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Scuba diving in Funchal, Portugal

Posted by on May 25, 2019

One of the great things about being out this far out in the Atlantic Ocean is that you are completely surrounded by water. Sure, there might be a few islands, a few rocks, birds, fish, but you are far away from the mainland. Good thing we have advanced technology compared to what the people in the past used to have since the closest distance to civilization from Madeira would be the Canary Islands which are still quite far down to the south of Madeira. That makes Madeira a great place for scuba diving since there should be some great opportunities to see wildlife under the water.

There is a difference in the diving here compared to my diving experience in Canary Islands and in the Azores, wich is the weather and the diving conditions. They are far better since it’s closer to summer than it is to winter so I was able to get some better diving in this time around. Also, due to the waves and weather being more compliant for diving conditions, I was going to be out diving on a boat for the first dive. Finally! Instead of a shore dive which can take some work of carrying and hauling gear and then swimming/diving to the best dive spots – all gone! Just put the gear on the boat, hop on, strap the gear on, and out into the water!

And golly, the first dive was a great one. It required a boat ride of 10-15 minutes but bam! The dive boat was right on top of a sunken Portuguese wreck, a Portuguese Navy corvette vessel called the Afonso Cerqueira.

main cannon firing gun patrol surveillance intel vessel navy recon

Visibility was good but not super great, yet, still you can see the Afonso Cerqueira’s main gun in clear sight.

behind the view point sight

Here’s the view behind the gun.

wheel control bridge wreck

You can even go inside the Afonso Cerqueira! You can actually turn the wheel left and right, just a little bit. I’m not sure if that actually moves the rudder or not.

anti aircraft guns underwater wreck

A behind view of the one of the two AA guns on this vessel.

However, this wreck was intentional with scuba diving in mind because the vessel was stripped for easy access for scuba divers to go in/out of as well as provide the nearby wildlife a refuge, an artificial coral reef as a habitat for them.

fish finding food near madeira wreck

These bottom fish were rummaging around the bottom near the vessel hoping to find some food. This is a good sign that the marine wildlife is taking advantage of this artificial coral reef.

barracuda marine wildlife life artificial reef

Even the Barracuda were looking for easy prey around the wreck. I also spotted some Triggerfish around the ship’s tower but they appeared to be relaxed as they can become quite territorial.

The second dive was a shore dive. Imagine that… after I wrote about some of the pains of shore diving, but sometimes the good dive spots are really close so it makes sense not requiring a boat. It’s just there! And sure enough… it’s just there and a not bad one either. Someone had gone earlier in the day and said that they saw a stingray. I looked real hard down there for a living one but only found other types of marine life busily living away.

schools of fish ocean salt water

There were lot of schools of fish moving about which is a good sign which makes me wonder if they originated from the wreck at one point or benefited from the wreck?

sea urchin huge enormous big crab feeder

I spotted this huge black sea urchin and an arrow crab hanging behind a rock.

dead snail ocean sea

I’m not sure what happened to this snail because its foot is just wayyyyy out there. It looked like either a human or another animal did something to it.

ambush type fish

Got a picture of an ambushing fish swimming away. Usually these fish sit tight at the bottom looking to strike at easy prey. Kind of like a Lingcod but not as scary or ugly looking.


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