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Dive Sites

Most of the dive sites are a 10-15 minute boat ride away depending on ocean conditions.

There are also some dives that can be done from land and you can check some of those here: Shoreline Access Guide for the islands of Saipan, Tinian and Rota

The following is a general listing of some of the diving sites that are visited. As you can see there are a variety of sites and something for all experience and skill levels.

Cable Run
Divers on Tour Devilscorpionfish Lionfish Coral

Depth: 40-60 feet
Skill Level: Novice to Intermediate
Access: Boat - Mooring/Shore
Description: So named for the cable car system that used to deliver phosphate from the Sabana on top of the mountain to the waiting factory down below. Sandy bottom with scattered reef and coral heads. The remains of a WWII Japanese auxiliary submarine chaser lies scattered across the bottom just off the site of the old phosphate factory. Look for the large propeller blade off an unknown ship. Various reef fish, large lionfish and stonefish.

Coral Garden
Lemonpeel Angelfish Orangefin Anemonefish Schools of Tropical Fish Crown of Thorns Starfish Orange Crab Flatworm Yellow Tang Napoleon Fish Nudibranch (Chromodoris elizabethia) Diver and Octopus Lionish in Flight

Depth: 15-60+ feet
Skill Level: Novice to Intermediate
Access:Boat - Mooring/Shore
Description: An area that contains a variety of coral formations. Here are many different species of colorful tropical fish including garfish, octopus, Nudibranchs, sharks, clown fish and turtles that are unafraid of intruding divers. This is the first Marine Protected Area in the C.N.M.I and as such the taking of game, either by hand or spear, or collecting shells or artifacts is prohibited.

More Coral Garden information

East Harbor
Peacock Flounder Cuttlefish Hawksbill Turtle Hawksbill Turtle Up Close Giant Moray Nurse Shark

Depth: 10-70 feet
Skill Level: Novice to Intermediate
Access: Shore
Description: A beach dive that starts across the street from the dive shop at Rota's East Harbor boat ramp. A short swim either underwater or on the surface takes you through the harbor channel. Then head out to the second reef. Scattered reef and coral heads are the main terrain features along the way. This is a good warm up dive or a third dive for the day. Look for the large barracuda that sometimes hangs out just below the surface outside the channel. The area is littered with several ships anchors that appear and disappear with the changing sands. Common sightings include stingrays, turtles, octopus, porcupine pufferfish, schools of surgeonfish, parrotfish and on rare occasions small crocodile fish.

Note:Use caution and common sense when going through the boat channel. If underwater stay on the bottom and to either one side or the other of the channel. If on the surface also stay to one side or the other and if you hear or see a boat approaching stop and raise your arms to let boat operators see you. Also beware there is sometimes a strong current that runs out of the boat basin.

Reef Fish Dolphin pod underwater Banded Coral Shrimp Chromodoris elizabethina nudibranch Pink Whipray Red Leaf Fish Diver and Coral Divers and Stingray

Depth: 15-70 feet
Skill Level: Novice to Intermediate
Access: Boat - Mooring/Shore
Description: An easy relaxing dive that starts on the reef in about 15 feet of water and continues down to a sandy bottom with scattered coral heads that contain a variety of small fish which, seek the shelter of the coral, but come exploding out in great numbers once they become accustomed to the divers presence. Keep an eye out for stingray's that roam the sand flats, garden eels and razorfish that dive into the sand when they feel threatened. Very nice coral formations around the boat mooring.

Harnom Point
School of Jacks Diver and Whitetip Shark Humphead Wrasse Harnom Point Dropoff School of Bigeye Trevally Bigeye Trevally up-close Crinoid on the wall Whitetip Sharks

Depth: 50-110+ feet
Skill Level: Advanced to Experienced (Entry-Drift Dive/Depth/Currents/Free Floating Safety Stop/Exit)
Access: Boat - Drift/ Mooring
Description: A dynamic wall dive that continues down into the ocean depths. Stopping along the way at the fish bowl you can see pelagic fish including schools of barracuda, jacks, dogtooth tuna and the occasional marlin. You may also see large Napoleon fish, humphead parrotfish, turtles and sharks.
Notice: Currents in this area can increase, decrease or shift directions with no advance warning!

