Diving on Sal
Reef, cave, wreck divingReef, cave and wreck diving is available from Santa Maria and Murdeira with Joaquim, a Portuguese who lived in Newfoundland and speaks perfect English. He provides a Padi course for & pound;270 and offers free diving training in the pool for beginners who book on a charter flight. There are 25 sites on the island including wrecks at a depth of 10m. Fish include grouper, tuna, mackerel, and tropical reef fish but shark are rare. A decompression centre at Murdeira is one of the few in tropical waters. After the diving tragedies in the Red Sea, this is the sensible, sane alternative at a very modest price (we do not mean shark attacks).
There are dives every day of the year, but the least wind is from April to November, when the water is very clear, except in plankton build-up. Visibility is up to 40m except during the September equinox. October to December are best for seeing shark in dawn dives.
There are 25 sites on the island including wrecks at a depth of 10m. Fish include grouper, tuna and mackerel but shark are a rarity. A decompression centre at Murdeira is one of the few in tropical waters. A single dive costs 21 pounds.Discounts for large groups bring this down to 15 pounds. After the diving tragedies in the Red Sea, this is the sensible, sane alternative at a very modest price (we do not mean shark attacks)boats take 10 to 12 divers each and can provide drift dives. Night dives are made at most inshore locations. Plenty of reef fish and occasionally tuna and wahoo, can be seen. Late summer brings mantas,.morays, barracudas, nurse sharks and more rarely sand, tiger, sting rays and small grouper. Whale shark are rare visitors.
Deep water dives
The deep Cape Verde waters offer volcanic lava shoals falling sheer away to revealcaves and cracks full of tropical fish.There are morays and lobster, shark and manta. There are many wrecks, since Sir Francis Drake accounted for many Spanish galleons in these waters. Italy's own Titanic, the Cecile also lies within diving depth in the Cape Verdes. At Burracona in the North, there are caves at 22m, with two entrances, which one can swim through. This natural grotto is made out of black basalt so the lighting efffects are fantastic to behold. Even if you do not want to go under water, it is well worth the trip to take a look. The Tchucklasa reef shoal with a mushroom shaped head is at 13m. P from Devon liked the variety
"The diving is great. Really beautiful sites ranging from wrecks and caves to some stunning shallow reef dives. We managed to see rays, shark and turtles alongside schools of beautiful fish - Damsel , Parrot , Soldier etc. Wonderful! There are quite strong currents so that some sites are quite strenuous. This should not put anyone off as there is a range to choose from. There are ample dive sites for beginners and novices. The water is fantastic for temperature and visibility. I have dived all over the world and these are amongst the best that I have ever seen. Most diving is from Ribs. As dive sites are close to shore, trips are short. Teaching is in hotel pools or the shallows. Dives cost £30 and equipment hire £11 a day. My instuctor was not fluent in English which was a hazard as I was doing a course. I struggled on occasion to understand the safety briefing"
Shallow dive sitesThe Three Caves complex can be seen by day or night, in most conditions. The Bera Coral reef can be visited in settled conditions, mostly during the summer. Pontinha offers a vertical laval rock face, with grottoes that shelter morays. Farol is a terrace of volcanic rock at moderate depth harbouring many tropical fish. R from Kent saw a lot of fish.
"I could only do a shore dive while I was there but I saw more in twenty minutes than I have done on much lengthier dives elsewhere, sea snails, sea snakes, moray - both species - sea spider, and all of the other usual inhabitants of warmer waters."
Diving in Sao VicenteThere is also good diving from the beach at the Hotel Foya Branca near the airport. This is organised by Frederick a Frenchman from Paris who speaks perfect english and is very safety conscious. He has a dive centre with fully modern equipment to hire and offers PADI courses. There is also diving from a large catamaran with 8 double cabins operated by Austrians who will take divers on a live-aboard basis for one week at a time. Food is typically Italian/Austrian and is reputed to be good, but we prefer Frederick. Sometimes whales can be heard when diving and occasionally even seen at a modest distance.
Diving on Boa Vista
Atila and Rosario provide PADI& NAUI courses at all levels from scuba diver to dive master, working with their own rib from the containers on Estoril Beach. They are very safety conscious and prefer to take only small groups out when the weather is right. The water is not deep off the beach, so this is a place for shallow diving and watching fish. They also gives a variety of courses such as introduction to diving, discover scuba, discover scuba diving and snorkeling trips. They will do night dives and cave dives in the right conditions. Prices are from £25 for a single dive to £250 for a course of open water scuba dives. Dives are limited to five divers at a time.