Diving in St. Kitts and Nevis

by Paul Janosi

Adventurers Dive Log: Scuba Diving in St Kitts and Nevis

In 1493 Christopher Columbus named St. Christopher in honor of the patron saint of travelers. Now known as St Kitts, this island is home to 35000 Kittitians. Their sister island Nevis lies two miles to the South and is the home of 9000 Nevitians. Nevis derives its name from the Spanish phrase "Nuestro Senora del las Nieves"--in English, Our Lady of the Snows, because the permanent halo of white clouds shrouding the islands central peak suggested a snowcap to early Spanish sailors.
Both islands are of volcanic origin, made up of a central mountain mass rising from the sea, with dense tropical rainforest covering the summit and upper slopes. Basseterre the capital of St. Kitts is a good place to start your sight seeing tour. The Treasury building, situated in downtown Basseterre is one of the oldest colonial architectural buildings. The Berkley Memorial is the centerpiece of the circus; there is always a hub of activity here with taxi drivers, tourists and businessman bustling about. Situated on the edge of a tropical rainforest above Old Road Town, Romney Manner is an ideal stop for picture taking and shopping. A 17 Th century house and plantation, surrounded by 5 acres of gardens filled with exotic flowers, terraces and an old bell tower and an enormous 350 year old Saman Tree. It is also the home of the Caribelle Batic, where local artists create colorful fabric, fashions and wall hangings. Situated almost 800 feet above sea level Brimstone Hill fortress provides a magnificent view of the surrounding Caribbean Islands, including Nevis, Saba, St. Martin, St. Barts and Montserrat. Built from black volcanic rock known as brimstone, the fort was built by slave labor over a period of a 100 years. The two most memorable dives in St Kitts are the wrecks of the River Taw and the wreck of the Talata. Lying in only 50 feet of water the 144 feet long freighter River Taw. Although it only sank in 1978, encrusting sponges and corals have taken a hold on the hull. Schools of blackbar soldierfish, blue tangs and butterfly fish are commonly seen. The freighter M/V Talata sank in 1975. It has become the home to a growing population of marine life including large nurse sharks, stingrays, turtles and octopus. Other dive sites include Sandy Point Bay, Nags Head, Grid Iron and Monkey Schoals. There are four dive operators on St Kitts: Kenneth's Dive Centre, Ocean Terrace Inn Dive Centre, Pro-Divers and St. Kitts Scuba. There are two dive operators on Nevis: SCUBA Safaris and Dive Nevis. The liveaboard M/V Caribbean Explorer also makes weekly visits to the islands.

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