Marie and I were in Gran Canaria mid-september and we wanted to share that with you 🙂
Starting with the obvious: the view was impressive. We were located on the south west of the island in the city of Puerto Rico. The coast is beautiful and mainly composed of good looking beaches (Playa del Cura, Playa de Amadores, Playa de Purto Rico, Puerto Mogan) with rock formations in between.
The island is the second largest one of the Canaria archipelago, it’s a volcanic and quite arid island. We had only one week to spend and wanted to dive as much as possible, so we didn’t explore the island as much as we would’ve liked to, but I heard that the center of the island is a must see.
The island is actually a UNESCO Biosphere reserve and is home to more than 500 endemic species. Also, if you like hiking, I heard that the apex of the volcanic formation is very nice.
Disclaimer: for those who don’t know us very well, we are Advanced PADI divers, but we have only a few dives so we are definitely not experts :D.
Anyway, as it’s been a while since we dove we wanted to do easy dives at first. We dove 8 times (well, 7 for Marie as she got a back pain on the last two days and wasn’t able to do the last dive we planned) in various spots located at maximum 30 mins by boat.
Arguineguin / Mushroom reef
We did 3 dives here, the conditions were good each time, without much current. It’s not a deep dive as the spot is ~14m deep, we followed the border of the reef, so we had white sand on one side, where we saw a band of snappers and some barracudas (I guess they were interested in the snappers :P), and the reef on the other side.
There aren’t many corals, but there were some impressive sting rays, octopuses, eels and trumpet-fish.
Just outside the harbor of the small fishing village named Mogan lie two wrecks at 18m deep. The first one, named Alegranza is 60m away from the second one, a dutch fishing boat sunk on purpose quite recently. Both are the habitat of some octopuses and eels, most likely you will also see sting rays and school of smaller fish.
During this dive you will probably get a visit from a submarine (for the tourists to see the wrecks): don’t forget to salute them while enjoying a closer experience with the marine life than them :P.
The best dive site in my opinion.
We saw a lot of eagle rays, sting rays, eels, parrotfish, trumpetfish, wrass. There is a lot of life in the corals and sea anemones, and when you pass the end of the plateau in the deepest part at approximately 21m, you will most likely see large school of snappers and grunts with barracudas. This site has everything, and if you have to pick one site I highly recommend this one.
Another nice dive is the Medio Almud site. At 22m deep lies a small wreck named “Armando Theodora”. We saw a lot of huge sting rays there, and at the end we played with a very large school of grunts and snappers: it’s so fun to get lost in the middle of thousands of them 🙂
Blue bird wreck
This dive was my last one (the one that Marie unfortunately couldn’t do). This is a deep dive (~45m) restricted to advanced divers that already
have some deep dives in their diving log.
I felt very priviledged to do this dive, there were only 3 of us (+ the boat driver), the sea was so quiet early in the morning it was just perfect. There was no current at all, and the free fall until we reached the bottom was delightful.
The wreck is a 30m long ferry of the Blue Bird company. I wish I saw an angel shark for this last dive as we were deeper and the water was colder at this depth, but unfortunately we did not see one. On the other hand we saw a large school of grunts and barracudas, lots of eagle rays (yay \o/) and sting rays. Funny note: there is a toilet that lies near the wreck, if you want to take funny pictures there, be very welcome to share them.
The Dive Center
I can’t talk about this trip without mentioning the guys with whom who dove. Those guys are awesomely funny and friendly, and still such professionals.
Hugo was our main instructor, he comes from Belgium and is a really nice and humble guy, I enjoyed diving with him very much. Kyle and Domingo are also very friendly and the last one on the picture Steve is the funniest guy from the whole UK. We missed Karl (another experienced English diver) and Miguel (the boat driver) on the picture but they are equally warm-hearted.
To sum up: if you want to dive in this area, Top Diving is definitely a very good place to stop by.
We decided to go on a dolphin/whale encounter boat trip in the middle of our stay. It was our best experience of the stay, no less.
It’s a 3-hour boat trip where you go 10km into the sea (~30min), the biologist searches for dolphins or whales for ~2 hours, and then you come back and make a quick stop to go swimming (not with the dolphins unfortunately :P).
It was a weird day: there was a sandstorm in the Sahara desert in Africa not far from the island (only 220km!), which caused a dust storm during two days and especially that day, thus making it hard to search for dolphins. Locals call this phenomenon Calima. After 10 mins in the sea we couldn’t see the coast (see what I did there?), and the skipper was having some difficulties to see far away.
We did not see any whales but after approximately 45 mins we saw hundreds of Atlantic spotted dolphins (~300 of them); it was literally breath taking and I would definitely call it a must see.
I hope you enjoyed the quick sum-up of our trip. I would definitely recommend the island for a nature tour. If I were to do it again, I guess I would probably spend more time exploring the center of the island and probably cook my own food instead of trying tourist traps in this this area, but overall we loved the place.