SPECIALTY DIVES BY
Shark Dive - (Offered daily at 2:00 pm) Following an orientation in the Photo-Video Center, you will head out to Shark Junction, a 45-foot dive location. Caribbean reef sharks, ranging in size from 4-6 feet, are usually accompanied by a nurse shark, a large stingray, grouper, and sometimes a large green moray eel. Very exciting, this dive allows you to witness shark feeding up close! Return to see the video of you with the sharks!
Night Dive - (Offered Mon., Wed., Sat., on request, with 4 diver minimum) Normally at a medium dive site (40-60 feet), you will see a whole different world at night! Octopus, lobster and crabs all come out at night. See parrot fish sleeping in the coral behind their protective shield. Swim along during lights-out to see the bioluminescence.
Cavern Dive - (Offered on request to groups of 4 divers maximum) Get off the boat! Visit one of a range of underground caverns that network the island with a local guide. Experience unlimited visibility and halocline while surrounded by stalactites, stalagmites, and a 20,000 year old fossilized reef. This is a 2 1/2-3 hour trip that includes transportation and dive lights.
- (Offered on request to 2 divers minimum, boat available) Don't return
to the dock between dives. Let our captain take you to 2 sites on
one trip. Visit any combination of deep, medium, and shallow sites
that UNEXSO has to offer.
Theo's Wreck - Sunk for UNEXSO in 1982, Theo's was a 228-foot cement hauler. She lies on her port side at 100 feet, adjacent to the continental shelf. The dive includes two penetrations - the engine room and the cargo hold. A giant green moray plus a few spotted eels sometimes reside in the wreck.
Jose's Wreck - Balanced between two separate coral heads, this 40-foot tugboat allows divers to swim under the hull. Lobsters and crabs can occasionally be seen hiding in the crevices between the wreck and the reef. In the winter, congregations of tiger groupers are in the vicinity.
Edge of the Ledge - The mooring is set at 100 feet on a sandy bottom. To the south you will see the slope of the continental shelf that drops off dramatically. Following the ledge, you will see small scattered coral heads. Keep an eye out for hammerhead sharks, eagle and manta rays that may be cruising by the ledge.
Gale's Grotto - At the mooring you will find solid coral with surge channels that gradually slope off to a depth of 80-90 feet. This site is close to the shark feeding area, so it is possible to see a shark or two swimming by.
- Named for the National Geographic photographer, Bates Littlehale,
this site has two lairs (small caves) created by the coral growing over
the surge channels. It is possible to swim through the most westerly
of these two lairs. This area is loaded with white, French and blue
SPID City - SPID is an acronym for the Self-contained, Portable, Inflatable Dwelling that was once used for short term habitation experiments in the mid-to-late 70s. A twin engine Aztec aircraft, once used in the "Sea Hunt" series, is nestled on the sandy bottom. Large schools of blue parrot fish are often seen grazing on the bottom.. As you head south, the coral will become solid with surge channels running through it.. This site is very close to the location of the shark dive, so you may see one or two Caribbean reef sharks passing through.
Arrow Point - The coral heads at this site form a rough triangle, hence the name. You can see a bit of everything here; sandy bottom at the blue hole, scattered coral heads to the east and more solid reef to the west and southwest. A blue hole, eel garden and stingrays are some of the highlights.
Picasso's Gallery - Here you find a pretty sting of coral heads on a sandy plateau that should be visited as pieces of art in a gallery. On one isolated head, there are star corals of three different colours. Take your time to examine the individual coral heads as you can often find arrow crabs or red banded coral shrimp in their nook and crannies. Further south, the scattered coral heads become a more solid fringing reef.
Ben's Blue Hole - At this site there is a horseshoe-shaped ledge with several coral heads growing on the lip. This ledge is a blue hole and part of a large fracture that runs east from the mooring line. By following the fracture over two coral heads, you will find another small blue hole behind the second coral head. Very often you will find jacks, schoolmasters, dogsnappers, porkfish and schools of creole wrasse by these holes.
- Once a car ferry operating in the Carolinas, this vessel was featured
in the movie "Halloween". Sunk in early 1992 in an area of scattered
coral heads, schools of silversides, shad, schoolmaster snappers and grouper
make their home in and under the wreck.
Treasure Reef - This site received its name in the mid-sixties when four young men stumbled on an old Spanish wreck that contained several thousand silver coins. The coins recovered from this area have been estimated to be worth about three million dollars. Today, schools of blue, striped, black and French grunts are prevalent. Wide, white sandy surge channels have formed between the overhangs of elkhorn, brain and star corals.
Pillar Castle - Named for its large stands of pillar coral, one on a finger of reef just north of the main reef area, another directly across from the mooring. The south end is hollow, forming a cavern that is usually filled with fish in the late summer - silversides, sometimes glass eyed sweepers or hatchetfish.. Occasionally, it can be the lair of a large green moray eel.
Rainbow Reef - North of the mooring there is a broken bottom with two stands of pillar coral. Hovering over this area are schools of yellowtail goatfish, grunts and sergeant majors. There is mountainous star coral surrounded by a stand of elkhorn coral. Schools of silversides occupy the cave formed under the coral.
Sea Hunt - Portions of the television series "Sea Hunt" were filmed here. West of the mooring, there is a large isolated start coral that hosts sea fans and other soft corals. Blue headed wrasse, blue and grey cromus, and sergeant majors swim above the coral head. You may see a dark male sergeant major guarding a patch of purple eggs. The eggs are either attached under the overhand or on the hard bottom below.
Blackbeard's Springs - This is a very pretty site on the eastern end of a large stretch of coral. At the mooring there is a blue hole that is about one foot in diameter. This hole will either be blowing or sucking depending on tidal movement. At the eastern end of the reef you can normally find large school of grunts, snappers or perhaps some Bermuda chub.
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