MARTINIQUE DIVE SITES

DIVING SITES

All dives take place within a 20 minute boat navigation from the center. All dive sites have permanent mooring buoys. Natiyabel uses screw anchors to preserve the corals. We respect a strict policy, in order to preserve our marine habitat for future generations.

Caribbean side

éponge et corail Natiyabel

On the west side, the reliefs are soft and naturally protected. Coral reefs are mixed with bright colors, sponges, gorgonians, angels, moray eels, lobsters, balloon fishes, anemones, shrimps, mackerels, barracudas, Sardinians, etc. We see everything (even lion fish, for six or seven years). This is where we spend most of our time. But we must add to these beautiful sites the exceptional Diamond Rock (a must of the Caribbean) accessible in only 20 minutes from the pontoon of Natiyabel.

Atlantic coast

raie pastenague Natiyabel

On the eastern side, the conditions are similar to those of the open Atlantic with abrupt slopes and sandy plateaus populated with rays, pelagic fish, turtles.

All these conditions combine to create an ideal environment that makes southern Martinique one of the best diving spots in the Caribbean. Our professional diving staff knows the environment and its inhabitants in an intimate way, and particularly enjoys sharing the beauty of this underwater world with you, while ensuring your safety.

Here is a sampling of some of the sites you might visit :

KAYE BOUCANIERS

In the middle of St. Anne’s Bay, this great coral reef is one of the most surprising in its variety of sponges. These bring a richness of color and a multitude of species of varied fishes , like : tarpon, Caranx, French Angels, Royal Angels, wrasses, Barracudas, Rays etc … It is an accessible spot to all divers : beginners and confirmed as well as snorkellers. A site not to be missed.

THE AQUARIUM

The aquarium is the well-name site. The last mooring is not to far from the coral reef that rises almost to the surface in the bay of Ste. Anne. The first mooring that was on the reef, is now covered with coral and serves as a support for a Venus Fan (Small victories of nature). Between those two moorings the Aquarium has been fallow had been forgotten, left fallow for about 3 years. This dive can be done at very shallow 5 to 8m between patches and barrier coral in a variety of small fish, and sometimes you can even meet big turtles next to the sea grass. Another diving profile could be done from the same mooring. If you go behind the barrier reef, you can visit a wall that goes between 10 and 20m. You might spent a while in the schools of fish and come back to the flat area for décompression time. Just follow your instructor that wille introduice you to the residents.

LA POINTE BORGNESE

Pointe Borgnèse is one of the most visited sites. We have to say this site is particularly interesting. First, This is a naturally protected area of lagoon type, ‘a pool with corals in place of the tiles’. Here is a flat area of sand on an average depth of 5m (practice for the beginners’training) whose coastal zone is strongly colonized by the corals. This involves significant wildlife between 1 to 5m of water : moray, shrimp, squid, sea hare, hippocampus, many small fish but also the most beautiful parrots of the whole protected area, and other surprises, the dives being different one time to another ! It is also a almost vertical falling with an angle gradually opening towards 20m for exploration. One of my pleasure is to stabilize around 15 meter deep and have a look up towards the wall and the inhabitants passing along.

THE DIAMOND ROCK

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With its 575ft/178 m high, the Rock is a ornithological reserve and, for sure, one of the most beautiful dive sites in Martinique. There are so many magical submarine attractions around this little rock. It deserves several dives. One of the most famous dive around the Rock is the Cathedrale, a huge hole in the Rock at the depth of about 42ft/13m allows to pass from the west side to the south one, through a wide 98ft/30 m long tunnel. It is also possible to visit arches and caves all around the Rock. -The north side which is more commonly called ‘the swimming pool’ is often more sheltered, less wavy. At this mooring, there is a superb plateau between 5 and 10m. You don’t need to go deeper. From the edge of the plateau, you can watch the show (schools of fish, turtles, barracudas, coloured sponges corals) going on the fall at more than 98ft/30 m meter deep. – The eastern side is easier to explore by drifting through the south or north depending on the direction of the current. It is a much more virgin area, with madrepores more fragile. Good stabilization matters. Located at about 15 nautical miles from our diving center, it usually takes us around 20 minutes navigation to get to historical Diamond Rock.

