Colorful reef and tropical fish, hidden caves and sunken ships; these are just a few of the things you will find under the sea just off the coast of Martinique. Grab a snorkel or a dive suit, dip your head underwater, and explore the mysterious aquatic world.
Although the purpose of both diving and snorkeling is to explore what lies bellow the surface of the ocean, and though the activities can often be done in the same locations, diving and snorkeling are each very different sports.
Scuba diving is hands down the most popular type of diving, and occurs when the diver dons a scuba tanks (SCUBA stands for “self contained underwater breathing apparatus”) to dive deep below the water's surface. This aids divers in getting a closer look at the ocean floor, shipwrecks, and reef formations.
Snorkelers can still explore underwater, but they cannot go quite as deep. Instead, the wear goggles, swimfins, and a snorkel (a tube that the snorkeler puts in their mouth, and sticks out of the top of the water, allowing them to breath air in and without drinking in water).
Often times, Martinique's larger resorts offer snorkeling equipment as a perk for staying with them, and others even have diving certification courses in on-property pools. In order to go diving on Martinique, it is required that you have certification, which you can obtain after a day of lessons with a local dive shop.
...take the plunge...
Once you've prepared yourself for the dive, you're ready to take the plunge. If you choose to book a tour with a dive shop expect to spend between EUR 40 and EUR 50.
There are 15 dive services and at least 11 good dive sites in the area.
If you're ready to take the plunge, you should consider Marin Plongee. Marin Plongee is a professional and family friendly diving center, and children as young as five years old are welcome to begin their diving hobby. With them you are able to explore beautiful waters where underwater fishing is prohibited. They are located in Le Marin, in southeastern Martinique.
A second option is Attitude Plongée. Specializing in "Baptisms," or trips for first time scuba divers, Attitude Plongee is one of the more reasonably priced diver operations in the area. They can be reached at (069) 672-5928.
A third option is Tropicasub. Specializing in daily wreck dives, with Tropicasub you can also sign up for adventures int he waters surrounding Ilet la Perle as well as canyon dives. They're located in Le Carbet, in western Martinique.
The following chart lists some information concerning the area's dive operators.
|Alpha Plongee Martinique||(059) 648-3034||0.1 mi. South of Central Grand Anse-d'Arlets|
|Antilles Sub Diamond Rock||(059) 676-1065||Downtown Diamant|
|Attitude Plongée||(069) 672-5928||3.5 mi. South-Southeast of Central Fort de France|
|(059) 663-2064||Sainte-Anne, Southeastern part of Martinique|
|Calypso Plongee||(069) 645-0425||Trois Ilets, Southern part of Martinique|
|Corail Club Caraibes||(059) 668-3636||5.0 mi. South of Central Fort de France|
|Espace Plongee||(059) 666-0179||Trois Ilets, Southern part of Martinique|
|Kalinago Centre de Plongee||(059) 676-9298||Sainte-Anne, Southeastern part of Martinique|
|Marin Plongee||(059) 674-0531||0.2 mi. Southeast of Central Le Marin|
|Paradis Plongee||(069) 634-5616||0.3 mi. Southeast of Central Le Marin|
|Planete Bleue||(059) 666-0879||Trois Ilets, Southern part of Martinique|
|Plongée Passion||(059) 668-7178||4.6 mi. South of Central Fort de France|
|Sainte Luce Plongee||(069) 676-5869||0.3 mi. East-Northeast of Central Ste. Luce|
|(069) 624-3945||St. Pierre , Northwestern part of Martinique|
|Tropicasub||(069) 624-2430||Le Carbet, Western part of Martinique|
The chart just below lists some key facts regarding some of the area's better-known dive sites.
|Very Good||All Divers||82.0||Negligible||14.5276449777||-61.0904860497|
|Good||Advanced Open Water / CMAS **||196.9||Negligible||14.7657139273||-61.1990833269|
|Very Good||Rescue / CMAS ***||196.9||< 1 knot||14.4446764722||-61.0396528244|
|Very Good||All Divers||164.0||< 1 knot||14.8344850047||-61.2248754501|
|Poor||Advanced Open Water / CMAS **||98.4||< 1 knot||14.74257029||-61.1777973175|
|Good||Rescue / CMAS ***||196.9||--||14.7431201977||-61.179074049|
|Good||Advanced Open Water / CMAS **||127.7||1-2 knots||14.542877969||-61.0798591375|
|Fair||Rescue / CMAS ***||124.7||< 1 knot||14.7362678645||-61.1861658096|
For more information about snorkeling, including useful tips and suggestions for both "old pros" and beginners, read our exhaustive Caribbean diving page.
Martinique is one of the Caribbean islands that is surrounded by both the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. For divers, this means that there are many numerous, and diverse, underwater habitats to explore.
Snorkelers won't miss out on Martinique, either. The coast is surrounded by beautiful reefs teeming with tropical fish. Some of the top snorkeling spots around the island are on the east coast, and include Anses d'Arlet, Anse Dufour, Anse Mitan, Anse Noire, Cap Chevalier, Pointe du Bout, and Ste-Anne. You can head out on your own and pick a spot that seems pleasing to you, but many of the dive shops offer snorkeling tours, where guides will take you to top spots that are sure to amaze.
There are numerous ship and boat wreck sites off the coast of Martinique, many of which sank when Mt. Pele erupted in 1902. To really grasp the enormity of the destruction Mt. Pele's eruption caused, a trip to Mt. Pele is in order. After you've visited the mountain, exploring the wreck sites will be that much more moving. The 14 ships sank by the Mt. Pele eruption are known as the “Shipwrecks of Saint-Pierre” and include the “Diamant,” “Theresa Lo Vigo,” and the “Roraima.”
Most wreck sites are quite deep, or in rough waters, and it is recommended that only experienced divers try and reach them. If you are not sure about the ability level required to reach a dives site you are interested in, contact a local dive operation and ask their advice. Luckily, there are many other coves and reefs that inexperiences divers can explore around Martinique, and the “Raisiner,” once a transportation barge now flipped on its side off the west coast, is one of the few wreck sites accessible by novices.
Sites for more experienced divers include the “Dahlia,” a 1960s wooden boat covered in coral, the “Nahoon” a three-level master schooner than sank in 1994, and the “Westsider” which sank in 2004.
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