My Favourite Place To Dive!

I didn’t think I’d be writing a post with this title anytime soon, I thought it’d come after a couple of years but here goes. 

And I know I’ve already done a blog post about diving in Guadeloupe but after doing more diving here I just had to write this one. Anyway, moving on.

I’ve made some pretty bold claims on this blog recently but here comes another. Guadeloupe, specifically the Jacque Cousteau Underwater Reserve, is my favourite place to Scuba Dive. Jacque Cousteau actually said the waters around Pigeon Island, where the reserve is located, are one of the world’s top dive areas. He also encouraged the protection of the reserve after filming for the feature film Le Monde du Silence (The Silent World), which was taken on by Guadeloupe’s authorities.

OK Jacque? - Tombant aux Carangues, Jacque Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 12/04/2016

OK Jacque? - Tombant aux Carangues, Jacque Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 12/04/2016

My favourite dive in the reserve is the Fran Jack Wreck. Sunk in 1996 the Fran Jack is a 90ft Dredger with the majority of it’s equipment still in place. You can get inside the ship if you wish via a purpose cut hole above the engine room, but we have always avoided entering to avoid getting trapped. There is a massive cargo hold that has much easier access and is far safer to enter. I have now done this dive 3 times, the first being when we first visited the reserve at the end of March and the other 2 times being our last visit in early April. The level of growth on the ship is immense, you can really tell it’s been down there 2 decades, and the diversity of the fish that live there is incredible! We have seen all sort of fish there, puffers, French Angelfish, Sergeant Majors, Trumpetfish, Jacks, Chromis and Barracuda to name just a few. 

French Angelfish - Fran Jack Wreck, Jacque Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 10/04/2016

French Angelfish - Fran Jack Wreck, Jacque Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 10/04/2016

One of the dives we did was a small photo mission for myself, CP and Nena so we just swam around the ship looking for good, and funny, pictures. As we were doing our safety stop another group of divers descended past us and their bubbles created this beautiful image in front of our eyes. I grabbed a few pictures and think the one below, which came out best, would make a great background for a mobile phone.

Bubbles - Fran Jack Wreck, Jacque Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 10/04/2016

Bubbles - Fran Jack Wreck, Jacque Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 10/04/2016

Another really good dive site in the reserve is called La Piscine (The Swimming Pool). The range of coral and fish rivals the Fran Jack but in a completely different environment. The site starts off shallow (7m) and slopes down past 30m, but it’s best to stick around 15-25m as thats where the coral is most impressive and where the fish hang around. Here we have seen everything from Parrotfish to Spotted Drums, Pufferfish to Triggerfish and many, many more, some we haven’t seen anywhere else in the Caribbean!

Yellowtail Snapper - La Piscine, Jacque Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 11/04/2016

Yellowtail Snapper - La Piscine, Jacque Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 11/04/2016

Another of my favourite site in the area is the Jadrin Japonaise (Japanese Garden). The site has huge boulders that are covered, and I mean COVERED, in coral. The boulders also provide excellent swim-throughs and crevices to explore, often with fish hiding in the shadows trying not to be disturbed. You can dive anywhere between 1m and 30+ here but, just like The Swimming Pool, the best stuff is around 15m-20m.

Purple Tube Sponge - Jardin Japonaise, Jacque Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 09/04/2016

Purple Tube Sponge - Jardin Japonaise, Jacque Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 09/04/2016

The last site worth mentioning is the Tombant aux Carangues (Falling at Jacks) where you can find a sunken bust of Jacque Cousteau to pose with for an obligatory photo (like the one at the top of this post). The first time we visited we missed this site off due to the amount of current on that side of the island, but on our last visit we made sure to do it. The site starts at about 10m and slopes off nicely to 20m but you can dive further down to, and past, 40m if you wish, although it’s not recommended. Like other sites I’ve mentioned, the best diving is between 10m and 20m. Obviously we made time for pictures with Jacques’ bust. He originally had a hand giving the OK hand signal but it seems to have disappeared, whether is has been stolen, damaged, or just worked itself loose in the currents and drifted off I don’t know. Just like in the Swimming Pool we saw much of the same variety of fish and coral.

Following The French - Tombant aux Carangues, Jacque Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 12/04/2016

Following The French - Tombant aux Carangues, Jacque Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 12/04/2016

So that concludes this post. Like I said this is my favourite place to Scuba Dive so I do whole heartedly recommend visiting the Jacque Cousteau Underwater Reserve if you are ever in Guadeloupe, even if you don’t Scuba Dive as there is lots to see just by snorkelling and you won’t be disappointed. If you do Scuba Dive then there are plenty of dive centres around that run multiple trips daily, all by my understanding have good reviews and give a great experience.

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If you Scuba Dive where is your favourite place to go? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Rob