Learn To Scuba Dive Even If It’s At First Within Glass Pool Fencing

You’ve got to start somehow. Getting scuba training done within the confines of a swimming pool at first is better because the environment you’re learning in is controlled and safe. The elements like weather and waves might not cooperate so being in a swimming pool for a beginner’s scuba training is best. There are also no animals like colourful fish or sharks to distract you while training. This also preserves the reefs and corals because beginners usually don’t know how to properly manoeuver themselves around the corals and reefs. If training is first done in a swimming pool, they are able to get their sea legs and bearings under control better so that later in the open sea, they do little if no harm to surrounding fragile coral reefs. If things go wrong like oxygen runs out or cables get twisted or tanks malfunction, being in the swimming pool allows for easy exit and nearness to first aid tools.

It’s not that difficult to scuba dive. It may look daunting with all the gears, gauges, and gadgets involved. However, all you need to know at first is how to swim. If you don’t know how to swim, go to the swimming pool every day to learn. You will also need to learn how to breathe in a relaxed manner. Heavy breathing can lead to oxygen depletion fast. When you’re learning how to scuba dive, your instructor will be with you the whole time so don’t panic. They will teach you the few simple signs you need to know for underwater communication. If you are unsure, you can even hang on to them so you don’t get turned around or lost in the water. One of the other things you’ll learn is how to equalize your ear pressure so that you don’t get an earache underwater from the pressure.

Once you’ve learned the basics within the confines of the glass pool fencing, you’re ready to try diving in the ocean. This is where the real scuba fun begins. It will be a life-changing experience. It’s like stepping into another planet. Once your buoyancy is set so that you don’t sink to the bottom or float to the top, you’ll feel like an astronaut in outer space. Once you get your bearings, you’ll be able to enjoy and observe the awesome creatures of the deep. You’ll be experiencing first hand what you’ve seen on all the ocean documentaries on TV. It’s also better than seeing sea life confined to aquariums and zoos. It will make you better appreciate the life that we don’t often think about on the mainland. It will make you want to protect the creatures you discover.

Scuba Diving Is Way Better Than Swimming In A Pool

Have you ever tried scuba diving? It’s a life-changing experience. Sure you’ve probably heard divers talk, and they may give off an air of being too cool for school. Their attitude may put you off trying it yourself, but don’t let that prevent you from having the best underwater experience of your life. Entering the world of diving is like entering a whole other planet.

Don’t get me wrong. Before I tried diving, I was a happy little snorkeler and swimming pool attender. I was very hesitant to try diving because I’m a worrywart and thought of all the horrible things that can happen deep under seawater that won’t happen in a swimming pool. Sharks, jellyfish, strong currents, fire worms, not having enough oxygen – these were some of my worries. My husband and I went to Thailand for a couple of weeks on vacation. The island we were on had several diving schools, and curious we went into one of the booths (sorry I forgot what it’s name was). We got some good information and some brochures which reassured us that it was a pretty safe sport if you follow all the rules and don’t take risks with equipment.

We went with the discover dive which included two dives and was the cheapest price. We were travelling on a budget. We didn’t have the money or the time to do the whole getting your certification thing. I actually don’t regret not getting certified. The discover dive was fine for us. It was the first and only time we ever did dive.

You do get basic training on how to reduce pressure in your ears, how to communicate underwater, how to breathe properly with the equipment, how to adjust your buoyancy, and what to do if you’re uncomfortable and have an emergency underwater. We did all of our basic training in the ocean and in the office because the weather was nice enough we didn’t have to train in the swimming pool. The instructor (an Irish middle-aged man) was a great instructor and didn’t mind if we held on to him to keep up with the underwater pace of the dive.

I was pretty nervous on the way to the dive sites but there were several people diving but everyone seemed calm and relaxed. After suiting up with the instructor, we jumped into the water. As he took us on a tour of the amazing reefs, we felt like we were walking in outer space. We felt like we were flying. We saw so many cool things up close. The animals like turtles were so used to divers that they never even scurried off. We were at a safe distance for them though. You could hear the turtles eating. It was pretty cool. There were rows upon rows of reef walls. Unfortunately, you could see evidence in some areas of reef bleaching (dead reefs) that happened a few years ago. Despite that, we saw beautiful sea life that you’ll have to see yourself so I’ll refrain from describing them. I don’t even know half the names of the marine animals anyway.

If you’re still not convinced about diving in the ocean, no worries. Everyone has their personal preferences. If you just like to swim in swimming pools with a natural feel but are really safe, try swimming in an eco pool. Visit an Eco Pools website to see what it’s all about. Do give diving a try if you can, at least once like I did.

