flamingo tongues, frog fish, crabs, a variety of shrimp in their anemones, peacock flounders. The site offers varying depths from 20 to 120 feet and the best way to explore it is to start out on the deep side and work your way to the shallow boulders with swarming fish.
Papua New Guinea made muck diving famous, but there is no need to travel half-way around the world when St. Vincent offers the same quality muck diving right in the Caribbean. Critter Corner is a wonderful 12-foot dive offering everything from blue-throated pike blenny to flying gunards, to long manned seahorses to all types of pistol shrimp to cardinal fish and other exotic marine animals you have always wanted to photograph. Photographers will be limited by battery life and film exposures, not bottom time or subject matter!
When to Visit St. Vincent
Any time of the year is good to visit. The coolest months are November – February. The temperature varies all year between 64F (18C) and 90F (32C). The rainy season is between July and November. During this time there is some rain almost every day and overcast skys frequently. Diving is always possible with the exception of 2-3 days per year when the winds are very stong. Water temperature varies with the season. Water is warmest in May through December. Heavy wetsuits are never necessary. The temperature in March may reach 78F and a 3mm suit is adequate. During most of the year, a polartec or similar suit is perfect.
Getting to St. Vincent
There are no direct international flights into St. Vincent. Connect through Puerto Rico or Barbados. Air Canada, American Airlines, British Airlines and British West Indies Airlines offer flights.