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Published on : Sunday, June 26, 2016
The main characteristics of these hidden treasures – among which coral formations have an important place – are diversity enchantment. The marvelous underwater world is the habitat of a wide range of marine species of many shapes and colours.
History has added another element of greatest interest, for more that 1000 ships have gone down in these waters, including both pirate ships and galleons that were carrying treasures from the New World to the old.
There are more than 1000 species of fish; 200 kinds of sponges (cup, tubular and branch); around 60 varieties of coral; and a large number of mollusks, crustaceans, gorgonians, algae and Common Sea Fans (Gorgonia spp.) off the Cuban coast, caves, profusely decorated vertical walls, tunnels, cliffs and channels offer scuba divers unlimited options for both day and night dives – experiences that range from simple viewing to interaction with large fish in an atmosphere of perfect safety.
Because of the wide insular shelf – 26, 190 square miles ( Just over 67,830 square kilometers) in size – which surrounds Cuba, the water near its coasts is calm, clear and warm, with an average annual temperature that ranges between 75.2 and 83.3 F. (between 24 and 28.5 C.) and with average horizontal visibility of from 65 to 130 feet (from 20 to 40 meters).
Cuba’s insular shelf contains around 527 miles (850 kilometers) of coral reefs. The most important one, in the Jardines del Rey Archipelago (or Sabana-Camaguey Archipelago), lies just off the northern coast of central Cuba and is 280 miles (450 kilometers) long – the second largest in the world. The four groups of islands and cays which surround the largest island, Cuba-Colorados, Jardines del Rey, Jardines de la Reina and Canarreos – have exceptionally good conditions for exploring the seabed.