The Chikuzen


Looking down while scuba diving the Chikuzen in the british virgin islands.Looking down from the top of the Chikuzen!

GPS Position. N18’37.143 W064’30.969

This wreck is an absolutely fabulous dive. Scuba diving the Chikuzen is one of the highlights of my diving career.

It sank in 1981 and is located well offshore (7 1/2 miles NW of Tortola) in what is basically a dessert of sand. Because of the barren surroundings, the Chikuzen attracts a huge quantity and variety of fish.
The wreck is in about 75 feet of water and has no protection from sea conditions. Because of this, coupled with its distance from Tortola, The Chikuzen rarely sees divers.

Great schools of barracuda and horse eyed jack call The Chikuzen home. The ship has 3 large open holds for exploration that usually has large schools of grunts swimming around. There are usually many southern sting rays on the bottom, and large turtles are a regular visitor. Large Cobia (Black Kingfish) are often seen as are reef sharks.

This area often has whales pass during January through to April. You will often hear their singing while you dive The Chikuzen. There has even been a whale shark seen on this spot. The wreck has a good covering of coral and sponges. Because of its remoteness and diverse fish life I personally vote The Chikuzen as the #1 dive in the BVI.


you may encounter this 5 foot goliath grouper while Scuba diving the Chikuzen in the British Virgin Islands.
You may encounter the resident 5 foot goliath grouper while scuba diving the Chikuzen!

There can be strong current here, do not dive this site without proper surface support. That is someone on board who keeping a keen look out and is capable of coming to pick you up if you cant get back to your yacht. At times there is a national parks mooring on this site, but often its missing.

If there is a mooring, when moored, the stern of your boat should be over the wreck. Use a downline for reference. If you are on the mooring ball and can’t see the wreck when you first drop in, then swim to the mooring line and descend.

The line separates into 3 lines before you get to the bottom, the most westward line has another line attached to the bottom that leads west to the wreck.

On a sunny day you can see the wreck from the surface. This site is a must do if you are making the trip from Anegada to Jost Van Dyke. It is situated half way between the 2 and you are going to go directly over it anyway!

The invisibles.

GPS Position. N18’31.481 W064’20.482

This is a dive that seldom sees divers except from the dive shop at Bitter End. It’s located about a mile or so north east of necker island.
It’s a nice dive that’s made up of 3 pinnacles that rise to within a few feet of the surface from 40 to 75 feet.
There are always a lot of fish here and because its out in the open, there is always a chance of large pelagic fish going by. This is a simple jump in and circle the pinnacles dive.


Grouper on tow rock from Scuba diving the Chikuzen in the British Virgin Islands.
Grouper!

There can be strong current here, this is one that we will do as a drift if the current is strong enough.
There is often a parks mooring ball on here, do not try and do this one if there is a large swell running. Large swells can break over the pinnacle and you will be moored right at it.

Tow Rock.

The only time I have ever seen another diver here was someone illegally taking dozens of lobster.
Tow Rock is situated about half way between the dogs and the norther tip of Great Camanoe island.

This is a large rocky pinnacle that juts up from 40 to 75 feet of water to within 20 feet of the surface. The surrounding area is sand so it tends to hold a lot of fish life and lobsters.

There can be very strong current here usually heading west. Keeping close to the bottom can keep you out of the strongest of the current, there are lots of gaps and crevices between the rocks. Many large fish, turtles and often reef sharks are seen. This is a circle the pinnacle dive.

Mercurios rock.

GPS Position. N18’26.872 W064’48.732

Another site that very seldom see’s divers. It’s located a couple of miles east of Great Tobago Island. This rocky feature comes to within about 15 feet of the surface from a depth of 50 feet.

The biggest attraction here is a quite long swim through that passes north south through the formation. Within the passage one will see many spotted spiny lobster in the many cracks and crevasses. Large schools of glassy eyed sweepers mill around in the darker parts of the passage.

This is not a site that you can anchor a large boat. In order to dive this site you either need to dive it live, that is to enter and exit the water from your boat while its drifting next to the site, or take a smaller boat and anchor. There can be current so do not dive this site without surface support. This is a circle the pinnacles and swim through dive.