Scuba diving holidays in Port Royal

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Scuba diving holidays in Port Royal

A scuba diving holiday in Port Royal, on Jamaica's southeastern coast, will reveal some of the most interesting dive sites in Jamaica because these waters boast a fascinating history. Shipwrecks, pirates and sunken cities are some of the highlights.

Located at the entrance of Kingston Harbour, the historic city of Port Royal was once a haunt for smugglers and pirates due to its key position in the middle of the Caribbean. The natural, deepwater harbour was also ideal for protecting anchored ships. But the booming trade and loose values gave it the reputation of being "one of the wickedest cities in the world", and was thought to be punished by God through earthquakes, fire and disease.

Two thirds of the original city of Port Royal fell into the sea during a devastating earthquake in 1692, resulting in the creation of one of Jamaica's most fascinating diving sites today. It is difficult to gain a permit to dive in this sunken city, but it will be worth the effort because the site is considered the most important underwater archaeological site in the western hemisphere.

Today, Port Royal is a small coastal fishing village, but you can discover much more about its turbulent marine history through its surrounding waters. Numerous shipwrecks lie scattered off the coast, which make exciting underwater playgrounds for both divers and marine life. Highlights include the Cayman Trader, a Norwegian cargo ship which caught fire and sank off Jamaica's shores in 1977; the La Domicana, a schooner that sank in Kingston Harbor after a hurricane in 1951, the "Kim and Trader" lumber ship wreck and the Texas wreck, a 100-foot-long American naval vessel which sank in 1944 after a collision.

One of the best known diving sites in Port Royal is Windward Edge, which lies seven miles (11km) outside of Kingston Cays. This site offers some wonderful photo opportunities because there is an excellent variety of sea life. Colourful sponges, corals, gorgonians and sea fans can be observed here, as well as anemones, rock beauties, blackbar soldierfish, filefish, nurse sharks and many other marine creatures.

Some of the dive sites mentioned are suitable for more advanced divers, so further qualifications may be needed, but diving centres in Port Royal and Kingston will be able to offer advice, training and certification from professional instructors once you are there.

Local scuba diving operators will also have the most current information regarding diving regulations in Port Royal's sunken city, which will be an exciting addition to your scuba diving holiday in Port Royal if you get the chance.

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