Holidaying up in the mountains of the beautiful Axarquia region it’s easy to forget how easily accessible the coast is. From the sun-drenched gardens of Villa Andalucía the Mediterranean is clearly visible, glinting in the sun, beckoning you down the hills to the fabulous beaches that are strung along this coastline. Each beach seems to have its own character so there is guaranteed to be one that suits you. However, if sunbathing on the shore with a good book is not your thing or you just want to try something more adventurous then perhaps a scuba dive might be in order.
There are several well-respected and highly qualified scuba diving schools along this stretch of the coast and your host at Villa Andalucía – Helen – will be able to make all the necessary arrangements for you, and with the coast being a short 30-minute drive away, an introductory diving lesson and initial dive can be done in just a day.
One of the most respected and experienced scuba diving schools is Black Frog Divers, who are situated in Torrox. Black Frog Divers – who are PADI qualified and approved – provide two introductory dives for people who would just like to have a go and see if they like it. The Bubblemaker is an ideal introduction for children between the ages of 8 and 10. Underwater skills are practiced in a very safe environment, supervised by highly qualified diving instructors.
However, if you are over the age of 10 they provide a Discover Scuba Diving course. This consists of some introductory theory, practice with the equipment and one introductory dive. An ideal way to dip your toe into the world of scuba.
There are plenty of sheltered and easily accessible diving sites along the Costa Del Sol but a much-favoured spot locally – and a site that most of the local dive schools use – is just a 20 minute drive east along the coast. Lying just east of the beautiful Punta de la Mona there is a beautiful little cove called Playa Berengueles where the water is calm and sheltered and the variety of rock outcrops and sea cliffs provide suitable diving for all abilities and experience along with plenty of sea life. Thankfully there is ample parking right next to the beach and so unloading diving equipment and ‘gearing up’ is relatively easy and only a short walk to the water.
Scuba diving can be a bit daunting the first time, the equipment is not yet familiar and the bottle feels a little bit heavy on that walk to the shore, but once you release the air from your BCD and slowly sink below the surface a whole new world opens up to you.
For me there is no more calming place on this earth than in the water and I feel my breathing, heart rate and thoughts slow down as I descend.
After checking my depth gauge and air supply I can now head off along the line of rocks to the cliffs at the entrance of the cove and take in all the sights and sounds around me – yes sounds! What most people who don’t dive don’t realise is that fish life is noisy and the water around me is full of an excited popping sound as fish dart among the rocks searching for food.
If you’ve ever swum in the Mediterranean you have possibly wondered what’s swimming down beneath you. The fish life around you will vary greatly depending on the depth of the water, the seascape and various other factors but this inland sea is home to over 500 native fish along with dolphins, crustaceans and further out in deeper, blue water, other bigger species.
The gentle currents and relatively warm temperatures of the Mediterranean make it an ideal place for many species to thrive and they are still managing to do so, but dining rather than diving means that some species are now endangered and efforts are being made to protect them.
On an early morning scuba diving experience, you can expect to see a wide variety of fish life darting among the anemone studded rocks, the most common of which are sea bream, mullet, picarel, and pandora. At times, around the rocks that line the Berenguela cove it feels as if you are flying amongst a flock of birds, so vibrant and plentiful are the fish swarming around you in all directions and a broken sea urchin brings scores of them to the feast, bumping each other out of the way to get a taste of this delicacy.
It is easy to get distracted by what is going on around you when you’re diving which is one of the reasons that well-qualified instruction is a must but I can guarantee that once you are more familiar with the equipment you will feel as relaxed under the water as I do and will look forward to a regular decompressing session under the waves. Don’t miss the opportunity to open up the window to this underwater world!
The diving day starts at 8:30am at the diving centre, where you will fill out some documents and you will choose the equipment together with your instructors! After two dives, you are generally able to be back at the diving centre around 2:30-3:00pm.
In the price is included: transport from center to dive spot, guide and a snack & drink to enjoy on the beach during your diving interval.
Black Frog Divers can provide a scuba diving insurance with SegurSub for €6 a day.
Written by Amanda Connery
Villa Andalucía is a fantastic location to stay and spend one of your holiday days diving. To plan your perfect scuba diving trip, click on the email address below and contact Helen.