Montserrat:

 

Airport:  None.  The best way to get to Montserrat is by ferry from Antigua.  A typical ferry schedule is:

DAY DEP
ANU
ARR
MNI
DEP
MNI
ARR
ANU
DEP
ANU
ARR
MNI
DEP
MNI
ARR
ANU
Monday 8:00 a.m. 10:00 a.m 4:00 p.m 6:00 pm 6:30 p.m 8:30 p.m Ferry Overnights In   MNI
Tuesday     8:00 a.m 10:00 a.m 6:00 p.m 8:00 p.m Ferry Overnights In   MNI
Wednesday     8:00 a.m 10:00 a.m 6:00 p.m 8:00 p.m 8:15 p.m 10:15 p.m
Thursday 8:00 a.m. 10:00 a.m 4:00 p.m 6:00 p.m 6:30 p.m 8.30 p.m Ferry Overnights In   MNI
Friday     8:00 a.m 10:00 a.m 6:00 p.m 8:00 p.m Ferry Overnights In   MNI
Saturday     8:00 a.m 10:00 a.m 6:00 p.m 8:00 p.m Ferry unavailable
Sunday

No Service

 

 

 

 

 

Currency:  Currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$), which exchanges at approximately 2.7 EC dollars to the US dollar and between 4.6 and 4.9 EC dollars to the pound sterling. Credit cards are not widely accepted, but there is no problem cashing traveller’s cheques at the banks.

Climate:  Winter and summer temperatures average between 24 and 32 Celsius (76 to 88 F) with constant breezes from the sea and mountains. The annual rainfall is about 1,250-2,000 mm or 50-80 inches, well distributed throughout the year, with a wetter season from July to November.

Water Temperature:  Trants Bay/Spleef Reef sea water temperatures peak in the range 28 to 30°C (82 to 86°F) on around the 2nd of September and are at their minimum on about the 27th of February, in the range 25 to 27°C (77 to 81°F). 

Language:  The official language is English, often flavored with a strong Montserratian accent, and sometimes spoken very fast.

Dive Landscape: 

Lime Kiln Bay is the southernmost dive site. Shallow ledges stretch from the shore to about 45 feet deep. Adjacent to the sand flat in 45 feet, there are some huge boulders densely covered with sea life and inhabited by a myriad of invertebrates and fish.

The reefs from Runaway Ghaut to Woodlands Bay are particularly rewarding for divers. The shallow coastal reef can be reached from the shore of Woodlands Bay. It has some exciting underwater vistas, including a small cave close to the beach. Here you can stick your head into the cave and admire the colorful walls, the banded coral shrimp, and thousands of copper sweepers.

Carr’s Bay in the north of the island, offers several shore dives. Towards the south of the beach one can get into the reef system. There are several huge boulders rising from the sea floor. Colorful sponges and corals cover these boulders. Thousands of reef fish dart around, truly an el dorado for underwater photographers.

The next dive site to the North is the Potato Hill reef. This reef can be reached from the south end of Little Bay. It displays the most stunning array of colors. Before Hurricane Luis struck, wire corals and a deep sea fan grew in the Potato Hill reef in only 20 feet of water. These coral species are found normally in deep water. The wire corals disappeared after the hurricane, the deep sea fan is growing back. A stand of bushy black coral can still be seen in only ten feet of water. A large pillar coral has survived all storms.

The Rendezvous Bay area is one of the best for diving. Another highlight is the bat cave dive, Rendezvous Bluff where you are greeted by the chirps of thousands of fruit bats hanging from the ceiling. The northernmost dive region on Montserrat’s West coast is the reef system between Rendezvous Beach and the Northwest Bluff. Mostly boulders and ledges between the shore and about 60 feet of water support a rich reef community. At the Northwest Bluff submerged cliffs form a wild background for schools of reef fish and pelagics. The cliffs drop steeply from the surface to about 60 feet into a sandy bottom. On this dive site you might encounter strong surges, as the growth on the cliffs reflects the harsher conditions.

On the northern and eastern shores of Montserrat are exciting dives too. However, the waves are usually high and dive trips to these sites are rarely possible. A few of these dive sites should be mentioned: Little Redonda is a rock that reaches the surface from a depth of 80 feet. It is a spectacular dive. The Pinnacles on the northeast corner of Montserrat offer fantastic submerged rock formations. In Yellow Hole, south of the Pinnacles, is the wreck of a 19th century steel schooner, which sank in 1886. Hundreds of years of battering waves have completely destroyed the ship. Her remnants are scattered over a wide area in 25 feet of water.

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