Virgin Gorda Scuba Diving
Virgin Gorda Dive Sites
The Invisibles - 60 ft Advanced
A submerged pinnacle rising to within 4 ft of the surface,
this is a spectacular dive.
Prolific sponge and soft
corals give the reef tremendous color. Washed with strong
currents, this brings in huge volumes of fish - look out
for the large school of permit atop the pinnacle.
Mountain Point - 70 ft Novice
Located to the northeast of Mahoe Bay and Mango Bay in the
lee of Virgin Gorda peak, this area has three separate
Closest to the end of the point is the deeper
location - the mooring lies in 25 ft of water and the reef
slopes away to the west to a maximum of 70 ft.
The sand at the bottom of the slope is visited by eagle
rays and stingrays while the shallows around the mooring
contain a number of swim-throughs and shallow grottos.
moorings closer to land are shallower (max 40 ft) and are
made up of more grottos, archways and undercut coral
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The Aquarium - 35 ft Novice
A popular dive site trip from the Yacht Harbor, it makes
an excellent 2nd dive after a trip to Ginger or Cooper
Island. A shallow sandy bottom is decorated with a expanse
of granite boulders similar to those found at The Baths,
some rising to within 10 ft of the surface.
An oasis in the middle of the ocean floor, it attracts
some of the largest schools and varieties of reef fish
anywhere in the BVI. Its lack of depth gives divers time
to explore the ledges and holes between the boulders while
admiring the schools of grunts (French, Spanish,
bluestriped, tomtate), snappers (gray, mahogany,
schoolmaster), chub, angelfish (Queen, French, Gray, Rock
Beauty) and many others. An excellent area to look for
lobster and eels, we are often treated to a visit from a
stingray or nurse shark. Local currents can strengthen
making the dive not always available.
The Chimney (Great Dog) - 30-45 ft Novice
One of the most famous dives in the dog islands, the
Chimney is another site with an unusual underwater
structure. A short distance from the dive boat mooring, a
small canyon leads through one of the spurs coming off
Great Dog. As you swim through, the top of the walls start
to come together to form a natural archway covered in
multi-colored sponges and delicate orange cup corals
(bring a light to fully appreciate the range of colors).
At the end of the canyon the walls close off leaving a
crack wide enough to swim out through (the exit) - this
leads the dive team naturally back towards the moorings
and the latter portion of the dive which is usually spent
exploring the large coral formations underneath the dive
Coral Gardens / Airplane Wreck (Great Dog) - 30-50
A very different dive from others on the Dog Islands, the
south side of Great Dog sports a large traditional coral
reef. Another feature is the remains of an small
inter-island commuter plane originally operated by the now
defunct Atlantic Air BVI. Following an abortive take-off
from Beef Island which ended with the plane in the water
200 yds off the end of the runway (no-one was hurt), the
plane languished in a hangar for some time prior to be
dismantled for scrap return to the US.
The BVI dive operators were able to persuade the owners to
give the fuselage over for use as a dive site and this was
sunk in about 50 ft of water on the edge of the sand east
of the dive boat moorings. All that is left of the plane
is the fuselage (no wings, engines or seating inside)
which creates a focal point for marine life, including a
number of barracuda. The reef itself is very healthy,
providing a home to a wide range of reef fish, lobster and
the occasional nurse shark or turtle.
Seal Dog Rocks - 40-80 ft Novice / Intermediate
Exposed to the ocean, this can be a very exciting dive.
Regular sightings include eels, eagle rays and nurse
sharks with occasional reef sharks. During the summer
months, this site harbors a large amount of baitfish - a
treat for tarpon. You definitely want to keep your camera
handy on this dive.
The Visibles / POS (Cockroach Island) 40 - 80 ft
Intermediate / Advanced
Situated off the West side of tiny Cockroach Island, this
area is swept by current and so attracts a range of marine
life. Glassy sweepers teem at the bottom of the pinnacle
below the southern of the 2 moorings on the site, along
with tomtates, blue striped grunts and gray snapper.
As the current picks up coming around the pinnacle, look
out for schooling barracuda, horse-eye jacks along with
occasional African pompano, permit and spadefish. In the
summer months when the bait fish proliferate close in to
Cockroach, look out for tarpon, reef shark and eagle rays.
