Today we visited one of my favorite places in the Verde Island Passage: Devil’s Point. This dive site has an incredible diversity of soft corals growing on a rock pinnacle that projects out of the surface of the ocean, just at the southwest point of Maricaban Island. The shallow parts of this reef are spectacular—every square meter is completely covered with hard and soft corals, sponges, tunicates, and other marine life.
We dove this site today to scout its potential as a future collecting location for the Academy’s deep (aka “twilight zone”) rebreather diving team. We used scooters to cross a large patch of sand at about 180 feet deep, and found a rock pinnacle surrounded by thousands of reef fishes at about 250 feet deep. It looks like the pinnacle is part of a ridge that continues deeper, but we didn’t have time to follow it today. It was an incredible discovery—one enhanced by the thought that we’re almost certainly the first divers ever to visit this reef.
Once the rest of the deep team arrives in the Philippines, we’ll return to Devil’s Point to collect fishes for the Academy’s research collections and, hopefully, for display at Steinhart Aquarium.
— Bart Shepherd, Director of Steinhart Aquarium