Take a dive into the wreck of the RMS Rhone

Ray Larson
It’s always nice to mix a taste of adventure together with a little bit of history. But it’s not just the land of the BVI that has a story to tell. The waters have seen many travelers, and some were not so lucky to get out in one piece. The RMS Rhone, a British mail steamer was one of the unlucky ones.

Both divers and snorkelers can enjoy the spectacular wreck of the HMS Rhone.

Both divers and snorkelers can enjoy the spectacular wreck of the HMS Rhone.

There have been many shipwrecks all across the world, but none quite compare to the RMS Rhone when it comes to diving accessibility. The English Royal Mail ship carried cargo and passengers between England, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. Like many of the most iconic wrecks, the ship was dubbed “unsinkable,” but the hurricane that took it down had other plans.
The RMS Rhone wrecked in 1867 off Black Rock Point on the West side of Salt Island while it was trying to make a break to open waters during the eye of the storm. The boat crashed into Black Rock Point, and when the cold ocean water hit the hot boilers of the ship, an explosion took the ship down.

The wreck of the Rhone is considered to be one of the world’s best wreck sites to dive, so don’t miss out if you are in the BVI. It’s rather accessible to divers of all levels and a guide will assist you every step of the way. You will want to take two dives in order to cover all that the wreck has to offer. There is an 80-foot bow section that features a cavernous interior that is surprisingly intact, and it can be entered from near the forward mast. You will likely catch a glimpse of Orange Cup Corals, schools of grunts, sennets and the resident Barracuda who has been dubbed “Fang.” The second site features the shallower middle and stern sections; this area has seen more degradation, but this is where you will get a chance to see all of the relics from the ship and its passengers.

The HMS Rhone was a mail steamer before it was sank during a hurricane.

The HMS Rhone was a mail steamer before it was sank during a hurricane.

After you’ve had your fill of adventure, take the dive boat over to the Cooper Island Beach Club Restaurant before you call it a day. Nothing complements all of your efforts underwater like some relaxing time swapping stories on the beach. You can kick back with a few drinks and a delicious lunch to refuel, all while watching the yachts come in and out of the moorings on Manchioneel Bay. There are plenty of guided dive tours that visit the Wreck of the Rhone every day. Plan your trip to explore the iconic site yourself.

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