Dive Sites

Exploring the many different ecosystems of St. Eustatius is diving in constant changing environments. Almost all of the 36 official sites are moored to save the reef from anchorage. We also love to drift from one site to the other to show you the true hidden treasures.

In order to dive in the Marine Park, divers have to pay a fee of $6 per dive or $30 for a yearly tag with unlimited diving. This fee is used for installing and maintaining the dive moorings. Healthy reefs with abundant marine life are waiting for you, and the one thing you probably won’t see is other groups of divers.

Scroll down the selection of dive sites listed below and don’t hesitate to tell us your favorites!

St Eustatius

Drop off

Depth 40+m/130+ft

Topography reef/wall

Experience adv

 

In the southernmost part of the island the ocean floor drops down almost vertically. In fact, it might be more accurate to say that the volcano is twice as tall as it looks and that the underwater half has a drop that is almost vertical. The dive starts on top of amazing deep lava flows that have become fully covered with deep sea fans. Later in the dive we ascend a huge vertical wall that leads us to the upper reef. Here we see shallow growing sea fans, plumes and gorgonians replace the deep-water coral species. Pelagic fish are frequently observed in the deep blue and the landscape is nothing short of phenomenal.

Charles Brown Wreck

Depth 31m/100ft
Topography wreck
Experience owd-adv

 

The island of St. Eustatius purchased the Charles Brown, formerly an AT&T Transatlantic cable laying vessel, for the amount of $1 (US).  On July 25th, 2003, after many parties on the island volunteered to prepare the ship, she reached her final destination on Statia’s sea floor as an artificial reef.  The Charles Brown is one of the largest (100m/327ft) and most impressive wrecks in the Caribbean. 

 

The view on your descent is spectacular.  Deep sea fans and sponges now cover the deck and cable reels.  Horse-Eye Jacks form dense schools above the wreck while huge barracudas (including a massive resident nicknamed « Charlie ») live right on it.  On the bottom you’ll find large quantities of Yellow Headed Jawfish, Angelfish and Sea Turtles are also common.  Reef Sharks often patrol here and with a bit of luck, you may even glimpse a Spotted Eagle Ray.  While the Charles Brown lies at a depth of 31m/100ft, it is suitable for less experienced divers who stay on top of the wreck, which rises to around 18m/60ft.  Thousands of divers have witnessed the transformation from a white steel hulk into a living reef.  Like a fine bottle of wine, She’s getting better and better with age.

Barracuda Reef

Depth 22m/72ft
Topography reef/wall
Experience owd

 

This long reef has vertical walls full of cracks and overhangs with abundant coral, sponges, and marine life.  This popular dive site is not only famous for the large numbers of barracuda, but the multiple overhangs are a likely place to see a nurse shark having a snooze during the day.  Every crack is occupied by lobster and other reef critters and this site has the largest concentration of Queen Angelfish as well.  Dense schools of Grunt and Snapper like to change out on the reef, while Caribbean Reef Sharks circle around in the blue.  Huge Green Moray Eels could be hiding anywhere and there is always the possibility of a Sea Turtle. Due to the length of the reef, there are three different moorings here.  This allows us the opportunity to turn any dive here into a drift dive if we encounter a bit of current.

Blue Bead Hole

Depth 17m/55ft
Topography muck/historical
Experience owd

The origin of blue beads dates back to the 17th century.  The Dutch West India Company used these beads (made in Amsterdam) to pay the slaves on Statia their ‘wages’.  After emancipation, legends say the freed slaves gathered on the cliffs and threw their beads into the sea to celebrate their freedom.  Blue Bead Hole is a dive site just between the old harbor and the colorful reefs on the Southern corner of the island.  Here you’ll find a mix of coral heads, sand patches, and sea grass.  And if you are lucky, a blue bead or two.  Actually, according the legend, the beads find you not the other way around.  Even without being found there is a good chance you will encounter quite a few amazing critters here.  Pike and Sailfin Blennies, Scorpionfish, and Mantis Shrimp are all waiting to be found.  The most sought after fish are the ‘Guardians of the Blue Beads’, Flying Gurnards.  It’s no coincidence that the blue of the ‘Guardians’ fins perfectly matches the color of the beads!

