I am always up for an adventure, especially if it includes scuba diving. When I told everyone we were going to Spain, I was constantly asked if this was a dive trip. My answer was yes, and no. To me, a “dive trip” is when I am diving exclusively, or at least for the majority of the time during our vacation. For this trip, we were only diving for 3 days with 2 tank dives each day out of the total 2 weeks we were in Spain, so only 6 dives. For me, it was NOT a dive trip, but rather a trip that includes diving. All my fellow dive-aholics will completely understand the difference.
I was really looking forward to trying out a new dive destination and to be diving the Med. It was quite a shock to the system though, and was VERY different from diving in our beloved Caribbean. We are very spoiled and dive primarily in the WARM, clear waters of the Caribbean, or Hawai’i or Fiji or Australia, where there is an abundance of marine life and vegetation. Diving in Malaga was a completely different experience. The water was freezing cold. It was between 60-65* F or about 16-18* C. That is a big shock when you are used to waters that are about 80-85* F. We wore a full wet 5mm wetsuit, and I had my 1mm underneath, and I NEVER wear wetsuits. Whereas Larry actually had a shortie wetsuit over his full wetsuit. He never got used to the conditions and was cold for most of the time. I was in a little shock when I first got in for my first dive, but then quickly acclimated to the temperature. We are also used to great visibility that allows us to see for about 100-150 feet. We were lucky if the viz here allowed us to see 50 feet, and for the most part, we could only see about 10-20 feet, if even. And there wasn’t much to see even when we could see. There is not the abundance of fish or corals in the Mediterranean, or at least not where we dived, like there are in other parts of the world. On our last day of diving, the conditions were so bad that the divemasters actually called the dive shortly after we got down to the bottom. The current was super strong and the visibility was horrible, plus everyone was really cold. We did a deep dive, down to about 87-90 feet or 26-27 meters, and all of us chewed through our air very quickly while doing a whole lot of nothing in the process. Usually Larry and I are very good with our air consumption and can stay down for a long, long time and still come up with about 1000 lbs remaining. You will get different answers on how to rate the diving here in Spain depending on if you ask me or if you ask Larry. Larry says “he will never dive in the Med again”. I now know what to expect, and I would have no problem diving in the Med again, but then I will dive anywhere, anytime. I am a certified, dive-aholic.
Despite all the surprises and shocks, there were still some good things too. We did see some new fish, and we got to dive some place new, and we met a new dive buddy and friend, Nicole. Larry says I am a frustrated marine biologist wanna-be because I get so excited about seeing new fish. I know most of the names of the fish (at least in the Caribbean waters), so seeing new types of fish was a perk for me.
The familiar “faces” I saw were a bunch of sea stars and scorpion fish, a few mollusks, quite a few octopi or octopusses (both are correct) and some beautiful soft corals. (Don’t pay attention to the date in the corner)
We even saw a few wrecks, one of which was the remnants of an old French galleon that was over 300 years old (not pictured).
This beautiful peacock wrasse was a new friend, but is a cousin to the Creole wrasse we see all the time down in the warmer Caribbean waters.
And then we saw some things we don’t encounter all that often too. These were both a first. Potty break anyone?
St. Carmen, the patron Saint of Fishermen.
Diving with our new dive buddy, Nicole.
After we dried off and thawed a bit in the sun, the three of us went out for yet another delicious lunch in Marbella. The sangria was delicious, as was the food, but we only had burgers and sandwiches.