Looking After Your Scuba Gear Properly

Scuba gear consists of a wetsuit, googles, snorkel or oxygen tank with regulator, gloves, fins, boots, gauge, and buoyancy control device. Buying scuba gear, whether second-hand or brand new is very exciting. Using them for the first time is also very exciting. After your dive you may be very tired, but it’s important to clean and inspect your scuba gear right away after use, so that they will stay well-maintained and primed for use. If you look after your gear properly, your scuba gear will last a long time. Not only that, you will reduce the danger of your scuba gear breaking when using it under water. Here are some things you can do to keep your stuff squeaky clean and in good shape.

After diving, it’s important to shed your gear and rinse your gear with clean fresh water (not salt water). If you are a germophobe, you can gently wash the mouthpiece with a little bit of soap and water and rinse it with fresh water. Hang your gear to dry in a well-ventilated area. If you’re putting your gear in cabinets or drawers, make sure they are thoroughly dried out. If it’s moist there is risk of mould growth on your equipment. Do not store or keep your equipment where it will be exposed to the environment like harsh sunlight. The power of the sun can gradually weaken your gear and make the materials your gear is made of disintegrate. Your buoyancy control device needs to have its exterior rinsed with fresh water then its interior rinsed with fresh water. After rinsing it thoroughly, inflate it a little bit so that it will dry properly inside. Move on to the oxygen tank. Rinse it with fresh water so that no salt or sand from oceans and seas will crust on it. Have it standing or stacked on its side when putting it away after its dried on the outside. Don’t have it too full of oxygen or have it too empty. Now carefully rinse your regulator, making sure no water gets into it. Let it dry then hang it up to store it. Wash your suit, boots, and gloves with water and rinse with fresh water. Hang them also to dry. If they still smell of sweat or bacteria, wash them again. Look at the clothing wash directions to see how best wash your suit. Your googles and fins should be rinsed with fresh water and air dried as well. To make sure no rain gets onto your drying equipment, have a roof that is in good condition. Have Certified Roofing fix any leaky areas of your roof or have them install a new roof for you.

News and Events

Current News St. Vincent and the Grenadines Flag

New Web Site
This site is being revamped to include more information about hotels, resort, yacht charters, tours, and vacation packages in the Caribbean Islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. A new domain will shortly replace the obsolete “scubasvg.com”, which was dropped by the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourist Board. So, if you can’t find us, use any of the major search engines to locate us in the future.

Dive Operator News

St. Vincent:

Please check for St. Vincent dive packages for details on dive packages and underwater photography tours. The link has plenty of good underwater pictures from St. Vincent.

Topside Activities

Each island in the country offers a treasure of topside attractions. Sights range from breathtaking stretchs of white sand and azure water to waterfalls surrounded by volcanic peaks in a sea of green foliage. Visitors should choose their destination based on their desires. As long as they don’t include cold weather or cold water, it can be found it SVG.

Bequia has wonderful small restaurants and shops. Both full size and model ships can be found under construction around the harbor in Port Elizabeth or Friendship Bay.

Mustique, Palm Island, Bequia, and indeed most of the Grenadines are surrounded by beaches of fine white sand, perfect for swimming and relaxing.

Union Island, with the highest peak in the Grenadines, resembles an island in French Polynesia. Entertainment on Union Island might consist of getting to know the local sailors, day sails or snorkling. Day sails to the Tobago Cays and surrounding areas delite visitors to the islands of Union, Palm, Petit St. Vincent, Mayreau and Canouan.

Mountainous St. Vincent is unique in the country. With its tropical forests, wild parrots and waterfalls it is an eco-traveler’s paradise. The botanical gardens located in Kingstown are the oldest in the western hemisphere and the colonial architecture of the town, with its cobblestone streets and cool arcades are well worth a visit.

The islands are quite close together and day trips can be made from one to the other for diving, dining or sightseeing. Consider a sailing trip between the islands for a taste of some of the finest cruising grounds in the world. Both captained and bareboat charters as well as day sails are available from local companies in SVG.

Plan a Trip

Getting to St. Vincent – Grenadines

Most visitors arrive by air at the E.T. Joshua International Airport in Arnos Vale only a 10 minute drive from Kingstown. Air connections are available through Puerto Rico, Barbados, Grenada, Martinique, St. Lucia, and Trinidad. Direct flights to Bequia, Canouan, Mustique, Union Island and St. Vincent operate from these gateways. American Airlines, Air Canada, Air France, British Airways and BWIA provide service from the US, Europe, and South America to the gateways. American Eagle, LIAT, SVG Air, Air Martinique, and Mustique Airways offer connections to our islands.

