SCUBA DIVING IN PATAGONIA
The Atlantic Ocean has, in this part of the planet, areas of great transparency, ideal condition for practicing this sport. But something that only a few people know is that it is also possible to go diving in the cordillera itself, as it keeps transparent and mysterious treasures safely locked up in its lakes. Puerto Madryn and Las Grutas are the epicenters of this activity in the region.
Many tourists go diving in Madryn, when they arrive in this "capital of sea animals" due to the fact that its waters are among the fittest in the world for diving.
The warm waters in this beach resort in northern Patagonia equally attract those who want to experience this activity for the first time and professional divers.
Villa Traful: Underwater forest
Many divers visit this unique mass of cypresses sunk in Lake Traful, in Neuquén's cordillera.
The Atlantic village of Comodoro Rivadavia offers amongst its attractions a trip to the sea depths.
SCUBA DIVING IN BARILOCHE
Bariloche Adventure Travel & Tours...
When plummeting the crystalline depths of the rivers, streams and lakes in San Carlos de Bariloche, diving fans will always have the opportunity not only of seeing the reflection of the mountain landscape, with its varied vegetation and stone cliffs reflected in the limpid pools, but also the trout and silversides they hope to catch.
As though carefully orchestrated beforehand, the moment the divers dip into the clear waters, they will be accompanied by varied sounds: water beating on pebbles and the faint whistle of the calm wind against the surrounding hush.
In order to successfully dive in Bariloche, you can train in schools that provide travelers with specialized equipment and instructors. All the instructors and diving pros are authorized by and registered in the Argentine Naval Command. They work under security rules, by performance standards and according to official procedures.
This sport can be practiced by any person over 10 years old (with a suitable build). This limit is determined both by age and the size of the neoprene diving suits. The season starts in November and ends in April.
It is extremely important to remind travelers that within the first twelve hours after diving, they cannot fly on a plane, go paragliding, skiing or driving at heights of over 900 meters above sea level.
In San Carlos de Bariloche, diving can be practiced on:
De las Gallinas Island
Duration: half day
Skilled drivers can also practice night diving on:
Victoria Island - San Miguel Shipwreck
Duration: all day
Lake Traful - Underwater Forest
Duration: all day
Lake Moreno - Puerto Venado - La Angostura Stream (between Moreno and Nahuel Huapi lakes) - Villa Traful - Muelle Viejo - Limay River.
In addition to the above facilities, there are specialized training courses in:
- Open water diving for tourists.
- Advanced diving for different specialties.
- Specialization in rescue work.
SCUBA DIVING IN PUERTO MADRYN
Puerto Madryn Adventure Travel & Tours...
Puerto Madryn is the National Capital of Scuba Diving and the Argentine Underwater Capital par excellence. This is because fans of this sport worldwide can fulfil their dreams here the whole year round.
The calm and placid waters of the gulfs, the diversity and unique features of the denizens of these Patagonian seas, and a support and service infrastructure for the scuba diver, whatever his or her expertise, add up to an exceptionally high quality offer in this adventure sport.
To the calmness and transparency of the Puerto Madryn waters may be added the large area available for practicing this sport, as well as the great abundance of marine fauna.
There are many diving options and the city is full of operators providing scuba diving services
All of them offer the diver and the adventure tourist the chance of getting to know the different underwater parks, either with a diving instructor or with an excursion guide for the professional divers, as well as all necessary equipment and the certainty of living through a unique experience in the individual or group dives.
In Puerto Madryn you will find professional diver instructors with a vast experience in diving, as well as international instructors with certifications from internationally famous organizations.
It is important to pay attention to all the prior instructions and acclimatize gradually to the water pressure on the underwater platforms, by resting to compensate water and body pressure on the descent.
From that point onwards, just enjoy your visit to the ocean bottom, check out the flora and fauna, especially the curious fish who being accustomed to the presence of friendly humans will get really close up to have a good look at you.
You can also practice nighttime diving, depth diving, or apply to take courses at different levels or take part in special excursions if you have your diving credential.
Remember the sensation of your first dive is indescribable.
PLACES TO DIVE
This is ten kilometers from Puerto Madryn, along the road to the seal colony of Punta Loma. It is a low cliff that affords easy access to a rocky shoal that is visible at low tide, forming some natural pools.
From these one can make comfortable dives whether one is an expert or a beginner.
The sea bed is sandy and rocky, with small gullies and caves. Its maximum depth is eight meters and minimum depth three. The optimal descents are at high tide or with a rising tide.
As regards fauna, there are few fish, but you will find many crabs, sea snails, octopuses and "nudibranquios".
It is also a good place to practice snorkeling.
Folias Wreck or Paraná Beach
Beyond Punta Este one finds Paraná Beach: a boulder-strewn coastline that has a steep slope and absolutely transparent waters.
Some 300 meters from the shore is the sunken wreckage of the fishing boat "Folias". The beach itself is called "Folias Wreck". This vessel ran aground on the beach some twenty years ago.
The boat is 60 meters long and is partly deteriorated where it is exposed to the action of tides and storms. It is better to visit it at high tide when the whole of the hull is underwater.
