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This site is located on the west side of the Marine Park. Here the shallow reef drops down to a sandy bottom at 50 ft (15m) where there is a fixed mooring. There are two ways to do this dive; as a straight forward deep dive, returning to the same mooring, or as a multilevel dive with pick-up at the next mooring. Both dives will take you through tunnels and caverns, so this site is best suited for those divers who have mastered the skills of buoyancy control and who enjoy exploring tight passages. When the majority of the divers are not so experienced, the dive can also be done while staying on the outside of the wall, without entering the more enclosed spaces.
Spanish Anchors
Right beside the mooring, on the north side of the reef in 40 ft (12 m) you find an old, as yet undated, very large Spanish anchor. This anchor does not have much growth on it as yet, because after its discovery on the south coast, where it was buried in the sand, it was moved to this site in the park to provide more divers an opportunity to see it. In the last couple of years small sponges have started to grow on it and patches of brain coral are starting to form on the structure.

To the east you come to a slightly deeper sand patch in 70 ft (21 m), which is shaped like an ancient arena, with coral walls on all sides. Common inhabitants of the sand area are the furry sea cucumber, upside-down jellyfish and tobacco fish. There is another large, but incomplete anchor close to the south wall. Lead-ing to the outward wall are two tunnels which also provide access to more caverns with abundant black coral and sponges. At the outside wall large coral heads rise up from the sandy slope at a depth of over 120 ft (40m) up to about 80 ft (24 m). These massive heads are covered with large black coral colonies and tube, rope and elephant ear sponges. Sightings of eagle rays are quite common here, and in the deeper water large mutton snappers, and sometimes a nurse shark may pass by. A group of gray snappers can be found in the shallow reef on the west side of the mooring where the safety stop can be used for a final look at the shallower coral heads and its inhabitants.

If you are doing the multilevel dive you will continue the dive from the wall towards the next mooring. On your way Harry, the large resident barracuda who cruises the edge of the wall and the shallow reef, may make an appearance, but be sure to look up towards the surface once in awhile, otherwise you’ll miss him. You pass by the Window and Duppy’s Hole, an area with more tunnels and caverns, that forms a separate dive site. In some of the tunnels you will find the rare orange "sclero sponge," one of the few hard, reef building sponges, which are normally only observed at much greater depth.

The last 10 to 20 minutes, depend-ing on your air consumption, are spent in the shallow reef leading to the mooring at the Classroom, an area so called, because it is ideal for training dives. The safety stop is spent swimming around the shallow coral with a large colony of pil-lar coral near to the mooring as a prominent landmark. Among the permanent ten-ants of that area you will find a balloon fish hiding among the soft gorgonians in the company of a butter hamlet, and a fringed file fish blending in with the sea rod near to the mooring.

Comments

divingbear - 5/14/2014 5:27 PM
I went scuba diving here on 5/8/2014. Average viz: 51-60ft/16-18m. Water temp: 76-80°F/24-27°C.

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