the cavern to the north, make certain to keep to no more than 20
metres depth and swimming towards the right one can follow another
small wall or overhang that leads to a small swim-through to ones
right which contains a cannon ball. Beyond this now swimming towards
the islet again there is a small sandy bay leading to yet another
small cavern. Here in the sandy bottom at a depth of 17 metres,
a number of artifacts have been recovered over the years, this being
the site of the sinking of a small French warship the 'La Laurette'
in 1883. The cavern itself is also very interesting for the myriad
species of sponges, Bryozoans (false corals) and small anemones
that encrust the walls and ceiling.
now towards the Coral Galleries, swim at a depth of 12 metres around
a rocky ridge to reach the upper of the two northern exit/entry
points of the galleries. Once back inside one can either swim up
through the funnel and return towards the anchor point following
the shallower parts of the rocky reefs around the islet, or descend
again into the Coral Galleries to no more than 15 metres depth and
then swim south towards the large southern opening along the intermediate
level of the cavern, before beginning the return to the anchor point.
Within the cavern it is well worth taking time to observe the incredible
encrustations of life that form the ceiling of the Coral Galleries
and which have given this cavern its name. Sponges, bryozoans or
sea mosses which are also known as false corals, yellow encrusting
anemones and a number of different species of ahermatypic corals
all coexist together forming an incredible palette of colours.
It is also worth taking a close look at any cracks or holes in the
rock formations, where it is not uncommon to find a Conger eel,
Conger conger or Moray, Muraena Helena hiding away during the daylight
hours, in fact there have been times when both species have been
seen to share the same hideout.
are also quite frequently seen around the Coral Galleries. During
the late spring and early summer many may be found in deeper water,
hiding in small holes and crevices and which upon closer inspection
reveals that the octopus is in fact protecting a nest full of eggs.
Later, during the summer they are also frequently found in the shallower
waters, along the rocky reefs surrounding the Coral Galleries.
North side of
the Coral Galleries showing the entry/exit points
© Oceanic Research & Publishing Ltd