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Going back to Gibraltar but for scuba diving

Posted by on October 28, 2011

Originally, I thought that going to Gibraltar just once was good enough for me but however, I was wrong after finding out that there were some good dive spots around the “Rock.”

Yes, you can dive off the waters of the Rock of Gibraltar despite the constant cloudy weather like it is in England (that was a running joke that I heard all the time while I was there from Spaniards; the Brits got a kick out of it as well). The best way to go scuba diving in England’s overseas territory to sign for it up in a dive shop in Costa del Sol. There are plenty of scuba diving shops that make drive-and-dive trips out to Gibraltar. They’ll bring the gear, tanks, and guides to show where to dive and how to do it. But of course, you have to bring your diving credentials to go scuba diving in the first place so if you don’t have it, you’ll have to earn it. In my opinion, it’s totally worth it.

For me, I was already dive-qualified and I happen to be in Costa del Sol for vacation so it was all about finding a scuba diving shop in the area which I found in Marbella, the town I was in. It was just a matter of finding a dive shop with all the craziness of the splash of old and new buildings while avoiding people on the streets. Once I finally found one, I talked to the staff there. The guy who I talked to was Jan, a Finnish guy who lived and breathed diving along with his diving buddy and wife, Marjo. The both of them moved from Finland to engage in diving on a full-time basis in order to extract the full potential of Spain’s great underwater world. Jan explained to me how the whole process worked and where to go to in order to meet up to go diving in Gibraltar. Apparently, it wasn’t that exact dive shop where I met up with Jan but instead I had to go to a different location where the main dive shop was which happened to be in front of a big hotel that the dive shop associated itself with. So on the morning of the dive, I drove and met up with the rest of the crew (about 8-9 other divers) who helped put the rest of the dive gear together into a big van and we were off to Gibraltar.

It took over an hour to get there as the traffic to get in and out can be horrendous since there was only one way in, one way out as I noticed from my earlier trip to Gibraltar. But it was a fairly easy day as there weren’t a lot of people so getting to the dive spot was easy. It was basically a small beach where it looked like it was more suitable for families to go to and have some fun fishing and/or resting/relaxing spots. But as you know, looks can be deceiving as I found out that this place was one of the best shore diving spots to go to.

Fish hanging out in the waters while diving in Gibraltar

Fish hanging out in the waters of Gibraltar

As soon as I put on the gear and my dive buddy was ready to go as well (always go diving with a buddy! That’s one of the rules of scuba), we were off into the water where it was fairly warm (I was wearing a 5 mm wetsuit). And of course, the underwater world was amazing. We dived straight out in front of the beach, first reaching what appeared to be a small ship wreck where there were tons of fish hanging out which gave me an idea that I better get a picture of myself hanging out as well.

Scuba near a wreck while diving in Gibraltar

Me hanging out around a wreck in Gibraltar

Sitting on a boat wreck while diving in Gibraltar

My dive buddy decided to hang out as well

Window of a boat wreck while diving in Gibraltar

Diving around the wreck

Weird fish with legs while diving in Gibraltar

I spotted this weird-looking fish on the swim back to shore

After diving around the wreck, there wasn’t much to see after swimming around for 20-30 minutes due to the murky water so we headed back to shore so we could switch out tanks and take a rest. Apparently, there has been a rash of robberies of vehicles that have happened in Gibraltar. It made perfect sense why as thieves would break in vehicles since the people were underwater. By having a rotation system of putting in a group of divers in and out, someone could watch the vehicle as well as keep an eye for any underwater emergencies that could occur but probably unlikely. All just for good measure; another good reason to have multiple divers on one trip as well as have a rest/rotation schedule put in place. So after the other team did their dive and came out, my dive buddy and I jumped back in the water again to see what else was underneath in the other direction. This time was more interesting as we could see a bit more since the day got warmer and brighter which could also meant that the fish get warmed up to move around.

Octopus by the rocks swimming away while diving in Gibraltar

Coming back in the water, I saw this octupus swimming away from us

So much to see and do but I highly doubt that 2 dives were going to cut it and I was right. There were more dive spots around Gibraltar but most of the time they all require a boat to get to them. So after the last dive team came out and we all packed our gear away, we were set to leave and get back to mainland Spain.

Fish looking for bait while diving in Gibraltar

During the afternoon, there were some fish looking for bait as some people were fishing from shore which meant watching out for fishing lines and hooks while diving

Purple sea urchin while diving in Gibraltar

I spotted this cool-looking sea urchin while diving around the rocks

Back to the surface of the water after diving in Gibraltar

Back to the surface of the water

However, as we were driving along in the van, we all heard this big crack and pop. We were all wondering what happened and the driver stopped the van. The driver got out of the vehicle to look at the van to see if there was any damage which happened to be few minor scrapes on the side of the vehicle, nothing major, but it was the other driver that got most of the attention who happened to be a Gibraltarian taxi driver. The other driver was hooting and hollering that his vehicle got damaged and it looked like his side mirror was completely shattered. After both drivers talked about the situation, our driver all of a sudden walks back to our stating to “go take some pictures because this guy is being a prick!” That’s when I offered to take pictures but turned it onto video mode and started walking out to the scene. I started filming with the camera but once the Gibraltarian guy saw me he got really angry and tried to take my camera out of my hands and started cussing at me. He even tried to kick me but with my reactive basketball feet, he couldn’t touch me.

I just laughed at the situation and then in the distance I could hear police sirens which meant that the Gibraltarian police was coming. Once the police officers arrived, both drivers explained their sides of the story. However, our driver had to go to the police station because he couldn’t find his car insurance amongst all of his paperwork so what did that mean? Well, it meant that all of us divers had to walk down to the city square since we all couldn’t go to the police station with him since none of us were liable for anything. Of course, worst case scenario was that we were going to stay a night in Gibraltar. But rather than stand around, some of us were hungry so we decided that the best place to go was downtown where some of the divers wanted to buy a carton of “smokes” or some booze. Still, I wondered what would have happened had I gotten in a fight.

But in the end, nothing happened and our driver came to pick us up and finally out of that British overseas territory. Still it was a good experience to go diving underwater especially when I’ve already seen above the water of Gibraltar. No sea monkeys in the water by the way if you’re wondering.