Patch Reef, North Shore, Cayman Brac

June 13, 1988

Mark descends on Patch Reef, a boat dive on the north side of Cayman Brac.

This was a relaxing dive among nice coral heads and lots of fish at depths of 30-45 feet. This shot shows the clear water with visibility probably 80 feet.

Mark poked around on the bottom and around large coral heads like this one, finding brittle stars, arrow crabs, etc. I would never have seen this well-camoflaged brittlestar if he hadn't pointed it out.

I spent most of the dive hanging around this large coral head. I could have spent a week there and not seen all the variety. The blue tang is one of my favorite fish.

This lone sergeant major over the coral seems suspended in space. The water is so clear that you can see the next ridge of the reef clearly.

Foureye butterflyfish

Juvenile spotted drum

It was neat to have the freedom to poke around the coral heads to see what was hiding there. Here I found a grunt taking refuge in a crevice of the reef. You can also see the spines of a sea urchin.

The sargeant major at left was a common and friendly citizen of the reef.

I hung around this towering coral head for about 30 minutes, just watching the activity of the fish. The view of the squirrelfish at right is from the top of the head, looking down toward its base probably 15 feet down.

The foureye butterflyfish at left was one of my favorites. One of the pair of goatfish below shows the "chinwhiskers" which got it its name, I'm guessing. That picture show some of the landscape of the bottom around the large coral heads.

This handsome large blue parrotfish was just leisurely cruising the reef.

A well camoflaged scorpionfish down on the sand. That's the scariest thing on the reef to us. It's why we don't put our fins down on the reef. We had seen one on a night dive on the North Shore, Cayman Brac. We saw a much better-camoflaged one in 1991 at Alligator Rocks reef in the Keys.

Scorpion fish!

Maybe the large red crab below looks much more fearsome, but the scorpionfish above is much more dangerous with its sharp poisonous barbs which can penetrate a swim fin and cause excruciating pain. We saw another of these coral crabs on the night dive on the North Shore.

Some of the interesting varieties of coral on the reef.

I spent a good bit of time chasing a couple of spectacular rock beauties that lived on the coral head, but they were very shy.

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