DIVE SITES AROUND ZAPATA'S SWAMP ON BOARD M/Y GEORGIANA
Cañón de Sigua
Very close to Key Sigua there is a seagrass bed 10 mtr deep that falls slightly to 15 mtr, and then sand bar that maintains the drop smoothly until the 24 mtr, where a very vertical wall begins with small steps to 32 mtr. It has many small colonies of black coral, goliath grouper, jacks, rays, barracudas, and abundant coral formations on the sandy area before falling down the wall. There are abundant sponges of all shapes and breathtaking visibility.
Sandy area 12 mtr deep, which gives way to the edge of the wall forming a ridge before falling, with many purple tunicates and round anemones.
Cañón de Cayo Blanco
The vertical wall starts at only 7 mtr. There is a rupture at the edge of the wall, which reaches or exceeds 40 mtr, with a school of permit inside the barrel or crack, schools of jacks, and some barracudas. The wall is impressive because of the large number of sponges, especially to the north of the crack. There are many colonial anemones, with shrimp that live in them.
Pared de Cayo Blanco
It is next to Key Blanco Canyon in the northwest direction. It is a vertical wall from 6 mtr deep, practically unique in Cuba, with many sponges, stony corals and gorgonians. Great visibility, some barracudas, schools of jacks. In its upper part there are colonies of Acropora Cervicornis, (staghorn) with schools of grunts. There are some rays.
Blue Hole - Sigua
Very close to Cay Sigua. It is located exactly at the west end of one of the reef crests at only 4 mtr. The entrance is an opening of about 6 mtr long by 3 mtr wide; its vertical walls fall to 83 mtr deep. One side of the wall is almost vertical and the other side has an overhang, this way, as we descend the cavity it becomes larger. At the very entrance of the blue hole, there are lobsters, nudibranchs, yellow-headed snappers, flamingo tongue, etc.
It is recommended to dive this site very carefully by the level of risk represented by this Blue Hole. As a group enters, the bubbles release sediments that fall to the bottom, reducing visibility. I also recommend this point for night dives, without entering the cavity, because of the large number of organisms it houses, and the protection offered by the coral barrier.
It is found leaving the lighthouse of Sigua by the southeast side, under a boat behind the horseshoe. The reef forms a large natural horseshoe, which is a well-known anchorage. With the boat inside the horseshoe, the Blue Hole is at the northwestern tip of the second ridge of the horseshoe. There are small portions of reef crest, and you only have to look for the second ridge to the northwest, and at its northwest, behind the ridge end, is the blue hole at only 4 mtr deep.
Located behind the reef crest. Night diving would be very good, between 1 and 3 mtr deep. Just behind Key Blanco is a small ridge of reefs on the east side of the key. At night you can see octopus, squid, moray eels, rays, balloon fish. Shrimp, crabs, nudibranchs, etc. There is very good visibility.
Corona de Cayo Cobo
It is formed by a coral bar, 30 mtr wide and 800 mtr long in its upper part (5-9 mtr), with drops on both sides, forming almost vertical walls on both sides of the bar, with many sponges, stony corals, colonies of black coral, soft corals, etc. There are some cubera snappers, angelfish, schools of grunts porgies, and some schools of spadefish.
Its access is very easy, entering the Gulf of Cazones by the east band and passing Key El Calvario. There are some rails in the border that belonged to an old pier, and 500 mtr ahead there is a bar of clear blue that makes contrast with the dark blue, very clearly. The wall to the west is better than the east, and generally with better visibility. It is necessary to take into account in which direction is the current to not have to swim against it. There is almost always a moderate current.
Near Key Siguathis is a reef crest that forms a horseshoe, with many colonies of very healthy elkhorn coral, some schools of jacks, blue tangs, grunts, some barracudas. Good for snorkeling and diving. Under the boat in the horseshoe of Sigua, there is the second rectangular reef crest looking towards the northwest. This spot is very good for night dives behind the crest, with depth ranging between 2 and 5 mtr.
Bottom at 15 mtr near the edge of the cliff making a ridge at a lower depth of 12 mtr before falling. The wall is not completely vertical most of the way. There are some cuberas, barracudas, stingrays, and all kinds of reef fish. There are also many sponges.
It is very close to Key Medano de Vizcaino. It is formed by a wall between 13 and more than 30 mtr deep. There are many gorgonians, some small rays in the sand, and American Spondrylus. It forms steps in some places.
La Farola de Guerrero
It is east of the obelisk to Ernest Tellman. The wall goes from 12 mtr to over 35 with black corals, some cuberas, a promontory of coral that comes out of the cliff. There are shoals of mangrove snapper and different species of grunts in its upper part.
La Pared Negra
It is a wall in front of Ernest Tellman Key, where the drop begins between 10 and 12 mtr in depth, forming two mountains of coral stuck to the wall between 20 and 30 mtr, with a separation between them of more than 40 mtr. Many colonies of black coral, some school masters, many interesting sponges. There are schools of jacks and barracudas.
There is a long crest to the south of Keys Ballenato, between 1 and 7 mtr. There are many fish, like parrotfish, barracudas, hermit crabs, mojarras, rays, etc. Spectacular for night diving.
