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Scuba Diving in Lanzarote
Dive Site: Puerto Del Carmen Harbour (Safari Diving Beach)
Location: Puerto del Carmen
Depth: 0 - 24 metres (0 - 79 feet)
Visibility: 15 - 20 metres (50 - 65 feet)
As a first time diver I couldn't have wished for a better place to start. Diving from the harbour at Puerto del Carmen was like stepping into a giant swimming pool with calm conditions and great visibility. Although the waters were not exactly teaming with life, over the first few dives I saw plenty of wrasse, flounders, bream and even caught a great view of a sand ray as it swam from the shallows straight across our path.
Louise Harris, trainee BSAC Ocean Diver
I did my first night dive here. What an experience. With only 7m of water it was an ideal first time. You can enter the water via some steps (can be a little slippery), excellent visibility, lots to see, anything from cuttlefish to angel sharks.
David Drew, PADI Advanced Open Water
The harbour at Puerto Del Carmen accommodates all levels of diver; from new trainee to experienced wreck diver. During the first part of my week here I instructed the 5 open water dives necessary to qualify my student to BSAC Ocean Diver. Having checked the facilities before we left England I was still impressed upon arrival with the professionalism and readiness of Calypso Diving to accommodate all our needs and provide the necessary locations to undertake these dives. Dive centre owner Peter Monk was a wealth of knowledge and gave comprehensive site briefs before courteously allowing me to undertake my lesson briefs and debriefs. Diving organisation was competent, accommodating and unhurried. Facilities & equipment were good and a fleet of 3 minibuses provided comfortable transport to the dive locations as well as daily pick-up at 8.45am sharp and drop off back to our apartments. There is plenty of parking at the harbour although it did get busy. Entry is made using stone steps from the harbour wall or you can do a giant stride from the wall. As well as the harbour itself there is a small beach cove on the other side of the stone jetty (either a 30 second walk in your dive gear or a 15 minute slow swim underwater from the harbour). This makes the harbour a very versatile teaching area allowing for all manner of entries and exits to be instructed. If you enter from the harbour there is a flat sandy sea floor at 4 to 5 metres where you can teach and practice skills (take care of overhead boat traffic) before heading with the stone jetty on your left shoulder around the point and into the bay. At the furthest point the sand floor drops slightly to 6 metres and there are rainbow wrasse, flounders and shrimps in the rock outcroppings. The sun penetrates the clear water and reflects off the yellow sand making this a very picturesque dive for students.
Rik Vercoe, BSAC Advanced Instructor
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It's a great night dive, simple yet plenty to offer novice and experienced diver alike. Many photographers visit for the marine life, which being in the Canaries is on the local doorstep of Europeans.
The night dive is also different because it's not your Red Sea corals or your Mediterranean limestone, but is volcanic lava and near a very big Atlantic drop off.
For me this dive represents a level of night creature consistency and unexpectedness that is second to none. The area starts from the shoreline between two lava ridges which both face south, approximately 50m apart and extend out about 100m to a depth at their ends of 7m. Nearby is the Bar Playa jetty and harbour. The lava has many boulders in front, and cracks within, making it ideal for marine life.
On every occasion I've dived this, about 40-50, there has always been something to see and photograph. Playa Chica starts at ground zero to about 15m maximum, the remainder of the reef area drops to 25m then the drop off to 60m. The most interesting area is 3-15m and depending on the time of the month determined by the Moon different creatures may be on view, for example several octopuses along with perhaps a dozen cuttlefish and some baby versions of both. We've seen baby angel sharks, large butterfly rays and small torpedo rays. On occasions several different types of shrimps jump all over the sand in their scores - impervious to any other marine creatures and divers alike. Sleeping parrot and damselfish tuck themselves into hollows, whilst large numbers of small madeira rockfish, or red scorpionfish hop around the rocks. Hypselodoris nudibranchs and scores of sea hares can be seen grazing, and if this isn't enough, weeverfish, anemone hermit crabs and other crab varieties can be seen scuttling around the sand amongst the fields of open feeding anemones, the latter of which are by their thousands.
Other denizens include telematactis & burrowing anemones, Alicia mirabils & other species of cnidarians, and Alcyonium palmata - a Mediterranean variety of red dead man's finger! Occasional sightings of seahorses are made, as well as filefish, but the cave is very much worth the visit. A small cave exists in 2-3m of water, easily accessible only at high water and is home to variety of strange creatures. Also, several of the cracks support similar species.
Occasionally there are sightings of morays, Canarian lobsterette, small slipper lobster, brittlestars, and on the outside some really stunningly beautiful yellow Parazooanthid axinallae (star corals) and rich orange jewel anemones. Also around the sand, eagle and rounder stingrays make an appearance as well as fully grown angel sharks.
Exit is reluctant, and either via the Playa Chica Beach or the Bar Playa steps.
A 2007 visit revealed yet more variety to the creatures already mentioned. We did 3 night dives in the time there and wished for more. The second was for me the best night dive I've made and that is saying something! Making 7 day dives just added to the list of sightings. The night dives revealed yet more creatures not previously (or rarely) seen.
Several common octopus are the norm, however on this occasion two rarer white spotted varieties appeared. Cuttlefish were out in force and one had taken a scorpionfish into its mouth. A small lunar shrimp (Gnathophylum), looking like a cross between a beetle and a lobster with blue eyes, all of 2.5cm long was"attacking" a small red scorpionfish. Stargazer, fireworms, crinoids, apsylia (sea hare) and rich red nudibranchs placomophorous along with pleurobranchs - berthella were all seen.
We were lucky this time with the water table, but still a little surge. Last time we'd seen a rare scyllarus arctus lobster, but this time we were also in for a treat. Two different varieties of shrimp inhabited the shadows along with strange looking brittlestars (these were stenopus spinosus), a large yellow shrimp with big claws and Rhynchocinetes rigens a bulky shrimp in united colours of red and white. At the back of the small cave we'd been looking for some 1cm long orange/white crabs but found two playdoris argo flatworms in deep orange - bonus! And as if that wasn't enough, coming out of the cave swimming some 5m to the egde of the lava ridge, we chanced upon a small goby variety we think a Gogius but unsure.
On the rocks nearby, as yet an unidentified and very large nudibranch, 10-15cm long, black with yellow speckles (not Hyspelodoris) and moving quickly. Turning the corner of the ridge and into the Playa Chica bay a large female and preganat torpedo or electric ray was out on the sand. These were just some of the highlights of the creatures on the night dives, there were many more forms including large rays and angel sharks at night.
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