Diving in Sint Barthelemy
Saint Barthelemy (St. Barts)
St. Barts (actually St. Barthelemy) was discovered by Columbus and name after his brother Bartolomeo. It took another 150 years for french settlers to arrive from near by Island of St Kits. Few years later St Barths was sold to Knights of Malta. Five years later theirs settlement was attacked by angry Carib Indians. Everyone was killed and heads of Knights and everyone else was placed on sticks and lined up on a beach. It took another 100 years before new French settlers arrived. From being fisherman’s and farmers they quickly become traders and Buccaneers plundering Spanish galleons to supplement their income. It’s belived that some treasure is still buried on the island. French sold St Barths to Sweeden and bought it back almost 100 years later. British took it over for a brief period but French won it back soon after.
Today this rocky paradise is part of France and European Union. It’s a home and vacationing place for reach and famous, with expensive boutiques, good restaurants and night clubs scattered around Gustavia.
DIVING ST. BARTS
Scuba diving in St Barth is by no means one of the best in that part of Caribbean, especially the corals are worth seeing. The colors are magnificent, largely because of the shallow water (the channel between St Barths and St Martin reaches no deeper than about 100 feet, 30 meters) and the sandy bottom, which reflects the sunlight.
There is a distinct lack of large fish at the dive sites. However, there are plenty of small and colorful reef fish. The wonderful reef biodiversity has several explanations. The first is that the reefs have been left largely untouched by local fishermen due to the local disease ciguatera, a food borne illness caused by eating reef fish whose flesh is contaminated with a tropical toxin known as Gambierdiscus.
In addition to gorgeous reefs, St. Barts also plays host to a wreck dive, The Kaïali. In 100 feet (30 meters) of water, this site contains two entrances and is suitable for advanced divers. There are also several large caverns scattered around the island’s walls, adding a little diversity to the 22 dive sites scattered around the island.