Liveaboard Diving in Big Mamas Reef

What To Expect On A Big Mama's Reef Liveaboard

Liveaboards to Big Mama's Reef will visit what is primarily a large channel of sand that is contained by a colossal reef. Located just off Point Blanche Bay, St. Maarten, to the southeast, The maximum depth of this site is 164 feet (50 m), although the average depth is 40 feet (12 m). Visibility is usually around 100 feet (30 m), and, with the weak current, this site is suitable for Open Water divers or equivalent.

Positioned between Time Tunnels and Hens & Chickens and to the east of HMS Proselyte, the site lies beyond the traffic of cruise ships and in calm waters.

What you can see

Sharks! Caribbean reef sharks are the most common shark species here, with the occasional visit from nurse sharks and the Atlantic sharp-nose shark if you're lucky. Nurse and Caribbean reef sharks can measure up to 10 feet (3m) in length, providing a prime opportunity to take some amazing photos to show off to your friends! Diving with sharks from a liveaboard cruise at Big Mama's Reef is a great thrill and safe activity.

Big Mama's Reef is incredibly special. It is one of the few remaining locations in the Caribbean where sharks naturally congregate and are free to come and go. But why does this make Big Mama's Reef so important?

Every year, an estimated 100 million sharks are killed. Typically, they are targeted for their fins or caught as by-catch on trawlers. We have only begun to understand the profound devastation this is causing all oceans.

Sharks curate the oceans as apex predators and act as ocean health indicators. They keep the general balance of life sustainable in the ocean. Sharks achieve this by being efficient predators; they target weak, sick, and slow fish, prevent the spread of diseases, and ensure that numbers of other competitive predators stay under control. This helps to establish and maintain healthy schools of fish and high biodiversity.

Big Mama's Reef is where you will also see the larger species, such as grouper, barracuda, stingrays, and the very pretty French angelfish. Big, complicated structures of Elkhorn coral are found on the surrounding reef, providing the perfect shelter for many other species like parrotfish, lobster, squirrelfish, and shrimp.

Getting there

Although accessible by smaller boats on day trips, a St. Maarten/Martin liveaboard cruise offers the best means of diving Big Mama's Reef, avoiding a long trip in a small boat over choppy water. The Caribbean Explorer II liveaboard departs from Bobby's Marina in Philipsburg, St. Maarten, or the Basseterre Marina in St. Kitts.

St. Maarten/Martin's only airport is Princess Juliana International Airport in Simpson Bay, St. Maarten. Air France and KLM offer daily flights from Europe, while several carriers from the US also fly directly. From here, it is a short drive to Philipsburg, the capital of St. Maarten, on the southern Dutch half of the island.

If departing from St. Kitts, flights are available to Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport, the island's only international airport. Just like St. Maarten, it is a short drive to anywhere on the island.