The Cliffs

Depth 40+m/130+ft
Topography reef/wall
Experience adv

 

The impressive drop off called the cliff is not the only highlight of this deep dive site in the south. Before you reach this wall you swim over the reef top where schools of creole wrasse hang out. Often we see the hard to find lettuce sea slugs here and there is a big chance to see different species of hamlets. Keep one eye in the blue, Caribbean reef sharks, eagle rays and oceanic triggerfish are regular visitors. The vertical cliff itself is covered with deep sea fans and wire coral.

Hangover

Depth 17m/55ft
Topography reef
Experience owd

A reef as a reef should be; a colorful labyrinth of ancient lava overgrown with healthy coral and sponges. This is the perfect mix of coral gardens, sandy areas and fascinating overhangs, giving us so much to look at. On the large sandy patch we can observe yellow head jaw fish, peacock flounder and queen conch. Lobsters share their turf with spotted drum fish and moray eels. We often encounter four species of angelfish on a single dive at this site. Yellow tail damselfish occupy the pillar coral we find here and be sure to look around to spot a little Caribbean reef shark that often swims around checking his territory.

Anchor point

Depth 18m/60ft
Topography reef/historical
Experience owd

Named after a huge old coral-covered French anchor from the period 1750-1775 who got hooked into the surrounding reef. From all 200 anchors in Statia this one is probably one of the most beautiful. Before you reach the anchor you encounter a swim through and on top of it there is a cleaning station with spanish hogfish. A few minutes more in the dive you pass an arena like area full of cracks and overhangs, house to drumfish and lobsters alike. The top of this reef looks like a barrel sponge forest, complete with tube sponges and different coral species. Caribbean reef sharks often patrol here, looking for an easy meal. Different species of moray eels are common and quite often you can encounter a the elusive sharptail eel.

Double Wreck

Depth 18m/60ft
Topography reef/historical
Experience owd

 

Not your usual wreck dive, despite its name. The only thing to remind us of the ships that sank here nearly 300 years ago are a dozen or so ballast stones and two huge anchors. The rest of the ballast stones are now fully grown in with sponges and coral. It is a rather small dive site, giving us plenty of time to search all the cracks and corals for interesting marine life. A huge family of tiny blennies uses one of the old anchors as high-rise apartments. The closer we get, the more tiny heads we see popping out to say hello. The entire dive site is guarded by huge southern stingrays that are so tranquil we can approach them and come as close as we dare. There are plenty of cleaning stations where we can witness cleaner shrimp doing what they do best. Quite often we find seahorses and even frogfish in this macro paradise. It is rare not to encounter green turtles here.

 

Grand Canyon

Depth 40+m/130+ft
Topography wall
Experience adv

Although we think our volcano ‘The Quill’ is beautiful and impressive above the ocean, its real hidden treasure awaits under the clear waters of the Caribbean Sea. In the Southwest of the island, at the submerged slopes of the volcano, the ancient lava flows plunge into the dark deep waters.  Steep walls and canyons form otherworldly seascapes. 

 

One of our favorite dive sites her is called the ‘Grand Canyon’.  It consists of steep lava flows with deep narrow cracks which are waiting to be explored.  Quite common sights here are pelagic species patrolling the walls, such as Spotted Eagle Rays and Caribbean Reef Sharks.  The walls, covered with deep sea fans and wire coral, are also home to packs of lobster.  We usually finish our dive in the shallows of another dive site called ‘Humps’ in order to complete a multi-level dive profile.

Chien Tong Wreck

Depth 24m/80ft
Topography wreck
Experience owd

 

Previously, a Taiwanese long-line fishing trawler, but after damage to the bow she couldn’t pass the insurance survey.  At (52m/170ft) from bow to stern, the vessel sits upright on the bottom of Orange Bay at a depth of 24m/80ft.  Sunk in 2004 as an artificial reef, it is now an ‘Oasis in the desert’ as the wreck attracts plenty of marine life.  Horse-eyed Jack, Barracuda, and Southern Sting Rays are a common sight. Sometimes, when the current is running, Spotted Eagle Rays like to sail on top of the wreck.  The Chien Tong is THE place for night diving.  When the sun sets, giant Green and Hawksbill Sea Turtles arrive to find a place for a comfortable night’s rest.  Bright red Teardrop Crabs, Sponge Crabs, and Slipper Lobster can be seen crawling about as well.  Orange Cup Coral open up to show their true color and transform the wreck into an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ experience.  This is a night dive you do not want to miss, and certainly won’t forget.

