The Watamu diving Area benefits from being within a Marine Reserve and National Marine Park as well as a UN Biosphere Area – i.e. an area so environmentally diverse and special that it is worthy of special protection/interest from the UN (though Watamu has yet to see what the UN actually do to help the conservation in the area!!).
Although the area is policed, it is unsure as to whether the police are just park fee collectors or they actually make a difference. The Marine Park’s future seems to rely on pillars of the community. Locals are allowed to fish using traditional methods (but how traditional is a spear gun?).
The dive sites are between 10-20 minutes boat ride from the base. The top of the reef is covered with a wide variety of both soft & hard corals. The signs of recovery from the damage El Nino caused are apparent in this area.
One particular dive site The Canyon was reminiscent of the Red Sea. A sandy channel with sloping walls rising on both sides from around 20 m. There are many lagoon rays cruising down this channel. Adjoining sites provide a series of overhangs, soft corals and an arch jammed with glass fish, mantis shrimps and colourful soft corals.
The marine fauna includes the usual species of colourful reef fish such as Butterfly & Angel fish, Damsel fish, schools of Anthias, especially around Deep Place’ Reef Surgeon fish, Snappers and Groupers.
Then there are the tiny critters such as Nudibranchs, Flatworms, Frogfish, Shrimps, Leaf fish & Sole.
There is the chance of seeing the bigger attractions such as White & Black-tip Reef Sharks, Napoleon Wrasse, Great Barracuda, Turtles and of course the tantalising possibility of seeing Dolphins, Whale Sharks & Manta Rays.
One of the major hazards in this area is the Titan Triggerfish who during nesting season (January) become agressively territorial and tend to attack anything or anyone that comes within the nesting zone (a conical shaped area opening out and upwards from the nest to the surface).