Near Dead Chest is a fabulous dive where parallel passages and vertical walls run perpendicular to the island. Three prominent fingers extend out to create color splashed canyons. The unusual underwater landscape and abundance of fish make Painted Walls one of the most popular dives in the BVI. The rocky ridges are coated with orange, purple, red, green and yellow encrusting coral accented by many hard and soft corals bouquets.
The northernmost valley between ridges brings you to an arch leading into a shallow pool where Silversides often gather and a pair of silvery Tarpon wait at the swim-through. Nurse Sharks and Hawksbill Turtles are likely to be resting in the passageways or roaming at the entrance. On the smaller side numerous Banded Shrimp and other invertebrates can be found under the ledges along the bottom of the pool.
The pillar coral has grown from several large colonies to a dozen or so healthy patches, with one particularly large colony on the most southern ridge.
Visibility is usually over 80 feet and brilliant sunshine makes the reef shimmer in living color. If you don't see a Hawksbill Turtle, Nurse Shark or Green Moray Eel here, you must have been looking the wrong way.
Text extracted from The Guide to Diving and Snorkeling in the British Virgin Islands by Jeff Williams, Ria O'Hagan.