Travel Story, scuba diving in Spain L'Estartit on the Medes Islands in the Mediterranean Sea and pictures - photos
Where in Spain is L'Estartit?
L'Estartit, a former fishing village situated at the foot of the Montgrí massif, is now a modern seaside resort thanks to its 5 km long, gently sloping sandy beach on the Mediterranean Sea. At approx. 1,5 km off the coast are the Medes islands with their beautiful rock formations, a paradise for diving and ideal for snorkelers.
Excursions from L'Estartit: the medieval villages of Pals and Peratallada (both approx. 20 km), the ceramics town La Bisbal (23 km), L'Escala (17 km), Girona (43 km) and the Dalí-museum in Figueras (38 km).
From the town of L'Estartit there are multiple diving clubs or diving schools, departing for dives on the Medes Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The Medes Islands are a protected nature reserve. Boats may not anchor and must have a numbered buoy. This is strictly monitored. These laws protect the bottom of the sea from falling or migratory anchors, which destroy everything. While diving and photographing the underwater life and landscape, you should also respect the nature area.
The Medes Islands in the Mediterranean Sea is an archipelago consisting of seven islands, located approx. 1.5 km away from the port of L'Estartit. You can perfectly see the islands from the beach or from a hill on L'Estartit. The Medes Islands are a real breeding ground for the Mediterranean Sea ideal for diving. This abundance of life makes the diving still enjoyable and varied. You can dive daily, because it's impossible to get bored of it.
The fish and other marine life on the Medes Islands in Spain are exuberantly present. Among others, you can find schools of snappers and breams, as well as groupers, larger than a meter, that come here on are a regular basis.
Rascasse or scorpion fish of up to 50cm are concealed and camouflaged by the underwater landscape. To find these rascasse or scorpion fish, you must look very closely, which makes them of course also very dangerous! Rascasse or scorpion fish have an extremely-sharp toxic dorsal fin. It's therefore important to never place your hands during the diving and to keep sufficient distance from the ground.
If you want dive more to the south east of the Medes islands, you can be lucky to spot some eagle rays in the current, which will be a guaranteed topic of conversation on the boat, after the dive.
The rock walls of the Medes Islands are overgrown with many Gorgons in different colors. In these gorgons, you'll also find a lot of small fish life. If you love small- and or bottom life, you'll find among others, nudibranchs, syngnathys, tube worms with their beautiful range and sometimes even a rare langoestin.
Octopus are the favorite snack of the groupers and usually hide between the gaps and rocks. In the caves and rock holes you also find congor eels or langoustes. It's therefore important to always keeps your eyes open and look in all corners and crevices, while diving.
On the Medes Islands in Spain - L'Estartit there are also numerous caves and tunnels under water. This from limestone rock existing group of islands in the Mediterranean Sea, was part of the massif of the Montgri, more than ten thousand years ago. Nowadays, the Medes Islands and the coastal cliffs of Montgri offer various caves in which you can dive. E.g. La Vaca, La Sardina, Dofi Nord and the tunnel of La Pedrosa.
On the Medes Islands in Spain - L'Estartit in the Mediterranean Sea you can find the following dive sites
Salpatxot, El Medellot, Pedra de Deu, Pota del Llop, La Vaca, Dofi Nord, Dofi Sud, Tasco Gros, Carall Bernat, Tasco Petit, Les Ferranelles, L'Escribana
In the north of L'Estartit you'll find the following dive sites
Cala Feriol, Reggio, La pedrosa, Puig de la Sardina, Raco del Rossinyol, El Negre del falaguer, Illa del Dui, Punta de les Salines
Not far from the Medes Islands in Spain is the Reggio Messina. In 1991, a ship sunk deliberately, in the Reggio Messina. This is the largest wreck in the Costa Brava in which you can dive. Furthermore, off the coast in Cala Montgo in 1971, the sunken ship Avenire, also known as Marmoler, that in its cargo space still keeps a marble loading. It would be the only wreck off the coast of the Costa Brava that's kept fully intact. In Cala Montgo are several diving clubs - diving schools that dive on the Avenire wreck. To drive from L'Estartit to Cala Montgo in the summer period, you have to expect on about an hour of travelling.
Saturday 26 July 2014:
From Antwerp - Deurne to Zaventem, flight to Spain - Barcelona to L'Estartit
The flight from Zaventem Airport to Spain - Barcelona takes an hour and 20 minutes. To pick up a rental car you need to allow at least half an hour. The drive from Barcelona to L'Estartit, on a sunny Saturday, takes 3 hours. From Girona you can expect heavy traffic. This is because at the weekends, the Spaniards drive to the coastal destinations, by masse.
