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SailDives - Bequia

from Port Elizabeth, Bequia in St. Vincent and the Grenadines - Boarding at 5 PM Saturdays. (Prices include 15% VAT) Click "Reserve a Cabin" to see the list.

SailDives - BequiaOverview
Summary - Union and Return
14 days - St Vincent and the Grenadines

Reserve a Cabin

Itinerary Union and Return Part I
Itinerary Union and Return Part II
Itinerary for 14 Days to Grenada
Bequia to Grenada Part II
Bequia to Grenada Part III
Bequia to Grenada Part IV
Bequia to Grenada Part V
Bequia to Grenada Part VI

Bequia to Grenada Part V

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Wednesday - 26 OCT 2016

Dive Brief & Dinghy to Frigate Island
It is the 2nd Wednesday of our 2 week trip starting in Bequia and heading to Grenada.

We left Carriacou this morning and anchored in a safe bay near the dive site and had breakfast and a dive briefing. By about 10:20 A.M. we are collected and ready to load up the dingy for this next dive. The Auzie dive shop owner in Carriacou who filled our air tanks confirmed it was ripping dive, but warned us not to do it unless the current is flowing East.

Collin and Sal load up the dinghy with gear and guests and we head out around the point toward the West side of the next bay.

None of us have dove here before, but after Sal checks below the surface a few times we find a drop point, get everyone into the water and the next adventure begins.

Frigate Island Dive
After the morning sail over from Carriacou and the dive briefing before entering the dinghy we are ready to dive Frigate Island.

We enter the water at 11 A.M. under partly cloudy to cloudy skies with 2' waves and some rollers to 3' in the exposed sections. We drop in pairs and re-group because there is a mild West current in the main channel. The dive 1 hour 5 minutes with a maximum depth of 64', 60' visibility and 84F water temperature.

The plan is Sal will pull the surface marker throughout and brings no camera while Collin mans the dinghy knowing where the group is by the surface marker. We will start at the base of the reef and move in a Westerly direction, but multilevel shallower up the reef and swim out from the rocks at the end.

The reef is a gentle hard bottom slope from 60' to 40' when large boulders and ledges begin. At about 50' the hard bottom turns to white sand.

The green tint continues but the water is very clear below 40'. Ambient light is greatly reduced by cloud cover.

The reef is covered with Giant Barrel Sponges, colorful Tube, Rope and Vase Sponges, as well as various Hard Corals and Hydriods.

The soft corals seen at this site were short Sea Whips, Sea Rods and Scraggly Black Coral. No Sea Fans or other Octocorals were observed.

There were large schools of fish throughout the dive. Our 4 highlighted photos show schools of Brown Chromis and Creole Wrasee and the structure of the reef at two different locations during the dive.

We also highlight a Chain Moray Eel and a Saddled Blenny.

The reef changes dramatically from the its deepest point at around 65' to the boulders, rocks and ledges at 30' with several different environments for different marine life in between. The reef is pristine, loaded with life and the only disappointment was the overcast skies and green tint that undermined the photo images.

We rated this dive a EXCELLENT at 4.0 and this will definitely be included on future itineraries as a must do dive. Now that we have done this dive we look forward to doing it again and again.

Sailing from Frigate Island
After the great dive at Frigate Island we stay in the protected bay for lunch and then stow the gear for sailing to our next destination in Isle de Rhonde, Big Blue.

The skies remain mostly cloudy as we depart at around 2 P.M.

Sailing to Isle de Rhonde
After having left Frigate Island at about 2 P.M. we reach Isle de Rhonde at about 3:30 P.M.

We know that there is a protected anchorage nearby, but we sail to the pinnacle rocks where we plan to dive Big Blue.

There is a possibility that we can anchor near Big Blue depending on the depth, the rocks and if there is any currents.

The site for Big Blue is a circumnavigation around the outer rock, with a drop off to 150' on the opposite side and return through he gap in the 2 pinnacles.

The conditions are just about perfect and we anchor near the dive site and begin preparation for diving Big Blue.

Big Blue dive Isle de Rhonde
It is late on the 2nd Wednesday of our 2 week charter when we finally arrive at the dive site Big Blue on Isle de Rhonde in Grenadian Grenadines.

We are already part of a small club who have done this dive before.

Just some rock pinnacle, but also a chance to dive pristine reef that has become harder and harder to find in the world's oceans.

Big Blue is one of those rare dive sites that no one dives, visits or fishes near. There is no runoff with chemical contaminates, untreated human waste or human garbage that affects this site.

