The top of an underwater mountain, Roca Partida is a sheer wall whose bottom divers can’t see. Currents can be strong on either end, bringing lots of life to the spot where the current splits. It’s a very fishy island with a large resident school of white-tip reef sharks that sleep on the ledges in very gregarious harmony during the day. Divers also see Galapagos, silky, silver-tip sharks, and hammerheads here. Jacks are in abundance, with four of five different subspecies either schooling in what looks like threatening funnel clouds or swimming in smaller groups looking for prey. Various file fish vie for the few butterfly fish’s attention who offer cleaning services, congregating anxiously in large numbers around a mere pair of butterfly fish that peck here and there, relieving the file fish of skin parasites while they enjoy snack after snack.
On very clear days with little to no current, the reef can be a very sedate place, with only the white tips, jacks, and file fish staging the show for the visiting divers. Towards the end of the day, the urchins leave the cracks where they have been taking refuge and swarm the red rocky walls of this underwater mountain. Other species make their appearance, too, like unusually large blennies and dancing dragonettes. Soon the white tips will wake up from their diurnal slumber and terrorize those fish hiding in the cracks and crevices in the wall. Soon dusk will turn into pitch-black night on the mountain top, and predator and prey will play much different roles than those divers saw and videoed during the day.
P.S. Watch your bottom time!
– Gabe, U.S.A.
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This post was written by Guest Gabe