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Saba and St Kitts Dive Sites

St Kitts



    These are perhaps the three best known of Saba's fantastic pinnacles, situated together on a seamount about half a mile west of ladder Bay. On their outer side they rise from 2000ft, topping off at 70-100ft. These volcanic rock pinnacles are coated in a forest of gorgonians, sponges and hard coral formations. Clouds of fish, swirling along the rock face, include grouper, sergeant-majors, angelfish and snapper. The intricate network of holes and caverns within the rock - formed as lava cooled rapidly on contact with the water - are home to invertebrates and crustacea, all vying for the best space. Third Encounter is a horseshoe shaped seamount that within its centre has one of the highlights of any dive in the Caribbean – the eye of the Needle. A massive lava spire that rises from immense depth to within about 80ft of the surface, this pinnacle is covered in sponges and soft corals, and shrouded in fish.

    A shallow pinnacle the rises from an 80ft sandy seafloor to thrust out into the air, towering another 60ft skywards. The marine growth found around this pinnacle is profuse, with encrusting stinging coral & yellow tubes sponges in the shallows, deepwater gorgonians and pink anemones at depth; you wil find little brown spotted shrimps in these anemones. On the east side is an outcrop encrusted with barrel sponges, star coral & brain coral. You will see schools of barracuda, horse-eyed jacks, graysbys and coneys along the reef, and on close inspection of the lower reaches of the rock you may find a yellow frogfish. It is an excellent place to find flying gurnards in the sand.

    Just east of Diamond Rock, this twin rock structure lies in the sandy bottom at 70 feet rising to 15-20ft feet of the surface. You can swim round the rocks in a spiral formation enjoying the black coral trees & deepwater gorgonians at the bottom, yellow and purple tube sponges at the top. Sergeant majors are very abundant, nesting along the lower margins of the rocks and coneys & graysbys will follow you around waiting for a free handout!

    Situated just off the steps from Ladder Bay, this is a deep dive as the reef starts in about 65ft. You will find large stands of deep sea gorgonians all over this reef, and on the northern slope at about 90ft you will find an old anchor encrusted into the coral next to a large colony of green pillar coral. The top of the reef is made up of mountainous & cavernous star corals, finger corals and yellow pencil corals, with soft corals waving in the mild current There is usually a school of about 50 barracuda on this reef, as well as groupers, snappers, creole wrazze and chromis.

    This reef is a meandering series of coral ridges with sand filled gullies between, giving the air of a labyrinth. Here you will find filefish, grunts and, in the sand gullies, yellowhead jawfish. The current highlight of this dive is the pair of orangy-brown seahorses that have taken up residence


St Kitts

    On the northwest corner of St Kitts is the sleepy little village of Sandy Point. In the shallow waters off the village is Paradise Reef, an undulating field of huge brain & star coral bommies covered with starlet corals & barrel sponges. Sand gullies weave between the coral heads, so you can dive along the bottom of the bommies, or across the top. The sea bed is littered with anchors and other maritime debris. Schools of goatfish, durgons, tang and wrasse scoot past, while shy garden eels inhabit the sandy patches between the coral formations. Landward of the reef the seafloor is a vast expanse of seagrass. Inspection of the margins of the sea grass, close to the reef itself, will unearth all sorts of small critters such as razorfish, brittle stars, conch and other critters.

    Sunk in 1985 during a hurricane, the River Taw is a 144ft coastal freighter that lies broken in half on the bottom in only 50ft of water. Despite it's relative youth as a wreck the ship already has an established coating of soft corals and hydroids, and at night she comes alive with small invertebrates that seek refuge within her during the day. Schools of big eyes lurk under sections of the hull and you can find well-camouflaged scorpionfish. On the anchor chain is a wonderful purple tube sponge colony. At night the wreck comes alive with a host of macro critters, but the highlight is the giant basket stars that ooze out of holes in the wreck, climb to the top and wave their myriad fronds in the current to feed. Nearby, across the sand and seagrass beds, is a collection of old cars. I found a turtle resting on one!



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