This site is splendid for both deep and shallow dives. Visibility is usually fantastic, thanks to the constant gentle southerly currents.
Location: Coral Beach Nature Reserve runs from the Ambassador Hotel to the Underwater Observatory.
There is a small admission fee which entitles use of beach facilities.
· Parking for private vehicles: On-site parking lot
· Disabled access: Yes, however minimal assistance may be necessary in order to reach the water.
· Entry point: Entry to the water is possible from either of the two jetties inside the nature reserve, or from the small beach at the reserve's northern boundary.
About the dive: This site is splendid for both deep and shallow dives. Visibility is usually fantastic, thanks to the constant gentle southerly currents.
The seafloor is sandy in parts and coral-carpeted in others, sloping down gradually from 6m to 30m, with large coral structures to be seen at all depths.
A colourful and vibrant reef runs the length of the reserve at 2-3m, making an excellent long shallow dive or the perfect finish to a deep one.
· Dive Plan: The most comfortable entry points are the jetties inside the nature reserve as these allow for easy access and prevent divers from damaging the reef. From the jetties, the seafloor deepens to 8m, and at this depth the spectacular Moses Rock and Joshua Rock can be found.
From there, it is pleasant downhill diving over dense coral beds where the view is pure blue. The westward return trip offers lovely spots for safety stops and ultimately the reserve's lovely home reef leads back to the easily recognizable jetty.
· Marine life: Sohal and Brown Surgeonfish nibble on the jetty steps and buoy-lines, Flutemouths congregate beneath the jetty, whilst Needlefish and Lionfish hunt small fry around the surface.
Colourful Broomtail and Humphead Wrasse often follow divers, large schools of striped Sergeant Majors and clouds of Fairy Basslets (Anthias) decorate the coral formations.
In many scenic nooks, cleaning stations are run by officious blue and black Cleaner Wrasses, and the late afternoon offers no shortage of action as reef inhabitants of every size come to solicit their meticulous services. Groupers, goatfish, Morays and even the odd Barracuda are regular customers.
A peek under any rock in the reserve often reveals a puffer fish, stingray, or even octopus in hiding, whilst venturing out over the drop-off can lead to encounters with open-sea fish.
Large table corals with accompanying Lemon Gobies are found at around 20m.
· Safety Warning: Whilst on the surface, the red-and-white markers which denote the boat-free zone may also not be crossed.
The buoy line which protects the reef may also not be traversed.