Favourite Dives: Sharkies Hideaway Pt1 @ Mabouya Island

By Gary Ward
Sharkies Hideaway

Maximum Depth: 22m / 73 ft Level:   Easy & Relaxing

Sharkies Hideaway is the name of the dive sites along the western side of Mabouya Island which we have split into part 1 and part 2.  During the winter is can be an exposed entry and exit due to northerly winds and swells, but the conditions under the surface and usually very calm and relaxing.  In this article we highlight the delights you might encounter.

Located in Carriacou’s Marine Protected Area, Mabouya Island is around a 10-minute boat ride away from Hillsborough. Another great spot to see sea birds, the shallow reef on the north-eastern point is home to many small schooling fish which attract the pelicans, boobies and other gulls.

We drop in from the mooring at the north-eastern point where the drop can be down to 22m (73ft), but the reef is just off to our right so we descend and angle our way down to meet it.  It starts at around 10m (33ft) and forms a colourful garden filled with finger, boulder and plate corals, as well as gorgonians and other sea fans. Depending on the time of year we will encounter hundreds of Snappers, Creole Wrasse, Filefish and the ever-present Brown Chromis forming living clouds above the reef.

Keeping the reef wall on our left-hand side we move along – this is where we start to look for Nurse Sharks, Morays (Green and Spotted) & Turtles on the reef, and larger fish out in the blue. Eagle Rays are also frequent visitors between January and July.

There are many shallow rocky crags, overhangs and a sandy bottom which define this drift site, and these provide shelter to the nurse sharks which give the site its name.  We will also usually encounter countless Caribbean Spiny Lobster, crabs and shrimps too.  The topography changes as we drift too.  As we encounter the island, we can get close to its western edge where a wall drops dramatically from the breaking waves down 10m (33ft) to the top edge of the garden.  At the base of the wall we can see the surf and surge and in this area we can encounter large schools of Anchovies and other bait fish, as well as Snapper, Porcupine fish, and Tarpon patrolling the waters looking for their next tasty snack.

Moving along further we encounter a huge volcanic boulder which from 12m (40ft) almost touches the surface.  For the brave, you’re able to swim under the boulder, where you will often encounter a hiding Nurse shark and Lobsters.  At the back of the rock we have a protected area we refer to as the Fish Bowl.  Here we tend to see schooling Chub, Cero’s, Tarpon and of course our wonderful Anchovies.  Under lips and passages around the rock you’ll also encounter densely packed schools of Glassy Sweepers.  We use the fish bowl to complete a safety stops before heading directly back out from the reef to the boat.

This is a great spot for photos, as the water is very clear and the coral covered rocks add a colourful background.

About us: Deefer Diving have been established as the premier dive resort in Carriacou for over 7 years. Our friendly dive centre is run by divers for divers, and we pride ourselves on the number of our customers who return to us time after time.