Balkysub - Centro de Buceo PADI CDC | Diving in Cabo de Palos Marine Reserve
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Dive in Cabo de Palos Marine Reserve

Explore the depths of “Islas Hormigas” Marine Reserve and discover it’s biodiversity

Cabo de Palos diving Reserve is the Mediterranean’s jewel. A submerged mountain range, end of the Betic Mountain Range, with different diving areas, each more attractive than the last.

It’s depths are composed by great Posidonia Oceanica praries and several bajos (underwater mountains): the Testa, the Piles, the Bajo de Dentro, Las Agujas, etc. There we can find the typical Mediterranean species that have great ecological value.

You could say that we can get to see a great variety of sea life: barracudas, brown meagers (croaker fish), common dentex, groupers (unique to the area due to their big size), mola molas (ocean sunfish), pelagic fish, violescent sea whip fields and much more.

The Marine Reserve was declared in 1995 and since then it’s life and beauty grows each day. It’s demarcated by bouys in the sorroundings of Cabo de Palos and Islas Hormigas and it has a size of 18,98 km2 (7,32 square miles). It contains a fully protected reserve in the sorroundings of Isla Hormiga, the Bajo del Mosquito and the smaller islands of El Hormigón and La Losa.

Currently the Cabo de Palos Marine Reserve is considered the best diving destination in Europe.

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Diving spots in the Marine Reserve

Introduction

Cabo de Palos – Islas Hormigas Marine Reserve

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UNIQUE SETTLEMENT: Cabo de Palos and Islas Hormigas Marine Reserve form one of the most attractive settings of the whole Mediterranean, from Cabo de Palos to the Islas Hormigas archipelago, formed by Isla Hormiga, the Bajo del Mosquito, and the small islands El Hormigón and La Losa. It’s excellent conservation condition has favoured a very broad biological diversity, formed by extense Posedonia Oceanica  meadows and rocky coral formations on more than 40 metres (131 feet) deep walls. Since it’s creation in 1995 the purpose of the Marine Reserve is to help the development and natural regeneration of the fishing resources of the environment in a way that helps the fishermen of the area preserve their way of life based on traditional fishing techniques such as the trasmallo and the palangre that ensure the sustainability of human action on the ecosystems and contribute to their protection and conservation.

The Islas Hormigas area form an ideal destination internationally recognised for the diving practice, as well as an area of unquestionable cultural and ecological value. It is considered, according the Costeau Foundation, as the best place in the Mediterranean for scuba diving practice. Currently considered the best place for diving in Europe.

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The landscape quality of it’s bajos (underwater mountain formations), the rich biodiversity of the flora and fauna population and the spectacular remainings of shipwrecks like those of the Sirio, Minerva and Nord America, make this area one of the most emblematic environments of the Mediterranean for any diving enthusiast.

The Islas Hormigas form a small underwater mountain range extremely dangerous for sailing. La Hormiga and El Hormigón are the only mountains that emerge over the water. The rest of the mountain formations stay underwater, sometimes only 3 metres  (9,8 feet) from the surface. Like the feared Bajo de Fuera, a mortal trap for many high draft ships.

HISTORY: The Cabo de Palos – Islas Hormigas Marine Reserve  was created in July of 1995 with the goal of regenerating the fishing species by regulating or limiting fishing in the area.

It’s a 1931 Ha (7,45 square miles) rectangular shaped Mediterranean reserve that extends from the Cabo de Palos in the coast of Murcia.

The fully protected reserve is located around the Las Hormigas islands reaching depths of more than 50 meters (164 feet).

The bottoms change between rocky or sandy areas and the Posidonia Oceanica prairies. It’s a passing zone for the pelagic species like the amberjacks that come to the area in the summer months.

It’s very common to see in the reserve many commercially interesting species, among which we can highlight the grouper (Epinephelus guaza), the sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax), the common dentex (Dentex dentex) or the gilt-head bream (Sparus aurata), there are also many pelagic species like the amberjack (Seriola dumerili) and scombroids such as the Atlantic bonito (Sarda sarda) or the bullet tuna (Auxis rochei).

