Marine Reserve ´El Cabron´ on Gran Canaria
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 listed as critically endangered on the IUCN ´Red List´. The scientific name for these beautiful sea creatures is ´Squatina squatina´.
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”.
Scuba Diving Arinaga on Gran Canaria
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, also called torpedo ray. Did you know that this type of ray specie can produce real electrics impulses up to 200 volts? 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.
Round Ray, home to Arinaga Marine Reserve Gran Canaria
Giant Anemone in El Cabron, Arinaga
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. There are many more amazing dive sites from ´Sardinia´ in the north-west of the island to ´Tufia´ close to the airport and a variety of spots on the places named above including wrecks and an artificial reef, constructed by marine biologists, which attracts a lot of life.
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,- .
Dive Academy Gran Canaria, learning to dive in the swimming pool
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/
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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.
Do you like to read more about my background in Scuba Diving? Then please click on the following link: http://www.ellisderkx.com/p/scuba-diving.html You can also click here to all other articles with the subject ´Scuba Diving´. Happy Bubbles!
A big thanks to Dive Academy Gran Canaria for providing all the photos in this article!
This article is now featured on Scuba News!
* 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
Black Moray Eel (muraenidae), Atlantic Ocean, Gran Canaria