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Scuba Diving in Lanzarote
Dive Site: The Blue Hole
Location: Puerto del Carmen
Depth: 4 - 33 metres (13 - 100 feet)
Visibility: 15 - 20 metres (50 - 65 feet)
This was my first dive in Lanzarote and it really is a great place to dive. I must admit my expectations really weren't that high having returned recently from diving in the Sipadan, Borneo. I figured my diving had been spoiled forever and that nothing would compare. Sure, Lanzarote doesn't have the diversity and density of marine life boasted by places further a field, however its crystal clear waters, good facilities, location and therefore extremely attractive price tag make it a great diving choice. Entrance to the Blue Hole dive site is made from the harbour at Puerto Del Carmen, where you can either do a giant stride entry from the stone harbour wall or descend the harbour steps (take care - they are slippery and there is sometimes heavy boat traffic here). Once in the water you descend into around 4 metres of clear blue water and cruise down the sand slope and through a large eel garden at around 20 metres. There are often large black sand rays here and we saw several on our dives here. At around 33 metres there is a canyon which you can descend into and which takes you through a tunnel (the Blue Hole) where there are nudibranchs and small shoals of silver fish. There was no current when we dived here and conditions made for an easy dive.
Rik Vercoe, BSAC Advanced Instructor
The Blue Hole Resources
The Blue Hole (or The Hole) is a popular shore dive and is the remnants of an ancient lava tube, which starts at 24 meters at a rough 50 degrees angle to 32 meters. Small caves are nearby to the right and the whole area here usually has resident grouper and trumpetfish. Various ray varieties are frequent and recently the "point" nearby has seen circling barracuda's, amberjack and mantas. Don't discount the return journey across the sand to the Bar Playa jetty its home to a wonderful array of marine life during the day, and the outer part of the western lava ridge of Playa Chica is ideal for off gassing for 20 minutes or more, watching the bream, bogue, mullet, silversides and damselfish come and go. Exit can be made via the jetty (with care from boats/slippery) or safer around to the Playa Chica beach.
The Blue Hole can also be for novice divers to certified depths, but bear in mind the hole starts at 24m to 32m, so open water divers can really only view from above. The return journey should be taken slowly as there is so much to see.
Care should be exercised if venturing to the right of the bottom of the Blue Hole as the small overhang, and nearby small cave usually has Sabella worms on its periphery. These are identified by 8mm wide by 10cm long mud/sand coloured tubes in the sand, and have white feeding fronds above these. A careless fin stroke can wipe them out. The cave is also sometimes refuge to grouper that hide from divers and on occasions, small rounded rays. To the left (south) of the hole it becomes much deeper along a vertical wall to around 40m where occasionally very large rounded stingrays can be found. Above the hole several ridges present themselves, where nudibranchs and cnidarians are usually found.
An alternative diversion (time / air permitting) is to the nearby wall (northwest or ahead and slightly to the right of the small cave). This wall is superb with many fish varieties skulking around it, small orange tree coral, occasional pieces of black coral, but the best is a cavern half way up at 28m. This extends back some 15m and is about 15m wide. Inside and on its outsides are a fantastically coloured array of encrusting sponges in white, yellow and red. It sparkles in your torchlight. This part of the wall seems to be favoured by several inquisitive Cernia, a relative of the grouper, who just sit on the cliff tops.
Either way the harbour wall can easily be reached at about 17-21m, where the crabs and hermit crabs mingle. The ropes around the sand sometimes have seahorses and many goby varieties and during the day cuttlefish can even be seen, as well as stargazer, flatfish, many scorpionfish, grey mullet shoals, and several filefish. And finally, if your exit is the jetty, look at the rocks along the harbour wall. These are hiding places for many marine creatures and in the right conditions some great wide-angle photography is on offer. Thankfully there is plenty of red and green algae around, so not so many large black diadema urchins.
This sight is great, don't forget to explore the little caves on the lower side of the hole itself as there are often some large groupers within.
My fourth ever dive was here, I saw a ray, cuttlefish, fireworm and a Seahorse. All in the space of 30 minutes, a fantastic dive, would recommend this to anyone!!!!
I saw common and round rays, barracuda, grouper and octopus all in one dive!! A great dive site with plenty of different dives to do from the same site!!
Excellent dive site for beginners and experts. Would recommend it for all.
Wonderful dive site, there are some lovely seahorses which live on ropes near the shore by this dive.
The dive site is good ,I've dived it twice, but I would shout out that there are a lot of divers there and nearly every dive centre does there try dives there so theres a lot of sand kicked up in the shallow areas of the dive!! The Blue Hole itself is too deep for try dives so not all is lost. It's worth doing, but not the best dive site in the world by far. See if you can find the coral - it's under some rocks on top of the ridge that runs at about 20m. There's a little wreck at the bottom.
The HUGE grouper is called Felix and I was lucky enough to see him, he lives near the little wreck and he likes coming to see divers because they all feed him....
Richard Yeatman, PADI Master Scuba Diver
The previous comments (Mr. Yeatman) is referring to 2 more sites in his latter comments, which are located around the same reef area as the Blue Hole.
1) Red Coral, which is actually Orange tree coral - Dendrophilla ramea.
The reef top is at 22-25m depending on tide. It's a swim (from Playa Chica or Blue Hole) to get to it I would not recommend doing the Hole and Red Coral at the same time as air and deco will be factors. Also, it depends on what you are looking for in a dive. There is a shoal of ~250 barracuda just nearby, gurnards crawl across the garden eel infested sand, and some of the biggest rounded stingrays may be seen. Quite often large pelagics such as amberjacks sweep in and trumpetfish and several smaller grouper (or cernia) can be spotted.
2) Playa Chica House Reef
This is where Felix is located, and yes he does live near the little wreck, that of a lifeboat sank in Nov. 1999 in 9m, which after a couple of years was dragged to its current place by storms. House Reef and Blue Hole are not usually dived together in one dive as they are some 200m+ apart and both are deep (Hole 24-32m, House 17-40m), Felix usually is around 27m where the wreck is.
The caves (28m) just to north of the Blue Hole can be entered - partially - with care. Yes, grouper and rays do sit in here, avoiding divers usually. But, take care! The sand entrance is home to a colony of sabella worms identified by small 8cm high stalks. Further west along this same wall at 27m is an open cavern half way up the vertical rock face. Take a peek in, it looks like a fairyland of colurful sponges, red & quartz tube squirts - well worth a visit.
On the subject of the seahorses here, please take care when around them as bad buoyancy can damage and try not to take too many images with strobes as this can be detrimental to their welfare. After all, we want them to stay and be happy, so respect the marine life.
Tony Gilbert | 06/04/2009
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