Wreck diving

To many scuba enthusiasts, there’s nothing quite like the sensation they get when doing a wreck dive. Most of us grew up on books, stories and movies which dangled the possibility of finding untold fortune on an undiscovered sunken pirate ship.

But, of course, most wrecks don’t hold fame and wealth but are nonetheless a source of excitement and mystery for the sport diver. And each ship, no matter what its age, has a history and personality all its own.

The Caribbean is strewn with wrecks but the vast majority aren’t found in locations that present ideal diving conditions for the average recreational diver on holiday. St. Lucia is lucky to boast two wrecks which are very popular with visiting divers. Both are also found in convenient locations for the local dive industry.

The first, the Lesleen M, is known as a relatively easy wreck dive. Found in the Bay of Anse Cochon, the Lesleen M, a 165 foot freighter, was sunk by the Department of Fisheries in 1986 to serve as an artificial reef. The wreck is covered in hard and soft corals, sponges and hydroids and serves as an excellent habitat for juvenile fish such as Queen and French Angel Fishes. Hawksbill Turtles are also commonly seen around the wreck as are Barracuda. The Lesleen M sits on an even keel on the sandy bottom at 65 feet with its top deck at 30 feet in depth. Trained wreck divers do explore inside in various compartments including the engine room but it is not recommended for novices.

The second wreck, the Japanese dredger Daini Koyomaru (which means boat number 2), was sunk in the south end of Anse Cochon in 1996. At 16,000 tons, 244 feet in length and 80 feet in height, the Daini Koyomaru is an imposing site in its watery grave. The ship sits at a maximum dive depth of dive 108 feet. When it was sunk the vessel landed on its side making it a challenging wall dive as well as a mysterious wreck dive.

Eels and Barracuda, which tagged along as the ship was towed to its resting site from Vieux Fort in the island’s south, are found in around the wreck in abundance. The Daini Koyomaru is recommended for experienced divers only due to the depth and strong currents found in the area.

While on holiday in St. Lucia, consider diving as an enjoyable, challenging and memorable activity. Local dive operations, all fully certified and experienced, have everything you need in the way of equipment. Beginner courses and refresher courses for those with some experience will have you enjoying the colourful undersea world in no time. And if you want a special sensation, the wreck of the Lesleen M awaits.