Dive the BVI: The Wreck of the Rhone

Visit the Wreck of the Rhone, the most spectacular dive site in the BVI, on your Virgin Islands yacht charter

The Wreck of the RhoneIf you book only one BVI diving charter, make it the Wreck of the Rhone. This award-winning destination, located off the coast of Salt Island, is one of the top dive sites in the Caribbean, and attracts divers from across the globe.

The RMS Rhone was a 310′ steam engine packet ship owned by the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company. She was wrecked during a hurricane in October of 1867, and nearly all of her passengers and crew perished. The wreck lies in two main parts with much of it still intact, including decking, portions of the rigging, the steam engine, and the propeller.

In 1980, The Wreck of the Rhone was named the first and only Marine National Park in the BVI, making it a world-renowned dive site in the BVI and a major attraction for charter groups and other visitors. The park extends from Lee Bay on Salt Island westward to include Dead Chest Island. The anchor broke away outside Great Harbour, Peter Island, and where you will find the second portion of the park. Divers will find the two halves of the ship covered in coral, with sea life at play within.

The Rhone’s bow section is pretty much intact; her wooden decks have rotted, but still provides a swim-through for divers. The iron hull is encrusted with coral, and you’ll find a myriad of aquatic life nearby and within, including fish, turtles, stingrays, lobsters, eels, and octopi. You may also spot locally-known barracuda, Fang.

One of her most remarkable features is the intact “lucky porthole” in the stern section, which divers rub for good luck. It really is an underwater marvel, and no matter how many times you may dive, you’ll find something new as you swim the length of the vessel.

Film buffs may recognize the Rhone from the classic 1977 film, The Deep. The iconic shot of Jacqueline Bisset diving in a t-shirt was filmed there, and you can swim along the same path, from the bow to the 15′ propeller.

Guided night dives are a popular option for visitors to the Rhone, where you can see how sea life takes over when the sun sets. You’ll see starfish, eels, and sleepy turtles.

The Wreck of the Rhone has received a number of awards and accolades, naming it a top dive site for its historical value, its abundant marine life, and its open and relatively safe condition.

Anchoring is not permitted in the area around the Rhone, but the National Parks Trust offers mooring buoys, or alternately you can anchor at Salt Island or Peter Island.