OUR DIVE SITES
Don't wait another minute! Come join us and see what you have been missing. Get ready for the best St.Thomas scuba dive experience you will ever have! We dive on reefs, wrecks and unique rock formations.
We have over 30 dive sites, listed are most of our favorites.....
Andre's Reef is named for one of our favoite captains and instructors, this site is located on the north side of Buck Island. You descend into shallow sand, and make a short swim to a coral rided drop off. Juvenile fish and turtles collect amoung the coral heads along the ledge, and make a wonderful dive themselves, but then you descend down the coral encursted slope to approximately 75 feet, where you reach a sandy bottom. As you swim along the slope, you can observe picturesque coral as schooling fish swim before you. Pay attention to the many small fish, gobies, wrasses, parrotfish and trunk fish. Trumpet fish are also easily found in the plentiful gorgonians. Don't forget to look away from the slope from time to time, to see stingrays or gardens watching you from the sand.
Armando's Paradise is named after renowned cinematographer and photographer, Armando Jenik, as being one of his most coveted sites, this site has it all. From breathtaking swimthroughs, coral encruted ledges, abundant fish activity, valleys with scenic passageways, record breaking barrel sponges, and all of this just moderately located within 50 feet of the surface! This is literally a photographer's and reef lover's paradise!
BUCK ISLAND POINT
Located on the west end of Buck Island, Buck Island Point is a dive site not to be missed! This site begins at 45 feet with one of the most crackly and lively reefs in the area. You are sure to find West Indian Sea Urchins, Arrow Head Crabs, Spotted Eels, Angel Fish, and elusive Octopus Chutes. Continure to explore the reef on this wondrous site and you will shortly find yourself at a mini-wall! This wall gently slopes down to depths reaching 80 feet in the sand. This is where the local sting-rays and conch like to hang out. Occasionally you can spot a blacktip reef shark swimming about. You'll find large schools of grunts and snapper that are proud to call Buck Island Point their home.
The Cartanser Senior is a 190 foot long steel hulled freighter that has an interesting story. During World War II, she was used to transport goods. After the war, she was used to carry various cargoes between the islands. She was brought to St. Thomas in 1970 and was abandoned by her captain and crew. By this time, the vessel had definitely seen better days and was eventually towed into a cove where she was moored. Over time, the unattended vessel began to take on water and was soon on the bottom. Unfortunately, her location for divers was horrible as she was sitting in silt, and poor visibility was inevitable.
At one point in 1975, the Army Corp. of Engineers was going to blow the wreck up as they considered the ship a hazard to navigation. Around the same time, St. Thomas noticed the amount of interest their neighboring British Virgin Islands were getting since the movie "The Deep" was being filmed on the wreck of the Rhone. St. Thomas decided that they too should have a clear water wreck, and started the wheels moving to raise the Cartanser and move her to a spot more accessible for divers. Local divers, led by the St. Thomas Diving Club, banded together in the campaign, "Save the Cartanser." They raised the funds by selling t-shirts stating their slogan. This effort was a huge success that will be enjoyed by diver for many years to come.
On July 16, 1979, with the help of a super crane paid for by the "Save the Cartanser" fund, the Cartanser Senior was raised, moved five miles to a cove on the west side of Buck Island, and re-sunk. She is now resting in approximately 50 feet of water, leaning on her port side. The forces of nature have taken their toll on on the ship, leaving it in three distinct pieces.
Everything from her engine room to her bow has been photographed hundreds of times. Her remains attract not only yellow tails, tang, grouper, and angelfish, but dive boats from all over the island that bring divers to explore the wreckage. Look carefully on the wreck and you will see lots of purples patches of sergeant major eggs.
COW & CALF ROCK -2 sites
Cow and Calf Rocks are two outcroppings on the south side of St. Thomas that are so named because rum-soaked whalers would mistake the rocks as being a whale cow and her calf and would hurl their harpoons at the "creatures." Calf is the smaller rock and boasts many large and beautiful fish in its ledges. Cow is the larger and know for the swim through maze that includes the champagne cork which, with a little wind and wave action, will launch the diver up through the hole. Take a light to better see the lobster and glassy slipper fish that live in the holes as well as the magnificent colored coral. Both sites have a maximum depth of 40 feet.
