21 Jul Get to Know a Dive Site: The Aquarium
As you lean over the side of the boat, you can already see the bright colors, sandy bottoms, and fish everywhere. This dive site is named appropriately: The Aquarium!
Explore unique topography
Off the northwestern corner of Long Caye, the main reef trend turns abruptly to the east. In doing so, it forms a major point and begins a significant change in reef topography. Well-defined, long coral ridges and sandy canyons run perpendicular to the reef line here and farther eastward. These begin shallow, extending seaward to 60 ft or more below the surface. Like Silver Caves, the coral ridges have many holes and grottos, providing a haven for all kinds of invertebrate and fish life.
Moderate to strong currents flow across the reef here almost all the time. They are strongest over the reef top and may be entirely absent along the wall itself. Divers who explore the north-facing wall of the point may find troublesome currents too and are advised to plan their dive accordingly. Currents along the point generally sweep across the reef from the east. To minimize the effect of the current, divers should drop down to the reef surface. By swimming east at the start, you will enjoy an effortless return trip to the boat.
Enjoy unique fish and creatures
Named for its varied invertebrate life, the Aquarium is a good place to see the common and unusual. Crinoids or sea feathers are of special interest here during the day. Many of these animals, which are normally hidden deep in the reef elsewhere, are more visible at the Aquarium. A good place to look for them is near the crest of the wall. Their orange or yellow feather-Like arms are fully exposed here. Only the small body and cirri (attachment appendages) are tucked beneath the coral formations.
Deep-water lace coral and black coral are other common animals along the top 50 ft of the wall. Most extend horizontally away from the wall with their network of branches oriented perpendicular to the slight current that occasionally sweeps the reef.
Fish are also varied and colorful at this site. If you look on top of the reef and in the dividing channels, you can find the usual variety of tropicals. Parrotfish of all shapes, sizes, and varieties graze on the algae patches that mantle much of the reef top.
Contact us today to set up your visit to the Aquarium!