Diving in Montserrat
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- Fodor's Choice
More than 30 practically pristine dive sites surround Montserrat. The even more bountiful marine life has had time to recover from the predations of human activities, and the pyroclastic flows formed boulders, pinnacles, ledges, and walls that anchor new coral reefs. Carr's Bay is a favorite for shore dives, with arrow crabs, basket stars, turtles, and shimmering blue tang darting about hulking boulders and a small, colorful cave; night dives are particularly memorable, as millions of bioluminescent microorganisms glow when disturbed. The shallow reefs surrounding Woodlands Bay feature varied underwater topography, including a small, colorful cave and thousands of banded coral shrimp, copper sweepers, sergeant majors, four-eyed butterfly fish, jackknife, attenuated trumpetfish, and turtles. Rendezvous Bay may be the finest spot for both snorkeling and diving, thanks to a sheltered reef and lack of ash or silt. You come face-to-face with spotted morays, porcupine fish, snake eels, octopuses, and more. You can even hang out with thousands of (harmless) fruit bats in partly submerged caves. Other top dive sites include Lime Kiln Bay and Bunkum Bay, as well as the spectacular submarine rock formations around Little Redonda and the Pinnacles off the rougher, more challenging northeastern shores.
Green Monkey Dive Shop. This dive shop offers PADI certification, snorkeling trips, and a variety of dives. Scuba Master Troy Depperman customizes trips for clients' interests and skill levels. The most intriguing regular option is Dive Redonda, a tour of the island "Kingdom of Redonda" 15 mi (24 km) northwest of Montserrat. The 45-minute boat ride offers scintillating views of the coast and Soufrière Hills volcano. Once there, underwater attractions include leviathan southern stingrays, morays, turtles, nurse sharks, and barracudas cruising around 6-foot barrel sponges and darting in and out of the caves and coral-encrusted barge at the "World's End" on the island's northernmost point. It also runs nature hikes, coastal kayak tours (and rentals), and ecotours. Little Bay. 664/491-2628 or 664/496-3483. www.divemontserrat.com.
Scuba Montserrat. Andrew Myers and Emmy Aston of Scuba Montserrat provide experienced PADI certification; lengthy shore, boat, and kayak dives; snorkeling excursions (including a stop at a very cool bat cave); specialty courses from drift diving to digital underwater photography; and down the road the possibility of helping regenerate volcano-damaged sites. They're particularly family focused, stocking underwater Frisbees, torpedoes, and specialized children's gear. Little Bay. 664/496-7807. www.scubamontserrat.com.
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