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Dive sites

Nuarro Diving it’s located in the protected Nanatha bay at the southern point of Memba Bay on the Baixo do Pinda Peninsula. The bay has been turned into a marine reserve with the local village being integrated in this project of conservation. As a result illegal fishing is forbidden in the bay.

Topografia

The proximity of the continental shelf allows for extraordinary shore and boat dives within Memba Bay. The more challenging dives are along the stunning, current washed Baixo do Pinda walls which can be reached by boat (15 to 40 min. boat rides). The bottom topography in Nanatha Bay is very dramatic, with sections of vertical drop-offs, shallow caves and colourful pinnacles.

For the novice or divers looking for a mellow experience, the shallow areas (6 to 15 metres) of nuarro house-reef are full of life and can be dived from shore. These areas are full of coral bommies, sandy stretches and sea grasses. The proximity to the mangroves, optimal water temperature and visibility is reflected in the great diversity of coral and coral dependent species. Large pelagic life is found along the Baixo do Pinda walls where currents are stronger.

The bay is ideal for all levels of diving as it offers the diver entry from shore, with a natural buffer to the prevailing currents, and has a gradual sloping bottom topography that slowly slips away towards the start of the wall. The proximity to the continental shelf allows extraordinary shore and boat dives, where beginners can enjoy the shallow sites of the house reef, optimal water temperature and great visibility. The wall around the bay offers more challenging diving with awesome topography including vertical drop-offs, colourful pinnacles, swim-through’s and caves. The bay is 360m deep in the middle and the wall is near vertical to over 100m in places. Further afield we have the current washed wreck of a steam ship which ran into Baixo do Pinda which is a great dive for those with suitable experience.

Another privilege of diving at Nuarro is that we only have our divers on the reefs. So, you get the whole reef to yourself and dive times are usually dictated by air supply not the need to get back for the next boat of divers.

With 2 full time instructors and Nitrox available, Nuarro Diving offers pristine reefs with diverse topography and marine life.

Full rental equipment is available and includes Scubapro regulators, BCD’s and fins, a range of full length and shorty wetsuits and various sizes of mask.

For divers bringing their own equipment, all our cylinders can take both DIN and INT style regulators and come in 7, 10, 12 and 14L sizes.

Rebreathers can be supported with boosted oxygen and Sodasorb and we have two APD units here, contact us for more information.

1. Enupa Reef (house reef)

Minimum qualification: Open Water
Shore entry: 100m swim or boat entry
Maximum depth: 12m

Description: Enupa Reef lays in front of the Activities Centre about 100m from the beach and is part of the Nuarro Marine Reserve. This is an easy and relaxing dive down to 12m that can be done at most times of the day. Photographers will be delighted with the macro life where they can spot many kinds of shrimps and crabs, snake and moray eels, nudibranchs, flatworms, and other marine life like gobies, egg cowries, butterfly-fish, wrasse, damsel-fish, blue spotted stingrays and puffer-fish.

Night dives are made here and are especially good with new moon or crescent moon, where a star filled sky and bio-luminescence in the ocean with all the polyps active, spiny and slipper lobsters, shrimps and crabs of many kinds, hermits, basket stars, brittle stars and a good chance to spot the Spanish Dancer, the largest of the nudibranchs!

2. Fish Alley

Minimum qualification: Open Water
Boat entry
Maximum depth: 30m (in places sheer wall drops to 80m+)

Description: Fish Alley offer great conditions for all levels. Coral bommies offer every diver their own patch of colourful coral and fish are plentiful. Garden eels, cowries, ribbon eels, gobies, sand perches, mullets and puffers are found. This is a site where many fish come to visit cleaning stations; bi-colour and common cleaner wrasse compete to service the gills, skins and fins of all kinds of clients, sometimes not much bigger than themselves. Lyre tail and saddle back hog-fish are usually seen around as well as the Indian and African sand wrasse. There is varied topography from large shallow areas of hard coral, sloping bottom and vertical wall to choose from, truly something for everyone!

3. The Guardians

Minimum qualification: Advanced Open Water
Boat entry
Maximum depth: 30m

Description: This site is part of the Nuarro Marine Reserve. The Guardians are five pinnacles that face out to the deep blue, as if they were a line of defence against the ocean’s forces. Rising from 40+m to 15m below the surface, they form part of the Nanatha Wall that runs in a semi-circle around Nanatha Bay. Part of this wall breaks into a sand falls that spill out from the inner reef and cascade down the upper reef slope. You will also see several swim troughs and many nooks and crannies to be investigated. One can follow the wall to the left, to the right, or alternatively hang with the Guardians and enjoy their delights. Garden Eels, Leaf-fishes, cleaning Wrasses, Butterfly-fish, Angelfish, Napoleon Wrasse, Groupers, king fish, a resident turtle, nudibranchs, parrot-fish and other schools of fish.