A challenging dive due to the variable and sometimes
strong currents so please pay close attention to the dive
leaders instructions and stay close in the dive group.
Bronco Billy (George Dog) - 20-45 ft Novice
An excellent 2nd dive of a two-tank trip or afternoon
dive, the dive site is named after the surge that runs
through the site occasionally in the winter months (and
can make the site undiveable). An archway leads to a
shallow canyon through the reef - on the other side of the
canyon the reef curves around to create an amphitheatre
effect with soft and pillar corals in the center. A couple
of grottos up against the edge of the island along with
the overhung lip of the the reef �amphitheatre' provide
numerous areas to look for reef fish, lobster and eels.
Ledges/Dolphin Rocks (George Dog) - 20-50 ft Novice
Exposed to the swells on the North side of George Dog,
this site is only available on calm days. Divers are
rewarded with a tour around the wash rocks which are
undercut with ledges on the West side and canyons on the
East side. Right underneath the boat is a 50ft wide, 20 ft
deep hole in the reef which opens out on one side with a
double archway making an interesting start to the tour.
This dive is best done in the summer months when the wash
rocks attract bait fish which in turn brings in barracuda,
mackerel, bonito and large tarpon.
Wall To Wall (West Dog) - 30-75 ft Intermediate /
Similar to the Visibles, this site is washed by sometimes
strong currents and so close attention should be paid to
the dive leader at this site. Also known as the �yellow
fish� dive, the deepest part of the site consists of a
trail of boulders leading back up to the mooring which are
usually covered in french grunts, porkfish, yellow
goatfish and schoolmaster snappers (all yellow !). The
name comes from the fact that the site is often
�wall-to-wall' fish. On a good day when the current is
flowing we have seen eagle rays and reef shark along with
lobster and nurse sharks under the ledges found below the
mooring in 35 ft of water.
Joe's Cave (West Dog) - 20-45 ft Novice
Another interesting 2nd dive, this site is best done to
view the scenery as it does not have as much marine life
as other locations. Nestled up against West Dog, the
underwater topography consists of numerous large boulders
- some up to 25 ft high. These produce a large number of
available holes and ledges between the boulders and the
seafloor - perfect for looking for lobster. The cave
itself is a triangular crack in the rock face, open to the
air at the top (but narrow) and widening at the base.
Providing there is no surge, divers can swim into the cave
and are rewarded with a spherical chamber at the end of
the cave that is usually filled with glassy sweepers.
The Flintstones (West Dog) - 30-70 ft Intermediate
A less regularly visited site, the Flintstones is named
for the rocky outcroppings on the west side of West Dog
which are supposed to resemble Fred and Barney's home of
Bedrock. Underwater, the boulders continue, creating
numerous ledges and overhangs for fish and lobster to hide
in. Look out for an occasional nurse shark and also Fred's
House - a huge boulder that dominates the undersea
Diamond Reef (Great Camanoe) - 20-40 ft Novice
Marina Cay to Scrub Island. Located 2 minutes boat ride away from Scrub Island,
this site is named as a result of a diver losing a diamond ring here about 10
years ago (never found!). The reef itself is a small �wall� some 200 yards long,
running from 15 ft in depth to a sandy bottom at 40 ft, with a profusion of both
hard and soft corals and heavily populated with tropical fish. You may see
Tomtates, Sgt. Majors, Grey Snapper and Cero Mackerel, not to mention the
occasional stingray and turtle. This site is ideal for all levels of divers and
snorkelers, accessible in nearly all weather.
Dip 'N' Scrub (Scrub Island) - 20-60 ft Novice / Intermediate
Located on the South side and in the middle of Scrub Island and named for the
dip in the hills behind the site as seen from Marina Cay. From the mooring, a
wall runs Eastward, dropping from 25 ft to 60 ft, with large mushroom-shaped and
pillar coral formations, and plenty of soft corals. Look for schools of Creole
Wrasse and Blue Chromis, with the occasional large lobster and nurse shark.