Blair´s Reef

Depth 19m/62ft
Topography reef
Experience owd

 

This underwater coral island is named after Sinclar Blair, a local Statia fisherman. This relatively small reef is a macro heaven. The north side of this reef has a vertical wall. Here we often spot juvenile smooth trunkfish and spotted drumfish in the many cracks and crevices. Don’t try to count the amount of lobsters, you will probably loose count. Snappers and grunts love hanging around here in compact schools and we always encounter numerous barracuda’s. Hawksbill turtles are regular visitors as well.

Triple Wreck

Depth 19m/62ft
Topography historical/reef

Experience owd

 

Ever dived in a real underwater museum? This dive site in front of our dive center is the real deal! Coral and sponges disguise the hidden ballast stones underneath. The amount and collection of artifacts here is out of this world; barrel hoops, wine bottles (often occupied by sail fin blennies), pottery, anchors and a cannon form the museums main collection.

 

Our favorite has to be the grappling hook we found though. A grappling hook is a device with multiple hooks (flukes), attached to a rope. Grappling hooks were used in naval warfare to catch ship rigging so that it could be boarded. What’s even more fascinating is that one of its flukes holds a human pelvic bone. Blackbeard himself maybe? Anne Bonny? The debate continues. Hundreds of yellow bricks are scattered over the ocean floor here as well, the same bricks made in Holland used to construct our historic building.

 

It is not just the history that makes this dive site unique. The marine life here is in a league of it’s own. Fingerprint cyphoma, octopus, squid, scorpion fish, seahorses and frogfish are all regulars at this underwater museum.

Stenapa Reef

Depth 20m/60ft
Topography wreck
Experience owd

 

Located just next door to the Chien Tong, Stenapa is a truly unique dive site.  The mooring is attached to a huge sunken barge and over time sponges are taking over the entire deck.  Next to the barge is a huge length of pipe, a gift from the oil terminal.  The stern and bow sections of the Dundalk hide heaps of little critters, while the ribs of of the hull are covered in coral and sponges.  The small tug boat on the Southern end of the site is a special treat.  The interior of the wheel house is exploding with yellow sponges and Orange Cup coral.  These ‘wrecks’ are a magnet for all kinds of juvenile fish.  You’ll see massive fields of Garden Eels and plenty of Southern Stingrays in the sandy areas between these structures.  This site is also a good place to find Octopus, just look for empty mollusk and clam shells as it may indicate there may be a den nearby.

The Humps

Depth 16m/52ft
Topography reef
Experience owd

Named after huge coral-covered lava bombs, exploded after eruption from the Quill, and lava fingers. These coral encrusted fingers and bombs form a stark contrast with the surrounding fields of white sand. Due to the shallow depth it's a perfect dive site for beginners but experienced divers love this dive site as well. Pike bennies, orange sided gobies, and decorated neck crabs are the main characters for marco-lovers. Different species of grouper ambush prey fish from the many hide outs on the side and top of the reef.

 

 

Lost Anchor

Depth 25m/82ft

Topography historical/reef

Experience adv

 

This more recent discovered reef by ‘our’ guide and archeologist Ruud located a few miles off shore is something else. The lack of a mooring makes this a more advanced dive. Hundreds of barracuda’s, horse eyed jacks and rabbitfish escort you during this dive. We always encounter different species of angelfish and a huge green moray resident here. Only occasionally we don’t encounter sharks here, both caribbean reef and nurse sharks. Add some history to the mix like the mother of all anchors and you got yourself a perfect combination.

Aquarium

Depth 18m/60ft
Topography reef
Experience owd

Surrounded by a large area of sand and sea grass this rock attracts marine life like an oasis in the dessert. The sandy area is shared by garden eels and southern stingrays. The whole rock is covered with sponges, coral and holds lots of anemones in the cracks and groves. Here we find spotted morays and scorpion fish. On top of the rock hundreds of sergeant majors feeding on plankton and often we encounter turtles here. We can’t explain why but on this dive site we found more nudibranch than anywhere else in Statia.

Gibraltar

Depth 20m/65ft

Topography reef/wall

Experience owd

 

This giant rock in the far north of the island is a really unique dive site. This is the place where the atlantic ocean meets the caribbean sea. Normally we find deepsea fans in deep water but this shallow rock is covered with it. Schooling barracuda's are guarding the rock and there is a big change to find the beautiful jackknife fish. On our way to the rock and back to the boat we dive over enormous boulders, the favorite place for nurse shark to take a nap. In the shallow parts of this dive site you can find the colorful gaudy clown crabs.

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