Antigua Scubing Diving Article
Freedom, freighters and fantastic fish
Antigua Scuba diving travel article written by Travel Writer Antony Barton
As an island that’s said to have a different beach for every day of the year, each touching clear azure or turquoise waters, Antigua is an ideal place to indulge in water sports. Add to this the rich variety of sea life and other underwater phenomena and you will find it hard to resist a spot of Antigua scuba diving.
I had always wanted to give scuba diving a try, so I joined two couples one morning for my very first scuba lesson. After watching a 20-minute video, we were taught how to use our equipment and started practising in the pool. I was startled by the force of the bubbles when I exhaled, and the problem of water occasionally getting into my nose was a little off-putting.
This is where it’s important to remember that such an activity is bound to require a lot of getting used to, and the thought of relying solely on a cylinder strapped to your back for all your oxygen doesn’t appeal to everyone. I knew that the rewards would far outweigh the initial difficulties, so I persevered. We were told to meet back at the shack an hour later for our first ocean dive.
Having collected our equipment, we headed out for a half-hour boat ride, after which our instructor added our weights and we jumped into the ocean. The water was rough and a little unnerving. We began to follow the anchor line underwater, breathing and equalising our ears continuously, and that’s when we saw Jettia’s Wreck. Suddenly, the joy of scuba diving became apparent. Swimming closer to the enormous hull of the old French steam freighter, purposefully sunk in 1817, I started to appreciate the incredible freedom that scuba diving allows. Snorkelling offers a great way to gaze upon the wonders that lie beneath the waves, but Antigua scuba diving lets you investigate the colourful coral that populates hidden corners and swim alongside the myriad parrotfish, snapper and grunts.
We stayed with the colourful fish and the rusted wreck for half an hour. Two members of our original group of five had succumbed to nerves and never made it into the ocean. The remaining three of us found the experience amazing.
Our guide told us that popular Antigua scuba diving sites include the ledges and corals of Billy’s Grotto, which allows plenty of opportunities for swim-throughs and occasionally boasts nurse sharks, barracudas and turtles. John’s Cave at Ariadne Shoal features a rocky ledge with fantastic visibility and the almost guaranteed sighting of barracudas, parrotfish and trumpet fish.
The dive was so effective at quashing my fears and opening my eyes to the wonders of Antigua’s waters that, within another few sessions, I achieved Open Water Diver status. With such colourful sea life and intriguing wrecks, there was plenty for me to enjoy for many dives to come.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Antony Barton is a freelance travel journalist and photographer who lives in inner London. After a period of time as a news editor, he combined his love of writing with his love of exploring the world and began specialising in backpacking and budget travel. He also has an in depth knowledge of south-east Asian temples and temple ruins.
Images on this Antigua Scuba Diving Article page are copyright of Antigua & Barbuda Tourist Office