MINIMUM DEPTH: -4 meters (-13 feet)

MAXIMUM DEPTH: -70 meters (-229 feet)

MINUMUM DEGREE TO DIVE IN THE RESERVE: OPEN WATER DIVER/B1*

REGULATIONS AND RESOURCE USE: Traditional fishing and diving is permitted. Both activities are regulated.

There is surveillance and a fishing inspection service. The scientific sector is in charge of the monitoring and preservation of the biodiversity of the area.

Currently the organisations that intervene on the Cabo de Palos Marine Reserve are in constant dialogue to reach a sustainable use and management. The relationship between those organizations is close, good and collaborative. The organizations are: the Professional Fishing Sector, represented by the Cartagena Fishing Guild, the Responsible Diving Sector, represented by Murcia Region Diving Centers Association; Public Administration, represented by the Fishing General Secretary; and the Fishing Ministry Scientific Sector, represented by the IEO and the University of Murcia.

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BOTTOM TYPE AND CONDITIONS: Upon arrival at Cabo de Palos, the main current of the Mediterranean that enters through the Mar de Alborán meets the Mazarrón Drop and alters it’s course to flow fairly further away from the coast. Branches of this current, full of nutrients, arrive at Cabo de Palos. The Continental Platform, wide at this point, helps to produce peaks of productivity that happen at the beginning of spring and autumn, coinciding with the seasonal pattern of the oriental Mediterranean production of phytoplankton. The abundance of nourishment indicates it’s an important settlement in the cetacean migratory routes, like the fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus), the sea turtles (Caretta caretta), as well as fishing species like the Atlantic Bluefin tuna (Thunnus tynnus), the bullet tuna and other scombroids. Also sea birds that follow these animals’ routes to reach their nesting places, like the Balearic shearwater (Puffinus mauretanicus).

Due to the high load of nutrients in the zooplankton transported in the Cabo de Palos currents, many filtrating sessile animals, like the violescent sea whip (Paramuricea clavata) develop successfully. The sea whip gardens are one of the most emblematic communities of the underwater landscapes of the Mediterranean Sea and their patrimonial interest is very high. Along with this, the vertical rocky walls and Cabo de Palos and Islas Hormigas characteristic overhangs, in low light conditions, moderate movement and low levels of sediments, help to see a habitat that with the Neptune grass praries, is home to the biggest biodiversity in the Mediterranean depths.

An undeniable landscape value for the divers, the “sea whip gardens” are the habitat of small sized fauna that takes advantage of the nooks and crannies among the algae and sponges. Also, the branches of the violescent sea whips are a perfect shelter from currents and predators. The sea whips are long-lived and grow big, they don’t reproduce until they are 10 years of age.


Planning your Marien REserve dives with Balkysub guarantees that the diving guides have great knowledge of these depths and all the peculiarities that imply great immersions. More than 10 years of experience in the area and daily study makes us able to offer you such a great variety of tours that we are passionate about.

This is what is most important; we are passionate about discovering more each day in this magnificent reserve.

Piles 1 - Main Bajo

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LOCATION AND ACCESS: Within Cabo de Palos Marine Reserve, it’s the first bajo (underwater mountain formation) of the area named “Piles”, that gets it’s name from the ship that first did the cartography in the last century. This ship’s name was Piles. It’s anchor point has a buoy shape that goes down 10 meters (32,8 feet) from the surface. It’s only accessible by boat.

MINIMUM DEPTH: -10 m. (-32,8 feet)

MAXIMUM DEPTH: -32 m. (-104,9 feet)

MINIMUM DEGREE: OPEN WATER DIVER / B1*

MORPHOLOGY: The main bajo at Piles 1 is a great and long rocky formation, similar to a big baguette of 70 meters (229,6 feet) long that offers multiple routes because it’s surrounded by rocky formations very close to the main bajo. It’s a suitable area for all levels, from the shallow zone (a big area at 7/12 meters or 22,9/39,3 feet depth) until it’s base, surrounded by sand and rock at -32 meters (-104,9 feet) deep. It’s an ideal immersion when the current comes from the north because an elevation up to -7 meters (-22,9 feet) offers shelter when divers are not very experienced.

