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Mallorca, The Balearic Islands, Spain - Story and photos by Charlotte van Weeghel.
I love going to the Mediterranean, especially in the early summer, when the temperature is just perfect and right before the package tourists from Northern Europe descent upon this heavenly part of Europe.
And I especially like visiting parts of Spain. I studied Spanish for years and it is always a good opportunity to brush up on the language and indulge in the culture.
So my prayers were answered again when I had the chance to spent a whole month in the lovely Baleranean islands, a place I had never visited before. What a treat it turned out to be! Not only is the main island Mallorca (also spelled Majorca) one of the most beautiful places in the world (comparable to other personal favorites: St. Barths in the Caribean and Montecito in CA), the diving was amazing with the clearest water, great visibility, an unbelievable variety in terms of dive sites (reef, deep, wreck, tunnels, cave and caverns) and a healthy marine life.
Before arriving, I thought I'd spend the majority of my time sailing, exploring the 16th. century cathedral and old town Palma and enjoying the different beaches. I had never been really impressed with the scuba diving in Europe before. In my stubborn opinion, the Mediterranean was pretty much dead in comparison to other, far more exotic oceans. Admittedly I had only dived off the coast of Cadaques, on the border of Spain and France, and once did a dry-suit course in the South of the United Kingdom. This was a whole new opportunity to see what the diving in the middle of the Mediterranean sea was all about. At least I'd get away from the coast and the runoff and bad visibility it brings with it. And boy did I turned to be proven wrong!
After a few days of exploring this gorgeous island, including enjoying plenty of good food and excellent wines I decided it was time for some diving! I had read there were quite a few good dive sites around the west and south coast of the island and that diving around the island of Dragonera was especially worthwhile.
Mallorca is known to have some prehistoric caves on offer as well and is known as a location for technical diving. About time to refresh my cave diving knowledge after my first introduction back in Sipidan and later during a cave diving course in the Yucatan. There were also suppose to be some interesting sites right in harbor of Palma.
The variety of marine life was generally really good. To summarize we saw barracuda, octopus, moray eels, jacks, grouper, wrasse, goatfish, cardinal fish, damsel fish, blennies, gobies, starfish, sea urchins and healthy sponges hard coral and soft coral.
Illetas: Hippocampes Divers
Here are some other choices:
Palma de Mallorca: Isurussub.com
St. Elm: Scuba Activa Dive Center run by the German Matthias Gunther
Paguera: Barakuda Octopus
Dragonera owns it name to her profile that looks like a sleeping dragon. The island is part of the underwater Southwest Mountain chain of Mallorca what used to be a dry valley and is protected by a national park. There are plenty of dive sites around this island to choose from. Most of them are considered advanced diving however and include very deep dives. You should at least have your PADI Advanced certificate and a considerable amount of logged dives to be dive comfortably here.
The best know dive site is the Conga Wreck at 36 meters. There isn't much left of the wreck itself but the marine life on this artificial reef is spectacular. The site is located in a canal in between Dragonera and the town of St. Elm on the mainland.
Another popular spot is Capo Leibix on the most southern point of Dragonera. Here a wall goes down to more than 50 m. deep. The site is full of Spanish Dancers and Barracudas. Everybody can find something to see during a dive here. Dolphins have been spotted in this area but I didn't see one.
We also dove on Golden Rock. This is another deep dive with lots and lots of yellow coral everywhere which makes for quite an amazing site when illuminated by the rays of the sun. Marine life included moray eels and lots of barracuda, octopus, cardinal fish and sea urchins. Because you are in the middle of the Mediterranean, the nutrients and the outflows from
rivers quickly sink away, resulting in low plankton levels. With the high sun it makes the water very blue with superb visibility. I heard that an ubiquitous seaweed called posidonia acts as a toxin vacuum and in-keeper of
sand and makes the water bright turquoise. Not sure if that was the case here but the water really was an unforgettable blue.
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