This is a blog article written by one of our Divers Rob Sweeting. Thankyou for taking the time to write and send us in your experiences diving Lanzarote Rob. I have also visited Lanzarote and I really enjoyed the Diving and Beyond One Bar will certainly be taking a group out there, hopefully in 2021. If anyone else has some interesting articles to add to our blog, then please let me know (David Swain) by emailing email@example.com
Anyway, here is Rob Sweetings Blog:
Scuba Diver with Angel Shark - Lanzarote.
Great news for those suffering from withdrawal symptoms diving, once the current lockdown is over, Lanzarote is now back on the agenda, not only that but its quick, cheap, and easy to get to.*
If like me you have been opening the diving cupboard just for a sniff of neoprene and obsessively looking at your diving photos, then the long wait is at an end as Safari Diving in Puerto Del Carmen and Dive College in Playa Blanca are open for business.
I’ve used Safari Diving ever since I started diving, when Egypt shut down a few years ago and I missed a trip I managed to get a cheap flight a few days later and picked up some really valuable experience and advice, from Mauro, that was when I had just my qualifying dives under my belt.
Since then I have done my Advanced Open Water with Debbie and my daughter completed her open water with Danny, who is now back in the UK. I must have visited them twenty times in all.
The team have been fantastic always helpful and cheerful. Nothing is too much trouble. When I’ve used their kit its always been good quality and well kept. Their experience and depth of knowledge is really good.
Sadly the lockdown has changed many things and Wendy and Steve Hicks have transferred the business to new owners Marian and Bart of Dive College Dive Centre but the good news is that the dive team remains the same and it’s business as usual.
Usual business for both centres means:
No extra cost for night diving, (unless you need to hire a torch).
No extra cost for the boat dive.
Something that I find refreshing after having been caught out with unexpected extras on other trips.
Cathedral Cavern - Lanzarote.
What’s new is that it will be possible to interchange between dive centres and pick the best dives for you. For instance, if night diving is your thing you can go three times a week.
Steve and Wendy will be missed, and I certainly owe them a debt of gratitude for the amazing times I’ve had over the last few years. They have done a fantastic job of running one of the most respected dive centres anywhere.
However, the changes of owners now give the opportunity for two centre diving Playa Chica in Puerto Del Carmen on the West side of the Island and Playa Blanca on the South, this extends the number of dive sites available and also gives access to the Museo Atlántico.
To my mind dive centres everywhere will need our support as they open up. Just as times have been difficult here they have been equally tough elsewhere and it would be a shame to lose some of the centres that we have enjoyed because we don’t get out and enjoy our sport again. I’m even considering taking a trip out to Lanzarote and running my Zoom courses from the hotel, if it has fast enough wifi in the rooms. It seems like an ideal lifestyle to me.
The best news is that both the dive centres have retained their staff with Safari Diving having Joaquin, Adam, Deborah, Mauro, Marco, Victor and Keaton and Dive College Damian, Marc, Bob, Mara, Salvatore, Jan and Tom that amounts to over 200years of training experience. Between these instructors there are enough initials to confuse, CMAS, SSI, BSAC, OWSI and of course PADI the languages spoken include Dutch, Italian, French, Spanish, German and English. If you add in Bart and Marian as well you know that you are in good, well trained, and experienced hands.
The diving at Playa Chica is easy, put on gear, walk into water, finnup, swim out a bit and sink. The boat dives are not much more taxing involving a 100-yard walk to and from the boat. There is a good variety of dive sites many of which are quite shallow and suited to Open Water divers. Whilst the facilities are a bit rustic, they are adequate.
The Dive centre at Playa Blanca is also right on the front so again a very short walk with the kit into the water. The Dive College centre is a more sophisticated site with its own pool separate classroom and shop that sells the all-important souvenir Tee shirt as well as a few other basics. This means that when kitting up there will be less sand where you don’t want it!