The side of the bajo that faces north falls smoothly from the summit to the bottom. But the side that faces south is an almost vertical wall from the summit of the bajo to the bottom. This area of the anchor point of Piles 1 is one of our favorites for it’s diversity of routes for all levels.

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BOTTOM TYPE AND CONDITIONS: The shallowest area is a carpet of seaweed and sponges on rock where we find several spots with cracks where crustaceans, anemones, moray eels and a vast number of small creatures hide.

The north and northwest wall is covered in yellow cluster anemones, hydrozoans, sponges and green algae that are used as shelter and food by hundreds of small animals, like nudibranchs and other crustaceans. The base and deepest part of the north face is characterized by the diversity of the topography, finding big rocks covered in gravel, Neptune grass praries, sponges, algae, etc. The deepest bottom of the south face is a big sandy area in which we can see anemones with their prawns among many other things, and sometimes a ray.

SOMETHING THAT MAKES IT UNIQUE: The diversity of the routes and the biggest concentration of nudibranchs in Cabo de Palos.

Piles 2 - Main Bajo

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LOCATION AND ACCESS: Inside Cabo de Palos Marine Reserve this is the last bajo (underwater mountain formation) named “Piles”. It gets it’s name from the ship that first did the cartography of this area on the last century, named Piles. Piles 2 has an anchor point in a buoy shape that goes down to 11 meters (36 feet) deep from surface. It is only accessible by boat.

MINIMUM DEPTH: -11 meters (-36 feet)

MAXIMUM DEPTH: -32 meters (-104,9 feet)

MINIMUM DEGREE: OPEN WATER DIVER / B1*

MORPHOLOGY: The main bajo of Piles 2 is a big and long rock formation of 90 meters long in the direction of Isla Hormiga from Cabo de Palos. The north face has a smooth drop forming terraces down to -25 meters (82 feet) deep. The south face is a vertical wall down to -32 meters (104,9 feet). It’s an immersion spot suitable to all levels, but when there are currents there is no shelter in the shallow area because it’s a plain at -11 meters (-36 feet). The area of the bajo closer to Isla Hormiga drops smoothly down to -32 meters (104,9 feet), while the area closer to Cabo de Palos lighthouse falls like a vertical wall that continues at -22 meters (72,1 feet), like a rocky tongue that takes us to Piles 1.

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BOTTOM TYPES AND CONDITIONS: The shallow area of the bajo is algae and sponges covered rock where we find many spots with cracks where crustaceans, anemones, moray eels and many other small creatures hide.

The base and deepest side of the north face is characterized by the diversity of the topography, finding big rocks covered in gravel, Neptune grass prairies, algae, sponges, etc. In this north face towards Piles 1 we find sand tongues with big rocky blocks. There is also a big sandy area halfway of Piles 2 towards the east in the north face that ends up in gravel if we follow it in the direction of Isla Hormiga. The deepest bottom on the south face is a big sandy area that lets us see anemones with their prawns and sometimes a ray among other things. Mainly big groupers, European pollocks, common dentex and sparidae. In season, we can see common eagle rays, greater amberjacks, pelagics and the possibility of watching cookiecutting sharks in their cracks. We will look for the current to observe the life explosion that it contains nearly all year round. This bajo has several routes depending on the experience and level of the divers, with spots like “El Refugio” (The Shelter) or “El Ancla” (The Anchor), etc.

SOMETHING THAT MAKES IT UNIQUE: The steep walls of the south face and the great concentration of European barracudas from April to October on the outskirts of the north face. The rocky tongue on the way to Piles 1, it’s morphology and landscapes.

If you would like to know more details about this diving spot please contact us.

