Situated southwest of the St. Thomas airport, this former Navy tank-landing ship sunk in 1985. Now a thriving artificial reef, the ship is home to yellowtail snapper, barracuda and grouper which patrol its five decks. Brilliant orange cup coral and sea fans are among the amazing coral communities.
The black rock arches and lava tubes are indicative of the volcanic origin of the islands. The tunnels are a part of Thatch Cay, an island northwest of St. Thomas. Bright cup corals and sponges are visible from the moment of entry. Divers wind their way through a series of tunnels, past big boulders and gorgonian patches actually swimming though the island. Butterflyfish, parrotfish and trumpetfish spend their days in the gorgonians, while tarpon pursue schools of silversides. Moray eels and spiny lobsters are regular residents of the reef.
Here's a site with an interesting and groundbreaking history. In a joint effort by NASA and the Department of the Interior and the Navy, Tektite was anchored at 50 feet to the seafloor in Greater Lameshur Bay. In 1969, four â€œaquanautsâ€ spent two months being monitored by behavioral specialists for the psychological effects of extended isolation and the physiological results of breathing compressed air. Divers visiting the site will find a varied terrain of coral-encrusted tunnels, caves and ledges. Tarpon, squid, triggerfish, mackerel and small reef fish thrive here.
The East Wall boasts vibrant sea life including soft corals, sponges and gorgonians all growing along a steep wall. The West Wall begins at about 30 feet, quickly drops to 90 feet and then plummets to 1,000 feet. The excellent topography -- including pinnacles, mini-canyons and swim-throughs -- easily makes this the most requested dive on St. Croix.
The twin barges originally housed men's quarters during WWII. After the war, they were demolished and sunk, creating the ideal habitat for marine life. Trumpetfish, big angelfish, feather dusters and Christmas tree worms hang topside, while squirrelfish, bigeyes and channel clinging crabs hide out in the crawl spaces.
This phenomenal site is known as one of the top macro dives anywhere. As you head out, catch a glimpse of the coral-encrusted pilings from the old pier. Scattered debris serves as shelter for moray eels and octopus. Closer inspection will uncover the real beauties of the pier high hats, grape-sized juvenile smooth trunkfish, sea horses, spotted scorpionfish and the rare roughback batfish. Golden-eyed shrimp and resting parrotfish live in the boulders of the shallows. This is an excellent day and night dive.
The prevailing southeast swells make this a tricky dive, but when seas are calm this site is magical. So much so that it has hosted several underwater weddings. Located on St. John's east end between Ram Head and Leduck Island, arches, tunnels and caves are its signature features. The cave, known as â€œThe Cathedralâ€ , is encrusted with vivid sponges and orange cup coral. Schools of black durgeons, porkfish and silversides populate the shoal. Northeast of the cave is a series of deep walls and tiers that shelter spotted drums and Queen and French Angelfish.
Located off the southeast coast of St. Thomas, the two largest rocks that break the surface are said to look like whalesâ€”a cow and her calf. Cow & Calf boasts dramatic ledges, wide canyons and large caves.
Adjacent to the popular Coral World Ocean Park, Coki Beach is home to two fringing reefs located 50 yards offshore and separated by a sandy flat. Beginner and advanced divers enter the pool-like conditions to find bar jacks, grunts, yellow headed jawfish and cleaner shrimp. An occasional stingray or turtle can be seen passing by.
This series of adjacent rocks, which serves as a nesting site for terns and other birds, is a fascinating dive when conditions are right. The south side is blanketed with sponges, gorgonians and a variety of sea life. The north face is the star attraction, dropping below 80 feet. Watch for stingrays in the sand and tarpon who regularly scavenge on silversides.