Salt River Canyon East Wall (Barracuda Bank)
Salt River Canyon’s East Wall is known as “the fishiest dive on the North Shore”. The East Wall of the canyon boasts tons of reef fish at the top of The Wall and, from about 40-80 feet where The Wall slopes down into sand chutes, you will see large formations of hard corals, covered with sponges and soft corals. This area is also home to huge schools of black durgeon, yellowtail snapper, black bar soldier fish and striped grunts. At around 80 feet, The Wall drops off into the blue abyss and you will often see black tip reef sharks, large spotted eagle rays, and sometimes dolphins. Thanks to the gradual slope before the drop-off and the hundreds of coral pinnacles, the East Wall is also home to numerous tropical and pelagic species including: moray eels, large numbers of barracuda (hence the name ‘Barracuda Bank’), large angel fish, parrot fish, lobster, conch, and tiger tail sea cucumbers.
The Salt River Canyon is formed by the remains of an ancient river and waterfall that formed a deep “V” in the wall of the Puerto Rico Trench that runs just off of the island’s North Shore. The East Wall and West Wall of the canyon are only a quarter of a mile apart, separated by a chasm thousands of feet deep, but they offer two distinct diving experiences. When diving the canyon, you may also see diver favorites such as sea turtles, spotted eagle rays, and dolphins. If you are lucky enough to be here in February or March, you may even be serenaded by the humpback whales’ song as they migrate along the Puerto Rio Trench. On occasion, hammerhead sharks have even been spotted lurking off the East Wall. If you are an underwater photographer, make sure to take your camera on this dive!
Just outside of Salt River Bay off of North Shore Road (Route 80), in Salt River Bay National Park & Ecological Preserve.
This dive site must be accessed by boat.
Salt River Canyon’s East Wall has a mooring which lies in about 40 feet of water. From about 40-80 feet, The Wall slopes down before dropping off to depths over 1,000 feet.
Average visibility is 60-80 feet, up to 100 feet. Some surge and current can be present, especially where The Wall turns the corner into the canyon.