by Guest Blogger Laura King
I have just been fortunate enough to spend three weeks diving in Grenada – truly one of the gems of the Caribbean. Grenada is located North West of Trinidad and Tobago, North East of Venezuela and South West of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Grenada is known as the “Island of Spice” with Nutmeg and Mace being their main exports.
Grenada has an estimated population of 110,000 people. The people are some of the friendliest I have encountered in the Caribbean. I felt very safe the entire time I was in Grenada, and loved meeting all the friendly locals. The island is lush and beautiful, but for me the true beauty was under the sea… I did all my dives with Dive Grenada, which has become one of my top dive shops of all time. Their customer service is absolutely excellent and I was treated exceptionally well by them the entire time. Being an underwater photographer, all the crew handled my camera equipment with the utmost care, and the dive masters were experts at spotting my numerous “bucket list” requests. They then waited patiently while I snapped away. Here are my top ten moments underwater, in no particular order.
1. Snake Headed Eel. I was diving with the lovely Charlene. She motioned to me to look out into the sand, and I saw a head poking out. I had never even heard of a Snake Headed Eel before and I honestly didn’t even know what it was. I snapped a couple of pictures, and then I handed her my slate so she could tell me what it was. I love all Eels, and I spent a long time just staring at the eyes, at all the details in it and of course his strange “nose”. I have since learnt that Snake Headed Eels bury themselves in the sand and wait for unsuspecting fish to swim past.
2. Flying Gurnard. Many years ago, a group of my friends went snorkelling in the Grenadines, and it was one of those rare days that I chose not go. They came back with fantastic stories about the Flying Gurnards they had seen and I was green with envy. Since then, I have been dying to see one. I spoke to Kojak and told him I desperately wanted to find one. We dropped in at a gorgeous site, called Dragon Bay, and Kojak headed straight for the turtle grass. (Side note: turtle grass is a photographers heaven – there are so many beautiful critters living in the grass, so just take your time and look). After spotting a beautiful Green Turtle, Kojak banged his tank and I just knew he had found me a Gurnard! The anticipation was building as I swam over. Finally I spot this fairly average looking fish. I got my camera ready, and the wings came out and took my breath away. The electric blue is indescribable. What a magnificent creature and I felt so blessed to be able to watch him fly through the water. Just so you know, you CANNOT keep up with a Flying Gurnard. They are as fast as they are beautiful.
3. Nudibranchs. Grenada is fantastic for Nudibranchs. I saw numerous Lettuce Sea Slugs, Flatworms, Fire Worms and Nudibranchs of different colors. On one dive, I saw four Lettuce Sea Slugs within eight minutes.
4. Porcupine Puffer Fish. I did a fantastic wreck dive called the Shakem. There is a rather large Porcupine Puffer Fish that calls this wreck home. Kojak pointed him out to me, and I ever so slowly descended and hovered my way over to him. Quite accustomed to divers, he allowed me and my camera to get very close to him and actually even posed in every direction for me. I love his pouty face and the way he made eye contact with me.
5. Eels. Grenada has such a healthy eel population and in the time I was here, I saw many Green,Golden and Spotted Morays, Golden Spotted and even Chain Morays. On my very last dive, Kojak called me over to a pile of rubble, and when I looked in it, I found THREE eels in one hole! Two Gold Spotted Eels and one Spotted Moray. What all three of them were doing in such tight quarters, I couldn’t tell you, but it was very cute to witness.
6. The Underwater Sculpture Park. Visiting the Park is an absolute must. The sculptures are in depths between 4-6 metres, so these are easily snorkelled. The old ring of children is especially interesting, as each statue has its own unique coral growth on it. My first dive here was spent inspecting all the statues, but the subsequent dives were spent on macro photography as this is an excellent spot to find the little things.
7. Sculptured Slipper Lobster. What a gorgeous lobster this is. Again, something I had never seen before. The one I photographed was really shy and backed away from my camera, but I still managed to have a good look at his armored body and beautiful colors. I also saw the largest Caribbean Spiny Lobster that I have ever seen, and lots of Spotted Spiny Lobsters. Its good to see such a healthy population of Lobster.
8. Banded Jawfish. They make themselves quite interesting homes in the sand. Again, I had never seen one of these before, so when we came across two of them, I was thrilled. Both the ones I saw had little stones around the tops of their holes. I managed to slowly sneak up with my macro lense and get some decent shots of one of them. They have the most beautiful little blue eyes and to me they look so inquisitive. I would have loved to have found one with eggs in its mouth, but that will have to be another day.
9. The Wreck of the Veronica L. I have been diving for eighteen years now and my dive on this wreck gave me a first. We went towards the engine room and divemaster Gary, told me to just wait a second. What I didn’t realize is that we were creating an air pocket within the wreck. When he motioned for me to go up, I am sure I gave him a very confused look. Finally I slowly made my way up and when my head popped up he said to me “Are you enjoying your dive? I bet you didn’t think you could talk at 50 feet right?”. Poor Gary was unprepared for the list of posing instructions that came flying out of my mouth. My guess is he thinks twice about revealing this trick next time he has a photographer with him.
10. Octopus. I was amazed at how many Octopus I saw in Grenada, and I didn’t do a single night dive! My favorite experience was at a site called Purple Rain. Kojak found an octopus and I was happily snapping away. He started moving across the reef, and I suddenly saw movement out of the corner of my eye – there was a second Octopus within three feet of the first one. I am not sure if I interrupted a courtship or a territorial dispute, but it was amazing to see two of them together. Any time I see an Octopus I feel extremely lucky as they are such unbelievable creatures.
I hope I have helped put Grenada on your Diving Wish List. I have loved every moment I spent in the water here and so far, it’s been my best Caribbean diving. If you do visit, be sure to look up Dive Grenada. Phil, Helen and their team are very passionate about diving and ensuring their guests have unforgettable experiences.