Statia has diving life like no other destination in the Caribbean within a marine park protected for 15 years. The warm water and the underwater volcanic fissures and canyons have given this area a diversified diving selection.
One can dive coral and sponge covered walls and pinnacles with dramatic backdrops of visual delights. These walls a frequented by black grey reef sharks, eagle rays, hawksbill turtles, green turtles and larger fish varieties such as nurse sharks.
The shallower reefs of 40 feet (12 metres) to 75 feet (23 metres) have been carved from volcanic fingers that are covered with a variety of soft and hard corals. Barrel sponges and pillar coral seem to be the norm for the visual backdrops.
The fish life is abundant with a few rarer species like the flying gurnards, high hats, spotted drum fish, jack-knife fish and huge lobsters making daily showings. Hundreds of critters make their home in numerous cracks and ledges. This is truly a photographers delight.
One of the many dive sites in Statia consists of tangled shipwrecks located in 60 feet to 70 feet (18 to 21 metres) of water, such as the Charles Brown, one of the longest wrecks in the Caribbean (328 feet (100 meters) long)..Many of these wrecks are surrounded by hundreds of schooling snappers, horse eye jack fish and turtles. Large barracudas guard the upper waters while spotted morays and southern stingrays patrol below.
For those interested in archeological dives, Statia has plenty. One can find glass shards from old plates, wine bottles or an old Dutch clay pipe.
It is said that Sint Eustatius suffered an earthquake and that a part of this very prosperous colony collapsed into the sea. And it is true that the many underwater vestiges turn every dive in Statia into a treasure hunt adventure.
The wall that supported the quay for the merchant ships did in fact collapse from a lack of maintenance when the colony was almost forgotten at the end of the 18th century.
There are quite a few wrecks that lie on the bottom of the sea and occasionally a diver will make a discovery that makes his heart beat faster; a perfectly intact bottle, the vision of an anchor lying on the sand or even a blue bead that were once given to the slaves as salary - their only wealth.
The natural wealth of the underwater world will surprise you with the deep walls, the extremely healthy coral and the famous flying gurnards that live in these waters.
The highlight of many a diver's vacation is to dive with the flying gurnards. Statia has several dive areas where divers can see one or up to a dozen of these spectacular fishes. They are considered uncommon throughout the Caribbean, however in Statia's waters one can see them everyday.
Whether you are just beginning to dive or whether you are an old salt and want to dive walls, pinnacles, reefs or an old archeological shipwreck site, Statia has them all. The abundance of fish, coral and color makes this truly a divers dreams come true. And bring a camera.
To help preserve Statia's pristine marine life, the St. Eustatius Marine Park, managed by Stenapa, was established in 1998. All dive sites are marked with a mooring line (anchoring is forbidden) and only one dive boat is allowed per dive site: a perfect way to enjoy a quiet dive with a limited number of divers underwater!
For more on Statia's commitment to ecotourism, click here.
Local Dive Operators
The following offer complete Scuba diving packages (PADI & CMAS), dives, resort courses, lessons, certification programs, equipment rental, accessories and snorkel tours.
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