Hobbit House
Hobbit House Dive Site Diver exploring the Hobbit House Hobbit House - Which Way Out

Depth: 40-60 feet
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced (Overhead Environment)
Access: Boat - Anchor/Drift
Description: An unusual rock/reef formation that is honeycombed inside. Divers can swim through rooms from 4 different entrances and exits. Local residents include large skipjack's, sharks and many varieties of reef fish.

Note: This site is only accessible at certain times of the year under certain conditions.

Jerry's Reef
Whitemouth Moray Eel Lionfish

Depth: 30-60+ feet
Skill Level: Novice to Intermediate
Access: Boat - Mooring/Shore
Description: A coral reef surrounded by white sand is home to many small reef fish, garden eels and assorted shells. This is a good warm-up dive.

Joanne's Reef
Yellowfin Goatfish Octopus Star Puffer

Depth: 15-75 feet
Skill Level: Novice to Intermediate
Access: Boat - Mooring/Shore
Description: Calm water and clear visibility reveal a wide variety of reef fish, goatfish, parrotfish and snappers navigating the reef from a hard bottom at 30 feet down to the sand at 60 to 80 ft. On the bottom are lionfish, spider conch's, octopus and sometimes a giant reef ray. Patches of soft "leather" coral.

Liyang Rai (Lee-Jang-Rey) "King's Cave"
King's Cave Entrance

Depth: 20-100 feet
Skill Level: Experienced (Entry-Drift Dive/Overhead Environment/Surge/Depth of the Entrance/Free Floating Safety Stop/Exit)
Access: Boat
Description: Rota's "Super Dome" cave with only one way in and one way out. This dive is out of our normal operating area and a 30+ min. boat ride depending on ocean and weather conditions. Within the cave we can usually find lobsters, snappers, jacks, whitetip sharks, several varieties of cowries and unusual white sponges. When the sun is overhead divers may be able to get a glimpse of the suns rays that come through a 3-foot hole in the roof of the cave. An interesting formation and an unforgettable dive.

Note: This site is only accessible at certain times of the year under certain conditions.

Pearlman Tunnel
Pearlman Tunnel Entrance Spiny Lobster Turtle meets diver Electric Flame Scallop

Depth: 30-80 feet
Skill Level: Advanced (Entry - Drift Dive/Depth/Overhead Environment/Currents/ Surge/ Free Floating Safety Stop/Exit)
Access: Boat - Drift
Description: A large overhang shelters lobsters, lionfish, sea fans, sponges and pink lace coral. With a hole in the ceiling at the back of the overhang, this dive makes for some very nice photography. Once outside the tunnel you drift along a wall trying to count how many different types of ocean creatures you can see. Watch carefully for turtles.

School of Raccoon Butterfly fish School of Convict Tangs

Depth: 30-60+ feet
Skill Level: Novice to Intermediate (Entry-Drift Dive/Currents/Surge/Exit)
Access: Boat - Mooring/Drift/Shore
Description: The reef stretches along the shoreline on the west side of the island with hard corals looming up in individual outcropping's resembling mushrooms. Schools of goatfish, yellow spotted emperorfish, surgeonfish, parrotfish, stonefish, lionfish, emperor angels, moorish idols and conch shells are the normal inhabitants. Pelagic fish include bluefin trevally and groupers.

Pona Point
Divers and Seafans Moray Eel and Banded Shrimp Crinoid with small fish inside Titan Triggerfish

Depth: 30-100+ feet
Skill Level: Advanced (Entry-Drift Dive/Depth/Currents - Updraft's & Downdraft's/Surge)
Access: Boat - Drift/Mooring
Description: A short wall dive. Sea fans, crinoids, clownfish, lionfish, pillow starfish and other wall life contrast with pelagic fish. The currents on this dive can at times be like riding a fast train or a roller-coaster.

