The Cliffs are located at the end of the wall that runs along the southern side of Statia. At this point the wall meets sand at 110 feet, the depth increasing as the wall progresses. The mooring buoy is anchored at around 60 feet in sand.
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We have a short swim across a flat area covered in star corals and sea rods. A school of Creole wrasse accompanies us to the cliff edge, but prefers to hover in the water column feeding on the suspended matter rather than to take a plunge over the edge.
The wall at this point is vertical, with small shelves cut into the face. Blackbar soldierfish perch on the shelves like exhibits in a natural science museum. Circular patches of plate coral hang like bronze wall decorations, and from the face of the wall lime-green strands emerge. Despite their colour these wire corals are members of the black coral family. As if to shame the two-dimensional wire coral, farther along the wall deepwater sea fans weave a multi-layered, complex web of thick black strands.
We continue with the wall on our left until we come to a canyon with a sand base. Up through the canyon takes us back onto the flat top of The Cliffs, where we finish the dive.
There are more fish on the plateau than on the wall, especially rockhinds, chromis, blue tangs, moray eels, and hamlets. A white spotted filefish, hovering near a gorgonian, catches our attention because it has a piece of sea fan protruding, as if stuck in its teeth. Dental floss is hard to come by under water. Our orthodontally-impaired filefish decides to swim over a rock where it meets another white spotted filefish and promptly turns from blotchy brown and orange to spotted black and white. Obviously there is room for only one blotchy liveried filefish round here.
Colour and patterns are an important part of the communication process between fish, though little is understood about the process. It should not surprise us however, even humans use colour to express moodwe blush pink, go green with envy and blue with cold.
The filefish occupies our remaining time before we make a slow ascent back to the boat.
Thanks to Dive Statia.