Shark Point (Scrub Island) - 40-70 ft Intermediate / Advanced
Located on the North-East corner of Scrub Island and so-called because there
really are sharks there! From the mooring, head East to a ledge system at 60 ft,
which is loaded with snappers, angelfish, grunts, and lobsters. Keep one eye to
the open ocean for sharks, rays, and Atlantic Spadefish. Working your way back
to the boat along the tip of the island, you will pass through canyons, crevices
and explore small caves - look out for the resident school of tarpon! Due to the
current, which often runs away from the boat, this is an advanced dive, not to
be attempted in inclement weather.
Lee Bay (Great Camanoe) - 50 ft Novice
Located on the South side of Lee Bay, the highlight of this site is the
�grotto�; located close to the island, in about 20 ft of water, the grotto
appears to have been formed by lava flow. In its nooks and crannies are spotted
lobsters, banded coral shrimp, and schools of glassy sweepers. A school of fry
sits at the top, basking in the �cathedral light� as it filters through the lava
flow. On top of the reef, sink-holes allow the diver to drop 10 ft down into the
reef itself, into a mini-maze.
Towing Point (Great Camanoe) - 70 ft Intermediate / Advanced
Located on the North-West tip of Great Camanoe, a profusion of large boulders,
covered with soft corals, leads to a sandy bottom. Around the point, keep an eye
to the open ocean, as there is a good chance of seeing pelagics. It is possible
to pass between the jagged rock (standing out of the water at the very end of
the island) and the mainland for an interesting and exciting shortcut back to
the boat. This is an advanced dive, due to the current that usually runs around
the point and away from the boat.
Monkey Point (Guana Island) - 30 ft � Snorkel Site
Not recommended in the high season due to heavy boat traffic, but in the summer
months, this can be an interesting site, teeming with fish life. In addition to
a couple of small caves, there are schools of baitfish, often with mackerel and
large tarpon feeding.
Grand Central Station (Guana Island) - 80 ft Advanced
Off the Northern coast of Guana Island, this site is an underwater cavern
system. The cavern is very large, with one entrance at 60 ft and another close
to the surface. Inside look out for the occasional turtle or Goliath Grouper.
Brewers Bay East (Tortola, North-side) - 40-70 ft Intermediate
On the Eastern point of Brewers Bay, the huge boulders top-side are replicated
underwater, creating swim-throughs filled with baitfish and glassy sweepers. In
the summer months, when the fry are thick, tarpon are regular visitors. Follow
the boulder trail to the sandy bottom at 70 ft, where you can find large
Brewers Bay West (Tortola, North-side) - 70-100 ft Intermediate/Advanced
From the mooring at the Western corner of Brewer's Bay, you can meander North
and West through numerous underwater pinnacles and crevices that, during the
summer months, are packed with baitfish, mackerel and tarpon. 200 yards north of
this mooring lies Brewers Bay Pinnacle which comes to within 15 ft of the
surface and drops to 90 ft. Good opportunities exist at these sites for seeing pelagics, especially eagle rays and the occasional manta ray.
Alice In Wonderland - 40-70 ft Novice / Intermediate
Situated off the South shore of Ginger Island, this site provides a very
different underwater landscape to other BVI areas. A healthy spur and groove
coral reef runs below the dive boat (moored in about 60 ft) and slopes up
towards the island to a minimum depth of about 35 ft. Numerous large mushroom
shaped coral heads ahead of the mooring give the site its name and provide
shelter for reef fish, lobster and spotted morays. While this area does not
boast the abundant fish of other islands, the health of the corals makes this
Ginger Steps - 30-90 ft Novice / Intermediate
As with Alice, Ginger Steps enjoys some of the healthiest corals in the BVI. The
site is further East along Ginger Island, tucked up against the tip of South Bay
providing better protection from ocean swells and making for a calmer dive. The
dive boat moors in 35 ft on the top of the 3 'steps' that make up the site. The
reef then slopes down to the 2nd sandy step at 50 ft before dropping away to the
3rd step (the sea floor) at about 90 ft. Numerous reef fish species make their
homes in the healthy star and brain coral heads and we have also seen pompano,
eagle rays and turtles cruising along the slopes.
Alice's Backside / Ginger Patches - 20-60 ft Novice
On the North side of Ginger Island, this site is almost always flat calm,
providing a restful location for surface interval and second dive. Again, a huge
healthy coral reef runs the length of the island starting at about 15 ft under
the boat and falling away to the sandy bottom at about 60 ft. This is usually a
very slow paced dive, giving the group plenty of time to explore the holes and
ledges in the reef for lobster, octopus and the occasional turtle - also look
out for small stingrays out on the sand.
