Diving in El Hierro, a marine paradise

The small island of El Hierro has practically no underwater coastal platform, so the littoral and deep water species are practically side by side. Moreover, for diving lovers, El Hierro is the ideal place, as it has excellent conditions and incredible underwater landscapes. In this article we will talk about the coast and diving in El Hierro, you will be surprised!

With more than 40 dive sites, El Hierro is a true paradise for divers of all nationalities, who consider the island to be one of the best places on the planet for scuba diving.

There are several factors that combine to give this small territory its well-deserved fame, since it is one of the three Marine Reserves of the Canary Islands. The main factor is the transparency of its waters, which allows to reach a visibility of up to 30 meters, to which is added the great variety of species and spectacular underwater volcanic landscapes. 

On the other hand, most of the fishermen from El Hierro are concentrated in La Restinga, because at a very short distance from the coast they have a bottom with a unique faunistic richness. Both the natives of El Hierro and visitors, most of whom visit the island to dive, know this wealth and are aware of the importance of conserving it , and therefore defend that the activities must be sustainable.

A true marine paradise

The island of El Hierro has earned the reputation of being considered one of the great European destinations for scuba diving. The people of El Hierro knew how to combine their traditional fishing gear with the preservation of the marine environment and the results are highly satisfactory for all sectors. The creation in 1996 of its marine reserve in the south of the island, the Mar de Las Calmas reserve in La Restinga, revitalized the marine biodiversity of the area, making every underwater dive an unforgettable experience.

Although diving in El Hierro is not always easy. Located in the Atlantic, the island is often buffeted by the trade winds, which for a good part of the year restricts diving to the Mar de las Calmas, in the south of the island. In this area, within the diveable part of the marine reserve, most of the dives are concentrated.

Marine fauna in El Hierro

The herreños bottoms are rocky and abrupt with veriles, caves, tunnels and drop-offs. The vegetation, which can reach up to 70 meters deep, is very dense, with a predominance of calcareous and brown algae. The abundant invertebrate fauna is distributed between the bottom and the hollows that house lobsters, black and yellow corals, shrimp, anemones and sponges, among others.

The community of coastal bottom species is equally varied. There is an abundance of parrotfish, cabrillas, roosters, groupers, abades and different species of moray eels of great fishing importance. Tuna such as bonito or skipjack tuna, wahoo, bigeye tuna or skipjack tuna, give rise to the most important fishery in the area in spring and summer.

The waters of the Mar de Las Calmas reserve are visited by deep-sea species such as whale sharks and manta rays. In addition, sea turtles and dolphins can often be observed. On the other hand, the reserve is also home to protected species such as the spiny drum and the Herreña lobster.

Four ideal places for scuba diving in El Hierro

Below, we will mention three ideas and permitted areas where you can practice and enjoy scuba diving in El Hierro.

El Bajón

The name "El Bajón" refers to one of the most recommended places to dive in the depths of the Sea of Las Calmas. It is formed by a small mountain of volcanic rock, whose walls protect divers from the strong underwater currents. Also, two peaks protrude from the mountain, measuring 6 and 9 meters respectively. In addition, the area stands out for its developed ecosystem, in which whale sharks and manta rays inhabit.

El Desierto

It is so called because it is the only large expanse of sand inside the marine reserve. In terms of biodiversity, it includes schools of jacks, triggerfish and garden eels, as well as groupers.

El Salto

It is a rocky wall about 20 meters deep in a rocky area, where there is a small cave with a large arch where mostly barracudas, groupers and spiny drumlins live. From June to October some Solrayo females spawn in this place. It is one of the few places in the world where you can see and dive near them.

The Devil's Cave

A very shallow cave, with part of its ceiling fallen, through which the light enters in a very particular way. The fauna of the place is made up of groupers, crustaceans, sea urchins, moray eels, trumpet fish, etc.

If you are visiting the island of El Hierro, here are some links to articles that may be of interest to you: What to see in El Hierro, route for a weekend; The viewpoint of Jinama and other viewpoints of El Hierro that you can not miss; El Hierro, its stunning beaches and natural pools.

Paula Vera

Photos: turiski.es, fitjet.es, buceolarestinga.com

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