Grenada is well-known for its tropical beauty and is often referred to as the Spice Isle, offering great hiking routes and rainforests bursting with a variety of rare and beautiful flora and tropical fauna. It is also a popular location for wreck diving enthusiasts, and is referred to as the Caribbean’s Shipwreck Capital. Boasting the world-renowned Sculpture Park and a host of amazing wreck sites, Grenada is certainly a top choice for divers and those seeking a Caribbean adventure.
Located at the meeting point between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, Grenada is the biggest of its 3 sister islands, and offers diving all along its southern and western coasts. Carriacou, the smallest of the sister islands, is a quiet and relaxing island known for fantastic coral reefs, wall dives and a number of wreck sites. The other tiny sister island, Petite Martinique, is only inhabited by 800 people, yet it presents a strong and proud island culture with traditions dating back many years. A visit to Petite Martinique is sure not to disappoint, especially if visiting on the 17th of May when the island hosts the Whitsuntide Sailing Regatta, a 3 day competition that is the highlight of the year.
Many divers stay in resorts that have their own on-site dive operators, making diving arrangements a carefree affair. Other tourists choose to charter yachts to sail between the numerous bays, while others make use of hired cars to explore the island’s interiors. It is also a popular route for cruise ships, and tourists can arrange dives through diving operators who will collect them from the capital St George’s and take them to visit the underwater wonders of Grenada.
It is possible to dive and visit Grenada at any time of year, as the water temperature and air temperature remains in the region of 24°C – 30°C (75-85°F). Cooler trade winds will lower the temperature during November and February, and the islands experience a dry season from January through to May. It is still possible to dive during the rainy months of May to August as rains usually last no more than an hour and don’t impact the scuba diving too much. Grenada’s off-peak season is between August to October and this is a great time to dive and avoid the crowds, however be aware that tropical storms are likely during this period. Regardless of when you choose to dive in Grenada, it is only necessary to dive with a 3mm wetsuit, although some divers opt for a 5mm when diving deeper sites or diving for extended periods of time.
The mainland of Grenada has more than 40 dive sites to explore, and offers everything from exciting and historic wreck sites to beautiful reefs. The reefs themselves are varied, offering sloping gardens of coral hosting a plethora of marine animals to patchy plateau reef and shallow sites where divers can find interesting critters like nudibranchs, frogfish and blennies. The marine life in the Caribbean is fantastic, with rays, turtles, nurse sharks and eels all common sightings.
Known as the Caribbean’s Titanic, the Bianca C is a wreck site that is high on every advanced diver’s bucket list. The Bianca C had a tragic explosion in 1962 and sank in the harbor, after which she was towed out to her current resting site, which at its shallowest point is a depth of 37 meters. The Bianca C is a challenging and exciting wreck dive due to strong currents and deep waters, and there is also the chance to experience the Whibbles Reef drift dive after exploring the wreck site.
Another favorite amongst advanced divers is the MV Shaken, which lies in an upright position at 32 meters. Once a cargo ship that carried cement, the vessel is in good condition and offers the chance to explore the captain’s quarters where lightbulbs still float around. A variety of marine species have made their homes in the MV Shaken, namely green moray eels, sea horses and lobsters. There is also a large crane that was onboard, and divers will find cement bags lining the hold.
Located just 3 miles off the coast of the Atlantic is the MV Hema I, which originated in Trinidad and now lies 30 meters down in the Caribbean. The MV Hema I was a freighter ship which is now home to eagle rays and nurse sharks as well as strong currents.
King Mitch is a top-rated wreck that was originally a minesweeper in these waters. Located 6 miles offshore, this vessel sank on its side and now lies at 37 meters. There are strong currents surrounding the vessel, but advanced divers may encounter reef sharks, turtles and southern stingrays in the area.
There are a number of smaller, shallower wrecks and reefs to be experienced in Grenada, especially in the area of the Grenada Marine Park. One such vessel that is not within the park but is located at the mouth of St George’s Harbor is the Veronica L, which lies at a depth of 15 meters. The Veronica L is excellent as a night dive where shrimps, crabs and black brotula are just some of the night time critters that can be spotted. The Grenada Marine Park is also home to the beautiful Sculpture Park which was founded in 2006. Together with the Ministry of Tourism, highly acclaimed sculptor Jason DeCaires created this park as a way to promote regeneration and sustain ecosystems in the area. The park is surrounded by thriving coral reef with both soft and hard corals, and is suitable for both snorkelers and scuba divers. Many schools of fish can be seen in this protected space as well as eels, hawksbill turtles and the occasional frogfish.
There are a number of diving centers located all along the coast of Grenada, many of which will perform pick up and drop off services free of charge for those staying in hotels or villas, or even on a chartered yacht. There are some dive resorts which will offer certification opportunities and others who focus on recreational dives and non-diving boat excursions for sightseeing.
Most divers will make use of Nitrox when diving the deep wrecks, and many dive operators are able to offer Nitrox tanks for those qualified to use them. Most of the diving around Grenada is done as a drift dive from a boat, with the dive master holding a surface marker buoy for safety.
Tourists visiting from the Caribbean, North America or the European Union are likely to make use of Point Salines’ Maurice Bishop International airport as this is the main transportation hub and gateway to Grenada. It is also possible to catch a charter plane to reach the island of Carriacou by flying into Lauriston Airport, however the ferries between Carriacou, Grenada and Petite Martinique are quick and efficient. Those travelling by cruise ship from Puerto Rico or Florida will arrive in Grenada and can continue with onward travel from there.