From these gateways to the island of St. Vincent connection times are:
Barbados 35 min.
Grenada 30 min.
Marinique 45 min.
St. Lucia 20 min.
Puerto Rico 2 hr. 19 min.

Visitors arriving by YACHT are required to complete customs and immigration. Ports of entry are Wallilabou and Kingstown on St. Vincent, and in the Grenadines, Bequia, Mustique, Union Island and Canouan. Dive operators will pick up and deliver divers to and from their yacht. Call or radio the nearest operator with location and any gear requirements.

CRUISE SHIPS visit the islands. For a sample of St. Vincent’s delights the following cruise lines visit the islands and will arrange diving if the schedule permits: Chandirs, Epirotike, Princess Cruises, Windjammer, WindStar, Pacquet Cruises and Ocean Line Cruises.

The new cruise ship dock in Kingstown Harbor is scheduled for completion in December 1998.

Inter-Island Transportation

Transportation between the islands is both by air and sea.

Air: Both Bequia and St. Vincent have air strips with night landing equipment. Other landing strips are located on Union Island, Mustique and Canouan. LIAT, Air Martinique, SVG Air and Mustique Airways fly between the islands. SVG Air and Mustique Airways are available for charter.

Sea: Several inter-island ferrys operate in the islands. The MV Admiral I, Admiral II, M.V. Bequia Express, and the Bequia Eagle operate only between St. Vincent and Bequia. MV Baracuda services Bequia, Canouan, Mayreau, and Union Islands

Customs and Immigration

A passport of proof of citizenship (birth certificate or voter registration) is required by US and Canadian visitors for entry into the country. All other visitors must show a passport. An onward or return ticket is also required of all visitors. Visitors are allowed a 6 month stay with these documents.

One quart of liquor or wine, 50 cigars, 200 cigarettes are allowed duty free per person when entering the country.

Upon departure there is a departure tax of $30 EC (Eastern Caribbean), or $12 US ($1US is approximately $2.60EC).

Time

St. Vincent and the Grenadines are in the Atlantic Standard time zone. During the period from April to October, this is the same as Eastern Daylight time and 4 hours behind GMT. From November to March, the time is 1 hour ahead of EST and 5 hours behind GMT.

Climate

Any time of the year is good to visit. The coolest months are November – February. The temperature varies all year between 64F/18C and 90F/32C. The rainy season is between July and November. During this time there is some rain almost every day and overcast skys frequently. Diving is always possible with the exception of 2-3 days per year when the winds are very stong.

Water temperature varies with the season. Water is warmest in May through December. Heavy wetsuits are never necessary. The temperature in March may reach 78F and a 3mm suit is adequate. During most of the year, a polartec or similar suit is perfect.

Communications

Good telephone, fax, boatphone, cellular phone, Internet, telex, and telegraph service is available. Local and International telephone service is provided by Cable & Wireless which offers IDD service to most locations.

On July 1, 1998, the area code changed from 809 to 784. A transition period will run from July 1, 1998 to June 30, 1999 when both area codes will be acceptable.

Regular mail service and Federal Express are also available. The post office hours are Monday – Friday, 8:30am to 3:00pm and from 8:30am to 11:30am on Saturdays. Both the General Post office and Federal Express are located on Halifax Street in Kingstown.

Currency

The Eastern Caribbean (EC) dollar is the official currency. It is linked to the US dollar. The range is normally from $2.60 EC to $2.68 EC per dollar.

Travelers cheques, US dollars and Canadian dollars are accepted in many hotels and businesses. Credit cards are accepted at most hotels, car rental agencies and businesses.

Banking hours are Monday to Thursday from 8 am to 1 pm. Some banks stay open until 3:00pm. On Fridays, most banks reopen from 3 pm to 5 pm.

Electricity

Standard electrical plug Electricity is 220/240 volt, 50 cycle and is reliable. The standard electrical plug has 3 rectangular pins. Petit St. Vincent is the exception with 110 volt, 60 cycle power.

Divers should bring the appropriate transformers or converters for charging underwater lights, strobe batteries and computers. Do not rely a hotel to provide a transformer.

Getting Around on the Islands

Taxis, rental cars, and mini-buses provide transportation around the islands. Driving is on the left.

