Scuba Diving Site Write-Ups – Sodwana Bay

UnknownScuba Diving Site Write-Up by Fiona McIntosh and MapStudio.

Two Mile Reef, Sodwana Bay. All Open Water Scuba Divers – Boat Launch – Average depth 10m

Two Mile Reef, is 2km long, 900m and is Sodwana Bay’s biggest and most popular scuba diving reef, with numerous dive sites on the main reef and outlying areas, many of which can be combined on one dive.

Most Scuba Diving is Done Here.

Extensive coral gardens, caves and arches, great shoals of reef fish and wonderful macro-life offer something for everyone, and this, as well as its shallow depth, relatively protected position and proximity to Jesser Point, means that it is the most dived reef by far – if you learn to dive at Sodwana, this is where you’ll do most of your scuba diving training.

Five Mile Reef, Sodwana Bay. Advanced Scuba Divers – Boat Launch – Average Depth 21m

If corals are your passion while scuba diving, head to Five Mile Reef, which has the greatest coral diversity of all Sodwana’s reefs, with extensive fields of mushroom, plate and staghorn corals sheltering huge numbers of tiny, colourful reef fish.

Advanced Scuba Diving.

The depth of this reef means that it is only offered to advanced scuba divers, so the outstanding corals are in pristine condition. The flat reef is brimming with tropical fish and contains various fissures and potholes, which are home to moray eels, lionfish and interesting anemones with their attendant clownfish, so it’s not surprising that diving Five Mile is often described as diving in an aquarium. Gamefish are abundant, while rare scuba diving sightings include leopard, whitetip and blackreef sharks.

Seven Mile Reef, Sodwana Bay. Advanced Scuba Divers – Boat Launch – Average depth 18m

“Seven Mile Reef compares with any dive site in the world and we would probably list it as our all-time best,” claim by Brian and Corlia Ring of Reeftech, one of Sodwana Bay’s most established scuba diving school.

Two Scuba Diving Sites.

Seven Mile is in fact two dive sites, both of similar depth, and equally impressive. When the current is running is running north-south you dive the Northern Wall, a drop-off from around 15-24m, and Amphitheatre, a sunken circular depression some 3-6m deeper than the rest of the reef.

Scuba Diving Heaven.

The diverse coral life includes whip corals, corrugated coral, layers of plate and table coral (especially in amphitheatre) and wonderful thistle coral on top of bommies – home to large numbers of goldies.

Wall Scuba Diving Seeing it All.

The wall is big enough to give you that buzz off diving a drop-off, and you’ll often see stingrays at the base. The reef is home to hordes of trumpetfish, , bluebanded snappers, flame goatfish, yellow and dory snappers as well as Diana’s hogfish, huge scorpionfish, whip coral gobies and nose-stripe anemone fish. Paperfish hide in the overhangs, while just off the reef you’ll find slender baardman and elongate surgeonfish (plankton feeders) that can be seen changing colour (from pale blue to black) as they come down onto the reef for treatment at a cleaning station.

Do what the Underwater Current Does.

If the current is running in the opposite direction you start in the south on Mushroom Rocks – huge mushroom-shaped bommies covered in thistle coral and frequented by juvenile batfish – about 10m off the southern part of Seven Mile. Keep your scuba diving masks peeled for delicate whip coral gobies and porcelain crabs in an anemone between two mushrooms, then follow a large wall on the reef, which continues northeast, before crossing over the reef onto Castle Rock, a large pinnacle sitting among lots of smaller bommies and boulders.

Plenty to see on this dive.

• Plenty of trumpetfish • bluebanded snappers • flame goatfish • yellow and dory snappers • large potato bass • honeycomb rockcod • raggies and grey reef sharks have also often been spotted while scuba diving.

Nine Mile Reef, Sodwana Bay. Advanced Scuba Divers – Boat Launch – Average depth 18m

Nine Mile Reef is an extremely long reef, so again you cannot hope to scuba dive it all at one go – in fact, you could say it consists of four sites (some of which you might be able to combine when the current is running): the inside of Nine Mile, Green Tree, Breaking Waters and the section in-between the latter two.

Great Diving Sights.

You won’t be disappointed by any section of this reef – the distance (that would be nine miles) from the launch site means that it’s only dived on relatively flat seas, and there’s usually a premium on the cost to go out this far. The result is the reef is in superb condition, with wonderful sponges and soft and hard corals, including big coral trees like the dramatic Green Tree (after which the best known part of the reef is named) which provides shelter to a host of colourful little goldies, damselfish and sweetlips that scoot over scuba divers as they approach.

Diverse Marine Sights.

Nine Mile is renowned for its diverse marine life which includes huge shoals of reef fish, big potato bass and moray eels, as well as hawksbill, leatherback, loggerhead and green turtles. The typography is awesome and consists of pinnacles, swim-throughs among the boulders, and drop-offs adorned with black coral and gorgonian fans.

Keep your eyes peeled, you may just see swimming nudibranchs – apparently the only place they are found on the Sodwana reefs! Breaking Waters, on the landward side of the reef, is a wonderful site to dive on a calm day, but good buoyancy control is paramount. The site, between 3m and 8m deep, consists of tunnels and caves, but one of the attractions at this site is just hanging around and watching the waves breaking overhead – quite a surreal experience. Bring a torch with your scuba diving kit as you may want to go exploring. Big schools of passing gamefish are regularly sighted, as are ragged-tooth and grey reef sharks.

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