4. The Gorgonian Forest

Minimum qualification: Advanced Open Water
Boat entry
Maximum depth: 30m

Description: On the eastern side of the Nanatha bay is Nanatha point. On a spring tide, currents are awash on the point making for a great drift dive. Large species of fish such as Sailfish, Giant Trevallies, Dog Tooth Tunas, Spanish Mackerels, Skip Jack Tunas, Bonitos and Napoleon Wrasse can be found here, you might even get the chance encounter with a Humpback Dolphin. Mobila and sea horses have been seen, so expect the unexpected! The main feature of this dive site is the forest of huge Gorgonian Fan corrals, with specimens more than 3m in diameter, which runs for more than 100m along this part of the wall and can occupy a whole dive. Photographers will love the morning light. You may even get a shot of the Long Nose Hawk-fish perched on its Gorgonian home. In the deepest part of the dive, divers are rewarded with small colonies of purple fire Gobies.

5. Sacred Sands

Minimum qualification: Open Water
Boat entry
Maximum depth: 30m (wall drops to 100m+)

Description: Dotted along the coast of Memba Bay are numerous little beaches. They are framed by high rocks that form semi-circles reaching into the sea. Some of these beaches are considered sacred and flags are mounted upon the rocks. It is from one of these beaches that sand falls cascade down a steep wall creating a beautiful setting for embarking upon your dive. As currents sweep the area on a spring tide, it’s a good choice for a drift dive. At the edge of the wall divers can “fly” over the 100m vertical drop off, truly exhilarating! Tunas are common here, chasing their smaller prey, which take shelter in the cracks of the wall. 5 different species of fusiliers are never too far from the reefs. Humpbacks Whales are all around during winter and their songs enchant the whole time underwater, if we are rely lucky we can spot them in the blue.

6. Lobster Coves

Minimum qualification: Open Water
Boat entry
Maximum depth – 30m

Description: The top of the wall sits at around 8m-10m and then falls away in a vertical drop to the first ledge at 80m and then on down into the abyss of 200m+. The wall snakes along the coast and has many little inlets that have been named the Coves. Towards the end of the dive you will find a hole in the wall at about 16m which is the entrance to a large swim through with an overhang and finishes with an exit like a chimney through the top of the reef at 8m.

Many Cave and Yellow Sweepers find shelter here during the daylight hours, as well as Dancing, Partner and Cleaner Shrimps. This dive usually ends on top of the coral rich plateau where Butterfly-fish are found in great diversity with 15 species counted regularly, as well as Surgeon-fish, Fang Blennies and Red Fire Gobies, among other reef fish. Like most of the wall dives in Nuarro, the topography lends itself to great multi-level profiles where we can finish our dive in 6m while still on the reef.

7. B.P. Wreck

Minimum qualification: Advanced Open Water
Boat entry – 40min from Nuarro
Maximum depth – 20m

Description: The fringing reef of Baixo do Pinda is vast and long, but this part of the continental shelf slopes away more gently than the Memba Bay Wall. The edge of the reef is dramatic with swim troughs, shallow caves and small canyons and is covered in hard and soft corals. This steel cargo ship has been broken up over the years but still retains some good structure, with the boilers and engine rearing up from the sea bed as well as parts of the hull. The anchor and its chain are the deepest part and are surrounded by schools of Long Fin and Circular Bat Fish. A large Potato Bass has made its home here as well as Marbled Groupers, Scorpion-fish, Cave Sweepers, Soldier-fish, 4 species of Squirrel-fish, 2 species of Lion-fish, large school of Five Line Snappers. For the keen eye, coral Sponges and Ascidians are a delight in all corners of the wreck. As with the rest of Baixo do Pinda, Hawksbill and Green Turtles can be seen.

8. Napoleon Point

Minimum Qualification: Open Water
Boat entry
Maximum depth – 30m (the wall drops to 80m+)

Description: Another dive that combines shallow water reef with the drop off of the wall. As currents sweep the area on a spring tide, it’s often a drift dive. The wall is again vertical here and we usually have excellent visibility. Tunas, king fish and schools of sweetlips are common here. There is a resident Napoleon wrasse living here so keep your eyes peeled for this shy beauty. Also expect to see the common reef fish as well as different kinds of shrimps, nudibranch and incredibly colourful soft coral.

9 – Mangrove Bush

Minimum Qualification: Advanced Open Water
Boat Entry
Maximum Depth – 30m

Description: Close to the mangrove forest here we have a sloping bottom that in places drops off to vertical wall, this reef has some beautiful bush corals which we do not find elsewhere. The bush corals are home to several different shrimp and goby species. Although just around the corner and a 10 minute boat ride away, it has a markedly different feel to the reefs in the bay.

