Pair of French Angelfish on Angelfish Reef Grand CaymanAngelfish Reef is located on the west side of Grand Cayman and makes a good second dive site after scuba diving on the west wall. The west side of Grand Cayman is a very easy dive as the bay is quite protected and access to dive sites is 10 to 20 minutes by boat.French Angelfish, Face of an Angel, Pomacanthus paru, (Bloch, 1787), Grand Cayman (StevenWSmeltzer.com)

This sites name sake, French Angelfish and Grey Angelfish, like all of Grand Cayman fishes, face the threat of the Lionfish. These beautiful non-native,  invasive fish multiply rapidly and have very few if any natural predators in the area.  Local Dive Masters are constantly culling these fish to help limit the impact on the local ecosystem.

Angelfish Reef Rating: 3.28 out of 5

  • Visibility – Moderate although sometimes can be good
  • Access – Good; boat only and 15 to 25 minutes from west side hotels
  • Current – Good 
  • Depth to 60 ft / 18 m
  • Reef health Hard / Soft Corals – Moderate to good
  • Sponges / Plants – Good
  • Marine species variety – Good
  • Pelagics / Mammals / Turtles / Rays – Minimal typically 1 to 3 sightings on a dive

There are a good variety of fish and coral on Angelfish Reef and usually the visibility is reasonably good.  The corals show some damage on this Lionfish, Pterois volitans, (Linnaeus 1758), Grand Cayman (StevenWSmeltzer.com)side of Grand Cayman primarily due to the number of divers visiting the Seven Mile Beach sites.   The dives are still quite nice but the corals will not be as healthy as they are close to Northwest Point on the west side or on the North Wall.
Elephant Ear Sponge, Agelas clathrodes, Orange Canyon Grand Cayman (StevenWSmeltzer.com)
There is no current on Angelfish Reef and the depth is reasonably shallow with a max depth of around 60 feet. This dive site can become a little “hazy” or cloudy later in the day as can many of the second dive sites on the west side.   Close up Trumpetfish, Aulostomus maculatus, Valenciennes, 1837, Grand Cayman (Steven Smeltzer) You can see Green Sea Turtles and of course the ever present French Angelfish as well as Grey Angelfish along with  Trumpetfish, Parrotfish, Sergeant Majors, Long-Spine Soldierfish, and many more fishes along with a good variety of sponges and soft corals. The beautiful French Angelfish usually come in pairs and are quite easy to photograph and there are some very nice Orange Elephantear Sponges that make some very nice photos and can serve as good background if you can find an accommodating fish.

Grooved Brain Coral, Diploria labyrinthiformis, Grand Cayman (Steven Smeltzer)At Angelfish Reef you will also find a few nice brain corals including some very nice Grooved Brain Corals and some good examples of sea rods and sea whips. Take your time and make sure to look in the various “pockets” in the coral and you will find Spiny Lobsters, shrimp and crab.

As in all dives I recommend going slowly and take time to appreciate the site. Read other dive site reviews on my blog and see other underwater photographs on my website and follow me on Twitter @ images2inspire. The pool is open…