Volcanic eruptions created St. John’s peaks, valleys, caves and tunnels — ingredients for the perfect underwater playground. Add water temps ranging from 75 to 85 degrees and visibility between 50 and 100 feet — now you have a premier Caribbean diving destination! Nearly 30 dive sites exist along our shores and the surrounding Pillsbury Sound, so grab your gear and let’s explore a few of our favorites.
Cow and Calf, two sister islands a stone’s throw away from St. John, are ideal for beginner or experienced divers featuring an underwater playground of arches, canyons and tunnels. The unique draw to this area is a vertical opening where a hefty surge pops divers out the top, affectionately known as the “champagne cork.”
Hurricane Hole is just a small portion of the 12,900 acres declared as the Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument by President Clinton. This protected area of mangroves, seagrass beds and endangered coral reefs serves as a nursery to a variety of aquatic life.
Eagle Shoals is best known for “the cathedral,” a large, open chamber illuminated by the sun and accessed by multiple entryways. Underwater weddings have been performed in this dramatic arena filled with caves and channels.
Carvel Rock was mistaken for an enemy ship in the 1700s and fired on by cannons. You may remember seeing it on one of last year’s Amazing Race episodes. It’s 80 foot drop features impressive formations and a narrow canyon packed with tarpon, while the south side contains a kaleidoscope of coral and sponges.
The WIT Shoal II is a premier diving wreck just off St. Thomas. At 327 feet long, she was originally a landing ship tank during World War II assisting in amphibious landings of troops. The ship sits upright in 90 feet of water with the pilothouse accessible at 35 feet. There are five levels of decks to explore and an abundance of marine life on this wreck including schools of horse-eyed jacks, green turtles and spotted eagle rays.
Whether just getting your fins wet or an experienced diver, you’ll have dozens of choices to suit your skill level. Several dive operators on St. John offer PADI-diving courses so why not get certified while you’re on vacation! Read More