The hull of the ship is full of barnacles and polyps, forming a highly colored wall. Around it one finds various fish such as turcos, escrófalos, groupers, viejas de mar, and starfish.
Punta Cuevas Shoals
At one end of Puerto Madryn is Punta Cuevas. The first thing you will see on getting there is the Monument to the Tehuelche Indian, and beyond it a sloping sandy beach that is a comfortable place to dive from.
The sea bed is sandy and rocky, with shoals that start some 300 meters from the shore.
The fauna includes groupers, octopuses, turco and starfish. It is a good place for beginners and to do snorkeling. The whole point can be explored underwater.
Río de Oro Wreck
Some 800 meters from the coast of Puerto Madryn city you can dive in a 30 meter long wreck, that of the Río de Oro.
This ship sank around 60 years ago, and you can still perfectly well distinguish the bow and the stern, as well as the wooden tackling. The sea bed is muddy, with an average depth of around 15 meters.
Here we find a great variety of sea life such as groupers, turcos, salmons, polyps and clams.
As the sea bed is so muddy, it is important to float in the water without touching the bottom so as not to reduce visibility. The wreckage is some 400 meters from the tip of the Piedra Buena wharf.
Artificial Underwater Park
In 1963 there was a turning point in Madryn's scuba diving. Six urban buses from the Buenos Aires transport department were sunk at over thirty meters depth to create the first Artificial Underwater Park in the country.
The abundant marine fauna in the area soon took over the buses as their ideal habitat. Currently one can see the outlines of the chassis that were originally sunk.
Another diving option are the underwater parks whose access is restricted to special boat trips. These are organized by the scuba diving operators.
Parque Viejo (Old Park)
This was the first artificial park organized in the area of the shipwreck of the Emma, that had belonged to Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition at the beginning of the 20th century. Its original structure was increased with the addition of automobiles, buses, an industrial boiler and other items by the local diving pioneers.
Parque Nuevo (New Park)
Facing the city's beaches, and 400 meters from the coast, you can practice scuba diving from anchored boats or buoys in the country's first artificial diving park.
Here you may see several chassis, a boiler, the outline of a shipwreck (the Atlantis), a small plane (El Pastor de los Abismos - the "Shepherd of the Depths"), and some rowboats that are used as artificial caves by the abundant fish in the area.
Underwater christenings also take place in this park. That is why there are underwater platforms anchored here during a great part of the year.
The bottom is sandy, with a median depth of some six meters.
Among the fauna one can find turcos, groupers, breams, starfish of different sizes and colors, as well as octopuses and a large number of polyps on the ironwork, making the park look singularly attractive.
Las Piedras Park
North of the Luis Piedrabuena wharf lies the Las Piedras beach, and some 600 meters from the coast there is a nature park with the same name.
The sea bottom is sandy and rocky, with long underwater shoals at an average depth of five meters. The fauna here consists of groupers, turcos, escrófalos, breams, starfish, polyps, clams, octopuses, and sea snails.
This excursion consists of scuba diving from boats in parks that are natural reefs containing small, seaweed-filled caves.
To get to Punta Ameghino one has to travel 20 kilometers along Provincial Route Nº 4, towards Puerto Pirámides. Some 200 meters offshore one can swim to a shipwreck that is in slightly deteriorated condition.
Access to the beaches from the coast is difficult due to the cliffs. That is why it is preferable to go to this site by sea with an experienced operator.
Average depth is 5 meters and the sea bottom is rocky and sandy.
The Albatros was a 30-foot long fishing boat that sank in September 1998. Here experienced divers can take you to visit the wreck, diving from boats.
The "Ark" of Madryn
On December 30, 1999, the city authorities deposited a coffer on the sea bed containing messages from the population for the generation of the 22nd century. The "ark" will be opened for the first time in the year 2100.
Also, there is a plastic visiting book for divers, and each diver must take a testimony to leave in the Ark in exchange for the one that was left by the previous diver.
This is a boat excursion, and diving experience is required. Depth is up to 30 meters.
Snorkeling is one of the adventure activity options with most fans in recent years. Using only rudimentary diving equipment (wetsuit, goggles and fins) one can discover a tremendously varied underwater life on beaches such as Punta Este, Kaiser and Cerro Avanzado. Punta Cuevas, only a few minutes away from the city center, is another interesting and attractive alternative in this adventurous pastime, an ideal one for getting to know more about the undersea world.
SCUBA DIVING IN USHUAIA - TIERRA DEL FUEGO
Ushuaia - Tierra del Fuego Adventure Travel & Tours...
Accompanied by a professional diver, day and night, travelers will be able to get to know the captivating submarine life under the cold waters. In some cases, indeed, they will also be able to watch the wreckage of huge ships, that lie in the depths of the Strait of Magellan, after succumbing to the roar of the encounter of the waters of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans hundreds of years ago. The offers include deep-sea and shore diving, which can be practiced by any category of diver, even those who have only experienced few immersions.
Sea depths in Tierra del Fuego vary from approximately ten to forty meters.