DIVE FLAG ROCK
As your captain and crew tie up to the mooring, look toward the rocky shore of Buck Island and see if you can find it! Once you see the above rock, you will soon understand why we call this dive site Dive Flag Rock. At Dive Flag, you descend into shallow sand, and make a short swim to a cluster of coral. Juvenile fish collect among the coral heads, but then you can descend down a coral-encrusted wall to the sand below for a depth of about 60 feet. As you swim along the slope, you can observe large schools of fish, the occasional young black tip reef sharks, spotted eagle rays and barracuda.
FLAT CAY / CHRYSLER
A beautiful reef on the west side of a small island called Flat Cay, located about 3 miles from St. Thomas. The reef is vibrantly healthy, with an abundance of hard corals, gorgonians, sponges, and other assorted marine life. Because of the lavish amount of sea life on this reef, it’s one of my personal favorite dive sites.
The reef is located on the lee side of Flat Cay, which makes it a great dive site for days when the easterly Trade Winds make other dive sites too rough. Flat Cay West is often the second dive of a two-tank dive after one of the deep wrecks such as the WIT Shoal, the WIT Concrete, or the DC3 Airplane.
The Flat Cay West Reef segment in "Diving St. Thomas, Volume 1" features Queen Angelfish, French Angelfish, Gray Angelfish, Yellowtail Snappers, Atlantice Spadefish, Cowfish, Smooth Trunkfish, Spotted Eagle Rays, Butterflyfish, and a Peacock Flounder.
Question ... why would a dive boat captain drive past several fantastic dive sites and out towards the horizon? Because at French Cap there is something so special, so memorable, that it's worth the effort. Six miles offshore, where the ocean bottom is in excess of one hundred feet rises a pinnacle, like a small mountain, covered in hard and soft corals, away from all the boats and bustle near the shore. Come see the secrets that the sea creatures know, start at 80 feet and slowly spiral up the slpes of the pinnacle and see bigger and brighter and learer vistas than ever before! Watch for circling spotted eagle rays, huge schools of fish, and the evasive black durgeon like you have never seen. Then go up and around again, until you make your way to the top where you swim through the cut in the top of the pinnacle and local legend says it will bring you good luck. January through May you can hear the visiting humpback whales singing.
This colorful reef is one of the two border reefs of Buck Island Cove. Named for the HMS Wye, (which sank here during the 1867 Hurricane that sank the HMS Rhone), the reef is a favorite hang-out for schooling fish, nurse sharks and sea turtles. Starting as a shallow dive in about 35 feet of water, you can explore the coral encrusted boulders that lead down to the active coral reef that ends in about 70 feet. At that point, the reef meets the open sand, where sting rays and conch can be found waiting patiently for your arrival. An easy turn to the right or the left along the edge will make for a slow, easy dive until it is time to return back to the boat. Because Wye Reef is so diverse in composition, it can be done as a shallow or deep dive. A great chance to try out that new computer or start that Multilevel Specialty!
JOE'S JAM (AKA CORAL BOWL)
Around two-and-a-half miles south of St. Thomas, you’ll discover Buck and Capella Islands. These two islands are a Mecca for local divers, and are joined by a narrow strip of sand. Just off the south side of this narrow strip, you can explore the underwater oasis often called the Coral Bowl, but we know better!!! Named for a diveboat captain named Joe, don’t ask why, we’ll never tell! With a depth of 30 to 80 feet, this popular dive site is filled with sea creatures of every type.
Joe's Jam looks like a bowl shaped slope starting in 30 feet and descending to 80 feet at its bottom. All around the sides of the bowl are sloping tiers of hard and soft corals, full of nooks and overhangs to explore. Schooling fish swim along the different levels, as lobsters, eels and nurse sharks watch from their protected homes. As you swim throughout the magnificent reefs, keep your eyes peeled for southern stingrays that can range up to six-and-a-half feet wingtip to wingtip.
