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New Caledonia
Stories of divers

Underwater Cathedral: the Colorful Prony Needle in New Caledonia

  • Open Water Diver
  • Divemaster
  • Daily diving
Samuel Lejarre

“Prony” was the name of the French steamboat that first explored the Nouméa strait. Its captain, Jean-Joseph de Brun, discovered the bay while travelling the Woodin Canal between “Grande Terre” and “Ouen Island,” and he named the bay after his ship, which first studied the area between 1853 and 1855.

Underwater in Prony Bay is the Prony Needle, shown here, where underwater hot springs of 91 degrees F (33 C) have helped create a tall pinnacle rising 131 feet (40 m) from the ocean floor to just 6.5 feet (2 m) below the surface. The hydrothermal activity has created (primarily) calcium and magnesium crystals in the form of Aragonite (calcium carbonite) and Brucite (magnesium hydroxide) to form this amazing underwater structure, full of life.

Though there are plenty of fish – here you can see groupers, unicornfish, tangs, butterflyfish, boxfish, and multiple schools of baby fish in a virtual fish nursery – what really stands out is the amazing topography, texture, and colors of the pinnacle, including a wide and colorful variety of different soft corals. The pinnacle evokes memories reminiscent of the gothic Duomo in Milan, with similar, multiple pointed peaks like those in the famed Milan cathedral, except much more vibrant. Indeed, this is one of the most unique, colorful, and beautiful places to dive in the world, and should not be missed if you are in New Caledonia.

Samuel Lejarre

About author

I am french Dive Master. I dive all over the world and try to make nice videos.
Stories of divers
3 min
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