Text and photography by Holiday Diver Staff
I was outbound on the 10th. June from London Luton on my usual Monarch Scheduled Service – whenever I can I always use Monarch as I have always found that they treat passengers with the utmost courteously. I would be there for lunch. For those not in the know – Tenerife is the home and head office of Holiday Diver Magazine. Whilst the sun would shine I would be confining myself to the office for days on end but there would be no doubt that when I got bored – I would be going diving!
A week in the office shuffling paper around – I was bored! The Ocean was flat, the sky was blue and my dive-kit was sweating profusely down at the dive centre – I had to get wet!
A phone call to Nev at Los Gigantes Dive Centre and it was all arranged – we could have the RIB to ourselves – Publisher Paul, Videographic/news editor Sheila, myself and a customer of the dive centre. I knew the dive well, I also new that the customer would have his mind blown, I said little!
Paul was boatman; he wouldn’t dive leaving just the three of us to get in amongst it! Out of the marina we were soon on the plane and within 10 minutes were anchored over the dive site.
First in, I was handed the cameras before descending the anchor line – they were there – waiting, about twenty Eagle and Black Atlantic stingray. I had little chance of setting and adjusting both the Intova (digital) and Nik 5 cameras before I was landed upon by three Eagle rays – wingspans about a metre.
Shoals in their many hundreds of Turkish wrasse, Bream, African stripped grunts, Trumpetfish, Barracuda, Cardinals and Eagle ray hit me before the giants of all approached from out of the blue – the Black Atlantic stingray.
Whilst the never-ending profusion of Eagle ray would measure at a maximum of one metre across the wings the Black Atlantic stingray could measure up to four metres – it was these big devils that enveloped and entwined ‘us band of three divers’ within their wings! I had an idea, I had the shot! I would lay flatdown on the sand whilst Sheila would coax one up on to her chest – easier said than done. I lay down, she had a big devil on her and then – I felt a thump as one weighing some 600 kilos plonked itself flat on top of me – to be followed by two others (I only hoped that they were females)! – I could not move for some good few seconds – it seemed an eternity and I was missing the shot. I glanced to John (customer of the dive centre) he looked very wide-eyed; he obviously could not believe what was happening in front of him! I thought, ‘well mate, if you come on a dive with us – expect the unexpected – we know the site, are few in number and the conditions were – just right including the viz at around 25/30 metres!’
I wasn’t long before I was out of film in the Nik. Not a problem now – I just clamped the camera onto my BCD and swopped over on to the INTOVA digital – I would now have the flexibility of trying to fill 1GB of SD Card but; I had one problem, at the time of my departure the external flash was not available for the INTOVA! So all my shots would be recorded only by utilising natural light. On film – all my shots would be colourless except for shades of blue; by using digital although the parameters would be severely limited I could still record colour or B/W or even sepia from the menu options – I chose colour and hoped for the best!
With my eye not pressed so-close to the screen I noticed that all at once the great shoals of reef fish part and then form into a number of close masses; something was about and on the hunt. I looked to limit of visibility. In they came, just five Greater amberjack but boy were they big at around 1½ metres in length as they scythed their way though the massed shoals which quickly reformed as a swirling unorganised mass behind them. This time however they didn’t catch a meal! Within a few seconds the Amberjack had departed and – things quickly got back to normality.
Sixty-two minutes in the water to a depth of 20 metres – we were into deco for some minutes at the three metre stop and below – I watched as if transfixed as the rays of Los Gigantes swirled around the site to be joined by – 2 metres of sleek, gliding torpedo – a Tope and then some twenty Greater Amberjack to a length of half a metre (no doubt the grandchildren of the earlier visitation) – if only I had, had a longer bottom time!
‘How was the dive then John’, I questioned – back at the dive centre.
‘Never in my life have I seen anything like – that!’ he replied.
An out of the ordinary dive you might say – No, quite the opposite. I have dived on that site probably 15 times and twelve of those dives have been almost exactly the same. On the other three dives I have in addition come across a few Seahorses and one or two Angel Sharks – but that is another story or two and then there were those times when we were buzzed by Dolphins…
What Los Gigantes and let’s also say that the Island of Tenerife may lack in wrecks (in any number) is more than made up by – the marine life – nowhere can compare. Bear in mind Tenerife is, a sub-tropical area of the Atlantic Ocean – anything can happen and it most usually does!
GETTING THERE: Monarch Scheduled’ operates an excellent service from London Luton, Birmingham and Manchester to Tenerife (South) Airport. Luggage allowance 20 kilos plus 13 kilos dive equipment (if notified in advance at a fee of £10) with 10 kilos hand baggage.
ACCOMMODATION: One of the staff of Holiday Diver Magazine owns and administers an excellent 3 bedroomed well-equipped apartment just a few metres walk from the Los Gigantes Dive Centre – it is ideal! (note: you can book a single bedroom, two or even three); There is also a lounge, kitchen, 2 bathrooms (1 en-suite) and balcony.
DIVING: As mentioned in the text – all the diving within the Los Gigantes area is carried out with the Los Gigantes Dive Centre (PADI; BSAC School) Tel: 0034 922 860431
CURRENCY/EXCHANGE: Although Tenerife is not within the EU the EURO is the accepted currency – approx €1-48 euros to £1 sterling.
WHEN TO GO: All year round destination averaging 25 degrees C. Sea temp: from 17 to 25°C.
FURTHER INFORMATION: Contact the Tenerife Tourist Development Bureau 0207 431 4045,
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