St Vincent & The Grenadines:

 

Airports:  (Airport Code SVD):  E.T. Joshua Airport, formerly known as Arnos Vale Airport, is an airport located in Arnos Vale, near Kingstown, on Saint Vincent island. The airport was named for Ebenezer Theodore Joshua, the first chief minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

E. T. Joshua Airport will be eventually joined by a second airport at Argyle in St. Vincent named Argyle International Airport. The new airport is expected to be completed by 2013. The E.T. Joshua Airport is a hub for Grenadine Airways, Mustique Airways and S.V.G. Air. The number 25 runway is not mark at the top next to the Super J IGA Supermarket at Arnos Vale.

For now:  St. Vincent is reached by air from North America and Europe through six major gateways – Barbados, Grenada, Martinique, St. Lucia, Puerto Rico and Trinidad – with connections to Union Island, Canouan, Mustique, Bequia, or St. Vincent.   British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines, Air Canada, Air France, BWIA and Air Jamaica, all provide excellent service to the gateways; while American Eagle, LIAT the Star of the Caribbean, SVG Air, Trans Island Air and Mustique Airways all provide a convenient connecting service from the gateways.   Flight time to St. Vincent is approximately 35 minutes from Barbados; 30 minutes from Grenada; 45 minutes from Martinique; 20 minutes from St. Lucia; 2 hours 20 minutes from Puerto Rico.   St. Vincent and the Grenadines has an information desk in the Arrivals Section of Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados, open daily from approximately 1.00pm until the last flight to St. Vincent departs. Personnel are on hand to assist travellers in making connections to their final destinations.

Currency:  The currency of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$). Notes are issued in denominations of $100, 50, 20,10, 5 and 2. Coins are issued in denominations of $1 and 25,10, 5 and 1 cents. The exchange rate is tied to the US dollar at a rate of $2.68.

Climate:   The average yearly temperature is 27° C (81° F). The coolest months are between November and February. During the rainy season, May through October, rain is frequent in the mountains of St. Vincent with the annual average rainfall being 380 cm (150 inches) inland and 200 cm (80 inches) on the coast.

Water Temperature:  The seas on the leeward side are typically calm, visibility is excellent, and water temperatures are warm – about 85 degrees Fahrenheit, making wetsuits optional.

Language:  While the official language is English, most Vincentians speak a creole language known as Vincentian Creole.

Dive Landscape: 

Your   attention swings from wonders to marvels and back again. You begin to say things to yourself, gasps of surprise, inarticulate sounds of awe, you are troubled with a terrible sense of loss that (as the case maybe) 20,30, or 50 years of your life have passed and gone without you knowing of the ease of   entry into this new world…All I ask of each reader is this- don’t die without   having borrowed, stolen, purchased or made a helmet of sorts, to glimpse for yourself this new world…this unsuspected realm ofgorgeous life and colour existing with us today on the self-same planet earth.” William Beebe, Beneath the Tropic Seas, 1928Picture   St. Vincent, the largest of these sister islands, as a kite floating in a sea of blue, and the Grenadine islands of Bequia, Mustique, Canouan, Mayreau, Palm, Union and Petit St. Vincent, as the ribbons of this exotic kite’s tail.  Scattered liberally in between these inhabited islands are deserted cays,   rocks, sand bars and lagoons all teeming with sea-life and alive with colour. Diving takes place all along this precious chain.

St. Vincent & the Grenadines is one of those all too rare, virtually undiscovered dive destinations. The diving ranges from the gentle, even lazy,   to the exhilarating, and efforts are always made to ensure that you never dive the same dive site twice… unless, of course, you want to! Most of the dive sites are close to the dive shop bases, a mere ten or fifteen-minute boat ride away. Others, however, may require a slightly longer journey, but one that’s filled with the most beautiful Caribbean scenery in the region.   All are well worth the trip. Due to the sharply rising shorelines, there is no shore diving here and this helps to keep the sites in pristine   condition. All the dive boats are well equipped, easily accessible and captained by experienced and helpful staff. The dives are Divemaster-led, and this helps to enhance not only maximum diver safety, but also maximum diver enjoyment.