As magnificent as this site is during the day, if you want a truly memorable experience, try diving it at night. As soon as the Caribbean sun sinks below the horizon, the ledges and overhangs of Joe's Jam come alive with sea creatures large and small. Giant green turtles will pass you by as they swim in from the depths to sleep in the reef. The finale of your day will be blocking you light for just a moment, and watching the reef light up with bioluminescence,rivaling the night time lights of Charlotte Amalie harbor for splendor and beauty .
Back in the Mid 80’s, when the United States chose to have a strong Military presence in the islands due to the uprising influence of Cuban’s in Grenada working on the country’s airport and “infrastructure”, this is where this little flat-top barge got its start….. (and end). You see, the USA had warships, submarines, aircraft carriers coming to the islands every week or so just to be on the lookout and keep their presence known. The vessels,whilst on their journey, would need to restock their provisions and to remove their waste. The idea to use a barge as a floating dock came about to make it easier when the vessels anchored out in the harbor to load and unload the needed supplies. The ferries could moor up to the barge, let the men clamber aboard and be on their way, at the same time the food barge could be unloading its cargo and taking any waste with it. Everyone was happy!! Well, as we all know, all good things seem to come to an end sooner or later…….. This poor little barge turned out to be too buoyant for the carrier coming to town named, John F. Kennedy. Ohhhh yes, some of you might know where I am going already. Someone decided that the best idea for the barge and carrier’s predicament was to let one of the water-tight compartments flood so that the barge would sink a bit and make it lower for the USS John F. Kennedy. Needless to say, things didn’t go as planned…. with the ever deteriorating seals being severely underestimated, the other compartments quickly began to take on water and the barge became an artificial reef within minutes. You will now find this barge flipped upside down in 40’ to 60’ of water. Home to Porcupine fish, barracuda and with the surrounding sand being riddled with stingrays. Go east of the Barge and you will find the cement slab that used to reside on top. Head north and don’t forget to check out the 8-10 feet Adobe that were used to extend the runway out into the ocean. The now nicknamed“Kennedy” Barge is a great dive for all.
LEDGES OF LITTLE ST JAMES
There is no hiding why this site is called the Ledges of Little St. James. Located on the west side of the island, Little St. James, the sand has drifted away from under the coral ridges and outcroppings, leaving amazing formations to explore. The ledges run along the island at two depths, so you can dive along the reef at 45 feet out and 25 feet back, making for a long visit with schools of French grunt, Spanish lobster, spotted eagle rays and the occasional nurse shark that call this site home.
The Miss Opportunity was a WWII Hospital Ship that was sank back in 1982. After being decommissioned, the decision was made to bring her inshore next to the old submarine base here on island to use her as office space for the local government. As she started to age and break down, the repair costs were too high so the government decided to let her go out for her final voyage to sea. She now rests in about 97’ of water with her deck being around 60’ from the surface.Located on the west side of the island where the current is known to be a little feisty and the swells a little rough, this 300’+ marvel is truly a treat to dive when conditions are right. Shelter to a resident Hawksbill turtle, Dog Snappers, and Horse-eye Jacks. She will keep you coming back whenever you can get the chance.
THE NAVY BARGES
The only thing better than diving on a coral encrusted hundred foot long sunken barge, complete with fish filled channels and swim throughs, is diving on two, in one dive! The Navy Barges were floating accommodations for US troops during WWII. After the war, the navy sunk the barges in approximately 40 feet on a sandy bottom. Did you ever see fish living upside down? Well, look up carefully as you explore the nooks and crannies of these amazing artificial reefs. After you look up, look to the sides for turtles, parrot fish, and look down for octupus and lobsters. Maybe even look out into the sand for a stingray or two. From June through September, large nurse sharks are found around the wreckage giving birth to their young while Sergeant Major diligently guard their purple-colored egg patches to prevent the next generation from being eaten by hungry predators.
Watch for this famous rock as you approach the dive site. You won't see it at first, just like all the sailing ships that have hit over the last 200 years, but you will eventually see a light yellow-brown color just under the water, like someone poured mustard in the ocean. That is Packet Rock. At 50 feet, this mini-pinnacle is named for one of the unlucky ships that have hit the rock over the years, the HMS Warwick, a Royal Mail Packet Steamship.
