Catalan diving

I still promised you a piece about diving in Catalunya, so here it is!

About six weeks ago I found myself in Tossa de Mar. At first, the purpose of this trip was to do a GUE DPV1 course with Sander Evering. Unfortunately I wasn’t able anymore to do this so I would just make a couple of fun dives and enjoy being there and finally really putting my Nauticam housing for my new Olympus OM-D E-M1 to the test!

We were going to be diving with Krakendive, a small local diveshop. It wasn’t really big though you could really feel the owners Raúl and Marta were really devoted to provide good quality diving. And there was one huge asset – the dog, called GUE. Raúl told me it was a touch-contact dog and yes, it couldn’t do without (and I couldn’t…). At least Raúl and Marta taught the dog not to be PADI they said 😉

GUE-dog

Before the dive, us Dutchies (Sander, Jitse and me) got a thorough treatment of the Catalan ways. I arrived in the afternoon when they finished the theory on the DPV course and were having lunch at proper Catalan times as the sandwiches arrived at 15:00. Sander was already growing a little bit impatient as he knew it would take some time to really get into the water and the sun would be setting around 18:30. The question came if we wanted coffee… “Nah, let’s go diving…” was the reply, but still some espresso’s arrived. Arriving back at the diveshop, we came to the conclusion not all tanks were filled – that took another 40 minutes or so, making us enter the water at something like 17:00 in the end!

I did two dives while I was here. On the first I did not have my camera and was observing Sander and his three DPV students. Even though for me the dive was just laying still and observing, I had great fun for the entire hour. They had several drills to do with a stowed DPV and also some scootering around. It was quite enjoyable just looking at the struggles they were having! After an hour of laying still, perfectioning my positioning kicks and clearing my mask several times because of the incompatibility of laughing & diving masks, I did get quite cold. The water was still getting warmer, but that meant it was now about 14 degrees Celsius.

The diveshop is well equipped with enough space for several Tec-divers and all their gear and they’re also able to fill your tanks with Nitrox and Trimix. Another great feature: the benches have water hoses above them! That way you can easily and quickly rinse the salt water of your equipment – making even the laziest of divers rinse their set after the dive!

The next morning Joaqin, Marta, Marc and me were at Krakendive at 08:00 to pack everything in the car – we were going diving on the Boreas wreck off the coast of Palamós. The wreck lies at a depth of about 30 meters on the sandy bottom since 1986. The boat had laid in the Palamós port for two years after the Spanish customs had seized it after suspecting the boat being used for trafficking drugs.

Boreas
An artist impression of the Boreas wreck, just one mile from the coast at Palamós

Of course this day turned out to be very Catalan too. We got all the stuff in the cars, drove to the diving shop in Palamós and waited for the boat crew to arrive. Half an hour passed, an hour passed… There they were! We went to the port, got all the stuff on the boat and set off to leave. But there still was time for an espresso and sandwich as we had to refuel! Finally we left the harbor at 10:30 and it wasn’t too far to the wreck. We got the buoy line attached and prepared to enter the water. A very gentle current was taking us to the end of the line behind the boat and when we were all in the water and ready we submerged towards the wreck, following the buoy line. Visibility was good and we found ourselves on the wreck within minutes. Being on the seabed for over 30 years the wreck has gotten a lot of life on it! It’s truly beautiful! We went around the wreck and along the gangways and had a nice look in the engine room. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so the following gallery saves me a lot of writing….

After the dive we returned to port and drove back to Tossa de Mar, where I had a great lunch with Joaquin before returning to Krakendive, cleaning my diving gear, hanging around and packing everything again. On the next day, there was a powerful storm that made it impossible to dive – quite a coincidence I figured I wouldn’t be diving that day! Sander’s photo’s below say it all, but I’ll be back for sure to dive here again!

 

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