Diving Into The History Of Gibraltar
Gibraltar has activities for just about everyone including scuba diving exploring the ship wrecks submerged around the Rock.
Since Gibraltar is at one of the natural crossroads for the world’s shipping, the Straits of Gibraltar are home to shipwrecks going back to the Napoleonic era. The ships may have been wrecked but they now provide a habitat for an astonishing array of marine life.
Included amongst the sea creatures you will see while diving in the waters around Gibraltar are Green Sea Turtles, Luminescent Jellyfish, Red Lipped Goby, Spiral Tube Worms, Sea Hare, a huge variety of Coral, Common Octopus, Squid, Common Cuttlefish, Bottle Nose Dolphin, Fireworks Tube Anemone and many more.
While we’ve seen many of these creatures on television nature programs, there are several that are very distinctive – the Wide-eyed Flounder swims flat (or you might say sideways on) with both eyes on one side of the head, looking up. The Elegant Sea Slugs come in a wonderful range colours and patterns, while the Spanish Dancer certainly lives up to its name with its colourful swirling red coat.
On the Rock you’ll find several diving establishments that can provide diving lessons as well as equipment rental and organised dives complete with professional instructors and guides. Regardless of your expertise (or lack thereof) diving is for anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. You will need to complete a medical questionnaire to join a diving class if you don’t already have a PADI Scuba Diver (or similar) certification.
You might ask if diving is possible year round? The answer is definitely yes! The sun shines for over 300 days a year and the water temperature is between 67F-85F (19C-29C) May to September and 58F-65F (14C-18C) for Oct. through April. The temperature can also vary depending on dive site.
One of the underwater sites that is a must for both the novice and advanced driver is the Camp Bay Conservation Site. This is an artificial reef purposely created over the last 30 years by the sinking of a number of ships and encouraging marine life to colonize the wrecks. This site is called the “diver’s ultimate playground” and offers 11 wrecks to explore – truly an incredible under water experience.
Other sites around the Rock worth exploring include Cannon Pile, 27 metres down. When a Spanish barge sank around 1782 it left a number of cannon balls on the sea bed. As one of the most popular sites in Gibraltar, it is rated for novice to advanced. Another site not to be missed is the Seven Sisters, a collection of seven rocky spires which are home to a variety of coral and other sea creatures. Near the shore, it is not at all uncommon to find artefacts like clay pottery, anchors, clay pipes amongst the photogenic marine life.
Come dive in Gibraltar and be astonished!