 

Grouper´s Garden

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LOCATION AND ACCESS: Inside the Piles 1 Area we find a very peculiar route. Sailing outside the bajo (underwater mountain formation) there is a rocky area with gravel on the bottom where there is the biggest concentration of groupers in the Reserve. And because there are no divers in this area, they are always relaxed waiting for us to arrive. It is only accessible by boat.

MINIMUM DEPTH: -11 meters (36 feet)

MAXIMUM DEPTH: -22 meters (72,1 feet)

MINIMUM DEGREE: OPEN WATER DIVER / B1*

MORPHOLOGY: We will find a rocky garden, a relaxing place for dozens of groupers to rest and wait for their opportunity to hunt small fish that eat of the current (bogues, damselfish, blotched picarels…)

KIND OF BOTTOM AND CONDITIONS: Rock, gravel and a bottom carpeted with green and red algae. Getting to the groupers’ garden takes us some diving time from Piles 1 and sometimes the current doesn’t let us get there. The divers must have a low air consumption profile to be able to get there, enjoy the area and get back to the anchor point at Piles 1. The bottom is not very deep so there are no complications reaching the diving limits without deco stops.

SOMETHING THAT MAKES IT UNIQUE: This garden in itself is unique in the Marine Reserve. Watching the big groupers, landscape and morphology.

Bajo de Dentro - Inside Bajo

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LOCATION AND ACCESS: The Marine Reserve is divided in two areas: Exterior Waters (from Isla Hormiga towards open sea) and Interior Waters (from Isla Hormiga to Cabo de Palos’ lighthouse). In Interior Waters the Bajo de Dentro, also called Bajo de Enmedio by the diving veterans, is the most steep and deep and also the closest to Islas Hormigas. It is only accessible by boat.

MINIMUM DEPTH: -4 meters (-13,1 feet)

MAXIMUM DEPTH: -58 meters (-190,2 feet)

MINIMUM DEGREE: OPEN WATER DIVER / B1*

MORPHOLOGY: We are in front of a great rocky area with different depth levels. Starting with the sea bottom, it has a big extension at -58 meters (190,2 feet). The next step after the vertical walls on it’s E-SE face, is a plain and a stream bed from -35 meters (-114,8 feet) to -22 meters -72,1 feet). And bottoms with soft walls from the W to the N from -35 meters (-114,8 feet) until the rocky platform and the anchor point at -11 meters (-36 feet). At NE it presents a big stream bed where some species find shelter from the current and also use it as a cleaning station. Wrasses and some white seabream have this mission. The least deep area is a rocky mountain range from -10 meters (32,8 feet) crowned by two big heads at -7 (-22,9) and -4 meters (-13,1 feet). They are separated from the bajo by a hill called “Las Agujas” (The Needles), a mountain broken in two over a base at -40 meters (-131,2 feet) in it’s SW face and -28 meters (91,8 feet) on it’s N face. The summit of this peculiar formation is at -18 meters (59 feet).

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KIND OF BOTTOM AND CONDITIONS: Sand. Rock covered in algae sponges, anemones and a great variety of diverse soft and hard coral of warm waters. One of the best immersions in the Mediterranean, the great rock in the middle, the closest bajo to Isla Hormiga is 80% covered in white sea whips from -15 meters (-49,2 feet) to -25 meters (-82 feet), from the NE until all the South face. And from -30 meters (-98,4 feet) on the sea whips are red. The dome at -23 meters (-75,4 feet) is full of anemones that let us see the light on the other side of the bajo that is only 5 meters (16,4 feet) from surface. It’s such a steep area in the middle of plains that the currents are frequent, but because of the morphology there are many shelters to guarantee a confortable dive almost always. The current will make us choose the route to ensure the greatest safety in diving.

SOMETHING THAT MAKES IT UNIQUE: The great variety of landscapes, different bottoms and things to see makes it one of the best 50 immersions in the world. In Cabo de Palos this is the only white sea whip field. This bajo has different routes depending on the experience and level of the divers: “Las Agujas” (The Needles), “Gorgonia Paradise” (Violescent Sea Whip Paradise), “La Bóveda” (The Dome) and “Coral garden”.