Back in 1816, Captain Simpson was making way to Charlotte Amalie Harbor when he hit Packet Rock. The Warwick was carrying cargo to St. Thomas and in an attempt to save his ship, Captain Simpson ordered that the cargo be thrown overboard. Unfortunately, they were unable to save the ship and it eventually sank. All that now remains are roofing tiles, broken pottery shards, clay smoking pipes and a giant cauldron. There are many stories as to why the cauldron was on the ship, but one is that it was being brought here to render molasses.
But wait there is more, there is always more! Packet Rock is also home to huge French and queen angelfish, schools of barracuda, hawksbill turtles, the occasional nurse shark and triggerfish. On the north side of Packet Rock are ledges that are home to schools of French grunts, yellowtails and sergeant majors.
A little history, a lot of nature, and we have one heck of a dive!
Sprat Point has one of the highest Spur-N-Groove coral formations around. You’ll find overhangs, arches, swim-throughs, channels galore. The sandy bottom between formations is a great place to be on the lookout for Southern Atlantic Stingrays, look off into the distance and catch a glimpse of the larger inhabitants of Sprat Point as they swim by. A favorite site among night diving enthusiasts, at this site there is always something to see. With a not so desirable location and with normal visibility being a lot to be desired, Sprat Point is considered a true diamond in the ruff.
Located near Capella Island this drop off boasts coral sides so there is no end to what you might see here. The pinnacles sit in about 90 feet of water and are a host of an array of sea life.
Supermarket??? Why would anyone name a beautiful coral reef, Supermarket??? While diving on this spur-n-groove reef, you might be reminded of walking down the numerous aisles of a supermarket! This uncharacteristically designed reef sits in about 60 feet of water with coral formations getting as shallow as 30 feet. Located on the southeast side of Water Island (now being deemed the US Virgin Islands 4th largest island), this site is a rarity to dive. You will find Garden Eels, Turtles, Eagles Rays and Moray Eels without ever having to stray too far from the boat.
Tejo's Treasure is an amazing dive site that is the northside border reef of famous Buck Island Cove. Named after an instructor who mistakenly thought she saw an old cannon encrusted in coral, when in fact it was an old acetylene tank! (What? ... It could happen to anyone!!!)
This site follows a rocky wall that plunges underwater and becomes a reef at about 35 feet. You can then follow this coral packed peninsula at its top, bottom or in between for several hundred yards, getting as deep as 75 feet.
As you swim along, trigger fish, parrotfish, spotted hinds, turtles and nurse sharks will watch you swim by, as schools of yellowtails and French grunts lead you ever onward. Just watch your depth and time, because this site will be sure to captivate you.
After being damaged in two hurricanes, the WIT Concrete was sank in 1996. This 300’ beast was formerly used to transfer fuel and water between the islands. During a hurricane, this ship was accidentally sank in the West Gregorie Channel where it was soon noted that it was too close to the popular shipping channels. To prevent unwanted groundings by incoming freighters or cruise ships, the WIT Concrete was lifted off of the bottom and towed offshore becoming an asset to fellow artificial reefs. With soft corals,swim-throughs, occasional reef sharks, Dog Snapper, Horse-eye Jacks, and the rare sighting of an octopus, the WIT Concrete will keep you looking around every nook and cranny that you can find. Be sure to take a small light as the WIT Concrete rests in depths as shallow as 45’ to as deep as 100’.
Just 1/2 mile south of our shop in Bolongo Bay is Packet Reef. Not to be confused with Packet Rock, this dive is a little deeper. You begin by dropping down into about 70' in the surrounding sand of this longer reef. Filled with large trenches, boulders, and huge coral mounds, you never know what type of marine life might be cruising by. We've seen some of the largest eagle rays and sharks on island here on this dive.
TWO RAY BAY
Two Ray Bay is a fringe reef that is adjacent to a large sandy area. Dive along the edge keeping an eye out for large southern stingrays, garden eels and queen conch in the sand. This site has rocky areas that provide a great habitat for lobster and eels.