Monday, 16 July 2007

Diving on Anguilla

I dive with Special D divers based at Sandy Ground.

I was trained by them for both my Open Water and Advanced Certificates. I intend taking several more options with them up to Master Scuba Diver and have absolutely no hesitation in recommending this dive company.

The company is owned by Douglas (Dougy) Carty who can be reached on the following email addresses: His web address is Telephone ++264 497 4567 or cell ++264 235 8438

If you wish to take any speciality courses or any further training then you need to contact Rob Willsher who does all the training for Special D. Rob is British, ex-military, very, very experienced and extremely professional. Email him on:

The diving around Anguilla is varied and ranges from nice easy dives to much more demanding ones. To give you an idea of what is available:

There are several wrecks at different depths, for example, the 'Cathley H', which is at about 60 feet, is interesting during the day but spectacular at night when the whole of one side of the well preserved ship comes alive as the coral opens up and feeds. It is bright yellow and if you are into underwater photography would make a good subject. This wreck is also the night-time resting place of giant rays and the biggest turtle you will ever see!!

Dog Island is a good 30-40 minute boat trip away but well worth it. This dive is for more experienced divers and goes down to about 90 or so feet. The marine life is spectacular. Expect to see small sharks, Queen Triggerfish, Rays etc - you never really know what you will find. I personally love this dive.

Anguillita is another island but only just off Anguilla. This is a shallow ledge dive from about 20 feet down to about 60 feet. It is a nice easy dive and sea life abounds (Tarpon, rays, shark, Blue Tang, several types of Angels etc.). I always come up with a big smile on my face after this dive!

In between these there are deeper wrecks (try the 'Ooster Diep' Wreck which still has a car on board with perfect chrome work!), dives where the underwater flora is spectacular (eg Hole in the Wall) and some great 'just swim and see what comes along dives' (eg Sandy Shallows).

Visibility is generally good or very good but if a ground sea comes up the boat does not go out.

Dougy offers single (about $60 or so) and double tank dives (about $100 or so) but offers discounts if you buy a block of dives eg my last block of 6 single tank dives was $255. Equipment rental is roughly $5 each for the BCD and Regulator. He also has some wetsuits, masks, fins and snorkels.

Reservations are required - particularly now as he was telling me the other day that he has been particulary busy - and you MUST show proof of certification. If you have not dived for a little while and could do with a short refresher, then email Rob and he will be happy to help.

There are other dive centres on the island and in the interests of fairness I will give you their contact details, but I have not dived with them, so cannot say one way or the other what they are like. They, like Special D, are all PADI certified companies.

Anguilla Dive Centre, Meads Bay, Tel 497 4750

Shoal Bay Scuba, Tel 497 4371

Happy Diving!

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