10 –  Unicorn Castle

Minimum Qualification: Advanced Open Water
Boat Entry
Maximum Depth – 30m

Description: Named after both the abundant unicorn surgeon fish found here and the dramatic rock formation at the drop, this site has become a favorite despite only recently being discovered. Plenty of different surgeon fish, snappers and sweetlips are waiting to greet us as we start our dive at the “gatehouse” of the castle, then we can turn either left or right to make our way along the deep and steep wall. Later in the dive we make our way up to the sand flats inside the wall which are festooned with coral bommies. This mixture of coral and muck gives us a great chance to find mantis shrimp, eels and flatfish in the sand as well as exploring the coral to find the usual suspects of Nuarro.

11 – Stables

Minimum Qualification: Open Water
Boat or Shore Entry
Maximum Depth – 15m

Description: Stables is a typical muck dive site, where we will NOT see the beautiful coral reefs found in other areas, instead we dive on sand at the border of the seagrass looking for the most exotic creatures of the ocean. We stand a good chance to see seahorses, two banded pipefish, seagrass pipefish and even the rare and stunning hairy pygmy pipehorse. The harlequim crab is almost always found hidden on the hell fire anemone together with commensal shrimps. Between the seagrass we often see moray eels and burrow on the sand the serpent eel.   It is an ideal place for macro photographers and people who like to go “treasure hunters” precious creatures.

12 – Nuarro Rock

Minimum Qualification: Open Water
Boat Entry
Maximum Depth – 30m

Description: In front of the restaurant is a small islet which provides the name for this site which is a very short boat ride from shore. A gently sloping bottom full of corals leads to the drop off, which here is gradual and not as steep as in other parts of the bay. Small canyons and gullies provide shelter for marine life and are great fun to explore while the sloping nature of this site makes it a perfect spot for the less experienced diver.

13 – Nuarro Wall

Minimum Qualification: Open Water
Boat Entry
Maximum Depth – 30m

Description: Part of the wall which follows the contour of the bay, here we have a vertical drop from around 14m to more than 40m, where the bottom then slopes off fairly steeply to the abyss! This is a dramatic wall full of lettuce coral which even Open Water divers can enjoy from the top, while the more experienced can venture deeper. Encounters with pelagics such as trevallies, turtles and maybe even a wale in season will keep you with one eye on the reef and one on the blue!

14 – Lost Eden

Minimum Qualification: Open Water
Boat Entry
Maximum Depth – 30m

Description: Off the western shore of the bay is a gently sloping bottom leading to a pronounced shelf which in turn leads to a steeply sloping bottom. With varied topography we can find plentiful macro critters hiding amongst the corals such as leaf fish, nudibranchs, various shrimps and invertebrates as well as schools of our most common fish species in the water column. With its distinct ledge creating shallow and deep areas, this dive site is great for both novice and more advanced divers.

15 – Nimpanana

Minimum Qualification: Open Water
Boat Entry
Maximum Depth – 30m+ (average depth 18m)

Description: Nimpanana is a good choice for macro photographers who wants to mix and combining coral bommies on sand bottom with the beautiful east side of the last Pinnacle from the Guardians formation. On the bommies you are likely to see leaf scorpionfish, moray eels, several kind of shrimps such as squad shrimps and banded cleaner shrimps and the tiny butterfly of the ocean the Cyerce sea slugs. Moving through the wall the scenery change drastically with lots of lettuce corals and pipe corals. On the top of the pinnacle we often see a resident sea turtle.

16 – N’zizi

Minimum Qualification: Advanced Open Water
Boat Entry
Maximum Depth – 30m

Description: The diving starts on a slope going down to 30m deep and moving toward a vertical wall. At the start of the dive the garden eels are everywhere. The giant mantis shrimp with its arm size hole is often seen here with squat shrimps over its body. Bush corals, tubular sponges and giant fan corals are found there serving as a safe home for shrimps, gobies and small crustraceans.

17 – Nuarro Corner

Minimum Qualification: Open Water
10 minutes from the Lodge by boat
Maximum Depth from 12 meters to 40 meters
Visibility: 20 meters + all year round

This dive site combine sand patches with coral bommies and the drop off. Typical high diverse of colourful reef fish can be seen here, including one of the weirdest and camouflaged fish the leaf scorpion fish. Hundreds of spotted garden eels are burrow in the sand with their head out feeding in plankton that pass with the current. A diver may pass by without notice them, as these shy eels will quickly get inside the hole if they notice any movement. Thus, to see these interesting species you need to get close to the bottom and slowly and quietly closer to them. A challenge for photographers!

For the mollusc and shell lovers you have a good chance to see the massive helmet shells (the largest of all helmet shells) and great variety of cowries. This is also a good nudibranch dive sites, with many pyjama nudibranchs and several species f Phyllidiidae.

Please do not hesitate to contact our dive instructors on diving@nuarro.com for more information on diving or any of the dive sites!

We look forward to diving with you soon!

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