Uepi Dive Sites
The passage meets The Slot at Uepi Point, where a near vertical reef corner is coated profusely with corals - especially gorgonian fans and colourful spiky soft corals. At 30m a coral peninsula juts out into the deep blue, and the walls plunge into the abyss. This provides the stage for a spectacular procession of pelagics including schooling barracuda, jacks, runner, rays and sharks. At various times and tides the point area becomes a hunting/feeding ground. As a result the underwater action can be very exciting. Many varied & large schools of feeding fish swarm across the reef-face of the deep point and into the shallows. The predators, giant trevally, mackerel, wahoo, rainbow runner, big-eye jacks, dogtooth & smaller tuna, sharks, barracuda and others cruise relentlessly back & forth waiting for pre-occupied inattentive fish to become their next meal. The explosive sounds and sights of large number of fish all taking evasive action at the same time fill the water. Families of garden eels, arrays of colourful gobies and a diverse collection of invertebrate life inhabit the sand patches of the shallows. The coral garden stretching from Uepi Point back to Uepi pier is festooned with anemones, mantis shrimps, coral shrimps, hard and soft corals and of course a myriad of associated reef-fish of all colours and sizes.
Uepi Point Drift:
From Uepi Point back to the Dive Shop pier, allow yourself the courtesy ride of the incoming tide. The passage wall meets the floor at about 50m. Large gorgonians, huge amphora basket sponge, soft coral trees and small hard corals cram the slope. You'll encounter schools of trevally, rainbowrunner, barracuda and other pelagics like mackerel, tuna and sharks, along with an abundance of reef fish including butterfly-fish, basselets, angelfish, unicornfish, surgeons, fusiliers, wrasses, the resident scorpion ‘firefish’ and clown-trigger fish.
A sloping walled point at the Marovo Lagoon end of the passage, just in front of the resorts dining-room deck. The resident gang of whaler sharks parade past and circle this point when the incoming or outgoing current is running. The adjacent richly coral covered walls have an endless supply of small overhangs and picture caverns to peer into. A small cove in the wall attracts very high concentrations of barracuda. Finish the dive on the reef top to spot large grouper, octopus, molluscs, tubeworms, nudibranchs and holothurians and watch the colourful reef fish.
Uepi Welcome Jetty:
From flashing 'scallops' in a cave directly below the pier, to the base of 'Shark Bombie' in just over 30m. If time allows hunt for a pygmy seahorse, spotlight a colourful cave as you ascend to a 15m wall clustered with fans. Rated as one of the best shore dives yet, you'll see a variety of fish such as mangrove jack, greasy rockcods and stingrays resting on the sand, whilst under continual surveillance by the resident grey whalers, white-tips & black-tip sharks. The jetty always has dense schools of smaller fish & is home to a garden of tridacna ‘giant’ clams. The wall is great for an easy entry night dive with common sightings of sponge decorator crabs, hingeback shrimp, spindle cowries, basket stars, hawkfish, slipper lobsters ...the list goes on!
B O T C H (Bottom of the Channel):
This is a sensational dive directly off the Uepi dive jetty. The dive starts by entering the water at the dive jetty and descending to around 30m on the wall. Then head out into the passage and imagine being confronted with an underwater sand dune that rises about 2m off the bottom! The sand dune runs along the channel, following the current line, to the Deep Bombies at maximum depth of around 40m. Visibility at the bottom is often in excess of 40m. There are many interesting creatures to be found on the sandy bottom including thousands of garden eels waving in the current, sea pens and other sand dwelling species. The 360-degree panorama is spectacular! Often blue-spotted reef-rays and bull rays can be seen gliding over the sand and white-tips sharks ‘sleeping’ as eagle rays & sharks glide overhead. Continue on to 'Shark Bombie’ Then back to the wall and continue drifting, either to Inside Point or Uepi Jetty, direction depending on the current.
