Atlantic? Diving? Really?

Always experiencing something new, exploring dive sites that surprise you, and still doing so after hundreds and thousands of dives – that is, at least for me, the most important thing about our beloved hobby.
Many divers love warm waters, with their colorful tropical fish, coral, white sand – and sure, that’s nice. But, quite honestly: I get bored relatively quickly. Somehow I get attached to the black sand, the lava rocks and this intense, clear blue.
The Atlantic Ocean always provides new surprises, and that’s what makes it so interesting. Sometimes the biggest ray ever passes very close, a manta ray makes its way up dark (every two years), sometimes there are a lot of trigger fish on one spot, then suddenly none, but butterfly rays – on every dive it is different than a few days before. That’s exciting, that’s what I love about the East Atlantic, and especially here on La Palma on the steepest of the Canary Islands.

The Canary Islands: Seven islands, seven worlds

Each of the Canary Islands has its own charm, under and above water. What they all have in common is the volcanic origin, the rugged landscapes, the jagged rock formations under water. No corals, but colorful sponges, caves, dark and light sand, steep walls and lava flows.
If you vacation often enough and like to see something new every time, you may well just visit one island after another. My personal ranking: No 1 is La Palma, closely followed by El Hierro, then comes directly already Lanzarote. Tenerife and Gran Canaria in the midfield – they are also just too big and too touristy for me. Oh yes, and then there is Fuerteventura….

At Lanzarote there are three diving areas: Playa Blanca, Puerto del Carmen and the north.
Playa Chica in Puerto del Carmen is an impressive dive site, a very long reef with several attractions at all depths.This is where all, really all the dive centers on the island gather during the week, and parking quickly becomes scarce, especially in the summer – despite the reserved area for the centers. But there is a reason for the run-up: Playa Chica is a dive site where you can easily do 6-10 dives without it getting repetitive. Past the big Zacki to the cathedral; far right into the Blue Hole; down to the orange coral; right to the harbor or just around the bay – the place has it all. And right next door would be Playa Grande and Fariones, and of course the harbor wrecks, but better dived from the boat.
However, I find the north even more beautiful: Here the entrances are wilder, and the dark lava continues underwater, pulling you into the depths. The highlight here is the cave in Puerto Moro, accessible only when the sea is very calm and for sure-footed divers – the way into the water is quite challenging.
In the very south, in the very touristy Playa Blanca, diving is only done from the boat. The landscape is gentler, flatter, more white sand interspersed with rocky outcrops. Also very beautiful, but nciht quite as spectacular as the wilder rest of the island. That’s why the Museo Atlantico was built here as well, an underwater exhibition of slaves. How long it will still geneb?
Fuerteventura – ah, Fuerteventura…. There are said to be people who love this island, especially surfers. I never understood that. Diving can be done in the north in the shallow area between Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, there may be some nice spots. Then in the middle there is the long wall in front of Caleta de Fuste, and in the south the big and the small moray reef. Honestly, I find the island as boring underwater as it is on land. Probably simply because I lack variety and depth.
At Gran Canaria it is said to be good for diving. I have not been in the water there yet, but I have observed how it is done at “El Cabron”, the most visited shore diving site. This is a rocky entry, nasty, wavy…. And the guides here have developed their own method of getting people in and out of the water. JENS, NOVH TIMES EXACTLY PLEASE!
Tenerife is above all one thing: very touristy. Diving is mainly done in the south and the east, and especially the east coast has some very nice dive sites like Las Eras and Punta Prieta, which are also easy to reach from land. My favorite is MontaƱa Amarilla near Las Galletas. There are also some bases there that go out by boat, thus reaching a large number of spectacular places.
Tiny La Gomera is not exactly known as a diving destination. I also just enjoyed the forests and mountains there – the island is so beautiful, it would be worth just trying it out.
The very smallest of the Canary Islands is El Hierro, and for mainland Spaniards this island is considered the diver’s paradise par excellence. That is why in La Restinga there is one diving center next to the other. Diving is always from the boat and the sites are indeed spectacular. The chances for big fish are better than on the other islands, the often clear currents seem to be quite attractive for many animals. The only drawback is that there is only one small local airport, so getting there is a bit of a hassle.
And then there is La Palma. That the greenest of the Canary Islands is my favorite will surprise no one. There are several reasons for this. La Palma is incredibly steep, so even in the water it gets very deep very quickly. You can walk comfortably from the beach into the water and shortly after you are at any depth you can imagine. Since it is also beautiful in the shallows, even beginners get their money’s worth – and the very hardcore can also watch colorful fish while decompressing. In addition, the dive sites are more diverse than I have experienced on any other island. So it remains exciting for a long time, and there is always something new to discover.

Diving in the Canary Islands is adventurous

Of course, the Canary Islands are not the easiest diving destination in the world. The Atlantic is idiosyncratic, and Europe does not offer the luxury of countless cheap workers.
If you dive here, you have to haul your own equipment, rinse it yourself, and often load the jeep or boat as well. There are just no cheap slaves, and you do not really want to pay the service at the European minimum wage…
There are also waves, surf, sometimes current. All no problem if you listen to what the guide says about getting in and out. Otherwise, a bit of rolling in the surf can be quite funny – at least for the spectators…
But most of those who get involved once keep coming back. Because it’s close, warm, yet European, and you can just dive awesome. And it does not get boring even after thousands of dives.
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