 

Las Agujas - The Needdles

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LOCATION AND ACCESS: The rocky platform on which the Bajo de Dentro sits continues in the direction to land giving rise to a great rocky formation crowned by the needles. A big rock broken in two that lets pass water towards the Bajo de Dentro, which is why it’s a complicated area to go to when there are strong currents. The access to Las Agujas is only possible by boat, and we can descend in two ways, from the Bajo de Dentro anchor point or 20 meters (65,6 feet) away without direct roap (cabo directo?) where we find this beautiful and unique rocky formation.

MINIMUM DEPTH: -18 meters (-59 feet)

MAXIMUM DEPTH: -40 meters ( -131,2 feet)

MINIMUM DEGREE: ADVANCED / B2*

MORPHOLOGY: It´s a great rock broken in two with the bottom at -25 meters (82 feet) on the north face but once we pass them going south we will see they are on a rocky platform and the wall goes down reaching -40 meters (- 132,2 feet) filled with red sea whips. The wall continues getting softer towards Cabo de Palos until it disappears in the distance ending in a plain bottom that is filled with sand at – 40 meters (-131,2 feet)

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BOOTOM TYPES AND CONDITIONS: The walls are covered with green and brown algae on the exterior part, however the interior is a great carpet made of yellow cluster anemone, orange coral, sponges and hidrozoes, first class food for our beloved nudibranchs and other crustaceans. Getting to Las Agujas takes some time of navigating from the anchor place of Bajo de Dentro, forming a channel of water between two bajos (underwater mountain formations) where the water (which is never still) picks up speed and sometimes the current doesn’t let us get there or get back.

The divers must have an advanced profile, with experience on diving in the big blue and low air consumption profile, since the depth is also a factor and the bottom we must reach is -25 meters (82 feet). Also, if we move in the big blue the diver must have a polished technique of neutral buoyancy. Once at Las Agujas there is no more difficulty in the immersion. The return must be well calculated so the current doesn’t make us drift when we are going back through the big blue, since our computer will indicate little bottom time and we won’t be able to go back near it.

Even though it’s a demanding immersion we make it very easy because we plan it in groups of maximum 5 divers, and we count on the experience of our 2 local divers all year round.

As well as all the marine life mentioned before, we will enjoy red and white sea whips, red dead man’s fingers, nudibranchs, European barracudas, common dentex, zebra seabreams, moray eels and between spring and autumn, the majestic guilt-head breams.

SOMETHING THAT MAKES IT UNIQUE: The large number of sea life it is home to, being sometimes superior to that of the Bajo de Dentro. The singularity of it’s morphology helps us enjoy a spectacular landscape in this immersion.

Gorgonia Paradise - Sea Whip Paradise

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LOCATION AND ACCESS: The deep part of Bajo de Dentro is one of the most beautiful we can find in all Cabo de Palos, and specially this one, because it’s an area where great extensions of all types of sea whips predominate. Gold corals and sponges are very big in size and also have colonized great extensions. A big prairie expands and mixes with sand patches and continues to form a big wall that ends in one of the deepest parts of the bajo (underwater mountain formation) at -45 meters (147,6 feet). It is only accessible by boat and there are two ways of getting to this area, descending to the Bajo de Dentro anchor point or descending directly at the diving spot with no anchor point.

MINIMUM DEPTH:  -21 meters (-68,8 feet)

MAXIMUM DEPTH: -45 meters (-147,6 feet)

MINIMUM DEGREE: DEEP DIVER / B3* or being an advanced diver experienced in deep immersions with no less than 200 immersions

MORPHOLOGY: Rocky bottom with sand patches that turns into a vertical wall.

