|Four substantial pinnacles
stand on the edge of a steep slope stretching towards but not quite reaching the surface.
As you weave around them you will see a proliferation of sea life. The closest pinnacles
are separated by a gap of no more than 4 feet. There is an abundance of coral, including
black coral, and as many fish and invertebrates as you have time to see.
There are quite strong currents and a deep drop-off, so buoyancy control is important for safety and to protect the reef from damage. The dive is best done as a drift as getting back to the entry point against the current is difficult. This is a dive you could do more than once and see something new each time.
Click on image for larger map
|The dive begins between the
most westerly yacht mooring and the SMMA buoy. When we do this dive, the top 10 feet of
water is very cloudy, but we soon submerge to clear water and can see the first of the
pinnacles. Swimming toward it you can see the steep slope of the reef fall away to the
An area of broken finger and pencil coral at 20 feet is followed by a huge expanse of live healthy pencil coral, almost as far as the eye can see. It looks like a cultivated meadow ready for harvesting. It is rare to see a predominance of one type of coral covering such a large area.
As you continue around the pinnacle at about 50 feet you will come to a patch of green grape algae which is worth a closer look as it is a favourite haunt of colourful nudibranch. A pile of old tyres here seems a pity but a plan to remove them has been abandoned because they have become part of the reef.
Creole wrasse are here in large numbers. To us they epitomise something of the nature of these Caribbean islands. A strong dark band around the nose reminds us of a shameful past of shackles and slavery; a cobalt blue like the Caribbean sea covers half the body, reflecting the great influence of the sea on these islands; the body then becomes bright yellow like the brilliant sun; and, finally, the tail gives a flash of purple for the spirit of people who know how to party like no one we have ever known.
We continue around the base, and the second pinnacle is alongside the first. The distance between the two is about 4 feet, with a sandy bottom and vertical faces to the two pinnacles. We are swimming against the current which simply means that we travel slowly enough to take in the wonderful display of coral, sponges and black coral which adorn these walls. The feathery black coral found here is not black at all, but a striking fiery orange. This second pinnacle stops 20 feet short of the surface.
Swimming west, the third pinnacle soon emerges and is as much a delight as the first two. It is completely covered in orange and black sea fans with encrusting sponges fighting for an opportunity to be seen; it is a remarkable combination of varied colours and textures. Vase sponges on the face of the pinnacles house enterprising cleaner shrimps. This pinnacle stops 25 feet short of the surface and the entire area is worthy of exploration.
Move west again and the fourth pinnacle will be found. There is a fissure in the rock here wide enough to enter; its walls are entirely encrusted in sponges. When you enter, look back to the east and you will see that the pinnacle, although seeming to be part of the rock wall behind, is in fact separate by a foot or so.
Inside the fissure the walls are a mosaic of colour that attract only the brightest fish; perhaps because they are the only ones visible against this psychedelic backdrop. Tiny purple and yellow fairy basslets busy themselves around the walls while rock beauties the colour of buttercups glide elegantly in and out.
The dive ends in an area of sand and coral. You will not be short of things to do on this dive. We could easily have spent the whole time on the first two pinnacles.
Thanks to Victor Antoine of Scuba St. Lucia.