Scuba Diving The Rhone And Other Less Visited sites.


Scuba Diving The Rhone In The BVI.Divers getting ready for a dive to the Rhone!

Scuba Diving in the BVI has a lot to offer. There are many wrecks to dive and the most famous dive spot in the BVI is The Rhone. Scuba diving the Rhone is listed in the top 10 dives in the world. Scuba diving the Rhone is often voted the best dive in the Caribbean.

The BVI is surrounded with tropical reefs that vary in depth from a few feet to about 100 feet. The diving here has sites that are very easy to dive and are perfect for the novice.

Or for those who are looking to complete their dive certification while on charter. There are also dive sites that are more advanced that have strong currents, deep caverns or exposed to surge.

There are 3 options to dive in the BVI. The first is with one of the many dive operators that are scattered throughout the territory. Another option is to rent gear from one of the operators and to go for it yourself from a rented bareboat.

The third and most popular choice is from a charter yacht that you are spending the week on. For more information on these choices see our pages on scuba diving while on charter

Before You dive the Rhone

These series of articles are not intended to replace any of the guide books already published that cover the dozens of popular sites. These dive sites are popular because they have National Parks moorings on them and are in areas that are protected from the seas.

It’s more of a list of places that are seldom (accept for the Rhone) visited by the regular diver. With over 14 years experience of operating a live aboard dive boat in the BVI. Each site is a dive that I consider to be better than the usual, more easy to get to sites. They are mostly for the advanced diver because of current or because they are exposed.

This does not mean that with proper care, good planning and having someone topside that can come get you if you get swept by current, they are dangerous. We have visited these sites dozens of times without incident.

for most of these dives, you will not be able to do with the local dive stores, they are considered just too much work when there are dozens of easier sites to choose from. Another limiting factor is that many of these dives require someone on board to drive the boat while the divers are in the water. If however you want some adventurous diving then these are for you.

The RMS Rhone.

Scuba Diving The Rhone In The BVI.
Ribs of the Rhone!

The most well known dive site of the BVIs is the RMS Rhone. The RMS stands for Royal Mail Steamship. She lays very close to the shore of Salt Island.

While scuba diving the Rhone, you’ll notice that the wreck is in 3 distinct parts. The stern section is the shallowest part ranging from about 20 feet to 75 feet.

This makes it also a great snorkeling site with the non divers being able to see the more lucky ones down below who get to see this piece of history close up. There is a swim through at the stern that comes out at its propeller, the gear box and propeller shaft are clearly visible.

Moving deeper one comes across the mid sections. There are several large pieces that make up the mid section. The actual steam engine, a tiled floor and a rack of very large wrenches are just some of the items to see in this section.

The bow section is the third part and also the most in tact. It has a very large swim through that is open and comfortable for those who are not into narrow places. When inside look up at the roof, the surface is covered with bright orange cup coral and the trapped air pockets look like mirrors. This was the location that the movie The Deep was filmed on.

Being a national park, there are many fish in residence here. Inside the wreckage one can see many lobster and crabs which make The Rhone an excellent night dive. At night one will see many lobster and crabs out feeding, octopi are generally out and there are often very large turtle sleeping within the wreck.
In the shallower areas you will be followed by 3 foot long gray snappers, these fish hunt in the beam of your flash light. When your light picks up a smaller fish, the snappers dart in and grab them.

This site has many mooring balls to dive from and can be a bit close together at times. Anchoring is prohibited here, if your vessel is too large for the mooring balls or they are all taken, then go around and anchor off the beach on the north side of salt island in 30 to 50 feet of water. Take your dingy around to the Rhone, The blue mooring balls are for dinghies.

This site can also have very strong current. The current here can turn on like a light switch. If you find yourself caught with a sudden difficult swim into the current, stay on the bottom. If you can stay within 1 or 2 feet of the bottom the current will be greatly reduced. When the current is strong it will be flowing from the south to the north.

Blonde rock.

GPS Position. N18’22.156 W064’33.117

Located between Salt and Dead Chest islands. Blonde rock is within the Rhone national park and there are usually 2 parks moorings on here.

Depth varies from 75 feet to about 20 feet. The site is made up of large rocky masses that have some vertical walls with many overhangs. There is also a large fish bowl type of area. This is a site that we often see reef sharks, Being a couple of miles from land means that its often visited by larger pelagic fish.

This site makes a great night dive. One can sit here as the sun sets then dive once dark.
Salt anchorage and great harbor are both an easy motor from here and easy to get into in the dark. This is a circle the pinnacles dive.