BOOTOM TYPE AND CONDITIONS: These bottoms are covered in all types of white, red and yellow sea whips, yellow toned gold corals, some dead man’s fingers as well as different types of big sponges and anemones. It’s amazing diving in this spot and finding those colorful and full of life prairies, because sea whips usually have nudibranchs, ray’s eggs a lots of other surprises that we sometimes find. The richness of this area is caused by the currents that are frequent depending on the time of year. The sea whips are only seen in areas where the water is very clean and moving constantly.

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As well as this type of life we can also find big groupers, European pollocks, common dentex, moray eels and on colder water seasons we’ve seen John Dories. Sometimes we’ve also seen ocean sunfishes (mola molas) and some big pink dentex at this spot.

The divers must have an advanced profile, with experience in diving in the big blue and low air consumption profile because the depth is also a factor, since the bottom we must reach is -25 meters (-82 feet), or if we are in the big blue the neutral buoyancy must be a polished technique for the diver. Once in Sea Whip Paradise the immersion has no other difficulty apart from the depth.

Even though it’s a demanding immersion, we make it easier by planning it in small groups and doing it always with expert divers, considering that we count on our 2 expert local guides all year round.

SOMETHING THAT MAKES IT UNIQUE: The orography in itself and the variety of sea whips makes this an authentic paradise, unique in Mediterranean waters.

Bajo de Fuera - Outside Bajo

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LOCATION AND ACCESS: The Bajo de Fuera (Outside bajo or underwater mountain range) used to be a mortal trap for ships that sailed this area since it’s a great submerged mountain ranging from a it’s bottom at -70 meters (-229,6 feet) up until just -3 meters (-9,8 feet) from surface. It’s located at abut 3,5 miles from Cabo de Palos port, at the northwest of Isla Hormigas in the middle of a great extension of water. Back in the days when sailing was done with a nautical chart, it was an invisible reef and many ships turned the cape under the sign of the lighthouse in Isla Hormiga, without knowing they were in great risk of sinking. This is why after the last shipwreck on “El Sirio”, it started to be named “La Fosa Italiana” (the Italian grave) and “La Roca de Vapor” (the vapor rock). Here some wrecked ships rest like the “Nord America” or “Primo”, the “Minerva”, the “Boca Abajo”… This immersion is only accessible by boat.

MINIMUM DEPTH: -3 meters (-9,8 feet)

MAXIMUM DEPTH: -70 meters (-229,6 feet)

MINIMUM DEGREE: OPEN WATER DIVER / B1* to dive in the bajo. However, if you want to dive in the shipwrecks you must be DEEP DIVER/B3* or be an advanced diver with experience in deep diving and at least 200 immersions.

MORPHOLOGY: Great rock needle with a big base that forms a great wall on the S-SE face and a few mesetas in the N-NW area.

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BOTTOM TYPE AND CONDITIONS: The immersion can be focused in two ways: the deep one to watch the shipwrecks or an easier one enjoying the grandeur of the bajo. In one way or another this is without a doubt the most spectacular immersion of the Mediterranean Sea, the one where you can see 3 shipwrecks in one dive, one of them being the legendary “Sirio”. The quantity of big and pelagic life in the bajo makes this immersion unique and the sea whip tapestries on the deep area give it a truly special color. The currents are frequent since it’s a great mountain in the middle of nowhere and far away from the shore, but it always offers us a very good shelter on the side where there is no current. There is so much biodiversity because it’s an area of great hydrodynamism that brings a lot of nutrients to the marine life that lives near the bottom and feeds of plancton and other organisms.

It’s an ideal immersion for any type of diver, the more experienced enjoy the big shipwrecks and if they dive doing deco stops, they can entertain themselves at the walls of the bajo while they wait. The divers with less experience enjoy a very special immersion since it’s so far away from the shore and also thanks to it’s great biodiversity. The visibility is usually very good all year round, since the bottom is so deep down it never gets beat by the swell, and because it’s an area of currents, these keep the water clean.

Even though it’s a demanding immersion we make it very easy by planning it in small groups and always with expert divers, since we count on our two experienced guides all year round, one for the immersions in shipwrecks and the other for the easier immersions.