A temporary driving license, or international license, is required to rent or drive an automobile. It can be obtained at the Police Station on Bay Street or the Licensing Authority on Halifax Street. Present a valid drivers license from your place of residence and $40EC when applying for an SVG license.

Taxis are available on a per-hour, per-trip or per-day basis. They are not metered, but fares are set by the government.

Brighly colored and imaginatively-name mini-buses can be an inexpensive mode of transportation. Just stand beside the road and wave or point to the ground and one will pick you up. Inquire about your destination before getting in. Their route may not take you all the way to your destination and you may be better off waiting for another bus.

Language

English is the offical language of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Film Processing

Print film processing is available in Kingtown for C-41 print film. Prints can be processed in 90 min. No slide (E6) processing is available on the island.

Marriage Licenses

The country is a fabulous place for a wedding and honeymoon.

A special license and a 3 day stay prior to the marriage are required. A special license can be obtained from the Ministry of Justice or an ordinary license (requires a 7 day publication of notice of the ceremony) from the Registrar on Halifax Street.

Previously married individuals must present a copy of the divorce decree.

Visions of Paradise

A Brief History

The Caribs were fierce fighters and strong swimmers. Captured Arawak women refused to speak the Carib language, but eventually the Tupi_Arawakian language died out along with the beautiful pottery created by these women.

Women were scarce and the African men were fierce competition for the Caribs. A new mix of former slave and Carib was called the “Black Carib” and quickly began to outnumber the original inhabitants, the “Yellow Caribs”.

St. Vincent is a rugged volcanic island with a 4000 foot volcano that dominates the northern third of the island. Very little of the island is flat, perhaps only the air strip, the shopping area of Kingtown, and a few isolated areas of beach are truely level. The Central and Southern sections of the island fall from 1000 – 2000 foot mountains quickly to the sea.

The Windward (east) side of St. Vincent is rugged and wild. Exposed volcanic rock cliffs topped with vegetation that leans to the west from constant exposure to the strong Atlantic sea breezes alternate with long stretches of black sand beach sprinkled with huge volcanic rocks and headlands with crashing surf. Most of the island’s coconut and banana plantations are found on the Windward side.

The Leeward (west) side of St Vincent is lush and green, again with cliffs alternating with black sand beaches. On the leeward side the cliffs are often dripping with green vegetation. The Caribbean sea is calm and flat on the Leeward side. There is no road that travels around the volcanic north end of St. Vincent. To get from the northern Leeward side to the northern Windward side, one must travel back to Kingstown and make the journey north again.

Although it is only 9 miles southwest of St. Vincent, Bequia appears quite different from St. Vincent. The high point of the island is at 900 feet and Bequia appears to have rounded hills more than mountains. An enormous, deep bay, Admiralty Bay, on the Caribbean side of the island is a favorite with yachtspeople. The Bay is surrounded by hills. Beaches of white sand alternate with exposed rock cliffs along the southern edge of the bay. Bequia is the second largest island in the country.

Bequia’s northern coastline borders the Bequia Channel where the Atlantic Ocean forces itself between St. Vincent and Bequia. The currents are strong and seas sometimes tall and choppy in the channel. The island’s shoreline is also rough and rugged with rounded hilltops falling off to the sea in craggy cliffs.

Mustique, a four square mile island, is 7 miles southeast of Bequia. Similar in appearance, but without the deep bay of Bequia, it also offers beautiful white sand beaches and rounded hills with some wild vegetation.

The southern Grenadines are small islands, quite close together. Although there are several islands, only the inhabited islands are discussed in this document.

Canouan is a dry island of rounded hills with a barrier reef that runs along the Atlantic side of the island. 900 foot tall Mount Mahoult, “Maho”, is the highest point on the island. A ridge with spectacular views runs the southern end of the island with sea on both sides. Beautiful white sand beaches line two bays, Glossy and Friendship, on the southern side. Flowering cactus adorn the hillsides of Canouan. It is 25 miles south of St. Vincent and 11 miles south of Mustiques.

Tobago Cays Mayreau and the Tobago Cays are about 3 miles farther south than Canouan. The Cays are a series of four small sand islands, some topped with low vegetation and palm trees and all surrounded by a large reef and amazingly beautiful turquoise waters. The structure of Horseshoe Reef around the Cays make for treacherous sailing so yachts must follow their charts carefully. Petit Rameau, Barabel, Petit Bateau and Jameby are a wildlife reserve.

Mayreau is similiar to Canouan, dry and hilly, with a mile-long stretch of white sand beach running along the southwest coast at Saline Bay. Salt Whistle Bay on the northwest coast is composed of low hillsides and a thin strip of land barely above sea level. Mayreau is protected from the ravages of the Atlantic surf by the Tobago Cays.

