Dr. John (N) Reef
Divers descend through a complex area of reef boulders and swim-throughs. The reef wall itself supports many corals, in part because of the nutrients supplied by the strong currents on this site. Deep areas contain caves and tunnels, some with nurse sharks inside. Shallow areas feature rare corals, parrotfi shes and sand-reef channels.
Points of Special Interest
1. Reef boulder area – The complex structure of this area makes it a great home for coral reef organisms. The sand channels surrounding the boulders meet in a swimthrough leading to the reef wall.
2. Pillar coral – These beautiful corals grow in tall columns. Their large polyps are always extended, making the colony appear furry even during the day, when most corals hide their polyps.
3. Plateform corals – These corals spread out in deep areas to catch more sunlight. Look underneath the coral plates to find nocturnal species hiding in their shade.
4. Long-spined sea urchin area – These spiny creatures were very common in the Caribbean prior to a widespread die-out in the mid 1980’s. This site offers the rare chance to see large individuals of this species.
5. Nurse shark area – These passive sharks are nocturnal, feeding on crustaceans under the cover of darkness. During the day they can be found resting in the back reef, often under ledges or in caves.
6. Staghorn coral & threespot damselfish – Threespot damselfish defend territories within the branches of staghorn coral. Look for tubular damselfish chimneys, scar tissue left behind where the fish have bitten the corals.
7. Stingray area – Southern stingrays feed in sandy areas. Watch for hungry bar jacks that accompany the ray in order to snap up creatures flushed out by their friend
8. Rare parrotfish area – Rare parrotfish species such as the large blue parrotfish, midnight parrotfish and rainbow parrotfish can be found here.
Species to Discover
Blue Tang, Staghorn Coral, Foureye Butterflyfish, Caribbean Reef Shark, Southern Stingray, Long-spined Urchin, Cleaning Goby, Nurse Shark, Pillar Coral, Coney, Tiger Grouper, Blue Parrotfish, Midnight Parrotfish, Rainbow Parrotfish