Scuba diving is probably not the first thing you think off when considering activities to do in Arguineguín. You might be surprised that Gran Canaria offers spectacular diving with lots of variety. Ellis takes you on an underwater tour exploring the marine reserve ´El Cabron´, in Arinaga.
“After diving many destinations all over the world, I’m still very excited to dive ´El Cabron´ again. I think it’s Europe’s best diving,” says one of the other divers as we make our way to Arinaga. The marine reserve is home to more than 400 marine species and is the base of the Angel Shark Conversation Project. The angel sharks are critically endangered and listed on the IUCN ´Red List´.
We go off-road and enter a rocky path through a moon-landscape to enter the marine reserve. “The jeep-safari is free of charge”, jokes Matthew Astill, owner of Dive Academy and our dive guide today. “Fishing and boats are prohibited in this area, so people are often surprised by the amount of fish they see”.
We walk down the rocks to enter ´El Cabron´ which means ´the bastard´. It got this name because sometimes it can be a bit difficult to enter and exit the water. Fortunately the staff of Dive Academy is very professional and help each of us to enter the water safely. Once we descend we first find our way over a sandy bottom where I already spot a cuttlefish and some trumpet fish. As soon as we arrive at the reef Matt points to something and I see a giant lobster staring at us from his cave. We follow the reef and descend a bit deeper till we again come to a sandy bottom at about 18 metres depth. There’s a lot of life to be spotted here! There are morays and crabs between the rocks, two angel sharks are laying in the sand and a bit further down an electric ray. It’s important to keep an eye in the blue too because anything can pass by here. We continue our dive at the other side of the reef where big schools of fish are hanging around. We need our torches to enter a small cave which is home to a huge round ray. I’m surprised to see the distinctive giant anemone hiding between two stones, while we’re making our way up to our safety stop.
Once our ´jeep safari´ leaves the reserve, Matt tells us that also seahorses, and less frequent file fish and reef sharks, can be seen in Arinaga. But not only Arinaga, there’s great diving all around Gran Canaria. The west coast is full of nice boat dive sites with Mogán offering a submarine and two wrecks in the same dive. More wrecks can be found close to Las Palmas, where you can also do the famous ´Cathedral´ dive. Common interesting things to spot around Gran Canaria are barracudas, groupers, morays, octopus and rays. However everything is possible because the Atlantic Ocean is full of surprises. Even the whale shark was reported in the north of Gran Canaria by scientists from the University of Las Palmas in 2010.
Dive Academy Gran Canaria is a PADI 5 star IDC Dive Center and Gold Palm Resort. Guided dives are offered for certified divers from €35,- per dive, this includes tank, air and weights. Rental equipment is available too. If you´ve never scuba dived before, you´re also at the right place! All PADI courses are available with Dive Academy and because they use their own private swimming pool you can take as much time practising your skills before you feel comfortable for the open sea. The first complete ´PADI Open Water Diver Course´ starts from €370,- .
You can wear your wetsuit all year round and the water temperature varies from 19ºC till 23ºC. The best time to spot an Angel Shark is from November till May. Dive Academy is situated in ´Puesta del Sol´ in Arguineguín, and are opened from 9AM to 5PM everyday, except on Mondays. Please see their website for contact details: https://www.diveacademy-grancanaria.com/
If you´re looking into becoming a PADI Pro member, I can recommend them too. I have done my divemaster course with Dive Academy in 2006 and even though the owners have changed in the mean time, I´m pretty sure they offer the same level of quality up to today. When I did my IDC (dive instructor course) in the Dominican Republic 2 years later, I realised even more how grateful I was for doing my course with them, providing me an excellent basis.
A big thanks to Dive Academy Gran Canaria for providing all the photos in this article!
* This article was written by me as an assignment for the ´Australian Writers Centre´ when was I attending the course ´Travel Writing´.
* Prices are subject to change and last updated in November 2017