Resort Scuba Diving in St Lucia
We went to St Lucia for a week in July. When we visited St Lucia by cruise ship, we enjoyed snorkelling at the north end of the island. While not always fans of “free” resort scuba diving, we will always give it a try. We even try to scuba dive when we are on Caribbean cruises! We were so glad that we tried scuba diving in St Lucia!
There was no boat dock at the Sandals Halcyon Resort but it was only a short shuttle ride to the Aqua Centre. We had been to this boat dock for our snorkel trip and knew our way around. The Aqua Centre had two good boats with lots of cover from the sun and a great dive platform to easily get back on board. For each dive, the staff checked us all in and this checklist was used several times through the dives to ensure all divers were on board.
There are a lot of good scuba diving spots in St Lucia and we would see 4 different spots on our trip.
We had brought most of our dive gear with us so we were able to get right on board and get set up. We had last been scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef but it was time to get back under the water. We were all ready for scuba diving in St Lucia!
Diving on the Lesleen “M” Wreck
On our first deep dive , there were about 9 divers that got split into two groups for diving. This would ensure we were not in a long conga line of divers. We would have a better chance of a slow dive with lots of time to enjoy the sights. After a good briefing, we finished dressing and jumped in off the back of the boat for our first taste of scuba diving in St Lucia.
With David as my dive partner and underwater photographer, we sunk slowly when the dive master signalled us to descend.
The first scuba diving in St Lucia was on the sunken wreck Lesleen M at about 60 feet of seawater. Since the wreck had been sunk in the mid-1980’s as a diving site, we were instructed not to penetrate into the wreck in case of instability.
Approaching the wreck, we could see that the main shell of the wreck was in good shape and easily recognizable as a whole ship. There was lots of coral to see on the wreck as fish swam in and out.
David had a great eye for macro-photography and was able to find his favourite mini “cleaner” shrimps and spider crabs in the bright coral.
Leaving the wreck we moved slowly into shallower waters. We found the coral to be in good shape, colourful and of a great variety.
Slowly ascending we found the crowd of divers hovering at the 15 foot safety stop. With my own equipment and properly weighted I could hover in place without holding on to the rope.
The dive group on our second dive day was generally more experienced so everyone got their gear set up so we could depart quickly. The boat streamed south – past the Sandals La Toc resort, past where we had snorkelled by the tankers and past our first day dive site. After about 40 minutes, the Pitons came into site and we knew we were almost there.
We got a quick briefing and then we were all in the water with one dive master for our deeper dive. This would be another current dive as we headed along the wall for our second day scuba diving in St Lucia.
We dropped to about 60’ and slowly moved along. The dive master was on the lookout for things to see and it was not long before he found the local seahorse.
Several times we saw eels wriggling about in the coral.
There was lots to see as we drifted past coral, sponges and sea life.
We slowly moved shallower through the dive until we surfaced to find the boat.
The second dives on both days for our scuba diving in St Lucia experience were drift dives in shallower water. The first in Anse Cochon (Pig Bay) and the second day near Soureres Harbour by the base of the Piton. We would descend and generally drift with the current. The dive master carried a buoy that floated at the surface so the boat would know where we were for pickup.
These were more shallow dives at about 45’. The current was steady but you could turn back to get to a spot and hovering for pictures was still possible. There was a huge variety of sponges and coral in bright and luminescent colours.
Several times our dive master pulled us over to point out eels or interesting fish he had spotted. Once he even disturbed a fuzzy-looking crab for us to see.
We found a good variety of fish. Some were wandering around on their own and others were in massive schools.
On our shallow dive on the second dive day, we headed out in a long congo line along a shallower reef. The storm had really messed with visibility. While we still had about 30 feet, you needed to keep an eye on the person in front of you to make sure you stayed with the group.
It was great scuba diving in St Lucia with lots to see. We finished up the dive hanging out at 15 feet before ascending to the waiting boat.
Scuba Diving Best Practices
When I first learned to scuba dive, David was insistent that I learn proper trim. I fussed with my weights and while dive masters scoffed, insisted on ankle weights to keep my floaty legs down. I practiced and mastered the ability to rise and drop simply by breathing. Virtually every picture that David has of me in the water has me perfectly flat moving zen-like through the water. I make sure I am always aware of where my body is and do not stir up the bottom or kick at the coral. All good scuba diving practices!
Not all scuba divers though have the benefit of having a professional Navy diver instructor as a husband. It makes me wince to see divers windmilling through the water in vertical positions with hands, feet and loose equipment going in every direction. I had to keep my distance from several divers who continually ran over me and the coral. They had no idea of what or who was close to them. It is too bad that instructors generally don’t ensure mastery of proper trim and nobody ever gives divers pointers once they stop their formal training.
Don’t Miss Scuba Diving in St Lucia
If we vacation at an all inclusive resort, we are always looking for scuba diving. Sometimes we find that the scuba diving location is not great and scuba is our exercise for the day. If scuba diving is offered we will generally pack our dive gear and deal with the extra baggage issue. It is great when we can travel on Air Canada or WestJet as they offer free bags for retired military – an offer we always take advantage of!
Sandals Resorts offers all inclusive scuba diving and this is a great draw for us. We had a great scuba diving experience at Sandals Emerald Bay in Exuma. Once we were unpacked on this trip, our first stop was to the resort dive staff to plan our scuba diving in St Lucia. David had done his research and found that the better diving was at the far south end on the Caribbean side of the island. Since our resort was closer to the north end, we were not sure what our diving excursions would be. Our expectations were set low.
We were delighted when we went out with the Sandals team for scuba diving in St Lucia. Even the site a bit closer to the resort had great colour and variety. Much of what we saw rivalled some of the variety and colour we saw scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef!
The dive on the Lesleen “M” wreck was very good. We planned our second dive for the day they did the longer trip to Superman’s Run. And we were again not disappointed. If you come to the Caribbean, you should absolutely plan scuba diving in St Lucia! It is a great thing to plan when you visit St Lucia!
Have you done scuba diving in St Lucia? What was your favourite scuba diving site?