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Diving in Madeira

With the captivating bodies of water that surround Madeira, diving certainly is among the primary activities which could be done here. The sea which fences this archipelago has an abundant population of the rarest and endemic species. Aside from that, there are also different sorts of reefs and oceanic plants which are not often seen elsewhere. Scuba diving in this destination certainly is an experience that is hard to forget. No wonder Madeira is one of the most popular destinations for a dive holiday.

Dive sites in Madeira - the Garajau Marine Nature Reserve

Most dive sites in Madeira lie on the South Side of The Island. One of the best areas for diving in Madeira is the Garajau Marine Nature Reserve. As this area you will have a lot of possibilities to dive at different places and suitable for different levels. To name a few, there is the Lavafinger local reef, which is also suitable for beginners with depths reaching from 5 meters till 35 meters. Then you have the “Arena” dive site which features a long tunnel and bizarre rock formations. Pico, which also lies within Garajau, is more suitable for more experienced divers. The Ponta da Oliveira spot offers a great variety in fish and a steep vegetated wall. Here is also a large cave for the more advanced divers. At Cape Garajau you will find the large brown grouper, one of the biggest European coastal fish. This is also a nice spot for beginners. Then there is the T-Reef with 30 meter rocky pinnacles and rich of schools of damselfish and barracudas, moray eels and manta rays.

Other dive sites around Madeira island include:
Monastery Reef.
Reis Magos
Ponta de São

dive madeira

Wreckdiving in Madeira

There are several shipwrecks in the waters that surround Madeira. The nice thing about shipwrecks (from a diving point of view) is that they offer artifical reefs and this way shelter a wide variety of marine life.

The Bowbelle also called the Bom Rei is a 90m long wreck that lies at a depth of around 30 meters. The ship sunk at Madalena do Mar (at the southcoast of Madeira) about 40 minutes from Funchal. Another wreck is the Madeirense, a cargo vessel which has been sunk deliberately in the year 2000 to create a good diving spot. The vessel lies at a depth of approx. 25 meters at the southeastern coast of Porto Santo. Then there is the Pronto wreck which lies at a depth of approx 30 meters in front of the pier of Funchal.  

Dive sites in Porto Santo

Next to the famous shipwreck dive spot of the Madeirense which lies near the coast of Porto Santo, there are over 20 diving sites in Porto Santo (including the small island of Cima). Porto Santo has diving sites for beginners as well as advanced and experienced divers. Visibility is normally great and depths range from 15 to 50 meters. The marine life is just beautiful. A great dive spot is the called Baixa das Bicudas in the southeast of Porto Santo which goes to a depth of 38 meters. Around the small islands that surround Porto Santo (Ilhéu de Fora, Ilhéu de Cima, Ilhéu de Baixo ou da Cal and Ilhéu de Ferro) one can find some of the best diving sites in the world. Especially around the small island of Cima you will find a lot of great diving sites.

Anemone Madeira
Hogfish Madeira

Getting Prepared for Diving

For people who are not yet experienced when it comes to exploration of the world beneath the ocean, there are diving schools in Funchal as well as in other locations within Madeira. Usually they offer classes and training for various levels, depending on the skills and knowledge of the person who would enroll. The number of hours and required sessions will be determined according to the depth of the water that the student aims to explore.

When enrolling for classes or sessions, the diving centers also provide the necessary equipment. The student may opt to hire or purchase them. It is just important to ensure that the equipment and accessories which will be provided are in tip-top condition and are made of high quality materials. It is best to scrutinize the equipment first and be fully aware of the functions before using them.

Among the commonly used equipment for diving include overall diver’s suit, ADV jacket, regulator, oxygen tank and snorkeling paraphernalia. The diving center should be able to cater various levels of diving too, from Bubblemaker to Divemaster. In some cases, some also offer deep-sea exploration, wreck diving and night diving which allows tourists to witness astounding beauty that is hidden underneath the pristine waters of Madeira.

Among the more popular diving centers in Madeira include the Manta Diving Center, Madeira Divepoint, Scuba Madeira and the Azul Diving Center. It is best to rely on a dive center which has extensive experience in the business because they are extra careful when it comes to storing facilities. Aside from that, they will also make their customers aware of the necessary precautions when diving. Hence, the experience would be enjoyable and hassle-free.

Witnessing the Hidden Beauty

How come tourists are captivated by the world underneath the Madeira ocean? It is because of the mild water temperature that remains friendly all year round. The average water temperature during the winter months is about 19 °C.  This may be quite cold but there are still a lot of divers who plunge into the water at this time of the year. During the summer months, the population of divers increases because the average temperature of the water is 25 °C.

Aside from the impressive temperature, the water that surrounds this archipelago is filled with dolphins, whales and other types of fish that found their home in the crystal clear waters of Madeira. There are also stingrays, groupers, moray eels, sunfishes, hogfishes, bluefishes, pufferfishes, anemones, pike, cod, tuna and much more.

For photography enthusiasts, taking underwater pictures in Madeira is absolutely fulfilling. There are breathtakingly beautiful reefs. The marine fauna is extensively diverse. There are also caves which can be explored. The experience would be impossible to forget because of the interesting rock formation in the caves.

The world underneath the ocean is like a playground for the adventurous souls. The wrecks provide a lot of swim-through spaces where various marine creatures inhabit peacefully. There are even buried canyons in the seabed which makes the escapade even more enthralling.  

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