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Scuba Diving in Isla de la Juventud, Cuba, Caribbean
Dive Site: El Hueco (the Hole)
Location: Punta Frances, Isla de la Juventud, Cuba
Description: Wall and tunnel
Depth: 40 metres + (130 feet)
Visibility: 25 metres (80 feet)
We dropped down to the sandy area at about 12 metres and in front of the wall there was a large stingray resting by the reef. As I swam over to take a closer look a jewfish cruised by in the distance. Because of the depth of the dive we had to head off to the hole in the wall that gives this site its name. The hole starts at 12m and drops quickly down to 40m. It is a gash through the rock that is wide enough to fit a diver through and is decorated with corals and sponges for its length. We seemed to get to 40 metres very rapidly, so I can only deduce that the slope of the hole must have been near vertical. After leaving the hole at 40m we headed along the wall, slowly making our way up as we went therefore avoiding getting into any decompression. The wall drops away to thousands of metres below which leaves you breathless. As we got shallower we headed over the reef which was quite nice but the coral was not overly healthy, perhaps due to hurricane damage. The jewfish was still around, but keeping its distance and there was all the usual reef fish plus an incredibly large sea cucumber.
On our way to the dive site one of the crew members was dropped off with a mask, snorkel and fins and was not picked up until lunch when the boat dropped us at the pontoon at Punta Frances and went to find him. I can only assume he was lobster fishing and they didn't want us to see their catch - when we got back on the boat an empty goodie bag was hanging out to dry.
I dived this site in May 2008 and the rock formations and wall was great. But the coral was not that healthy and there was no great variety of fish life. Vis was ok at about 12 to 15m. The island is a bit of hassle to get to so I wouldn't be jumping up & down to recommend the place for ths diving as a whole. Dived from the Hotel Colony and if you are a beginner diver or like everything to be done 100% by the book -- this is NOT the place for you. The trip I was on they asked if we wanted crayfish for lunch and we said yes. They jumped off at a spot and pick but about 12 to 15 crayfish, of which 5 or 6 were for lunch and they rest for the crew. But they took up loads of females that were carrying eggs and with my lack of spanish there was no point in trying to say anything.
Fearghus McCormack, PADI OWSI & CMAS 4 Star
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