by Laura Radford
Make sure you dive this site. It is often called the most
impressive dive and I found its reputation to be quite accurate. Mary’s Place
has only recently been reopened about a year. It was closed to diving for a
couple years when the site was suffering damage from over-diving but it
recovered very well and much more quickly than anticipated.
Mary’s Place is located on the south side of the island between the towns of
Coxen Hole and French Harbour. If you are staying in West End, you may have to
shop around for a dive boat. Not all of the dive operators are willing to make
the longer trip.
Two large crevices cut through the reef. The sheer sides of crevice are lined
with large fans of black coral, banded shrimp, gobies, and encrusting sponges.
Tightly grouped schools of twirling silversides often darken the passageway.
How to Dive Mary's Place
The best way to dive this
reef is to carefully swim though one of the crevices that will lead you from the
shallows and take you down to about 70 to 80 feet where it opens to the outer
wall. From there you can take the other crevice back or you can swim along the
wall. The wall is vibrant with color and thick with fish. A lucky diver may find
a seahorse or two entwined in the giant gorgonian sea fans.
The bottom of the wall is at 120 feet but the bottom of the sea continues
downward. As our divemaster said, “Watch your gauges and buoyancy or you’ll end
up in China.”
Not only divers frequent Mary’s Place. It is also a favorite with turtles. As
pelagics are often seen just off the wall, don’t forget to turn away from the
indigo hamlets and creole wrasses periodically and gaze around you. It would be
a shame to miss a school of forty eagle rays gliding overhead because you were
playing with a spotted trunkfish.
Laura Radford is a writer and a PADI
certified SCUBA Instructor. In 1995 after completing an MFA in Creative
Writing she moved from Alaska to Costa Rica where she taught diving and lead
SCUBA tours. She later returned to her home state of California where she
worked as a high school English teacher.
Currently Laura is working as a
freelance writer and is traveling and diving in her free time, which is most
of time. She was drawn to Honduras by the extraordinary diving off the Bay
Islands but was lured to mainland by Honduras’s natural beauty and
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