The RMS Rhone was a British packet ship owned by the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company. She was wrecked off the coast of Salt Island in the British Virgin Islands on 29 October 1867 during a hurricane with the loss of approximately 123 lives. It is now a leading Caribbean wreck dive site .
Modern Dive Site:
The Rhone is now a popular dive site, and regarded by some as one of the best in World.Her bow section is still relatively intact, and although the wooden decks have rotted away, she still provides an excellent swim-through for divers. Her entire iron hull is encrusted with corals and overrun by fishes (and the local barracuda named Fang), and the cracks and crevices of her wreckage provide excellent habitats for lobsters, eels, and octopi. Her wreckage was also featured in the 1977 filming of The Deep, including a scene of Jacqueline Bisset diving in a T-shirt.
The wreck has been well treated over the years. There is a full set of wrenches, still visible on the deep part (each wrench being about 4 feet (1.2 m) long and weighing over 100 pounds (45 kg)), a few brass portholes and even a silver teaspoon. The large wrenches (or spanners) are located in 55 feet (17 m) of water. Similarly the wreck features the "lucky porthole", a brass porthole in the stern section which survived the storm intact and remains shiny by divers rubbing it for good luck.
For many years a popular resident of the wreck was a 500 pounds (230 kg) Goliath grouper, but a local fisherman was allowed to catch and kill it despite the area being a national park. Today the wreck is visited by hundreds of tourists every day, most of whom are more circumspect in their treatment of the site.
The wreck is not considered a difficult or dangerous dive-the maximum depth is 85 feet (26 m) of water, and only very small parts of the wreck represent any kind of overhead environment to swim through.The Rhone National Park was closed for a short time from 29 August 2011 due to a container ship (the Tropical Sun) running aground on rocks near Salt Island in the immediate vicinity of the wreck.The site has since reopened.