Las Pe­zones DESECHEO IS­LAND, PUERTO RICO

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The 45-minute boat ride to reach Desecheo — an un­in­hab­ited is­land 12 miles west of Puerto Rico — is a deal breaker for some. For oth­ers, that dis­tance brings the prom­ise of pris­tine reefs. At Las Pe­zones, cur­rents run steadily, sweep­ing the sea fans — wide, mas­sive and nu­mer­ous, like fields of satel­lite dishes in the desert — free of de­bris. The mov­ing wa­ters also bring in nu­tri­ents that sup­ply ev­ery level of the food chain. Ev­ery­thing, from spade­fish to black dur­gon, oc­curs in big num­bers. Even pass­ing ea­gle rays never fly solo. But the reefs are never crowded with divers thanks to the fact that few dive op­er­a­tors make the lengthy cross­ing.

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