The odds are, however, that when you’ve spotted all the frogfish, slipper lobster, chain morays, octopus and scorpion fish therein, you’ll have to start writing one of your own. Fish behaviour will fascinate you – friendly spot fin butterfly fish may treat you as a protective floating reef and sargeant  majors may chase you from their eggs. Even the end of the dives in St. Vincent are stunning, with sheer cliffs plunging to the depths, and century plants clinging precariously – a death-defying hanging garden. Bequia, with its beautiful beaches, friendly people and gentle nature, offers a wonderful array of sloping reefs. The pelagics range from Hawksbill turtles to black-tip sharks and eagle rays. In the shallows, take time to spot the near invisible little creatures like sea horses and basket stars, the harlequin pipefish and the odd grumpy bat fish. Mustique, “escape island” of the rich and famous, also presents underwater relief from sunbathing and ice cream sundaes. Sloping reefs and flat expanses of coral reveal shy spotted drums, spiny lobsters, and banded coral shrimp gathered ready for action at a cleaning station.
Canouan is a sleepy island that recently woke up with a smart new hotel development. Here there are underwater rock formations covered in a variety sponges and soft corals. Schools of permit duck and dive, whilst bar jacks keep their distance along the comfortable shallow dives.

Mayreau literally has gardens beneath the waves and it is here that the aptly named garden eels are found swaying grass-like in the sand. Crinoids creep from behind giant tunicates, while flamingo tongues graze on vari-cloured sea fans. Sometimes waterlogged tree trunks provide homes for blennies and     gobies, and then sometimes that “waterlogged tree trunk” is in fact a nurse shark! Union Island rests at the gateway to the incredible Tobago Cays and offers reefs jutting dramatically from the sand. Partially hidden southern sting rays watch with Steady eyes as shoals of sprats race in rivers above them. Drifting along, that feeling of being watched will probably be a barracuda easing alongside.

St. Vincent & the Grenadines is also the perfect place to discover diving itself. The waters are clear and warm, and teeming with life and even if you arrive as a non-diver, you’ll likely want to take a morning to go on a Discover Scuba Diving course, so that you can see what all the excitement is about. The dive shops are experienced and professional, and qualified instructors take pride in introducing new divers to the phenomenal world of diving, as well as teaching Advanced and Specialist diving to those already certified.

Take time to visit all of the islands, each has much to offer, and the locals are pleased and proud to help you enjoy your stay. In St. Vincent, combine a dive with a trip to the Bat Cave or to the Falls of Baleine, only accessible by boat. After your dive in Bequia, check out the deserted beach picnic haven of Isle de Quatre. Hope to rub shoulders with a rock star on Mustique as you clutch your apres-dive cocktail. If you still feel energetic after your Canouan dive, you could try a round of golf. Dry off after your Union and Mayreau dives whilst marveling at the Tobago Cays and watching for that ever elusive green flash at sunset.

St. Vincent, home to a volcano and a rain forest, boasts an almost infinite selection of wall diving sites, and the underwater scenery, complete with   pristine corals, will take your breath away (though hopefully not for long!).   Nicknamed “Critter Country”, make sure you have a fish I.D. book close at hand.

On the main island of St. Vincent the leeward coastline is full of great dive sites, just a short boat ride away from the Dive Centers. Here are just a few of our top dives:

  • The Bat Cave is an exhilarating dive into an underwater fissure and is on the wish list of most visiting divers.
  • Anchor Reef, voted one of the top 100 dive sites in the world, is a spectacular wall dive with swim-throughs and a lovely coral reef formation.
  • Layou Wall is an excellent wall dive and a drift over the formations of Rock Fort.
  • Capital Wrecks is the site of three shipwrecks all in recreational dive depths, but best suited to experienced divers.

To the south, our Grenadine islands are rich with colour and corals, as well as pelagics.

  • In Bequia, explore an array of gently sloping reefs with hawksbill turtles and eagle rays. The shallow waters are home to seahorses, pipefish and bat fish, amongst others.
  •  Mustique’s sloping reefs and coral expanse offer you glimpses of shy spotted drums and banded coral shrimp among other fascinating fish and critters.
  • Mayreau Gardens is an expansive coral reef formation and a great drift dive. Crinoids, garden eels and flamingo tongues are common here. Also off Mayreau is Puruni, the wreck of a 1918 British gun ship that is lying in only 40 feet of water, great for beginners as well as advanced wreck divers.
  • The Tobago Cays are home to green turtles and you will have an unforgettable time in the water with these wonderful creatures. Here Horseshoe Reef surrounds and protects four of the five Tobago Cays and makes for great diving, whether on the protected and shallow inside, or along the deeper and more dramatic drop-off on the outside.
  • Mopion Reef, just off Petit St. Vincent, can be a good place to see sharks. Nearby is Mopion, a picture-perfect desert island.

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