If someone were to ask you what the most preserved ecosystem in the West Indies is, would you say it is that of St. Barts? Since the creation of its Natural Marine Reserve in the mid-90s, the waters surrounding the island are home to coral reefs, humpback whales, turtles, sponges, and parrot-fish, resting peacefully in this seabed of rare beauty. We're already there, dive in with us!
Respect the sea
The waters of St. Barts are particularly beautiful to explore because most of the scuba diving sites are in the Natural Reserves of the Island. What does this mean? They are full of rare species, intact reefs, and sublime corals. It also means that scuba diving is regulated and that we must show your white card - excuse us - flippers before venturing out into its translucent waters - and we’re not talking about the fishery, that is strictly sectioned off.
Contact the Marine Park Office in Gustavia or go to the Natural Reserve of Saint-Barth for more information, but please know that:
- You cannot dive wherever you want: diving sites are defined with a white buoy
- Only vessels of 15 meters or below can anchor on these buoys, and for a maximum duration of 2 and a half hours, with 13 divers allowed per site
- All divers must wear a stabilizing jacket but are not allowed to wear gloves
- Divers cannot touch fauna or flora, collect waste or feed animals
- Each diver must pay 2 euros per dive
St Barts, an island to be discovered from down below
St Barts is often overlooked when it comes to the most beautiful dive sites in the world - and that's a shame. Of course, they are up to par with Mauritius, probably because most of them are located less than 30 meters deep, however, it still does not prevent the presences of remarkable species - notably, turtles are particularly protected here.
Beginning divers will be especially reassured in the waters of St. Barts because they are very clear, with excellent visibility, little depth, and an almost non-existent current. Like in your bathtub, but the lobsters are a plus!
Gustavia and the west coast
Most scuba diving sites in St. Barthelemy are within 30 minutes by boat from the port of Gustavia - therefore ideal - and many are even accessible in just 5 minutes. Other good news is that the west coast of St. Barts faces many small islands - Pain de Sucre, Les Petits Saints, Les Gros Islet - where there are superb coral reefs and some shipwrecks.
To the north of the island, L'Anse de Colombier - whose beach is one of the most beautiful on the island - is actually a little reserved for divers with more experience because of the currents. Here, around Pointe Island, you will surely come across turtles, large barracudas, and stingrays, as well as a beautiful coral reef.
Facing Gustavia, east of La Baleine, lovers of mysterious stories will be delighted to take a look at the wreck of Nonstop - it has not been said, the wreck is quite unstable (and unrelenting) - an ultra-luxurious yacht sunken in the wake of Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Most beginners and apnea enthusiasts are on their way to the Gros Ilets, renowned for their soft corals and colorful fish.
The small end of the east coast
Far from the hustle and bustle of Gustavia, northeast Saint-Barth, towards Pointe Mangin, there is a highly protected area, which includes the Grenadiers and île de la Tortue. It goes without saying that the seabed here is beautiful, and is where you go to rub shoulders with endangered species that float about with the greatest carelessness.
These wild sites are home to whales and dolphins - in general, very popular from February to May - multicolored fish, nurse sharks, and large crawfish lobsters in caves, canyons, tunnels and rocky peaks that make up the neighborhood’s underwater landscape. A real treat …
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