Take sufficient water and keep hydrated
Sunday 27 July 2014:
diving in La Vaca and Salpatxot
From L'Estartit you can find the dive site La Vaca at the rear and East of the Medes Islands archipelago. The dive site La Vaca has some small caves. The two extreme left caves are fairly narrow for diving and have a death end. It's recommended to only dive in the cave opening. The cave on the right gets very narrow on 12m depth and the 2nd exit is closed. There's a gap, that if you go through it, leads to an open space. This open space has two tunnels, one of which with a dead-end and the other very deep. It's strongly advised not go in; only dive in the front of the cave, is therefore the message. At the far right of the cave you can start at 15m depth and go all the way through to get out on the other side of the rock. Be aware of the current that can sometimes prevail differently on the other side and takes you around, instead of swimming back through the cave. When the boats have to anchor, one depends on its own, which means, you have to return to the boat on own strength. In other words, always be aware of the changing current.
Located to the north of Medes Islands archipelago you find Salpatxot. From the harbor of L'Estartit Salpatox is on the left. Salpatxot has a soft sloping bottom with large boulders on the bottom. Between the large rocks, where there's sufficient sunlight, grows seagrass. Since there's a good shelter, theres algae growth and seagrass and plenty of marine life to find. A good reference point of this dive site is a small pinnacle that protrudes above water. This is on the very far left, if you look at the solid rock. From there you have to go down to a maximum of 22m to turn left (the same direction as the island on your left side) to continue down to 25mdepth. Next you'll return in the direction of island and slalom between the rocks, where many fish are hidden. At last, you turn left and on 8m, with the island on the right side you can make your way back to the boat.
Monday 28 July 2014:
Diving on Pedra The Deu and Talude west of Tasco Petit
Pedra The Deu
Pedra The Deu is the northernmost rocky tip of the Medes Islands in L'Estartit for diving. There's a shallow piece of rock on which the dive usually starts. The bottom is from the island side to the pinnacle Pedra The Deu on 40m depth. If you descend to 45m, there's only sandy soil and nothing to else to see. Pedra The Deu has a dense vegetation with beautiful colored Gorgons in different colors, from 30m depth. Between the gaps and rocks there's also a lot of hidden fish. Since you have the opportunity to dive relatively deep here, there's the possibility to go back in the direction of island to dive on 10 to 6m depth. On the sandy pieces in the shallow area grows seagrass between the Rocks covered with algae. Snappers and hardeners are frequently seen around here.
Talud west of Tasco Petit
Tasco Petit is a small pinnacle located near Carall Bernat and Tasco Gros. This group of rocks is situated to the south east of the Medes Islands in L'Estartit. The drop point isn't always near Tasco Petit because there's a beautiful slope in the rocks in the east, on 20m depth. A strong current can occur and barracuda's and eagle stingrays aren't uncommon here. However, if you dive too much toward the south-east, you'll only see sand and slowly go deeper where there's nothing to see. In this case, return to the north, where there's a lot of life to find on the rocks.
Tuesday 29 July 2014:
diving in La Vaca and Tasco Petit
La Vaca see above
Tasco Petit is a small pinnacle near Carall Bernat and Tasco Gros. This group of rocks is ideal for diving and is located to the south east of the Medes Islands in L'Estartit. Tasco Petit is the southernmost point of the Medes Islands. Sometimes there's a strong current on Tasco Petit, which make it hard to dive around the pinnacle. Therefore, it's best to dive towards the south, where you slide down obliquely, of the Tascos and Carnall Bernard. The boulders become smaller and it's also deeper. At a given moment at approximately 30m depth, you come across smaller rocks, with on the right side, only sand. Barracudas often swim here and eagle stingrays go with the flow. In this direction, you can go down to 40 a 45m depth, but always take the current into account! During this journey, we counted 27 very large groupers, which was an incredible spectacle. When subsequently, you go to the north-east, the rocks get larger again. The exterminate took place between Carall Bernat, Tasco Tasco Gros and Petit, and is highly recommended, because there's a lot of life between, around and on the rocks. To return to the boat, that's connected to a bouy to Tasco Petit, diving is best on 5 a 6m depth around the pinnacle. This way, you avoid having to do the safety staircase in the blue area, when the current is too strong.