Sailigai Tunnel / Sailigai Arch
Sailigai Tunnel Dive Site School of Blue-lined Snappers Sailigai Arch

Depth: 40-80 feet
Skill Level: Advanced (Entry-Drift Dive/Depth/Currents/Surge/Overhead Environment/Free Floating Safety Stop/Exit)
Access: Boat - Drift/Mooring/Shore
Description: Hidden under an overhanging ledge, the entrance of the tunnel is at 60 ft. and is sometimes guarded by a white tip shark. The tunnel curves upwards and exits at 45 ft. In the area around the tunnel you can find stingray's, clown fish and a variety of other fish. The end of the dive concludes at a bridge like arch with sea fans hanging from it's interior.
Note: A mooring buoy is also available for use in the cove at this site making it rated for less experienced divers or just a nice easy dive when the ocean is agreeable.

Senhanom Cave (Rota Hole)

Diver at Senhanom Cave Beam of light in Senhanom Cave Lighting of Senhanom Cave Treasure light of Senhanom Cave Diver Exploring Senhanom Cave

Depth: 30-80+ feet
Skill Level: Advanced (Entry/Currents/Surge/Overhead Environment)
Access: Boat - Mooring/Drift
Description: A grotto approachable only from the water, with the entrance at about 40 ft. Inside are schools of redfish, bronze sweepers and sometimes a lobster or two. The suns rays shining down through the roof opening can be most hypnotic. This is the dive site of many award winning underwater photographs (1st place Best Shot Of Diver MVA/NMDOA "Diving Photo Contest 2005"), a Scubapro poster and many diving articles.

Senhanom Wall (South)
Giant Green Moray Eel Falco Hawkfish

Depth: 60-130+ feet
Skill Level: Advanced (Entry-Drift Dive/Current/Surge/Depth/Exit)
Access: Boat - Mooring/Drift
Description: Edge of a reef flat in 40-50 ft. of water that drops off into ocean depths of well over 130 ft. Look for blue spotted groupers, schools of pyramid butterfly fish, Napoleonfish, dogtooth tuna and sharks along the wall. Some nice soft corals are found here.

Senhanom Wall (North)
Helfrichs' Dartfish

Depth: 60-130+ feet
Skill Level: Advanced (Entry-Drift Dive/Current/Surge/Depth/Exit)
Access: Boat - Mooring/Drift
Description: Edge of a reef flat in 40-50 ft. of water that drops off into ocean depths of well over 150 ft. Look for sharks, turtles, barracuda, Napoleonfish, moray eels, clownfish while you drift along the wall. Similar to Senhanom Wall South, but another section of the wall that runs from Rota's West Harbor to the tip of the Wedding Cake Mountain.

Shoun Maru
Dive Boats at the Surface Bow and Kingpost of Shoun Maru shipwreck Spotted Garden Eels Spotted Garden Eel Divers going down on the Shoun Maru Diver exploring bow of the Shoun Maru Truck Diver looking out of porthole Huge school of goatfish Diver with spadefish on shipwreck Diver with spadefish on shipwreck Engine of shipwreck Shoun Maru Engine and boilers of shipwreck Shoun Maru Shoun Maru Stern Section

Depth: 70-100 feet
Skill Level: Advanced (Depth/Currents/Free Floating Safety Stop/Exit)
Access: Boat - Drift/Mooring
Description: A 400ft. Japanese WWII freighter in great visibility. The wreck has been blown open by man and tested by Mother Nature for 60+ years to reveal trucks, bicycles, bottles, bathtubs and a triple expansion steam engine. Surrounded by garden eels.

More Shoun Maru information
Smuggler Ships of Ilek (E-Leak)
7- screws
Photo-Ship 7-Screws before sinking Photo-Ship 7-Screws before sinking Photo-7-Screws shipwreck awaits divers Photo-7-Screws shipwreck awaits divers

Depth: 75-105 feet
Skill Level: Advanced (Depth/Currents/Overhead Environment)
Access: Boat - Mooring
Description: One of two Chinese human smuggling ships that were impounded by the U.S. Coast Guard off the coast of Guam. They were sunk off of Rota in Sasanhaya Bay as artificial dive sites on February 11, 1999. On a calm day the ship can be seen sitting on a white sand bottom from the dive boat. This ship is a typical Chinese river cargo vessel and with a 120 ft. length and a beam of 23 ft. it can easily be explored in it's entirety even at it's 100 ft. depth. A very unique thing about the ship is it's seven engines and propellers.