An outside corner of Uepi Island where the wall is covered with luxuriant gorgonian fans. "Hanging out" at Elbow Point gives the diver a chance to see the pelagics of the area. Grey whaler sharks, schools of trevally and barracuda are common. Often sighted are spotted eagle rays, turtles, tuna, kingfish and white tip reef sharks. Seasonally common are the scalloped hammerhead sharks or maybe a great hammerhead. They come with the cold water, usually from June to November, but can appear anytime. Less common are manta-rays & dolphins. Uncommon are sailfish, marlin and even Orcas. After spending some time at the point the rest of the dive is spent exploring the numerous overhangs, cracks, crevices and swim-throughs of the area. "Flashing scallops" or file shells can be seen and easily photographed and it is not unusual to find a cuttlefish along the wall. For those who want to stop and look the walls have many nudibranch, sponges, cleaner stations manned by shrimp, diverse fish-life and a huge array of other invertebrates.
Deep gutters through the reef wall, almost totally enclosed in some sections, make this dive memorable. Columns of sunlight radiate through cathedral like caverns. A large school of diamond-fish disguises the entrance to one cavern, often with barracuda flying through for a meal. Between the gutters, the upper wall overhang forms ledges with abundant fans and dripping webs of sponges. Again, keep one eye seaward for those travelling pelagics, but be sure you don't miss the resting turtle commonly found here.
North Log and South Log:
At times the walls are so steep they overhang the island. North Log is a series of overhang areas with sandy bottoms. The invertebrate life is prolific and the dive is most suited to people who want to spend time looking for small critters. Many goby shrimp combos, twin spot goby, coral shrimps, nudibranch and invertebrates are common. Ghost pipefish, sea moth and exotic nudis have been found. For divers who like to just look at the wall and not go deep, this dive is very beautiful because of the topography, seafans, hard coral and fish life. Cuttlefish are often found and have been recorded laying eggs in this area. Pygmy seahorses colonise specific seafans.
Take a tour of the upper reef wall and swim through the various gutters to a lagoonal garden of hard corals. A variety of anemones and associated clown fish, damsels and cleaning shrimps to delight the photographer. Giant tridacna clams and bullnose rays, along with small reef sharks, cod, trout, flutemouths, down to the smaller coral inhabitants like damsels and pullers, nudibranchs, flatworms and other invertebrates. Explore the deeper lagoonal basin, a site for small manta rays. The inner reef has interesting topography with many overhangs, tunnels and caverns to explore. The outer reef area has hard corals, snapper, surgeon and unicorn fish, huge bumphead parrotfish and wrasses. Look for the cleaning stations. The ocean side of the outer reef drops off into endless depths and the possibility of sighting large pelagics, dolphins and turtles exists as for all the wall areas at Uepi.
Point to Point:
This is an advanced dive. It commences on the opposite side of the channel to Uepi Point at Charapoanna Point (see below). Divers descend quickly then navigate across the passage towards Uepi Point. During this dive schools of fish numbering in the thousands may be seen, mingling with sharks & rays. The deep bottom edge of the channel where it enters The Slot is called the “Amphi-theatre”. Outstanding visibility often offers panoramic views in all directions. Divers must be experienced in currents, deep diving, maintaining a planned depth in mid-water & the use of computers. Once across the divers safety stop at Uepi Point or drift back to the dive-shop.
At Uepi Island Resort we love night dives. For inexperienced divers we enter at the dive-shop. The several jetties house many critters. At night a profusion of echinoderms and other invertebrates as well as crustaceans abound in this area. For more advance night diving Uepi Point is a very exciting site with many, many fish, crayfish, shells, eels, rays shrimps, crabs & more. Inside Point is also handy for a great night dive. The site chosen for a night-dive will depend on the divers experience, weather and diving conditions. It is a good idea to bring your personal dive-torch.
Our premier night diving site is Uepi Point. Enjoy close-up encounters with masses of resting fish, exotic crustaceans, crayfish, basket stars, decorator crabs, shells such as the deadly Conus Geographus, flounder & crocodilefish, turtles.
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