eve’s Ledge (Ponta Do Ouro)
As an extension of Steps, Steve’s Ledge is a long and narrow coral reef in Ponta Do Ouro Bay with a maximum depth of 19 metres, where it is also possible to perform drift diving depending on the strength of the current. This dive site is suitable for divers on all levels of certification and is made up of ledges, fields of plate coral and sand gullies. As you swim towards the seaward side of the site, a small ledge takes shape, which is covered in cleaner shrimp ready to devour every single parasitic morsel in sight.
Regular sightings at this dive site also include various marine life such as black cheek moray eels, honeycomb morays, lionfish and large rays, blue banded snappers, goatfish, trumpetfish and angelfish. King mackerel and green jobfish guard the inside of the reef with a watchful eye awaiting their next. Large families of rock cod and grouper have made this reef their home and as you continue to explore the of this reef you will see many two bar clownfish and anemone crabs darting behind the protective cover of swaying sea anemone tentacles. Divers can also keep an eye out for blue spotted rays and the fairly large potato bass making the rounds.
A popular snorkelling diving spot, Shallow Malongane covers a distance of approximately 3 kilometres along the shores of Malongane Bay and it has a maximum depth of 14(16) metres. The dive site is made up of a various gullies and scattered rock outcroppings that form caves begging to be explored.
For many years, parts of this flat reef have remained relatively undisturbed with hard and soft coral in subdued pastel colours popping up everywhere. Stony coral such as stag horn coral flourishes in this underwater climate and the soft coral patches are often covered in eggshell cowries.
Redfang triggerfish can be highly territorial in the presence of divers and other fish species rendering certain parts of the reef inaccessible. Other species to be found include hawksbill turtles, nudibranchs, lionfish, octopus and a variety of reef fish commonly found in the waters of Southern Mozambique. Venomous spotted eagle rays, indicated as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List, slide across the sand bottom of the reef effortlessly. Often described as aggressive predators, young pickhandle barracuda swim along the inside of the coral reef in search of their next prey.
As you reach the seaward side of the reef, it seems to disappear into the sand at a depth of 17 metres.
Creche (Ponta bay)
One of the easiest dive sites in Ponta Bay is known as Creche and its depth ranges from 9 to 14 metres. The name for this very shallow and compact reef can be attributed to the presence of hundreds of young fish species regularly accompanied by dive trainees, who favour the spot.
Colourful, swirling masses of yellow snapper, dusky sweepers and red fang trigger fish can be found in this reef. Potato bass, crocodilefish, paperfish, scorpionfish and green jobfish squeeze through these tight formations. Migratory creatures by nature, the endangered green turtle also inhabits the reef during certain months of the year. Its name is not derived from its colouring, but rather the greenish colour of its fat. From time to time, a ragged tooth shark will also cross your path, the sandy bottom of the reef provides the perfect camouflage for the venomous stonefish and honeycomb moray eels play peek-a-boo between rocky outcroppings in different sizes.
The condition of the reef has deteriorated over time with patches of coral covered by sand, but this has not detracted from its beauty making it one of the more popular diving sites in Southern Mozambique for Open Water dive students and novice divers alike. Similar to Texas, the best time to explore this underwater paradise would be in the absence of a swell.
Steps (Ponta Do Ouro)
Steps is the ideal spot for drift driving on days when the current is strong enough to carry the diver along the long, narrow reef in a north to south direction. Approximately 4 kilometres in length, the reef is situated along the inside of Ponta Do Ouro Bay and is primarily a sand stone reef with a maximum depth of 16 metres and a width of 10 to 20 metres.
A variety of corals and sponges can still be found in the succession of overhangs and sand gullies.
Nose strip and two bar clownfish play hide and seek between/amongst the swaying tentacles of two or more species of sea anemones that are not indigenous to the area.
A sight to behold is the school of yellow and blue banded snapper swimming over the reef. Other species of fish inhabiting the area include the Natal knifejaw, green jobfish, cave bass, sailfin leaf and boxy. Closer inspection will reveal blue spotted and brown ribbon tail rays buried in the sand and eels are a dime a dozen here with the less commonly seen eel, the oscillated snake eel, also dropping by from time to time.
Any diver who wants to explore this reef should be fairly skilled in equalisation, buoyancy and communicating underwater.
Texas (Ponta Malongane)
Aptly named due to the massive size of the reef, Texas can be found in Malongane Bay, where the small town called Ponta Malongane is also situated. The depth of this reef varies between 9 and 19(16) meters and is a perfect fit for the more adventurous among divers.
Huge, rectangular rock formations and arches on the inshore side of the reef creates a channel with caves where divers can swim through encountering not only various marine life such as moray eels, starfish, cowries and nudibranchs, but also stony and soft corals such as stag horn and plate. Other species that frequent this reef include butterflyfish, knifejaws, wrasse, scorpionfish, triggerfish as well as large rays and surgeons. Christmas tree worms inject a surge of colour alongside plate coral, which can be found in abundance as you navigate the large gully in the center of the reef. Occasionally, larger creatures such as the potato bass also make an appearance.
Texas features breathtaking underwater scenery, which commands several trips to the reef to experience and appreciate everything it has to offer. It’s the perfect diving spot for all levels of scuba divers, but should not be attempted on days when there is a big swell due to its close proximity to the shore.