Snake Eyes
Shipwreck Snake Eyes Shipwreck Snake Eyes - Stern Divers Exploring the Bow Looking at dive boat on surface from inside the wreck Damage done to shipwreck during a typhoon Stern section typhoon damage

Depth: 65-95 feet
Skill Level: Advanced (Depth/Currents/Overhead Environment/Sharp Metal)
Access: Boat - Mooring
Description: You can see the ship from the surface as you start down towards it. During typhoon Chata'an in July 2002 the ship broke in half just behind the deckhouse and what was once a fine underwater photo subject now lies in two separate sections.

More 7-Screws &Snake Eyes information
Sub Chaser #1 (At Coral Garden)

Depth: 20-90+ feet
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advance
Access: Boat - Mooring/Shore
Description: On a sandy bottom with scattered coral heads at 90 feet is what remains of one of three WWII Japanese auxiliary submarine chasers. This area was heavily damaged in June of 1996 when depth charges on the site were declared a major hazard and were blown up by the U.S. Navy at the request of then CNMI Governor Froilan C. Tenorio. There are still many parts of the ship lying around the immediate area.

Sub Chaser #2
Diver finds brass fire extinguisher Ships engine Sub Chaser 2 Ships propeller Sub Chaser 2 Divers examine ships propeller A Spotfin lionfish looking for a place to hide

Depth: 30-60+ feet
Skill Level: Novice to Intermediate
Access: Boat - Mooring
Description: Among the crevices and corals of the reef lie the scattered remains of a WWII Japanese auxiliary submarine chaser. One of three in the area. There isn't much left of the WWII era wooden ship. All that is recognizable is the engine block, prop shaft and the propeller. A few metal bits and pieces are scattered about the engine block, but mostly they are too covered in coral growth to be noticed (unless you look closely). This site is within the boundaries of the marine sanctuary.

Table Top
Butterflyfish at Tabletop Trumpetfish in the rocks Dragon Wrasse Christmas Tree Worm

Depth: 15-60+ feet
Skill Level: Novice to Intermediate (Current can be strong at times)
Access: Boat - Mooring/Shore
Description: The site is dominated by a 15 mater tower of rock rising from the sea floor. It's difficult not to think of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" when you descend the first 5 meters to the "top" of the rock, a nearly flat platform home to dusky anemonefish and the anchor point for the mooring buoy. You start the dive by spiraling down the tower, not noticing at first all of the marine life hiding in the cracks and crevasses in the rock. A few larger fish are fairly easy to spot: A juvenile Rockwater wrasse, some Moorish idols and a variety of butterflyfish. Then the divemaster begins to point to the less noticeable species. You can see trumpetfish hiding in a small cave. Searching along the bottom the divemaster locates two varieties of gobies, as well as a scorpionfish, which he warns the group away from by emphatically making a big "X" with his forearms. After exploring the bottom at about 20 meters you begin to spiral back up the tower to your safety stop back at the "Tabletop." Watching the anemonefish or exploring the cracks and fissures for other shy residents of the tower provides a nice diversion while waiting out the last 5 minutes of the dive. - Warren Michel - Local Rota diver

Turtle Ridge
Closeup of a Green Turtle A turtle in Your Face Green Turtle Looking for a Good Eating Spot A Green Turtle Feeding on Algae A Green Turtle and a Diver A Green Turtle Coming Up for Air

Depth: 30-40 feet
Skill Level: Advanced (Entry - Drift Dive/Currents/Surge/Free Floating Safety Stop/Exit)
Access: Boat - Drift
Description: The main attraction here are the turtles. It is possible to see anywhere of up to a dozen turtles during this dive. Usually green turtles feeding on the seaweed and algae that grows along the top of the ridge with the occasional hawksbill turtle.

gold Bar

Dive Rota, P.O. Box 941, Rota MP 96951
E-mail: mark@diverota.com

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