Wednesday 30 July 2014:
Diving on Carall Bernat and Dofi Nord
Carall Bernat for me the best place for diving is the most eastern rock of the Medes Islands in L'Estartit. Carall Bernat is located in a group of three rocks and is the largest pinnacle. The other two are Tasco Petit and Tasco Gros. In the surroundings of these 3 pinnacles you can make a pretty shallow dive of 18m to 7m between boulders, in which there's many sea life. If the currents allows it, you'll be able to dive around Carall Bernat. Keep an eye on your compressed air supply and depth, because on the east side you easily sink to 40 a 45m depth. Do you want a greater chance to dive with eagle stingrays and barracudas, then stay on the south-east side of Carall Bernat (Carall Bernat is on your left hand side) and come back to 15m. Large groupers and gorgons are surely seen. Look regularly in the blue (of Carall Bernat Road) to spot eagle stingrays and large groupers. The dive out occurs between the three pinnacles Carall Bernat, Tasco Tasco Petit and Gros.
There is also a second option, depending on the current around Carall Bernat. The diving then starts in the north direction, between Tasco Gros and Carall Bernat on 5m depth. After that, you can go down very quickly. The pinnacle Carall Bernat is than always on your right-hand side. If you have traveled a quarter, periodically check in the blue to spot eagle rays, groupers and barracudas.
Diving on Dofi Nord is a system of caves in the middle of the Medes Islands in Estartit. Dofi Nord begins on 5 a 7m depth and runs from north to south. After approximately 70m it turns light again and on the right-hand side you'll see a bronze little dolphin. You can come out the cave, turn right to go into another cave, on the right side. This cave opens leads to a large hollow space, called the Cathedral. At the bronze little dolphin, you can also opt to go left, for an eastern dive. After 20m in this tunnel you'll see a large space with two outputs, on the right side. The light in this area, results in a nice spectacle. This tunnel goes to a depth of 25m and is approximately 70m long, counting from the little dolphin. If you go a little further east, you can easily go to 30m depth. Then turn left and make yourself aware of the rocks on your left side. Ascend at the end of the tunnel slowly to about 7m. Now, you're back at the original cave, where the dive started. While in the caves of Dofi Nord, regularly look at the ceiling or in small cavity on the left and right, since there can be a lot of fish.
Dofi Sud is the same as Dofi Nord, but vice versa. Depending on the current, waves and wind, the skipper determines the drop position for the divers.
Thursday 31 July 2014:
Diving on Pota del Llop and Tasco Gros
Pota del Llop
The dive site Pota del Llop is located to the north-east of the big island of the Medes Islands and is an oblique dropoff which drops to a depth of 30m. From 16m depth Pota del Llop is almost completely overgrown with gorgons. Below the dropoff are large rocks which are also overgrown with gorgons and between which you can find a lot of marine life. Diving on Pota del Llop usually occurs from the east to the west, but can also be reversed. To the west of Pota del Llop can you go a bit more north, towards Pedra de Deu. This way you'll be able to combine two locations on one dive. If there's isn't a strong current, it's also possible to dive from Pedra de Deu to Pota del Llop.
Tasco Gros is a pinnacle south-east of the Medes islands and is located near Tasco Petit and Carall Bernat. If the drop is on the north of Tasco Gros, diving to Tasco Petit or to Carall Bernat will be depending on the current. Tasco Gros is 25m deep at the bottom of the pinnacle. In the direction of Tasco Petit depth isn't the main focus. In the direction of Carall Bernat you can go to 35m depth. Diving towards Carall Bernat provides the most magnificent views. From 20m depth there are many gorgons and marine life to be found. At the bottom of the pinnacle are large boulders, between which many fish conceal. Look regularly in the blue off the pinnacle, because eagle rays pass here often.
A second dive site is located south of Tasco Gros, but only 7 a 11m deep. There are rocks which form a plateau between Tasco Petit on the west, Tasco Gros in the north and Carall Bernat on the east. Between the rocks, you'll find a lot of life. Depending on the current, you can dive from here to Tasco Petit or Carall Bernat.
Friday 01 August 2014:
Diving on Les Ferran Elles and L'Escribana
Les Ferran Elles and L'Escribana
Les Ferran Elles is diving on a small piece of rock located to the west of Tasco Gros and Tasco Petit. If you dive in south-eastern direction, you get to see the three large boulders of L'Escribana, from a depth of 26m to 35m depth. These are overgrown with many gorgons and between which a lot of marine life. As well at L'Escribana, also regularly look upwards to spot eagle rays and barracudas. At the end of the boulders of L'Escribana you dive north-north-east to Tasco Petit. On 12 a 15m depth you see the pinnacle Tasco Petit. On the quite shallow plateau of rocks in the north, between Tasco Tasco Petit and Gros there's a lot of sea life. Keep an eye on the blue on a regular basis. Subsequently, dive westbound on the plateau, until you reach the Rocky Les Ferran Elles. If you missed those in the south, here you arrive at the spot to anchor boats in the 12m depth seagrass. In the north, there's the rocky Les Ferran Elles.
