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Diving in the British Virgin Islands's insider take:

The BVI's are an underappreciated dive destination. There are dozens of good sites, and the conditions are ideal: little current, relatively shallow profiles, 60-to-120-foot visibility, and with all the contorted topography, dive operators can always find a calm lee to drop into. The most famous dive site is the RMS Rhone, wrecked off Salt Island in a hurricane in 1867 and now a marine park and main attraction for the area's burgeoning “wreck alley.” With some sections in 20 to 80 feet of water, the wreck is accessible to divers of all levels. A much more recent wreck, the 246-foot-long Chikuzen, lies intact 75 feet down six miles north of Tortola, and has collected a spectacular number of fish, from candy-colored reef fish to big, blue-water predators. For nonwreck-based diving, try the Indians, four mounds of rock that rise from 50 feet underwater to create a snaggletooth formation towering above boats stopping by to snorkel and dive. If you keep moving, you can cover the entire site in one dive, but it's worth at least two. Painted Walls features large coral spurs that form channels divers can “fly” into, surrounded by a Technicolor display of sponges and reef fish. The site, off Dead Chest near Peter Island, is almost as popular with sea turtles as it is with visiting divers.

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