Perhaps we should say, dive in and go with the flow because ‘Barrel of Beef’ is one of the local names for an outcropping of rock which is surrounded by numerous coral reefs set amid swirling currents that make up one of the most popular dive sites in the north of St. Lucia.
Listed on the maps as Fourroura Rock, the outcropping sits roughly a half-mile off Reduit Beach. The feature is rather conspicuous to those on the beach or in one of the seaside hotels as waves nearly always are smashing into the rock sending white water high in the air. This modest spectacle has also earned the feature the nickname ‘The Wash’.
As the bottom falls away from Fourroura Rock the reef features form numerous small ravines and little nooks which are ideal for diver exploration. Because Fourroura Rock is an area of unpredictable and often strong currents, local dive operators usually reserve it for experienced enthusiasts only. Upon arriving at the site, the directions of the current must be judged before divers enter the water. The normal approach is from the south side and then, depending on the flow of the moment, an either clockwise or counterclockwise drift pattern is employed.
Masses of corals are found at depths up to fifty feet. Abundant lobster, crab and a full variety of fish, especially juveniles, are seen everywhere. The currents have resulted in the corals spreading laterally providing widespread colourful panoramas in every direction.
One of the highlights of the dive is found at 20 feet of depth on north side moving toward Pigeon Island where divers enter a “forest” of soft coralsÂ up to 15 feet tall. Besides the schools of fish, turtles, Southern Rays, Tarpon, Moray Eels, and Ring Morays, many other species are common around Fourroura Rock. Because of the richness of life, fishermen’s traps are nearly always present and must be left alone.
Fourroura Rock makes for an excellent night dive with a profusion of Blue Tang, Cuddlefish and Octopus activity added to the excitement. The site also has the advantage of being in close proximity to the dive operations in the north.
By now you might be thinking back to the title and, like us, wondering exactly where the name, ‘Barrel of Beef’, came from. Just what does a barrel of beef look like anyway? To see for yourself, simply contact your tour desk or give one or the local dive operators a call. The underwater beauty of St. Lucia will enhance any holiday experience.