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RMS Rhone wreck - Virgin Islands (British)

Wreck of the Royal Mail Ship Rhone, not an HMS! She broke apart during a hurricane. Great night dive as well.

From SportDiver Planet’s 50 Greatest Dives, #19 RMS Rhone

As every dive briefing mentions, the Rhone was featured in the 1977 film The Deep, but even without Jacqueline Bisset and shark attacks, there’s plenty of adventure awaiting divers on the former Royal Mail Steamer that was wrecked off Salt Island in 1867 during a fierce hurricane. Most dive operators offer it as a two-tank excursion, starting on the relatively intact bow and making the second dive on the scattered remnants of the stern. After more than 140 years on the bottom, the Rhone is beautifully decorated; don’t miss a night dive to see orange cup corals opened and feeding. And afterward, don’t miss a stop at the Soggy Dollar on Jost Van Dyke, best known for inventing the Painkiller, a delicious — and potent — cocktail that lives up to its name. — PW

Free download of site map

From SportDiver magazine;
"When we dive a wreck, we’re looking for four things,” says Mike Rowe, Course Director for Sail Caribbean. “One is the general condition of the wreck: We want a stable, safe structure. The Rhone lends itself well to that — it’s been underwater for 150 years and was built from iron, so it’s retained a solid structure.” Second are points of interest. Although most of its artifacts have already been salvaged from the Rhone, which sank in 1867, the ship is still a fertile finding ground with canons, portholes, silver teaspoons and coral-encrusted rum bottles. The third requirement is a lack of hazards. Says Rowe, “With the Rhone, anything that would have fallen or come apart has likely already done so.” The fourth condition applies to divers who wish to penetrate: Is it easy to do so? The Rhone split in two, which grants divers easy, unobstructed access to its holds. The severing also broke the vessel into two dives. “The bow is dark and ominous,” says Rowe of the mostly intact section at 80 feet. “Whereas the shallower stern is a real aquarium.” The stern is also where even snorkelers can linger over what is Rowe’s favorite part of the site: the 18-foot-tall propeller sitting in 20 feet of water. “It’s pretty incredible — you jump in past a prop that’s 1 foot across, and then here’s this massive thing — but that’s what was needed for a 310-foot-long iron ship to reach a cruising speed of 14 knots.” This is what’s perhaps most compelling about the Rhone: The longer the ship remains, the greater our appreciation for its struggles.