The Wreck of the RMS Rhone

Dive the Wreck of the Rhone aboard All Star BVI's Cuan Law

One of the most popular wreck dives in the Caribbean, the wreck of the RMS Rhone, laid to rest in the British Virgin Islands. Located just offshore from Black Point Rock near Salt Island, it’s easy to reach and a popular spot for scuba diving and snorkeling. It’s been voted a “top dive” for its history and marine life many times over and is a frequent stop on the itinerary for All Star Cuan Law

The RMS Rhone was a royal mail ship that launched in 1865 and traveled between Southampton, Brazil and the Caribbean carrying passengers, cargo and mail. This twin-masted iron hulled sail-steamer was 310 feet long with a 40 foot beam that billed itself as unsinkable. That is until the storm. She sank as the result of a late season hurricane on October 29, 1867. As she and a sister ship were fueling off Peter Island, the storm approached. After believing they had survived the storm, the captain and crew were surprised by the back side of the storm and sank on their way to open ocean. Legend has it the captain was enjoying a cup of tea topside when he fell overboard in heavy seas and was never seen again. More recently, the Rhone served as the backdrop for the underwater scenes from the 1977 filming of Peter Benchley’s “The Deep” with Nick Nolte, Jacqueline Bisset and Robert Shaw.

Salt Island, BVI

The wreck and the surrounding area was designated the first National Marine Park in the BVI in 1980. Now lying in the crystal clear waters of the BVI in 35 – 80 feet of water, it offers an intact bow encrusted with healthy coral and marine life and a separate stern section that includes a 15 foot bronze prop and a “lucky” porthole that promises good fortune to those who rub it. As the ship sunk, the bow drifted about 100 feet away from the stern and sits at an angle.  The bow is in 80 feet of water. You’ll find an open structure that is well lit and easy to swim through with multiple schools of fish and vibrant coral growth. The stern and mid-section sit in 35 feet of water.

The crew offers a unique dive briefing for this spectacular dive that includes acting out the key players’ parts on that fateful day. Stories that include the sinking of the RMS Rhone and the survivors are shared as part of the pre dive to help set the stage to truly enjoy this dive to its fullest. 

There is plenty to see while diving the Rhone; it’s easy to spend a day diving and exploring. We also offer it for a night dive where the wreck comes alive with a nocturnal community of marine life.

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