10 good reasons to dive in the Azores
1. For the thrill: diving with the blue shark
The Azores is a real pure diamond, coveted by divers with great level, this place is one of the few spots to host a very fast predator: the blue shark! Hundreds of divers dream to swim in the company of sharks. Offshore swimming in various islands of the archipelago is a cheeky holiday choice that is growing in popularity: and the cradle of this activity is the Condor Seamount 10 miles from Faial or also accessible from Pico. This intense and unique experience will exalt your senses in the big blue because you will feel the sharks up close if you intend to dive deep. This predator of the depths, cautious and attentive to your movements, will be able to feel your best hidden fears as their keen senses are sharpened … In a typical dive, 5 to 15 sharks will keep you company between divers and will come around the boat. …
2. To admire a sunken world: The Underwater Archaeological Park of Angra do Heroismo Bay
Who could believe that by diving in the Azores, in the bay of Angra do Heroismo in Terceira you could walk among the remains classified World Heritage by Unesco! You could admire anchors of more than 100 years of existence, but the most impressive is the discovery of a city engulfed in the depths of the sea, a world as alive as a museum of natural history telling us stories. Hidden stories over the centuries … This exceptional bay is a jewel of beauty because the colorful houses of Angra do Heroismo exalt a rare setting. Placed second on the podium of wrecks of the great discoveries, their existences are buried testimonies of our humanity. The 40 anchors abandoned by drifting ships are testimony to the strategies of an era for centuries, a main staging point during the Atlantic crossing. Not far 100 meters from the Anchor Cemetery another dive site stands out: the wreck of the steamboat Lidador wrecked in 1878. This boat on the road to Brazil at 10 meters deep is a living microcosm of marine species. …
3. For contemplation: diving with the whale shark
The whale shark is the largest fish in the crystal waters of the Azores, swimming with it is almost diving with Moby Dick. His procession the tuna and others of the most royal will make your diving experience unique and to optimize your experience Santa Maria will be the most popular island to admire this sweet giant of the seas. To admire this silent show but snapping our curiosity you will have to go on the high seas away from the white sand beaches: if you’re lucky you will be able to see the capricious during the coastal dives in snorkeling expedition … Swim with the queen and his escort of thousands of tuna, pelagic fish and pilot fish is a perfect marriage of the senses. If your diving passion takes you far from the coast you will be rewarded because if the typical snorkeling offers a wonderful show, away from the sea will reserve you surprises of choice: cross sea turtles and dolphins will be on the menu!
4. Come back in grace: diving with the Mantis
The Azores are known from divers for its diversity of the seabed, diving with the mantis will be part of our top 10. Observe groups of mantes near the coast is possible in various islands of the Azores and to attend the shows the more magical, seamounts will be much more appropriate places. This experience can be done by scuba diving or snorkeling. The mantle of the Azores is harmless for the man and to see it since his boat is possible because it looks for the currents pushing food from the bottom to the surface. It only swims a few meters deep and its favorite places are the high ground of Ambrosio in Santa Maria or the Princesa Alice bench in Faial. Pelagic fishes, liches, jacks, tunas, barracudas also keep them company: splendid! …
5. An hectic life: Rosais Shoal
This time it is Sao Jorge that will be on top of this world, just 3 miles Rosais Shoal is one of the most glamorous sites if you plan to dive among the large schoals of pelagic fish and observe marine life at accessible depth. This mythical place is known for the variety of fishes swarming only 15 meters deep. The trevallies, the Mediterranean barracudas, the liches and shoals of bluefish will be present. And you can explore the upper part of the high ground admiring mutinous moray eels, curious scorpion fish and imperial octopus. This trip to the coast can give you a taste of the landscapes of the famous fajas of the region the small coastal plains at the feet; steep cliffs.
6. For diversity: offshore dive: Formigas and Dollabarat
Diving in deep water and admiring the clarity of the deep waters is possible by going on the high seas. The Dollabarat Seamount and the islets of Formigas are the international ambassadors of the diving in the Azores … At more than 40 kilometers of lands a group of rocks marked by a lonely lighthouse is one of the most popular dive sites in the Azores. Meet sharks, jacks, lich schoals is a regular meeting if you go down 30 meters in this marine reserve. And if curiosity pushes you to meet other species from the twilight zone, dive deeper you will discover ancient marine species that once thrived on the shores of the Azores. Black backs, big groupers, stingrays and mycteroperca will swim by your side without feeling assaulted by your presence. To travel in all serenity in Santa Maria and Sao Miguel are a delight because seeing the dolphins, rare sea turtles and whales before diving is a euphoric show.
7. Unlikely species cohabitation: the wreck of Terceirense Graciosa
The most famous dive site in Graciosa is only 2 minutes by boat from the beach of Vila da Praia. At 20 meters under the sea, this 40 meter freighter has been laying since 1968 to collect unlikely marine species. Black groupers of the wrasses and yellow cassagnoles surround the wreckage and even move in the boilers. Fragments of the wreck also harbor molluscs and small species of fish: this mythical place is to put in your “to do list” when you go to the Azores!
8. A princely seamount: offshore dive Princesa Alice
This 3-hour seamount of Pico and Faial were the subject of an oceanographic study led by the Prince of Monaco himself … The seamounts of the Azores are dream places to get acquainted with groups of pelagic fish yet the Princesa Alice Bench about 40 miles from Faial and Pico abound with surprising marine life. Dive into these places and you will meet mantis and myriads of pelagic fish just 30 meters deep! The seabed gives up its suave inclination to rise abruptly from 500 meters deep to 35 meters on the surface. Although you will see typical species of the region but of a different dimension, old, stingrays, grouper octopus and moray eels are here but there is no need to go deep to admire the secrets of the sea. trevallies, Mediterranean barracudas, skipjack and mantis will say hello while you will swim among thousands of them. And for those who will stay on the pinball boat and sea turtles may appear for an unexpected meeting …
9. To bring back memories of history: diving in a wreck of the Second World War
Dori is not just the name of a famous Disney fish, it is also a massive wreck loaded with history. This ship took part in the large operation named “Operation Overlord” off the coast of Normandy but her last home is near the port of Ponta Delgada in Sao Miguel. This 130-meter mega ship, sent in support by the US Army, is now one of the most visited dive remains in the Azores. In this intact massive structures live barracudas, pageots, even lich banks invading this artificial reef. This vessel, although stranded 20 meters deep, is a haven for wildlife, located 5 minutes from Ponta Delgada boat, moray eels, nudibranchs and octopus elect homes because they appreciate metal structures and tubes. If you want to make a return to the past in natural scenery, this place is perfect because this wreck although dead bears life !
10. To see life in a big way: Caneiro dos meros
At only 100 meters from Corvo is a known dive site called Caneiro dos meros and in these waters untouched by man you will see large groupers a little shy. This marine reserve created nevertheless by the hands of the man is recognized like Unesco biosphere reserve because its landscapes are an absolute beauty. To interact with groupers over one meter in length Caneiro dos meros is the ideal place and it is even possible to meet these teams of 5 which trying to get your attention ! The competition is tough because this protected area is a real area of concealment of all kinds of species: the Mediterranean barracudas, parrotfish, old and lichfish are present too : a real heaven under earth.
Written by Florence Fifi
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