In the first of a new series of posts, we introduce some of the most exciting adventures you can have on Gran Canaria. Join us under the sea as we go diving in Sardina del Norte. There’s a whole new world out there waiting for you to explore.
In his teens, Mr Gran Canaria Local started to learn to dive in his then East Midlands base. Nottingham’s famously the city furthest away from the coast in the whole of the UK, so his training ground was Ilkeston’s Victoria Park Leisure Centre in its pre-sauna days. But then there was talk of weekend dives and Mr GCL realized that he didn’t want to give up his football.
Fast forward, ahem, a few years and Mr Gran Canaria Local was lazing about on his favourite beach on Gran Canaria, Gáldar’s Sardina del Norte. Then he clocked some divers and he regretted never finishing his beginners’ course. So, imagine his delight, when he was invited by Buceo 7 Mares Dive Center to go diving in Sardina del Norte. Here are three things he learned.
- The Atlantic truly is fantastic for diving
- You get the highest highs from the lowest lows
- Your body clock’s not water resistant
1. The Atlantic truly is fantastic for diving
Buceo 7 Mares Dive Center actually have their office next to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s Canteras beach. However, diving in Sardina del Norte is a popular option for beginners. So, after watching a safety video in the capital, we jumped into the company’s minibus and headed along the GC-2 to Sardina.
A cloudy day in LP gave way to a sunny one as we reached our destination. We donned our wetsuits, although these are used for protection more than warmth. It’s not quite the balmy Mediterranean, but GC’s Atlantic waters can reach temperatures approaching the average spring-like outdoor ones of 22 degrees centigrade. And whilst we’re not ones to knock Derbyshire water (we adored wild diving in the Peak District) there’s rather more wow factor to an Atlantic dive than one in an Ilkeston pool.
7 Mares owner Sergio and instructor Rob looked on appreciatively at the calm ocean. As did the two free divers who had accompanied us. Trying to ease his way into the diving fraternity’s world, Mr GCL let slip that he’d once interviewed legendary free diver, Tanya Streeter. An admission which went down rather better than the proverbial lead balloon.
2. You get the highest highs from the lowest lows
At first, Mr Gran Canaria Local was apprehensive of diving in Sardina del Norte. Instructor Rob advised him to take as much time as he wanted. And then Mr GCL felt ready to go down under. As forewarned, he felt the pressure build up in his ears. Before the tried and tested technique of pinching his nose made the ache ease.
Mr Gran Canaria Local was amazed at how fish who had previously wanted to escape him close to the surface, now looked upon him with disinterest. He easily spotted the confusingly-titled vieja. This literally translates as old woman which it might resemble on the plate in its more pallid form. Living and breathing, however, it’s as colourful as a parrot from which it takes its English name.
We didn’t glimpse any of Sergio’s favourite Atlantic creatures, the angel sharks, whilst diving in Sardina del Norte. We did, or at least Sergio and Rob did, spot a seahorse. Something Mr Gran Canaria Local had indicated he wanted to see most. Unfortunately, the underwater language we learned up top doesn’t include a sign for seahorse and the myopic Mr GCL couldn’t work out what his co-divers were pointing at.
3. Your body clock’s not water resistant
Before taking the plunge, Mr GCL had asked Rob how long this guided dive would last. Rob had replied it depended on a number of factors. One of which is that novice divers tend to breathe more frantically than expert ones, thereby using up oxygen quicker.
And Mr Gran Canaria Local was definitely of the fast and furious on the breathing front. For safety reasons, there’s always a generous amount of oxygen remaining in the chamber before the ascent begins. But Mr GCL was surprised when Rob made the signal to go up, thinking they’d only been diving in Sardina del Norte for around three minutes. But as he discovered, as he reached the surface, they’d been under for ten times as long as that. Mr Gran Canaria Local now can’t wait to reimmerse himself fully in this activity.
Disclaimer: Ordinarily, this Buceo 7 Mares Discover Scuba Diving in Sardina del Norte costs €60. Because of our involvement with the Typical Non Spanish programme, we received our guided dive for free. All opinions though remain our own. Who else’s could they possibly be?