SOMETHING THAT MAKES IT UNIQUE: The shipwrecks and the big distance from the shore. Passing by Islas Hormigas and seeing from the sea the two lighthouses, the town of Cabo de Palos and the mountains of the area, it really is a unique view.

 

La Morra

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LOCATION AND ACCESS: Inside Cabo de Palos Marine Reserve and between Testa and Piles 1, we find this bajo (underwater mountain formation). It’s one of the closest to the shore and it has an anchor point in the shape of a buoy that goes down to 10 meters (32,8 feet) deep. It’s only accessible by boat.

MINIMUM DEPTH: -10 meters (-32,8 feet)

MAXIMUM DEPTH: -28 meters (-91,8 feet)

MINIMUM DEGREE: OPEN WATER DIVER / B1*

MORPHOLOGY: Conical mountain that continues with a great extension in the shape of a tongue in the direction of Piles 1. The base is filled with Neptune grass, rock and some sandy patches at -28 meters (-91,8 feet) and the summit or shallow area is at -10 meters (-32,8 feet). It’s accessible from the Piles 1 diving for 10 minutes) or descending down the rope from the buoy that marks the spot.

BOTTOM  TYPE AND CONDITIONS: Towards S-SW we can pass the deepest part through a canyon formed by the main rock and a small formation, doing a half moon shaped route. At 20 meters (65,6 feet) deep a mountain range extends towards the NE, in the direction of Piles 1, offering a good shelter on the south from the current at between -20 meters (65,6 feet) and -30 meters (98,4 feet). In this immersion great groupers, common dentex, moray eels and big walls of yellow cluster anemones stand out from all the marine life. We can also observe a great diversity of small marine life. The walls and bottom are covered in different types of green and brown algae, many sponges and ascidians that give beautiful colors.

SOMETHING THAT MAKES IT UNIQUE: This is a place that is not usually visited by divers, it’s very quiet and ideal to do underwater landscape photography thanks to it’s steep orography.

Bajo de Testa - Testa Bajo

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LOCATION AND ACCESS: Inside the Cabo de Palos Marine Reserve, it’s the closest bajo (underwater mountain range) to the shore and it has an anchor point in the shape of a buoy that goes 10 meters (32,8 feet) down from surface. It’s only accessible by boat.

MINIMUM DEPTH: -10 meters (-32,8 feet)

MAXIMUM DEPTH: -22 meters (-72,1 feet)

MINIMUM DEGREE: OPEN WATER DIVER / B1*

MORPHOLOGY: We find ourselves in a rocky bajo or submerged mountain with the base at a maximum depth of 22 meters (72,1 feet) and the crown at just 7 meters (22,9 feet) from the surface. The great mountain is divided in two leaving a canyon or corridor at 20 meters (65,6 feet) where a lot of marine life takes shelter and leaves us beautiful images. The walls in the South and East are more steep and vertical while on the North and West side there is a gentle slope down to the bottom.

BOTTOM TYPE AND CONDITIONS: The walls and bottoms are covered in different types of brown algae, sponges and some small yellow and white sea whips. The bottom that surrounds the bajo has Neptune grass patches and areas of sand, rock and gravel. The visibility average in a year is roughly 15 meters (49,2 feet), maybe the lowest in the Reserve, since it’s quite a shallow bajo (22 meters or 72,1 feet) this means that when there is wind from the east, the groundswell moves all the vegetation causing the appearance of particles. Thanks to the frequent currents at Cabo de Palos, the waters clean up very fast leaving us with an excellent visibility, especially in the sunny and quiet waters seasons, reaching up to 30 meters (98,4 feet). In other occasions, since the currents transport a lot of nutrients in different seasons, the water can be a bit greenish. But for most of the year it’s in very good condition, same as all the bajos in Cabo de Palos Marine Reserve.

One of the biggest attractives of this immersion is the great number of anchors that were left from antique ships, even from the Byzantic Empire in the II century AD. Towards La Morra we can find a small bajo full of groupers and a great arch that lets us pass.

