Anguilla is a small but fantastic island in the Caribbean. The friendly people, whose love of the sea is instantly visible, seem to spend more time on or in the water than on dry land. The national sport is sailing but you don’t have to travel too far without finding amazing dive sites. The island has the Atlantic on one side and the Caribbean Sea on the other, so you can find an array of different reefs, wrecks and sea life while enjoying the clear turquoise waters. With around 20 great dive sites, 5 easily accessible wrecks and a host of reefs this island is a divers paradise.
Angel Reef is aptly named due to its large concentration of Angel fish. This however, is not the only company you will have here as it is a playground for various stingrays, turtles, lobsters, snappers, and some healthy looking barracuda. With a 4m/12ft sea whip and several large sea fans there is plenty to explore and the reef ranges from 1ft to a hefty 65ft deep in places.
Shoal Bay Reef is probably the most popular reef on the island and the beach has various luxury resorts offering direct access to the reef. Its popularity is not without reason The Shoal Bay plateau is in 15/18 ft of water and leads towards a 45 degree drop-off at 25 ft. After this point it drops off from around 30 ft at its Eastern end to 85 ft on its Western end. Its sandy bottom is home to an assortment of Stingray, Lobster, Crayfish and some amazing Eels which are all well worth a look.
For the more experienced diver it is well worth a visit to The Steps or Dog Island. The Steps is located at Little Scrub and goes down an array of ledges which step from 40 ft to over 90 ft. This site also offers some fun boulders and crevices to explore and you can see a selection of bigger fish such as Tiger Sharks, Lemon Sharks and Nurse Sharks. Dog Island is also home to various types of sharks, large tuna and other big fish and although this site is harder to access (due to access being dependent on the weather) it is worth setting aside some time for. Dog Island has a formidable 90ft sheer wall dive which is simply mind-blowing.
If you prefer to do wreck diving then there is also an abundance of natural and purpose built wreck diving sites. My favourite has to be the Commerce Wreck as the wreck sits bolt upright in 80 ft of water. What was an undamaged wreck when it sunk has been weathered by years of storms and the mangled yet complete wreck has an unnatural and unsettling feeling making the dive all the more exciting. If you venture to the base you can see a glut of giant lobsters (some as big as 30 pounds). The wreck seemed to have generated interest with some larger fish and it is not uncommon so see Atlantic Spadefish, Hog fish and Goat fish.
The largest wreck is the Sarah at over 230 ft long and although it sunk on its side it has been moved and stood upright. The ship has a large opening in the hull which gives you access to various chambers inside. This jaw dropping wreck is covered with opening and closing Oysters and is home to Sergeant Majors, Bluestriped Grunts and Cowfish among others.
So if you find yourself lucky enough to dive in the Caribbean be sure to visit Anguilla and below the water there is so much on offer and above the water there are stunning beaches, fantastic seafood and amazingly friendly people.
About the Author
When not diving Naomi Cambridge enjoys marketing luxury resorts and working on worldwide projects such as Zemi Beach Luxury Caribbean Real Estate. For more information about Naomi and Cardea Consultants vist:http://www.cardeaconsultants.com/