The plan is to head in a Southwest direction to go counter-clockwise around the West pinnacle, drop down to a maximum depth of 100' on the wall on the South side, return through the gap between the pinnacles and then re-group and enter the cave before heading back to the boat.

We enter the water at 4:30 P.M. under partly cloudy sky with sunset in one hour with 1' waves and a mild South current.

This splits the current Southeast at the East pinnacle and and Southwest at the West pinnacle and none on the South wall and straight through the gap.

The dive lasts for 1 hour with a maximum depth of 97', visibility was 30' on the North to 100' on the South wall, water temperature was 86F on the North side and 82F at depth on the wall.

The persistent green haze at the surface continues as it has for the last week throughout the Grenadines.

As we descend massive schools of Creole Wrasse are below us and the triangle boulder marks our return position next to the white sand road into the gap between the pinnacles.

As we proceed Southwest the reef slopes away from the pinnacles with large boulders all around that provide many overhangs and caves for marine life.

The reef is pristine with dense coverage of coral and colorful sponges and particularly huge barrel sponges, some of which must be 100 years old.

The structure, density and beauty of this reef is magnificent.

The reef is filled with life, schools of fish, and essentially all of the marine life that one can find in this area of the Caribbean is here.

This is also, unfortunately very large numbers of very big Lionfish. Colin removes as many as possible throughout the dive of this dangerous and invasive species.

As we round the pinnacle we drop over the ledge to a vertical wall with a terrace at 50'.

Immediately as we descend we spot a tiny yellow and purple Flameback Angelfish, the smallest angelfish, even smaller than the Cherubfish.

However, with the lighting conditions 2 shots only result is blurs and the Flameback retreats into hiding and out of sight.

The wall is densely covered with sponges, corals and tunicates leaving no space unfilled.

We ascend the depth as we approach the gap, pausing in the lee below the edge before entering. The current is mild to medium strength, but there are plenty of rock holds at the bottom to pull through with the need for heavy finning.

We move across the gap to the right side and re-group before entering the cave. The cave is large, has an air gap at the top for a "telephone booth" effect, and other opening at the other end. The entrance is lined with Rose Lace Coral and several critters were found inside.

There is another cave that we found last time that is much longer and narrower with a difficult exit at the other side of the gap. We did not find that one this time nor did we attempt to explore to look for it.

After about 35 minutes into the dive Collin returned to the ship while the group continued East at 30' crossing the gap with the next pinnacle then heading to the boat with a swimming safety stop.

We rated this dive site as MAGNIFICENT at 5.0 the highest possible rating. This is not a dive for anyone. This is an advanced dive that requires both skills and confidence.

All divers were briefed that if any diver is pushed off the pinnacle and can not safely return due to current, that they should signal the group if possible and slowly and safely ascend with the current. Upon surfacing deploy the (required personal safety gear) SMB and attempt to signal the ship with SMB, whistle and/or mirror if visible. Those with underwater marine radios should radio the boat. All radios were checked and synced before the dive. It may take 45 minutes before the group can abort, surface and return to the ship and we can come for you.

With that said, divers with the experience level and comfort with the emergency safety plan can experience one of the best dives in the hemisphere.

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Thursday - 27 OCT 2016

Isle de Rhonde to Big Blue
By 6:45 A.M. Thursday morning, after anchoring overnight at a bay on Isle de Rhonde near Big Blue, we head out after an early breakfast to dive Big Blue one more time before the long sail to Grenada. The sky is a beautiful blue with scattered clouds as we leave the tranquil bay to prepare for an early morning dive.

Big Blue Clockwise
The discussion the night before was to try the site clockwise through the gap and return back across the South side.

Thursday morning conditions are a bit different.

Now we face 4' rollers with 1' waves pushing against the pinnacles in a medium South current.

The group agrees to stick with the dive plan discussed the night before and do the gap first and proceed clockwise.

We enter the water at 7:41 A.M. under sunny skies for a 45 minute dive with a maximum depth of 113', visibility 30' to 100' based on depth, and water temperature 84F and dropping to 81F at depth.

As we descend we group at the cave entrance to determine if we should enter the cave, proceed or alter the plan.

However one of the group proceeds headlong into the gap and there is no turning back in this current.

We fly through the gap and assemble at the large overhang at the end of the right side.

After the group has re-grouped, we descend into the dark, clear and calm water on the North wall.

