Vanessa's Reef is a submerged shoulder that extends westward off a much larger reef at a depth of fifty to sixty feet.
It's primary attractions are a multitude of large dark red gorgonian sea fans and farther out on the shoulder, a sponge garden. Many of the sea fans are eight to ten feet across, or more, and make picturesque backdrops for diver shots.
The fans are also a good place to look for hawkfish, commensal shrimp, and other macro subjects.
The sponge garden includes many elephant ear sponges, some of them absolutely huge, a few barrel sponges and a few bright orange sponge mounds. Many of the sponges have many crinoids clinging to them affording the crinoids an elevated position from which to feed in the current.
Near the end of the sponge zone, in sixty feet of water, is the boat mooring, beyond which there is a sparser mixture of sponges and sea fans. On both sides of the shoulder the reef slopes downward to a sandy bottom. To the north there are additional ridges and ravines and more sea fans.
What you might see...
A small selection of features of Vanessa's Reef.
- Gorgonian Sea Fans
- Elephant Ear Sponges
- Barrel Sponges
- Commensal Shrimp
- Branching Tubastea Coral
- Staghorn Coral
- Sea Whips