Southern Europe’s very last harbor, La Restinga, has a myriad of dive centers for a good reason. Hidden under the waters that surround this charming marina are rare aquatic jewels. It’s almost as if nature has gathered and sprinkled them solely in this part of the planet for us to marvel in. And, marvel we did at Baja Bocarones.
Included in the Atlantic’s collection of underwater riches stashed near La Restinga is the submerged Baja Bocarones. The rock formation alone is already an irresistible invite to divers from all over the world. Add the abundant marine life, and the result is one of the best wall dive spots in El Hierro.
What Makes It a Must-Dive Destination
The Baja Bocarones is a volcanic work of art like the rest of the Canaries and their rock formations. Unlike most underwater obelisks, though, it has two towers both with vertical walls. A far cry from the others sprawled on the seabed and with random forms.
The duo is in an area locals call “Mar Calma”, exactly because of the calm waters that are ideal for novice divers. It’s only three nautical miles from La Restinga and a short swim away from the moorings. Still, the dive guide must observe the current for a few minutes before the divers plunge.
The backroll entry off the boat marks the start of the underwater adventure. In pairs, divers descend slowly in blue water to a depth of 12 meters to reach the pinnacle of one column. As for the other one, it is closer to the coast and is only 7 meters deep. These sunken summits are but secondary reasons for the dive though.
The twin towers are breathtaking. Were it not for science; most people would assume human hands sculpted the pillars. Weightless and gliding along the wall of the 43-meter high column, teeming marine life greets the visitors. All around its 15-meter diameter, barracudas, jacks, mackerels, yellowtails and zebra breams meet the strange visitors from land.
On the ocean floor are dogfishes, Canarian langoustines, and giant groupers. Meanwhile, corals in and around the crevices perpetually watch life unfold. Undoubtedly the most impressive of them all is the manta rays. These gentle giants circle the rock from the bottom to the top with their majestic wing-like movements.
The Dive Centers
La Restinga may be a small coastal town, but it is the scuba diving hub of El Hierro. At least nine dive centers offer experience programs, courses, and excursions to the marine reserve. They can also organize the transfers from Tenerife or Gran Canaria. Furthermore, they are also more than happy to help with accommodations and car hires.
Buceo La Restinga
Kike, a PADI instructor, and Pilar, a diving guide, are one outdoorsy couple. After working for other dive centers, they decided to open their own – Buceo La Restinga. They promise a safe quality dive and stay on the island. One guide or instructor always accompany each group (up to 10 divers). Usually, though, they have two professionals in the water. Please note that because they are not a technical diving center, they conduct dives within recreational diving limits.
The Green Shark
As the only PADI 5-Star Instructor Development Center, the Green Shark is the only facility that can conduct instructor courses. Beginners should not let its prestigious title intimidate them, though. This diving center is open to anyone who wants to dive and experience El Hierro.
One remarkable endeavor on the part of the dive center is their dedication in conserving the environment. Besides protecting the fragile marine life, they also use solar energy for hot water in the showers. Even the soaps and shampoos they provide to guests are organic.
The Arrecifal offers a wide array of PADI diving courses, from Open Water Level to Divemaster. Their 200 m2 facility houses complete and well-maintained equipment. They conduct daily dives to the most beautiful dive spots in El Hierro including El Bajón and El Desierto. For safety, experienced and multilingual instructors lead all scuba diving activities.
Diving Baja Bocarones Tips
The Mar de las Calmas Marine Reserve has very calm waters and is perfect for year-round diving. However, there will still be tidal movement. Hence, divers must listen to the dive briefing. Remember to plan the dive and dive the plan.
People who have never dived may think that strong current is dangerous. On the contrary, it is during high tide when the predators prey on their victims. For scuba divers, that is the perfect time to see the ocean teeming with life including the large fishes. Beginners should be careful though. Vertical walls, such as the Baja Bocarones, can have some intense current at times. As such, it may either force divers upward or descend deeper. Listen to the dive professionals.
How to Get There
Once in El Hierro, they may either hire a car, hail a taxi, or take the bus. For the bus service, bus line 2 from Valverde takes guests to El Pinar. Here, they can ride bus line 8 to La Restinga.
As an option, guests may also book diving programs with one of the dive centers. They can also help arrange transfers.
The Best Wall Dive in El Hierro
The waters near La Restinga is exceptionally wealthy. Endowed with a great deal of aquatic richness, it is almost always calm enough for diving. Mar de las Calmas, the protected marine reserve, is also within reach. As such, it has benefited the outlying areas with diverse aquatic creatures.
Standing proud and mighty near the protected area is the impressive Baja Bocarones. In itself, the blue water descent along its walls is exhilarating. Further adding to the incredible experience, though, is to be in the company of amazing underwater animals. At times, these creatures seem to dance around its enormous rocks. Their silent orchestra creates a beautiful symphony that makes each dive magical. And that is why these pinnacles on the sandy seabed are the best wall dives in El Hierro.