Black Beauty is located in a reasonably large bay on the south-west coast of Batanta and is known for the “critters” that can be found in its black sand.
It possesses the three classic ingredients typically required for a good critter site – a reasonable sheltered environment (critters don’t like surf…), a source of organic nutrients which is provided by the small river on the north-western side of the bay and nearby deep water to provide a further supply of nutrient rich colder water.
Like other well known critter sites Black beauty is a black sand slope
To the east is a large area of algae growth which provides lots of places for the resident critters to hide, while the central area is more black sand and small rocks and at the western end near the river is a coral garden.
The usual drill at Black Beauty is to arrive during the night, moor the boat around the center of the bay in front of the sandy area and allow “open deck” diving for the day.
Open deck is used where there is a known site that has much to see and the conditions are safe to allow multiple dives – where bottom time and surface intervals are left to the individual divers, but monitored for overall safety.
It’s a great way to explore a critter site like Black Beauty where last week’s “hot spot” can turn in to the week’s “where’s the critters?”…
The critters are usually still there but have moved due to the ever changing influence of tides, currents and nutrient flows.
Open deck allows divers, underwater photographers and guides to fan out and then share information on what they found and where during the surface intervals.
One sure way to make yourself very unpopular at places like Black Beauty is poor buoyancy!
Poor buoyancy inevitably results in a lot of unnecessary finning that will rapidly stir up the bottom – scaring the critters and ruining the visibility in the process. So go slowly, control your buoyancy, don’t kick and use your lung volume or slightly inflate your BCD to rise up out of the way when you are finished at each spot.
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Black Beauty Image Gallery
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