The elongated reef is located 1.2 nautical miles southwest of Angarosh. Like the Angarosh and the Abington Reef, it rises steeply out of the 450-meter-deep seabed. In contrast to his two neighbors, the outer sides do not drop so steeply. At its narrower north end there is a plateau, which is dominated by a large coral block, beautifully overgrown with soft corals. The west and east sides are interspersed with many crevices and caves. The reef roof extends just below the water surface and numerous small coral rocks protrude from the water.
On the west side you can see the remains of Freedom from afar. The Austrian safari boat ran onto the reef in October 1999 due to a navigation error. The ship was almost completely dismantled by local fishermen within a few days - now only the cannibalized hull and the sawn-off bow can be seen. The Merlo reef is frequently approached by safari boats. Because of its exposed location, current must also be expected here, although this is usually not as strong as with the Abington Reef.
The reef wall is partially overhanging to a depth of approximately 15 meters.
In this area the reef is very rugged and has many crevices. Numerous giant moray eels find a hiding place there and wait for the night to pursue their prey in the darkness. Some columns are so large that you can easily dive into them.
Inside, in the diffuse light, isolated coral inhabitants can be spotted hiding from their enemies. At the foot of the wall begins a gently sloping slope that slopes slightly downwards. It is littered with small to medium-sized blocks of coral and populated by many reef inhabitants. The coral growth is so dense that only small sand areas can be found on which isolated white tip sharks rest.
In addition to the different types of hard and soft corals, there is a larger number of table corals spread over the entire east side.
In addition, colonies of splendid and bubble anemones have settled and shoals of nasal surgeons swim on the sloping slope. At its end, the outer wall drops steeply into the depth. The ridge runs in the north at a depth of approximately 40 meters and rises in the south to the area of 25 meters. In this section, groups of Napoleons pull along the reef and curiously approach the divers swimming past.
There is a three-level plateau at the northern tip. The first stage covers the shallow water area to a depth of 2 meters. On the west side, two deep cuts can be easily dived and under a small overhang at a depth of 15 meters there is a shoal of glass fish. At the foot of a rugged reef wall, the second stage begins at 25 meters. The bottom drops down to 30 meters in order to change into a steep wall. The plateau is beautifully overgrown, but it is dominated by a large coral rock on the west side. It is beautifully overgrown with soft and stone corals and offers interesting motifs to underwater photographers. The third plateau level can be seen below.
- There you will find, among other things, numerous Indo-Pacific sergeants, oarfish, various snappers and butterfly fish. With a little luck, gray reef sharks can be observed on the steep wall. Occasionally, groups of hammerhead sharks can be seen passing by.