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St. Vincent and the Grenadines

The SVG Dive Primer

Spread over better than 70 miles of the Caribbean Sea, St. Vincent and the Grenadines offers a broad range of adventures. Here's a primer to help you plan.

ST. VINCENT

The rugged, steeply-rising shoreline of this volcanic island preserves the health of the surrounding reefs. Black coral abounds here at relatively shallow depths. Most diving on St. Vincent takes place on the sheltered west and south coasts of the island, where currents are gentle, the surface is usually calm and impressive walls offer sweeping underwater vistas. Some of the most popular sites here include Orca Point/Dinosaur's Head (macro heaven, a sloping site off the headland with mild currents and an expanse of coral and sponge carpeting the sea floor) and Bat Cave, which begins in three feet of water in a darkened cave and surfaces in the cavern home of hundreds of rare bats. If variety is the spice of life, then St. Vincent is the spice rack.

1. A chain moray 2. Blackbar soldierfish 3. Sponges decorate the reef 4. Frogfish 5. Scrawled filefish 6. Longsnout seahorse

BEQUIA

Divers visiting Bequia's undersea environs will find prolific marine life — from roaming schools of Atlantic spadefish to perennially shy nurse sharks. Favorite dives here include Long Point/Anse Chemin, a drift dive superb for wide-angle photography with lots of sea plumes and a super-sized landscape; Devil's Table with its cast of frogfish, seahorses and morays; and Moonhole, a shallow site with a stunning panorama of soft and finger corals.

CANOUAN

This comma-shaped island anchoring the middle of the Grenadines offers a range of dives, from soaring drift dives to leisurely reef surveys. The small island of Petit Canouan rewards divers with a bottom strewn with huge boulders and hard coral. Gibralter, with its frequent stingrays, is perfectforwide-angle photography. And on the wreck of the MA/ Shadow; all sorts of nocturnal species are hiding in the nooks and crannies.

SOUTHERN GRENADINES The southern Grenadine Islands of Mayreau, Tobago Cays, Union Island, Palm Island and Petit St. Vincent differ from their sisters to the north in that all diving is done on submerged offshore reefs, ratherthan near headlands, in harbors or around small offshore islands. Diving here runs the gamut from deeper drifts like Mayreau Gardens to the underwater mountain of Sail Rock and wrecks like the World-War-l-era British gunship Puruni.

"SVG" has more than its share of repeat visitors. It's easy to see why; you can dive here for a lifetime and never run out of new things to see.

Contact Information: Tel: 784-4571502; fax: 784-451-2425; website: svgtourism

.com; e-mail: [email protected]

1. A chain moray 2. Blackbar soldierfish 3. Sponges decorate the reef 4. Frogfish 5. Scrawled filefish 6. Longsnout seahorse

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