Tenerife Tales
An Ex Pat´s Life On A Rock In The Atlantic by Sue Havenhand

Discovering Diving In Tenerife Part 1

Written in Colaboration with Sol Scuba

My 10 year old son was lucky enough to delve into the underwater world of off shore Tenerife recently, and I have to say, he has the bug!! I was so impressed with the company who introduced him to scuba diving that I asked them to write some words about the subject.

“As more and more divers are discovering the secrets of the underwater world in Tenerife, it’s hardly surprising that the island is becoming such a popular diving and snorkelling destination! The fantastic year round climate, the water temperature at a constant 18-24 degrees and a huge abundance of marine life and rock formations makes Tenerife stand out from the crowd. Not to mention the vast array of activities to indulge in during surface intervals! With daily flights from the UK and a flight time of only 4 hours, there is simply no excuse not to visit the island and uncover the amazing underwater world for yourself!

Tenerife is the largest of seven islands that make up the Canary Islands, which are located off the West Coast of Africa, approximately 200 miles from the Sahara dessert. Formed from volcanic eruptions, (the last eruption being in 1909) the landscapes both above and below the water are absolutely stunning.

Tenerife dive centres can be found in most resort areas in the south although there are far fewer dive centres in the north. Sol Scuba is a reputable, family run scuba diving and snorkelling centre in the south of Tenerife. They offer accommodation at very reasonable rates and cater well for large dive groups. Sol Scuba offers all PADI courses and tuition in small and often individual groups, with safety and comfort being their main priority. Sol Scuba conduct diving by either boat or shore so you can rest assured of interacting with outstanding scenery and marine life. With scuba diving available to suit every level of diver from the beginner to the advanced, there is something for everyone!

Courses and tuition

No reputable dive centre will allow you to scuba dive without some basic training and simple understanding of using the equipment first. Some dive centres offer a Try-Dive for students that would just like to try scuba in the sea. This is always conducted as a one to one and the instructor will hold on to the student throughout the experience. By far the best way to first experience scuba diving is by participating in a PADI Discover Scuba Diving programme. This experience is the entry-level introduction to scuba diving and is a great way to explore scuba diving in the sea for the very first time!

The programme takes half a day, starting with a short briefing to explain the basic principles of scuba diving and to give you an overview of the scuba diving equipment that you will use. You are then taken into the swimming pool, where you will learn basic scuba skills. Once you have successfully completed these skills, you will be presented with a Discover Scuba Diving certificate, which is valid for 12 months. Sol Scuba also includes an open water dive in the Discover Scuba Diving program. The Discover Scuba Diving certificate allows you to enjoy scuba diving in open water to a maximum depth of 12 metres, with any PADI dive professional worldwide! To participate in the Discover Scuba Diving experience you must be aged 10 years or over and as with all scuba diving activities, you must be in general good health.

A more permanent alternative to the PADI Discover Scuba Diving experience is the PADI Open Water Diver certification. It is the world’s most popular scuba diving course and has introduced millions of people to the scuba diving lifestyle.

This course takes 4 days to complete and you must be aged 10 years or older. It consists of three main phases:

1) Knowledge development (to be learned at home or in our classroom). This provides an understanding of the basic principles of diving.
2) 5 Confined water dives (in the swimming pool). This ensures you learn basic scuba skills.
3) 4 open water dives (in the sea). This allows you to review your skills and explore the underwater world.

Upon completion of the PADI Open Water/Junior Open Water certification you will be certified to dive to a depth of 18 metres or 12 metres if you are a junior. This useful certification is a fantastic platform to develop your diving hobby or career and it doesn’t expire!

From the Open Water Diver certification, you can then go on to complete more courses and you may even consider turning your hobby into a career by becoming a PADI professional!

For more detailed information on PADI scuba diving courses in Tenerife, please visit http://www.solscuba.com

Types of Marine Life in Tenerife

With Tenerife’s amazing underwater landscape and the subtropical climate, a huge variety of marine life are attracted to the waters surrounding the island. Pilot Whales and Dolphins inhabit the waters and are often seen breaking the water’s surface! Groupers, Barracuda, Angel Sharks, Grunts, Sea Bream, Cardinal Fish, Turtles, Octopus, Cuttlefish, Stonefish, Trumpet Fish, many varieties of Eels and Rays to name just a few, are common sights on dives.

Wrecks to Dive in Tenerife

There are a number of wrecks to dive in Tenerife. Probably the most popular wreck site is that of the Condesito, situated off the Punta Rasca, a protected national park located in the south of Tenerife. This cargo ship sank some 30 years ago after running aground, one Christmas. At the time she was carrying bags of cement, which are still visible. Over the years the sea has taken its toll on the ship. The amidships to the bow has collapsed which has made a fantastic habitat for marine life. The depth of this wreck is between 10 and 25 metres.

There is also the fascinating wreck of the Meridian, situated off the coast of Palm Mar in the south of the Tenerife. She was purposely sunk a few years ago after many years of working as a whale and dolphin excursion boat, and prior to this she was a German naval minesweeper. The Meridian sits upright on sand with a maximum depth of 30 metres. Entry is possible into the wheelhouse and a trip up the mast to the crow’s nest always makes for a fantastic photo opportunity!

The wreck of El Raton is situated in Tabaiba, in the north of the island, just before Santa Cruz. This is solely a shore dive. This boat is a decommissioned tugboat and was deliberately sunk in 2006; she sits at a maximum depth of 30 metres. The typography of the coast in this area causes some big drop off points close to shore; this dive is therefore only a 2-minute swim out! Penetration is possible into the engine room and wheelhouse as all doors and obstacles have been removed. Even though she was only sunk a short while ago, a wide variety of marine life have set up home here making it well worth a visit.”

Thanks so much to Sol Scuba for such comprehensive information. Come back next week for Part Two of “Discovering Diving In Tenerife”

Photos : Alfie Havenhand – Bailey Aged 10

A Sea Turtle!!


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