31 kms (17mi) off Mahahual, although the least dived, lies the largest atoll in the Northern Hemisphere. With an approximate area of 800 km2 (of which less than 1% is above the water) the Chinchorro bank has 3 cays and a lagoon with an average depth of 5 meters. Dive sites range from 5 to 40 meters (16 to 130 ft).
Being part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, it bears no significant differences in topography and wildlife to the reef along the coast. Chinchorro boasts an abundance of anemones and sponges, up to 20 species have been recorded. There are 200 species of marine life identified to date, most of which are beautiful tropical fish.
Chinchorro’s main feature are the wrecks on its windward, easternmost side; In fact the Mexican government has declared the bank a marine archaeological sanctuary. The amounts of wrecks vary according to the source, from 40 to a hundred, not surprising, considering there are 18 documented shipwrecks between the 1600’s and the 1800’s, heading a long list that goes up to contemporary shipwrecks. Some still show her superstructure above water meanwhile others rest in shallow water, allowing us to extend the exploration for over an hour. Keep in mind, most of the wrecks are in pieces, dismantled by the surge and wind
Due to the remoteness of the bank, trips to Chinchorro are constrained by sea conditions. It also requires a minimum of 6 divers.
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