Eyes are set not only for more Flamebacks, but out into the blue for possible sharks or other pelagic fish, but none were spotted in the short period we remained at depth.

The magnificent reef is undiminished but the changes in conditions alter the dive time.

As the group arises from the wall onto the sloping reef on the Southwest corner of the pinnacle, the current is extremely powerful and difficult to move against.

The divers must grab onto hand holds and kick hard between in order to maintain position and not get washed off the reef into the blue.

Even Collin who fins hard against the current becomes winded and all of the divers burn through their air as they move and seek cover in the lee of the large boulders.

As the group slowly moves forward against the current we maneuver to deeper boulders North of the pinnacle face to get further away from the magnified current being pushing Southwest.

Then we proceed to gradually ascend once out of the stronger current.

Although the dive was cut short to only 45 minutes, safety is the primary concern and the much longer distance in the current going clockwise burned a significant portion of each diver's air. We surfaced much closer to the boat and drifted into her.

The dive remains MAGNIFICENT and is rated 5.0 the highest possible rating.

This dive is one that can not be missed if at all possible.

Dive planning and safety considerations while always of prime concern are critical here.

It is not certain if doing the dive counter-clockwise would have conserved energy and air, but certainly the distance in the gap was much shorter, but also more intense.

However, with planning, discussion and agreement on the plan, the dive was executed without a hitch. This is the way all dives must be conducted, regardless of the level of difficulty of any dive.

After Big Blue Lionfish
After the dive at Big Blue we move the yacht to a tranquil bay at Isle de Rhonde.

Removal of the invasive lionfish yields enough filets for a dinner for the entire yacht

Sailing to Grenada
It is the last Thursday of our 2 week SCUBA charter from Bequia, St Vincent and the Grenadines to Grenada and we depart Isle de Rhonde for the several hours to make it to Grenada.

All the dive gear must be stowed before the trip. The trip takes several hours but we expect to be able to get in a dive before the end of the day.

We make our way to the capital of Grenada at St George where we swap put empty SCUBA tanks for fills and have lunch.

The plan is to dive on the Veronica L today and the last 2 dives tomorrow will be at Northern Exposure.

Tag the Veronica L Grenada
We have no GPS location for the the wreck of the Veronica L, but we know it lies in 50' of sand with only 20' from the highest point to the surface.

Capatin Collin and Sal work together to locate the wreck based upon the approximate location and the presence of another dive boat completing their dive at the site.

Sal DeLello enters the water in a swimming search for the wreck while the captain moves the yacht into the areas of prediction.

Eventually, the wreck is discovered and line is deployed. However, the line becomes tangled and needs to be cut and re-deployed and then finally attached to the crane on the wreck. The line then was used to secure the yacht to the wreck to allow the divers to safely descend down the line to Veronica L.

Veronica L wreck Grenada
The Veronica L is a small wreck in relatively shallow water that is heavily encrusted with marine life and is home to thousands of fish large and small.

This wreck is a photographer's dream with so much to see and photograph and plenty of time to do it since parts of the wreck are only in 20' of water.

We enter the water at 4:05 P.M. for a 1 hour 12 minute dive with a maximum depth of 52' under sunny skies, with 1' waves, water temperature is 86F and there is no current.

As always we try to highlight photos that have not be highlighted before and that are interesting, rare or unusual.

We found 2 different varieties of Row Encrusting Tunicates. Like sponges and corals, tunicates are marine animals that in this case, share a common tunicate or covering.

A Hairy Clinging Crab is another highlighted photo, as well as a Giant Tunicate and a Back Hamlet.

In addition there are dozens of photos of the heavily encrusted wreck, Greater Soapfish, Green and Goldentail Moray Eels, schools of Creole Wrasse, Black and White Condominium Tunicates, juvenile Trunkfish, Red Spotted Hawkfish, Chromis, Giant Basket Stars and much more.

The exterior of the wreck is completely covered with Orange Cup corals, encrusting sponges, hard and fire corals, and various tunicates.

There is Scraggly Black coral, Rose Lace Coral, Feather Duster Tube worms, Fireworms, Zoanthids, Yellow Calcareous sponges, and Slate Pencil Urchins.

Above and around the wreck schools of different fish dash about.

Because of its small size, and lack of anything else outside of the small wreck itself, it tends not to be able to maintain the attention span of most divers. Photographers, especially those interested in macros, are a special sub-category that this site would be most appealing to.

We rated this dive site as VERY GOOD at 3.25 not because of any lack of marine life, but due to its small size, lack of any different environments, lack of structure, no penetration, and no compelling historical interest as a wreck.