Reef located in the center of the Gulf of Cazones, very close to a red buoy signal, between 1 and 5 mtr in depth. Located in the very entrance of the Gulf of Cazones. There are many colonies of elkhorn and staghorn coral. According to some Cuban and American specialists, it is one of the best-preserved reefs in Cuba, and with the greatest abundance of organisms. This is a great spot for snorkeling or for a shallow dive.
Pared al norte de Cayo Palomo
Very close to Palomo Key, about a mile north, there is an irregular wall between 7 and 25 mtr deep. It gives way to a sandy area, with mounds of coral, some cuberas, schools of jacks, multicolored sponges and stony corals.
Muelle de Cayo El Calvario
Located exactly between the piles of an old pier of Key El Calvario. This place is very well sheltered and with good visibility. Depths range between 2 and 5 mtr. The piles are covered by all kinds of organisms, and invertebrates, and at night you can see lobsters, crabs, octopuses, polychaetes, decorated crabs, squids, coffin fish. Good for night dives.
Jardín de Las Gorgonias
Located opposite to Key Ernest Tellman. Vertical wall that falls from 18 mtr, with colonies of deep gorgonians, black corals, many sponges, many anemones, etc. The highest part of the reef forms a bar of coral to only 10 mtr, and by more than 800 mtr in length.
Jardín de las Esponjas
Opposite Key Ernest Tellman. Vertical wall after the previous point in an easterly direction, with the same coral bar at only 10 mtr. The wall drops from 15 mtr. Some barrel sponges, black coral, anemones, school of medium shrubs moving along the cliff. There are schools of dog snapper on the cliff, hawksbills, coffin fish and lobsters.
Blue Hole - Golfo de Cazones
About half a mile north of Key Palomo the tip aligns north of Palayo Key with the tip of Key El Calvario off the deep cliff. Half a mile on a platform 8 mtr deep is the Blue Hole. It is formed by two dolines of 7 mtr in diameter and 8 mtr deep, that form a single vertical cavity of more than 30 mtr deep, with many overhangs, cuberas, permits, schools of barracudas, there is a small reef with grunts and anemones. There is another reef at 8 mtr, with many small fish; there are starfish, colonial anemones and lobsters.
The cavity is small. A large group of divers should not enter at the same time because they would lift a lot of suspension. There are sand cascades, many flaps inside the hollow, with permits and cuberas. It’s ideal to make two groups. It is given the name after the Fishing boat 303, who gave us this information about the two blue holes.
Boya No. 77
Close to Palomo Key, Gulf of Cazones. To the north of Palomo Cay is a cliff that goes in a northerly direction, from a platform of 11 mtr, the cliff falls smoothly to 32 mtr, with many colonies of black coral, snappers, some cuberas, barracudas, red hinds and sponges.
DIVING EXPLORATION OF THE GULF OF CAZONES, SIGUA AND CAYO BLANCO
Canto de Nirvana
In front of the shallow reef of Nirvana, in the Gulf of Cazones, we must swim by the cliff from this point to Key Palomo. It is formed by a profile of the bottom between 10 and 20 mtr in depth. From 20 mtr deep, it forms an almost vertical wall with many lobsters, king crabs, barracudas, hogfish, yellowtail tail snapper, many hard corals, tubular sponges, parrotfish, and some cuberas.
Opposite Key Ernest Thelman. A white sandy bottom descends gently from 7 to 12 mtr in depth, with many sponges, coral formations, and gorgonians, with black coral, yellow snapper, barracudas from 12 mtr down the wall gradually, with some channels of sand and many coral formations between them. There are many ascidia violet in color.
Opposite Key Ernest Thelman. Located to the east of the monument. We must swim from this point to the monument by the cliff. The bottom forms a coral bar between 12 and 15 mtr, and from that point the wall falls. On the other side of that bar the bottom falls to almost 20 mtr deep to a sandy area, the wall there is almost vertical. There are many colonies of black coral, many red hinds, many tubular sponges, and large schools of blue chromis and creole wrasses. Some cuberas, yellow snapper, French angel, and deep gorgonians.
Located opposite to Calvario. The dive begins with a rocky bottom and a vertical wall. The wall has a depth of 15 mtr, with enough variety of sponges, where you can see black coral, rays, spotted moray eels, lobsters and Nudibranchs. It is a bottom with a significant diversity of reef fish.
This point is located about two miles east of Key Sigua. A seagrass bed to 7 mtr depth descends gently to 13 mtr, giving way to a sandy bottom with isolated coralline formations, until the 20 mtr in depth where a vertical wall begins. Hogfish, schools of cuberas, some nudibranches in the seagrass bed forming colonies. Yellow-headed gobies, garden eels, spotted moray eel, sea cucumbers of different species, and jacks. There are some rocks in the seagrass area that serve as refuge for many organisms. We saw clown crab, lobsters and rays.
In the platform between Key Largo and Megano Vizcaino there is a 7 mtr deep channel. The entrance is staggered and only about 8 mtr long, gradually narrowing until forming a tunnel that continues descending at a 45 degree angle to 26 mtr deep where it begins to form a large gallery. At the entrance there are many grunts, anemones, mangrove snapper, barracudas and cuberas. There were two nurse sharks inside the room. There are tidal currents, which means that this cavity can be dangerous.