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Atalaia Diving Center - Diving Places

Diving spots in Madeira
Probably the best house reef of Madeira

Dive Sites

Anemone Reef

This dive site is the perfect spot for getting started – for beginners as well as for refresher courses or check-dives. Slowly the coast drops to a maximum depth of 18m. You find large rocks, underneath which countless crustaceans, Trumpetfish and Redlip Blennies hide. In the sandy bottom you can find Garden Eels and everywhere you can see the highlight of this dive site: anemones of all colors and sizes - from golden-yellow to purple-violet. Good buoyancy is worthwhile, because in many anemones you can spot white banded Cleaner Shrimps like the pretty White-Patched Anemone Shrimp.

Aquarium

Just below the entrances in the shallow water of the house reef there are many schools of young fish and the special feature of the Macaronesian islands is right away apparent. In the northernmost dive destination of the tropics you find larger schools of colorful Parrotfish and Trumpetfish, Breams and Redlip Blennies, Squids or Sardines just below 2 and 12 meters depth, sometimes even attracting larger Barracudas on the hunt.

This dive site offers something for everybody: whether you’re Snorkeler, Discover Scuba Diver or one of our "young" divers with a limited depth, as well as for experienced divers who would like to take photographs or film in peace and quiet, because light and visibility are most of the time excellent.

Big Rock / Stingray City

This spot is an easy one to navigate directly at the western entrance. Right there in the shallow water is one of the "aquariums". You can dive up to the rock wall in front of the cave and use the entire depth from the sandy bottom to the surf zone to explore. On the sandy patches along the way, there are many Brown Stingrays and Butterfly Rays, especially in the summer months. In the rock under the western entrance is a small tunnel, which should not be missed. The rock "Big Rock" itself is a prominent landmark about 50 meters before the entrance. It has a small steep wall to the south.

Canyon Reef

Fantastic rock formations, bizarre rocky landscape with deep canyons and numerous gorges, which cannot be explored with a single dive, as the "Canyon Reef" is just too big and extensive. The usual suspects here are Morays of all kinds, Scaly Slipper Lobsters, Scorpion Spider Crabs, Atlantic Arrow Crabs and tiny Urchin Shrimps. In the blue one can see Barracudas and large schools of White Seabreams, Common Two-Banded Seabreams and Saunders's Terns. In the sand bottom you can often find large Stingrays and Butterfly Rays in the season and it is always worth to risk a look into the deep, because Eagle and Cow Rays swim here gladly and regularly along the wall. The dive depth is between 4m and 21m.

Moray‘s Wall

On this wall with a maximum depth of 26m, there is something for every diver to discover at any depth - especially taking your time to check out the countless cracks in the wall is worthwhile, because there are two or three large moray eels sitting in one spot: Brown Morays, Fangtooth Morays or Black Morays - here you can take beautiful photos and videos of these animals, which are gladly to be found in the company of the Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp. Many small creatures also inhabit the steep wall covered with yellow Encrusting anemones.

Atalaia Cave

After about 8 minutes dive time from the entry along the steep coast, you reach the entrance of our cave at 12m depth. The entrance area of the cave is fairly large, as well as the cave itself. About 50m long and 20m wide the cave compares with its dimensions to a street tunnel. At the end of the cave is a large air bubble where you can emerge. In order to be able to enter the cave, you do not have to be a cave dive: Reel, cookies and arrows are not needed because the exit is visible at all times. The only thing needed is a torch. Our guides will show you Black Corals, Reef Lobsters, Mediterranean Boxer Shrimp, Mechanical Shrimp and, with some luck, even Monachus monachus (an Atlantic Monk Seal) using the cave as her home.

Ponta Da Oliveira

Advanced divers will love this dive site in front of the cave. Ponta Da Oliveira is located directly at the border with the Natural Conservation Park of Garajau and offers depths of up to 30m. There is a lot to discover on this steep wall, which gradually falls into the sea like a tongue from 10m downwards: Barracudas, Pompanos, Makaronesen Island Grouper and the constantly curious Blacktail-Comber who like to swim past the divers.

Blue Hole

This dive site, which is a little distance outside the house reef, can be reached by with a short boat trip. The descent from the surface is beautiful as you dive at 9m depth through a tunnel, which ends at 18m depth at the "Blue Hole". The opening is flooded by sunlight and this creates a fantastic view. The entrances / exits are guarded by Atlantic Cornetfish. Schools of yellow-finned Grunts as well as Saunders's Terns are located there. Over the sand bottom you can reach the deeper grounds of the dive site behind the tunnel up to max. 28m. There are usually many prints of Butterfly Rays, and a closer look is worth it, because often the rays are well camouflaged, but still slumber somewhere in the sand.

Cap Garajau

This highlight spot is located directly in the center of the UW national park. The usual suspects make this dive spot the highlight of your Madeira diving holiday: The giant Brown Groupers are often accompanied by massive schools of fish of all kinds. We also frequently encounter great Amberjacks, large Barracudas and huge Roughtail Stingrays. The dive depth is 28m maximum.

T-Riff (MAMAS)

This is as well a dive site to reach by boat. A large and a slightly smaller pinnacle rising in the middle of a sandy area from a depth of 30m up to 12m under the surface. Large schools of Triggerfish, large Barracudas, all four occurring Atlantic Moray species, a beautifully overgrown steep wall with yellow Encrusting Anemones and rays gliding through the water are here to be admired.

The Highlight

Desertas-Islands

Exclusive catamaran day-trip to the offshore National Park of the Desertas Islands - incl. a one-tank dive, catering on board, dolphin- and whale-watching.

 

The day starts early: transfer from the dive shop to Funchal, loading of the catamaran and then about 2,5 to 3 hours crossing the open water all the way to the Desertas Islands. We anchor in front of the middle island, called the Deserta Grande. The colony of the Monk Seals is located on the island called Bugio on the right. All anchoring, fishing and entering the water there is prohibited. Since the seals are quite curious, they often come to our anchorage. After the dive, there is a delicious buffet before returning to Madeira. Whales and dolphins are always spotted and can be observed in peace and quiet. Between the islands is the open ocean, so that only in suitable wind and weather conditions we can put to sea. 

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