DEPTH: 20-70 feet (6-21 M)
LEVEL: INTERMEDIATE TO ADVANCED
Located in open water, Santa Monica Rock is an underwater pinnacle rising from the depths to within 20 feet of the surface. It is named after the Santa Monica, a 19th century wooden schooner whose belly was torn open by the submerged rock, but which managed to extricate itself, only to sink in shallow water near St. John.
From the south of the summit of the pinnacle a slow circumnavigation of the rock formation will reveal many different habitats: protected crevices, current-caressed points and long rocky ridges. The top is craggy and covered with delicate fire coral. There is a fascinating round "sink hole" that drops down 25 feet to a sandy bottom and is great fun to explore. The southern side of the pinnacle is a gorgonian and sea fan-covered wall. The clarity of the water, the intriguing topography, and plentiful marine life encounters make this a great dive and a photographer's dream.
Seen here: pelagics, Atlantic spadefish, horse-eye jacks, mackerels, kingfish, barracuda, queen angelfish, black durgons, filefishes, fairy basslets, groupers, turtle, nurse shark.
Text extracted from The Guide to Diving and Snorkeling in the British Virgin Islands by Jeff Williams, Ria O'Hagan.