Carvel Rock - 40-70 ft Advanced
A large rock facing the open ocean, this site is open to current flows. A
favorite site for schooling sennet, the exposed rock face is often visited by
larger pelagics - look out for reef shark, barracuda and mackerel.
Dry Rocks East - 30-80 ft Intermediate / Advanced
SpadefishA favorite site with local dive leaders, a dive here almost always
provides some of the more unusual marine life. Situated off the East side of
Cooper Island, the wash rocks breaking the surface focus the currents running
between Cooper and Ginger Islands attracting in a range of fish from schools of
horse eye jacks to African pompano, Atlantic spadefish, hawksbill turtles,
shark-like cobia and nurse sharks. The shallow waters up against the wash rocks
teem with sergeant majors, chromis, creole wrasse and black durgon. However, the
currents that bring in life can also make for a challenging dive - the exposed
location can make diving here impossible due to rough water and divers should
pay close attention to the dive leader if currents are present on the site.
Devil's Kitchen - 20-60 ft Novice / Intermediate
Another favorite local site, again only possible on calmer days due to its
exposed position up against the Eastern shoreline of Cooper Island. Swimming
South from the mooring brings the divers to a shelf, 30 ft deep on top and
ranging from 40 to 55 feet deep at the bottom. As the dive continues, the shelf
becomes more undercut, with the rock structure forming a bizarre 'Swiss cheese'
lattice which provides numerous hideouts for reef fish and lobster. Schooling
reef fish proliferate around the ledge and we have seen large snapper, turtles
and tarpon. This makes for an excellent second dive - especially when paired
with Dry Rocks East as a first dive.
Markoe Point - 40-80 ft Intermediate
Tucked around the southeast corner of Cooper Island, Markoe Point usually enjoys
protection from the elements at the mooring. Ahead of the boat, a v-shaped
groove with an overhung lip leads divers around the point and onto the eastern
edge of the island where the coastline drops vertically from the waterline to
about 80 ft. This provides for a very imposing underwater vista and gives a
focal point for jacks, mackerel, barracuda and occasionally pompano and
Thumb Rock - 30-50 ft Novice
Situated South of the Marie L and Pat wrecks, Thumb Rock consists of a giant
boulder rising from 60 ft to within 15 ft of the surface. Large schools of
creole wrasse gather around the boulder along with numerous lobster. Numerous
tarpon are also usually found hanging out around the bottom of the boulder.
Wreck Alley - 50-85 ft Intermediate
This triple wreck site consists of the Marie L, a cargo boat intentionally sunk
in the early 1990s, the Pat, a tugboat sunk a few years later that now lies up
against the Marie L, and the Beata, sunk in 2001. Whilst the wrecks themselves
provide an interesting feature to explore, be sure to look for the large colony
of garden eels slightly around the wrecks and the stingrays that frequent the
area - these are much braver than at other sites and will happily swim through
the middle of the dive group. Time on the wrecks is limited due to the depth so
the dive is completed on the shallower reef (about 50 ft) around the dive boat
Cistern Point - 20-40 ft Beginner
The site gets its name from cistern-like holes in the reef. A great place to
look for eels, nurse sharks and tarpon. This site makes for a great second dive
on our morning trips. This site is one of Jeff's favorites.
Vanishing Rocks / Dry Rocks West - 25-45 ft Beginner / Intermediate
Based around a pinnacle which barely breaks the surface, this is one of the most
colorful dive sites in the area. A huge stand of pillar coral along with
abundant marine life provide the most experienced diver with a memorable dive.
Keep an eye out for eels and squid at this site.
The BVI has one of the most famous dives in the world called The Wreck of the
Rhone. She's in two parts - one at 80' and the other at 40' - perfect for a 2
tank dive (Snorkelers have fun floating over the wreck too). Paradise
Watersports is located on Peter Island. w
We are only a short boat ride from sites in the Rhone National Park such as
Blonde Rock, Painted Walls, Rhone Reef and the Rhone herself.
Same dive sites as