However we loved this dive and would have stayed longer but for the fact that we had to untie the ship and move it to a safe anchorage before sunset.

Sunset in Grenada
After a long day of doing an early morning dive at Big Blue in ripping current, then the sail to St George, then the hunt for and dive on the wreck of Veronica L late in the afternoon another wonder day ends with a magical sunset.

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Friday - 28 OCT 2016

Northern Exposure 1 Grenada
Our final day of diving on the 2 week charter from Bequia, St Vincent and the Grenadines to Grenada concludes with 2 morning dives outside of the marine park.

Many of the guests have flights on Saturday morning precluding any diving in the afternoon due to the 18 hour no-fly restriction after multiple SCUBA dives.

We will stay a couple of extra days so that we can dive in the marine with Phil and Helen of Dive Grenada.

We have an early breakfast and enter the water at 7:41 A.M. for a 1 hour 3 minute dive, with maximum depth of 58', under sunny skies, with no waves, mild North current, 84F water temperature and 35' visibility.

This reef is outside the park for good reason, as most of it is dead with only scattered coverage of coral or sponges.

On the sand between the anchorage and the reef large Sea Whips and other soft corals are scattered about.

Despite the lack of dense coral or sponge coverage there were large schools of Brown Chromis at different locations above the reef.

Several Hamlets were spotted including the Shy Hamlet that is among our highlighted images.

The most interesting find was a juvenile Spotted Trunkfish. As noted and shown in several photos from various dives sites, the most commonly spotted juvenile trunkfish is the juvenile Smooth Trunkfish that is black with white dots, and occasionally yellow tint or rings on the inside margin of those dots.

Compare that to the juvenile Spotted Trunkfish that is white with black dots.

We also spotted Black Spotted Moray, Goldspotted and Sharptail Eels, Creole Wrasse, small schools of Smallmouth and French Grunts, Blue and Brown Chromis, Yellowhead Wrasse, Flamingo Tongue, Red Lipped Blenny and Tobaccofish.

We Rated this dive site as BELOW AVERAGE at 2.0 simply because it was virtually barren of attached marine life. This reef is like fingers connected at different points that rise 10' off of the bare sandy bottom.

There is no structure, no varying environments, poor reef coverage and less than average fish and other marine life. Despite finding the unique juvenile Spotted Trunkfish, there was little else of interest at the site.

Northern Exposure 2 Grenada
Our final dive from the Tradewinds yacht is the second dive at Northern Exposure.

We enter the water at 10:11 A.M. under sunny skies with 1' waves for a 1 hour and 29 minute dive with maximum depth of 40', visibility 35' and water temperature of 86F.

At about 50 minutes the group splits between returning to the yacht and changing focus to critters and sponges.

We highlight a Giant Anemone, a High-Veined Encrusting Sponge, Orange icing Sponge and Hidden Anemones.

Goldentail, Sharptail and Spotted Moray Eels are spotted again and are commonly observed.

Yellowtail and Shy Hamlets, Scrawled Cowfish, Secretary Blennies, Greater Soapfish, Corkscrew Anemones and Pederson Shrimp, and Spottless Snapping Shrimp are also found.

Peppermint and Sharknose Gobies are the prevalent cleaner species, but Spanish Hogfish were also observed.

Unique to this area was a Beaded Crinoid deeply hidden in a recess in the barren reef.

We found little in the sand between the reef and the anchorage except for a Sand Tilefish.

We rated the site again as BELOW AVERAGE at 2.0

Our passion for SCUBA and marine life lends us to fine subjects for photography anywhere. However the rest of the group decided they would rather end the dive halfway through, because it could not hold their attention.

Docking in St George Marina
Our final night aboard the yacht we will be docked at the fuel station.

We arrived just as they were closing for the day and we will be off before 9 A.M. because we are the last ones with no departing flight on Saturday morning, but are scheduled for morning doubles at Dive Grenada.

This means they will not need to back into a slip and the dinghy will be available for use.

We have a great sunset from the marina.

Later that night we dinghy across the marina and walk to the next marina and out to the street for a fantastic meal at a real local eatery named Patricks.

Tappas of local Caribbean dishes, in a very local looking spot right on the street. Its the real thing and a must do in Grenada.

Sunset from Marina in St George Grenada
Another wonderful sunset as we enjoy captain's cocktail, start packing and getting cleaned up for dinner at Patrick's.