Diving at dive site Flats Wall
|Name Dive Site:||Flats Wall|
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Right in the middle of Eastern Dip there is a little- known cut through the reef crest. No more than 15 feet (5 m) wide, it is an entrance to be used only by those who know the area well. Below this cut is a curious dive site known as Flats Wall. From the reef crest the bedrock slopes gently and consistently away to a depth of 45 to 50 feet (14-15 m) at the top of the drop-off.
This bedrock is covered in conch grass. One assumes from the name that the conch feed on this grass as well as sea grass, but no conch were seen on my visits to the site. Conch grass is different from sea grass; it looks like a covering of green moss and definitely attracts a number of different minute creatures. Hydrozoans, tunicates, small crabs and shrimp take the place of the common reef fishes, although a small number are always present. Large sea fans and gorgonians dominate the edge of the ledge. which awaits Half Moon Wall is incredible. The vertical wall at times cuts back in on itself, displaying many interesting features. Sponges protrude at right angles to the reef, competing for space with gorgonians and sea fans. Mountainous star and giant brain coral are interspersed with smaller clumps of staghorn, brain and lettuce coral. Anchored amongst these are the hydrozoans and tunicates.
The top of the wall is ablaze with fish life: large angelfishes in groups of four or five; every variety of buttterflyfish, always in pairs; large squirrelfishes posing outside their holes; and small grouper, impatient to see the world deeper down, looking and behaving in the same way as their much larger parents. Turtles are common-they lay their eggs on Half Moon Caye-but the real excitement is generated by the pelagics. This is the only sheltered dive site on the eastern side of any of the three atoll reefs and divers can expect some really amazing encounters. Oceanic whitetip sharks (complete with their attendant pilotfish), lemon, blacktip and bull sharks,are likely to be seen. The very largest of manta rays and good specimens of spotted eagle rays are frequently seen. At the very limit of safe diving are very large jewfish- some so large they might stalk the diver, although they pose no danger. The wall continues down well beyond the safe reach of scuba divers.
This magnificent site is only a short distance from the idyllic tropical island of Half Moon Caye, and combines marine and terrestrial beauty in a manner which is, in my experience, unsurpassed.
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