Saturday 02 August 2014:
From L'Estartit to Barcelona, flight to Zaventem Airport to Antwerp - Deurne
The drive of L'Estartit to Barcelona takes 2 hours. To hand in the rental car, you'd count on a short 30 minutes. The return flight from Spain - Barcelona to Zaventem takes an hour and 20 minutes. From Zaventem to Antwerp - Deurne 45 minutes
Again, another amazing dive holiday.
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Useful information about Spain:
Medical information Barcelona in Spain:
- Always refer to your doctor to get your vaccinations looked after. Also in European countries certain vaccinations are required or recommended.
- Protection against the sun is in Spain is absolutely necessary. While on a city trip, it often gets forgotten that the time spend outside, the sun gets reflected or is hailed by the white cottages, sandstone, e.a. The use of a sunscreen is absolutely recommended in order to protect the skin against incineration. Even in the cooler periods of the year, it's necessary to apply the uncovered skin, to protect from the sun. A good pair of sunglasses to protect the eyes must not be forgotten.
Hyperbaric Chamber and emergency contacts in Palmós and Barcelona:
decompression room in the hospital of Palamós
On the 11th of June 2010, the new hyperbaric chamber of the hospital in Palamós was introduced. The previous decompression room dated back to 1994. The new decompression room has two compartments, a diameter of 2.5 meters and a total length of 5,8 meters. The maximum processing capacity is 8 seats or converts to 1 patient on the stretcher and 4 seats. The decompression room is equipped with an innovative air supply system and with the latest protection mechanisms. The maximum working pressure of the decompression chamber is 5 bar.
Tel: Hospital The Palamós Hospital The Palamós, Palamós (Girona) (1) (10) 972 60 01 60 - 972 60 06 20
Address: C. THE L'Hospital No 36. 17230 Palamós. Gerona.
decompression room in Barcelona
Tel: CRIS - Unidad Terapéutica HiperbáRica Hospital Cruz Roja Barcelona (1) (3) 93 450 37 36 Dr. J. Desola 24 Horas.
Address: c. Dos de Mayo 301. E- 08025 Barcelona.
- National Emergency Number: 112
- VHF Emergency channel: 16
Diving school in L'Estartit::
- El Rei del Mar. Diving school El Rei del Mar has 2 boats with an elevator to come out of the water. They first dive starts at 9.00am, the second at 11.00am and last at 15.00pm. Sometimes it's very busy, even at 17.00pm. El Rei del Mar cooperates with the Hotel Panorama and has a sink and drying rooms for the diving equipment.
The climate in L'Estartit:
Estartit has a Mediterranean climate. The climate is strongly influenced by the location at the Mediterranean Sea. That's why there are rarely weather extremes. In the summer months, it's always very pleasant in Estartit. In the winter months, the nights can be cold, but the winters here are generally very mellow. The average rainfall is low, but has a peak in the late autumn months.
Climate Table of averages temperatures in the Costa Brava:
|L'Estartit ||Jan ||Feb ||Maa ||Apr ||May ||Jun ||Jul ||Aug ||Sep ||Oct ||Nov ||Dec
|Min temperature degrees Celcius ||3 ||4 ||5 ||7 ||11 ||15 ||18 ||18 ||16 ||11 ||7 ||4
|Max temperature degrees Celcius ||13 ||14 ||16 ||17 ||21 ||25 ||28 ||28 ||25 ||21 ||16 ||14
|Average number of days with precipitation ||9 ||9 ||10 ||10 ||8 ||6 ||4 ||5 ||8 ||7 ||9 ||9
|Sea temperature in degrees Celcius ||13 ||13 ||13 ||14 ||17 ||20 ||23 ||25 ||23 ||20 ||17 ||15
The time difference in Spain vs Belgiumë:
- There is no time difference between Spain and Belgium.
- The mother tongue in Spain is Spanish, but in the touristy areas they also speak (limited) English.
- L'Estartit is equipped with 220V everywhere. Belgian connectors are easily used.
- If you well served in an excellent manner, but also depending on the services, usually a tip of 5 à 10 % is given. Please note that some places include a tip (service fee) in the price. Restaurants will mention if the 'servicio' cost is included.
- Depending on the period, airy clothing is most appropriate, now and then you can experience a little shower. In July and August, there's an average of 4 to 6 days of rain expected. For the evenings, a jumper could be pleasant.
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