The Salt Pier.
A place where the sea salt used for cooking is brought from the salt pans where it is made, and loaded onto a boat on it’s way to your dinner table. While the barges are out to sea, divers have the opportunity to enjoy the structure beneath the surface, as well as the marine life it attracts. Day or night, shore diving the Salt Pier is a must.
At first glance of the pier, it is easy to be amazed at the sheer size of the bridge, conveyor belts and the equipment used to push everything around. Trucks are loaded in about one minute and thirty seconds and they run all day long. The surface is busy with machines, people, wind and flamingos, walking the salt pans in search of the nutrients needed to survive. Below the surface is a completely different world. Peace, quiet, shallow and sunny, yet bustling with life.
Upon entering the water, a sea turtle rises up within 10 feet of me, grabbing another breath of air before returning the blue oasis ahead. Barracuda swim in every direction around divers, as sea fans sway in the gentle surge. Flamingo Tongues cling to sea whips and fans and brain corals dot the ocean floor, bringing color and beauty to areas of desolation. It isn’t quite dancing with fish, but fish milling around lazily and comfortably.
The first sight of the salt pier’s columns is exquisite. The tall, dark structures reaching toward the surface like fingers reaching from the earth. Fish rise in columns at the length of each column, hiding in shade and resting their bodies away from the surge. Spotted Eels circle in coils inside of the coral heads, and Spotted Drum circle their homes in an easy motion. Sergeant Majors circle their nesting areas, which brighten up with color as the rays of light dance across them.
As we dive deeper, around 50 feet, a a Spotfin Porcupinefish travels effortlessly in between my two dive buddies for what seemed an eternity. It occurs to me that the fish here are quite comfortable with divers – they do not dart, nor shy away at the sight of bubbles, but merely move slowly with or away from these strange, neoprene-clad creatures.
The bottom falls away abruptly into a wall at the far end of the pier, so we decide to head back towards the structures to enjoy the view on the way back. The slow swim into the shallows leaves me with the conclusion that shore diving the Salt Pier is an experience unlike any other. And, I believe it is an absolute must for a night dive. I’m coming back tomorrow, to watch the sun set over the pier and to see what goes on here at night. I can’t wait.