SOMETHING THAT MAKES IT UNIQUE: The big quantity of antique anchors, we have counted up to 6 of them.

 

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PLANNING, INFORMATION AND RESERVATIONS

Everything you need to know to dive with Balkysub

Balkysub Diving School organizes diving tours at Cabo de Palos every day of the year at flexible times from 08:00 am in summer and 10:00 am in winter. The punctuality in our activities is something we care for so you don’t waste your time waiting.

We board at Cabo de Palos, just a few meters from the diving center and we dive at different spots on the coast, the Islas Hormigas Marine Reserve and various shipwrecks that lay in our depths. We have changing rooms and showers as well as a service of private “cages” for the next day at our confortable and spacious facilities.

All our immersions are guided by PADI Instructors and local expert guides, this way you’ll get to know the area better and the safety is reinforced.

Second Diving Guide. We plan two types of immersion in each tour, each guide adapts to the needs of the divers. Each guide will plan the most suitable immersion according to the diver’s degree, experience and/or preferences.

It’s important that you know that if more than 6 months have passed without diving or have done less than 10 Dives, you will have to do an Refresh Dive before diving in the Marine Reserve or in a shipwreck.

On land:

  • Private cage to keep and dry your equipment
  • Changing room and hot water showers

On board:

  • Professional captain
  • 2 diving guides, 2 different plannings
  • Steel/Aluminum bottles: 5 Lt, 7 Lt, 10 Lt, 12 Lt, 15 Lt, 18 Lt
  • Sidemount equipment
  • Weights + belt or built in pockets
  • Snacks, fruit and drinks
  • Emergency plan and authorized and revised first-aid kit
  • Oxygen and defibrillator
  • Dive location map
  • Local diving guides
  • Plan the immersion based on safety
  • Will help you improve your diving skills
  • Organize the 2 groups according to level and affinities of the divers
  • Are flexible with the immersion, planning by diving couples and level of certification
  • Will take you on the best tour depending on the visibility, currents, marine life, etc.
  • Will show you new diving spots in the same immersion
  • Guarantee the success of your diving day, accomplishing your expectations
  • Are the most qualified and expert to act in case of an emergency
  • And, of course, will make your immersion fun

To be able to dive with us you must show:

  • A valid diving degree by any organization recognized by the Spanish state (PADI, ACUC, FEDAS, AMAS, SSI, etc)
  • Health examination valid for 2 years, necessary to dive
  • Valid diving accident insurance (if you don’t have it, we can process it at the moment)
  • National I.D. or Passport (obligatory to have on board at the Reserve)
  • Logbook to register and stamp your immersions (Optional)
  • Bring one towel for your shower
  • If you usually get seasick you can take Biodramina (sea-sickness relief medicine) always available in our first-aid kit
  • It the hottest season, don’t forget the sunscreen to protect your skin
  • In winter you will need a hat or beanie, jacket, windbreaker, etc.
  • Before and after diving it’s very important to keep hydrated; water is the best.

Make your reservation comfortably, at any time and guaranteed.

You have multiple options to make your reservation: by email, phone or WhatsApp (num: +34 661492143), or by our on-line reservation system.

You just have to sign in, check availability and price, make your reservation and you will receive a confirmation email. Easy, at your own pace and professional.

We give you 2 options to clear up any doubts. You decide which suits you best.

You can contact us to ask any questions on our phone or WhatsApp. You can also leave a message with your doubts and questions and we will answer as soon as possible.

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How to Book?

1. Select your Language and insert PROMO code if you have one.

2. SIGN IN if you are a registered user.

3. Specify the number of adults.

4. Choose the Time and date of your dive.

5. Click on BOOK NOW.

6. Continue with the Booking process. You wont be required to pay at this moment.

7. At the end, fill in your account´s PASSWORD.

8. Check your reservation in your Account Area.

NOTE: If you cant see the Booking Window below, please REFRESH  this page once.

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