Big Fishes Reef Sharks
This site is actually a torpedo shaped sea mound that is 200 Metres long and about 20 Metres wide at its widest point in the middle. Located between the Old Kings Palace and the South Elisa Shoal Marker in the middle of the inter-coastal shipping lane, the mound rises out of the 365 m bottom to a depth of 14 m at the surface. The north and south end taper in and down to the depths below with current varying in speed generally from the north, although no current, or currents from the south, are not uncommon.
Invariably tourist guests ask where there is the best possibility to see sharks and large schools of fish, Ala's Reef is the ticket and often it is dived twice. Seldom are divers disappointed, the visibility is usually above the average of 30 m and the fish come out to play, especially with a strong northern current. A favourite dive scenario is to descend to 27 m on the southern tip and just wait for the fish to do their thing. There are always large schools of Black Triggerfish and baitfish like Sardines. These attract Yellowfin, Bluefin and Dusky Jacks, also Trevally, Queen fish, Mackerels, several verities of Tuna, and Red Snapper. These are open water pelagics that prey upon the reef in a great show of their speed and angling skill. Nigel, Lunartail and giant Greasy Grouper slowly patrol the bottom, edges and coral outcroppings of the reef, and occasionally in a flurry attack some unsuspecting prey. Parrot, Surgeons, and Unicornfish abound.
While the fish mentioned represents a rainbow of colours and a diversity of swimming and hunting skills, it is the larger fish like Humphead or Napoleon Parrotfish, Barracudas, Eagle Rays and Sharks that bring divers to this location. Ala's reef is one of the few places to see Hammerhead Sharks with their eyes protruding from the extensions of their heads looking nervously at you when they cruise by. The much feared man-eaters like Oceanic Whitetips and Tiger Sharks, are commonly seen plying the deeper waters along the shelf. Smaller Whitetip Reef Sharks are usually seen every dive on the top of the reef and occasionally Manta Rays. It is best to dive here early morning before the seas get up and during the full moon cycle so the currents are really moving.
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