Would you like to experience the Caribbean with a dash of French accent? Then you may want to pack your bags for Martinique. This dream island has beautiful white-sand beaches and world-class sailing, but also a spectacular mountainous landscape with numerous hiking opportunities. Plus, the interesting cultural attractions and delicious food alone are worth the trip. Scuba divers will not be disappointed either.
Divers visiting Martinique can explore its surrounding coral reefs and interesting residents in balmy water all year round. Doesn’t that sound great? But wait, there’s more. This island nation is also a popular place for wreck lovers. The famous Roraima as well as other spectacular wrecks such as The Nahoon, Dahlia, Diamond, and Tamaya – among many others – can be explored here.
On the Caribbean side, the reefs of Martinique are naturally protected and showcase a mix of colors and species. On the Atlantic coast, on the eastern side of the island, the conditions are similar to those of the open Atlantic Ocean, with steep slopes and sandy plateaus where pelagic species roam by.
Shoal of sergeant majors in Martinique.
The best time to dive in Martinique is December to May, or the dry period. February through April is the cyclonic season, which may pose some issues for divers. Nonetheless, it is technically possible to dive here year-round.
The water temperature in Martinique remains warm throughout the year, ranging from 27° C/80° F to 29° C/84° F.
On many of the dive sites in Martinique, you will experience outstanding visibility. The underwater visibility ranges from 10 to 40 meters/33-130 feet.
One of the most visited dive sites in Martinique, this naturally protected area is a “pool” filled with corals. This spot is perfect for beginners due to the rich wildlife that lives in very shallow water. Divers can spot beautiful parrotfish, moray eels, squid, shrimp, and many small fish in less than 5 meters/16 feet of water. A steep wall takes you further down, from where you can look up and see the marine animals passing by.
This spot features several interesting dives. One is The Cathedral, where you can explore a hole in the Rock that allows you to pass from the west side to the south side through a long tunnel. There are also several arches and caves around the Rock, as well as a superb plateau where you can watch the colorful and abundant sea life. The eastern side of this rock formation can be explored by drifting through the south or north, depending on which way the current flows.
Dubbed “the Titanic of Martinique,” Roraima was a mixed cargo vessel that sunk in 1902 following a devastating natural disaster: the eruption of an active volcano. Today, the shipwreck lies very close from the shore at a depth of 45 to 60 meters/131-196 feet. Coral and sponges cover the ship and inside, in the engine room and down the corridors, you can find “passengers” such as lionfish.
This beautiful shipwreck is an old steamer that was purposefully sunk in 1993 to create an artificial reef for divers. The Nahoon is very well preserved and lies flat in 35 meters/115 feet of water on a sandy bottom. Now colonized by coral, sponges, and gorgonians, and visited by angelfish, trevallies, barracudas, king mackerels, and other species of fish, the wreck is a must-see for advanced divers.
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