Dry Rocks East – 30-80 ft Intermediate / Advanced
A favorite site with local dive leaders, a dive here almost always provides some of the more unusual marine life. Situated off the East side of Cooper Island, the wash rocks breaking the surface focus the currents running between Cooper and Ginger Islands attracting in a range of fish from schools of horse eye jacks to African pompano, Atlantic spadefish, hawksbill turtles, shark-like cobia and nurse sharks. The shallow waters up against the wash rocks teem with sergeant majors, chromis, creole wrasse and black durgon. However, the currents that bring in life can also make for a challenging dive – the exposed location can make diving here impossible due to rough water and divers should pay close attention to the dive leader if currents are present on the site.
Devil’s Kitchen – 20-60 ft Novice / Intermediate
Another favorite local site, again only possible on calmer days due to its exposed position up against the Eastern shoreline of Cooper Island. Swimming South from the mooring brings the divers to a shelf, 30 ft deep on top and ranging from 40 to 55 feet deep at the bottom. As the dive continues, the shelf becomes more undercut, with the rock structure forming a bizarre ’swiss cheese’ lattice which provides numerous hideouts for reef fish and lobster. Schooling reef fish proliferate around the ledge and we have seen large snapper, turtles and tarpon. This makes for an excellent second dive – especially when paired with Dry Rocks East as a first dive.
Markoe Point – 40-80 ft Intermediate
Tucked around the southeast corner of Cooper Island, Markoe Point usually enjoys protection from the elements at the mooring. Ahead of the boat, a v-shaped groove with an overhung lip leads divers around the point and onto the eastern edge of the island where the coastline drops vertically from the waterline to about 80 ft. This provides for a very imposing underwater vista and gives a focal point for jacks, mackerel, barracuda and occasionally pompano and spadefish.
Thumb Rock – 30-50 ft Novice
Situated South of the Marie L and Pat wrecks, Thumb Rock consists of a giant boulder rising from 60 ft to within 15 ft of the surface. Large schools of creole wrasse gather around the boulder along with numerous lobster. Numerous tarpon are also usually found hanging out around the bottom of the boulder.
Wreck Alley – 50-85 ft Intermediate
This quadruple wreck site consists of the Marie L, a cargo boat intentionally sunk in the early 1990s, the Pat, a tugboat sunk a few years later that now lies up against the Marie L, the Beata (sunk in 2001) and the Island Seal (sunk in 2009). Whilst the wrecks themselves provide an interesting feature to explore, be sure to look for the large colony of garden eels slightly around the wrecks and the stingrays that frequent the area – these are much braver than at other sites and will happily swim through the middle of the dive group. Time on the wrecks is limited due to the depth so the dive is completed on the shallower reef (about 50 ft) around the dive boat mooring. Just north of the Tugs is the wreck of the Inganess Bay, sitting in 87 ft of water. Broken in half when she sank in 1996, this wreck is a great one for photographers!
Cistern Point – 20-40 ft Beginner
The site gets its name from cistern-like holes in the reef. A great place to look for eels, nurse sharks and tarpon. This site makes for a great second dive on our morning trips. This site is one of Jeff’s favorites! Lots of light and some interesting perspectives for underwater photographers.
Vanishing Rocks / Dry Rocks West – 25-45 ft Beginner / Intermediate
Based around a pinnacle which barely breaks the surface, this is one of the most colorful dive sites in the area. A huge stand of pillar coral along with abundant marine life provide the most experienced diver with a memorable dive. Keep an eye out for eels and squid at this site. Home to Sargent Major City on the south side of the rock.
Continue diving with our RMS Rhone Dive Site listing!