The Dive prices are extremely competitive at 6 dives (tank and weights) for €180 or with all the kit its €240. Those dives can be taken at both centres, there will be transport laid on some days to go between the centres, but those with a hire car can go to either site at any time. There are discounts available for groups of seven or more divers and instructors are welcome to use the sites for training and non-training dives. If you don’t already have it dive insurance is compulsory in Spain and there is a small weekly charge for this.
I am not a tour operator, but here is a very basic calculation based on a quick internet search (first company I came to). 7 nights in October for two people the cost of flights and self-catering accomodation is as little as £633, and that includes 2, 23kg bags and transfer (Love Holidays, Costa Volcan Puerto del Carman, flying Easyjet from Luton in October). Add on a 10 dive package for both people is €560 tank and weights (do a straight conversion € to £ which gives a little beer money) and we’re looking at £1193. That is amazing value for a diving holiday for two and by organising through an operator there are all the protections in place. I must stress again I am not in the travel industry and I am not making any recommendations.
The water temperature is consistent at 19o ish at the surface which equates to 16o ish at the bottom, which, whilst not tropical, is comfortable for most in a 5mm wettie or, for wimps like me, an 8mm with hood.
The actual diving itself is what I call detail diving, the slower you go the more you see. There is quite a range of fish from Grouper to Bastard Grunts and if you look around, you’ll see Lizard Fish, Cuttle Fish and Octopus on the night dives. I’ve seen Angel Sharks kipping out on the bottom in 10m, tiny Sea Horses and bright neon blue Nudibranchs all on the same dive.
With the two locations working together the number of sites will be greatly increased and with transport between the two centres for the first time divers from Puerto Del Carmen will be able to visit some really nice, shallower, dive sites off Playa Blanca and obviously divers from Playa Blanca will visit Puerto Del Carman for the deeper dives around that area.
Grouper - Lanzarote.
This arrangement gives the opportunity to dive on the Museo Atlántico a 14m dive through the famous underwater sculptures by Jason deCaires Taylor. An unusual and unforgettable experience with life size statues of adults, children and half human half cactus hybrids depicting the merging of nature and humanity. There is even an opportunity to dive on the Museo every Thursday night
Both sites offer a wide range of training from a free, swimming pool try dive in Playa Blanca right up to Master Diver and instructors’ courses, from personal experience these courses are well run and enjoyable. It’s the perfect combination do the pool work in the UK and the rest in warmish water.
Accomodation is plentiful and the dive centres can help with this, there are even some villas for up to 6 people right on the waterfront in Playa Chica. I’ve also stayed at the Costa Volcan which is an apart hotel that is clean and basic. Near the dive centre in Playa Blanca there is the Rubicon Palace at reasonable prices and various villas all within walking distance There are lots of supermarkets, so if you want to cater for yourself it’s easy to do so. It is advisable to drink bottled water because the tap water has a high mineral content but is potable.
As with anywhere in Spain there are any number of good places to eat and drink. There is a strip behind the main beach which offers every type of food you could wish for plus clubs and bars. Go a little out of the centre there are some quieter areas with restaurants and bars and if you explore the backstreets there are some nice quiet places. Lanzarote is safe and the town offer a wide range of shops.
If you have family with you Playa Chica is safe for children, its sheltered, good for swimming and snorkelling with a life-guard on duty most of the day. The only trouble is it might end up with you paying out for a try dive, and we all know where that leads!
The pavements are not suited for wheelchairs, have trip hazards and some high kerbs in addition some of the hills are quite steep, a typical Spanish town in terms of access. The airport is about a €14 taxi ride (pre lock down price) and the driving is as manic as you’d find on the mainland.
The weather is consistent, with a wind that keeps the temperatures down, when it rains it takes it seriously for about an hour and then it’s back to normal again, typical of the Canary Islands.
There are a good number of flights from our area personally I prefer Jet 2, but it might also be worth checking out Ryan air out of Stanstead or Wizz Air from Luton and Tui or BA from Gatwick. Check ou