Week of January 12-18, 1996
Diving off St. Lucia
Q: I'm interested in any information about St. Lucia and the diving there.
Ann Arbor, MI
A: Although the most prominent landmarks on St. Lucia are a pair of sharply pointed, forested twin peaks called the Pitons, the island's undersea sight-seeing is just as compelling. Diving and snorkeling are excellent on the reefs right off Anse Chastanet, a serene bay due north of the Pitons and the town of Soufriere. You may want to consider booking a beachside room or hillside cottage at the Anse Chastanet Hotel. With its prime location on one of St. Lucia's most beautiful silver-sand beaches and a dive shop right on the premises, Anse Chastanet will seem like a bargain at $140-$360 per night double occupancy, breakfast included.
Dive St. Lucia has a fleet of five dive boats that head off to nearby reefs teeming with electric rays, flying gunards, and peppermint-stick lobsters (one-tank dive, $35 per person). Night dives leave right from the beach, and once a week, boats make the trip out to the sponge-covered wreck of the Lesleen M., a 165-foot freighter with resident hordes of parrot fish and barracuda. A spectacular dive just off the hotel beach starts in 20 feet of bathwater and leads past a battalion of garden eels--and a totaled Porsche 911--to a coral-covered wall that drops more than 150 feet. Visibility here averages 100 feet.
Between dives, you may want to check out the fuming drive-through volcano just six miles away, where hot springs cascade into mineral pools. Or take a half-day guided rainforest hike in search of a rare parrot right from the resort. For more details or reservations, call Anse Chastanet at 800-223-1108, and take a look at "St. Lucia" in our winter 1995-1996 Travel Guide and "The Hyperactive's Caribbean" in the Destinations section of our December 1995 issue.