THE NAHOON
It is a beautiful shipwreck of about 40 m long laid straight on its bow at the depth of 110 ft/35 m. Built for the ‘Lighthouses and Beacons’ Office, the mixed ship (steamer) was launched in Royan in 1911. The two original boilers were replaced by two diesel engines in 1950. It was renamed the Masoala then The Caribbean 2 years later. Left for destruction, the ship breaks its moorings during the cyclone ‘Ines’ in 1966, fails in the bay of Pointe à Pitre. It is recovered by Henry Wakelam for a 2nd life of navigation in the Caribbean. The 3rd, it is a life of wreckship since 1993 initiated by the ‘Comité régional de la Martinique’. Today the wreck is strongly colonized by fixed fauna (coral, gorgon, sponge), reef fish such as angels, diodons, etc. Around it, you might meet some pelagics like trevally, king mackerel or barracudas.

GRANDE KAYE
The site of the Grande Kaye is bounded to the north by a long coral reef (kaye in Creole) which emerges a little at low tide. This is where many coastal fishes take refuge. There is a real diversity of corals : The most famous are the brain coral, pillar coral, the rare ‘Elkhorn-coral’, a few lettuce coral. Your guide will introduice to thoses and more. There are so many to see : parrot fish, surgeons, gorettes, girelles, etc., in a mix of colored coral, sponges and gorgonian fans. But you also meet the predators (barracudas, thazard and yellow-tail snapper or the Schoolmaster. It is the ideal site to observe the coral laying, 2 to 6 nights per year. The site is accessible and interesting to all divers, even for the discovering scuba divers or snorkelers. It allows to go from 1 meter to 30m depending on your willing, certification and the dive instructor in charge. In my opinion the most interesting area remains above 15m deep. This dive site is also part of the‘Waliwa’ project, a managed marine area program launched by the commune of Sainte Luce with the intention of reintroducing and protecting endangered coral species.

THE 3 VALLEYS

It is a dive that extends over a large surface and depths from 5 to over 30m. It is a particularly rich lettuce coral expanse, separated by areas of sand (called the valleys). It is a site of wide open spaces, allowing in shallow depths to have a panoramic vision. Once in the water you are very quickly surrounded by schools of fish. You can get closer and closer while you improve your stability moving less. It seems that thoses fishes are very used with divers. At the end your dive, you can do your safety stop in the blue créole wrasse schools that stay all the dive time in the shade of the dive boat Diring the dive, we see solitary pelagics such as king mackerel, barracuda or snapper when ever you look up. We think some times that there is no life in the sand. However when you look down carefully in the valley of sand, you recognize the Queen conch digging to hide, a peacock flounder, an electric ray or a yellowhead jawfish, each of them in a different mimicry. Your guide knows, stick to her/him. Meeting a stingray or a turtle is not uncommon but not systematic. You have to be very attentive because in this area, the turtles and rays are rather fleeing away from divers, in the opposite of the other inhabitants of the valleys.

 TI VOILIER (Small sailing boat)

Often visited to see the small shipwreck , this site hides many surprises. The mooring is at 13m deep and the falling goes down very gradually towards the northwest. This site offers many choices : whatever direction the group take, the dive is still good. It is colonized mostly with leaf corals where lobsters, crabs, morays and shrimps. Of course you will see the pelagics often staying with us all the dive long. However you have to raise your head up from time to time if you want to see them not far from the schools of fish. However on this site, the the sargassum that is invasive algae, grows sometimes on the coral. Whatever direction you choose, it is a very good idea to spent a good while on the shipwreck to see the life that has grown on it for over 20 years after the cyclone that brought it from the marina to that beautiful site.

JARDIN VERT (means Green Garden)

This site is not far from the Ti Voilier. This one of my favorite. It is a very rich area with a gréât diversity. You always have some good surprises there. The mooring is at 18m deep. That means you have to go down slowly from the surface to around 15m of depth. You look down almost all the way long and have a good vision of the all dive. It’s like having the trailer of a movie you are quite sure about. Then you are in it, very close to that relief. You understand tha the patches of corals are quite big, around twenty meter diameter blocks. Each of them is a little ecosystem in itself. The predominant species seem to be the ‘sheet coral’, in terms of space taken. But when you look good at the fixed fauna, you see so many different species of coral, gorgon and sponges all together on such a small area. Moving around thoses, a rich and varied wildlife of crustaceans and small coral fishes could make you forget to look up regarlularly to see the spectacular schools of fish and predators choreography around you. Your guide is still closed to you to show that. This dive will go for confirmed divers who control their stability.

Enjoy with NATIYABEL