The 1000 foot Mount Tobaoi on Union Island has the country’s highest peak outside of St. Vincent. From a distance, Union Island looks like a part of French Polynesia with it’s rugged peak protruding above the rest of the island. Superb anchorages in several bays protected by surrounding reefs circle the island. Small Palm Island and Petit St. Vincent, each just large enough to contain one resort are satellites of Union. Palm Island is just one mile from Union and Petit St. Vincent is three miles south. All three islands have white sand beaches.

Variety is the Spice of Life

Underwater Terrain & Marine Life

The diving in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is relatively unknown, yet the islands’ reefs offer a diversity and density of life and underwater terrain found no place else in the Caribbean.

Untouched by hurricane winds or the fins of ten thousand novice divers, St. Vincent offers fields of pencil corals, brain corals the size of cars, star corals stacked one upon the next. Dense black coral forests and meadows of giant sea plumes welcome divers to explore. Reefs are healthy and alive, not dead algae-covered remnants as in the not so fortunate areas of the Caribbean.

White Seahorse – Bequia Among the corals, sponges of all colors, gorgonians and a profusion of Christmas tree and feather duster worms fill the gaps while schools of small chromis, creole wrasse or boga pass by in endless streams. Fascinating small creatures, such as frogfish, seahorses, flying gurnard, white-spotted octopus, unusual lobsters, shrimp and crabs are to be found everywhere, not a rarity as in other parts of the Caribbean.

A selection of wall dives, coral gardens, wrecks, pinnacles, muck dives and slopes, each with the creatures that survive in that particular habitat, make each dive site a unique experience. Bequia and St. Vincent share the exceptional healthy reefs.

Currents in the Southern Grenadines provide a different sytle of diving. Here divers drift swiftly over miles of hard corals and giant sea fans on reefs surrounding the Tobago Cays. Schools of creole wrasse, brown chromis and surgeonfish drift along the reef. Mayreau Gardens, a collection of drift dives, is a colorful alternative to diving in the Cays.

Each island is unique and offers its own style of diving, dive sites and operators. Most of the shops provide PADI and/or NAUI instruction, certification, check-out dives and resort courses for the new diver.

Experienced, well-traveled divers and underwater photographers rave over the treasures to be found in these islands and make St. Vincent their only Caribbean diving experience.

This page presents an introduction to SCUBA diving from Bequia, Canouan, Mayreau, Mustique, Palm Island, Petit St. Vincent, St. Vincent and Union Island.

Caribbean Beauty and Adventure

What’s Here – What’s New

All above trips are “Value-Added” trips. We take only 12 divers, with guide / guest ratio of 1/3 or 4, add extra Raja-Ampat-experienced dive guides, a photo pro to assist with your underwater photography, offer unlimited bottom time, 4+ dives per day and more.

Like a necklace of gemstones , the country’s 32 islands stretch along the southern end of the Caribbean’s Windward Islands for 45 miles. From St. Vincent’s volcanic cliffs dripping with emerald green vegetation fringed by black sand to Petit St. Vincent’s perfect white sand and aquamarine waters, divers find unspoiled reefs and an incredible diversity of marine life.

Like a necklace of gemstones , the country’s 32 islands stretch along the southern end of the Caribbean’s Windward Islands for 45 miles. From St. Vincent’s volcanic cliffs dripping with emerald green vegetation fringed by black sand to Petit St. Vincent’s perfect white sand and aquamarine waters, divers find unspoiled reefs and an incredible diversity of marine life.

View SVG on the globe. Locate SVG on a Caribbean Map
View detailed SVG Islands Map

The major areas for diving are scattered throughout the island chain. Bequia, Canouan, Mustique, St. Vincent, and the area around Mayreau, Tobago Cays, Palm and Union Islands are serviced by local dive operators.

Diving varies from thrilling drift dives to dramatic wall dives, breath-taking coral gardens and reefs, to some of the most amazing “muck” diving in the world. You want to enjoy your Caribbean vacation then check the Water Shoes For Women and make the most of your diving experience.

This site presents details on the diving, topside geography and history, underwater terrain and marine life, non-diving activities and dive areas that are of interest when selecting a dive destination. Practical information for planning and packing for a trip is included.

If the site doesn’t answer all your questions, please contact one of the one of the dive operators or hotels or resorts for more information.

Maps and photos illustrate this site. Some photos are included in the text area, but others are available on the “stage” by selecting the photo links, photo, within the text.