A Morning at the Museum and an Afternoon with the Angels.
Phil Wood (PADI Instructor)
The title of this blog sounds very much like a cultural and religious day out but it was a day of diving in Lanzarote recently. The early Summer sun had warmed the waters of Lanzarote to a very acceptable 19°C. A day out with Dive College Lanzarote seemed to be in order.
The dive college, set up in 2001, is in a bay close to Playa Blanca at the Southern end of the Island. It operates two fast RHIBS a couple of times a day to local dive sites.
Lanzarote – Museo Atlántico
I signed in about 9.30am, and surprisingly met another NHDC diver (JB) also on holiday at the same time. It was then time to assemble the gear and have a briefing for the first dive site. This was to be The Museo Atlántico, an artificial reef made up of a series of pH neutral cement sculptures. Over time this artificial reef has attracted a variety of marine life. Developed in 2016 by local sculptor Jason de Caires Taylor, the site was the first underwater sculpture museum in Europe.
Lanzarote – Exhibits
Each exhibit has a title and concept and divers are encouraged to think about the meaning of each piece. It is quite surreal to see ‘Los Jolateros’, a group of child figures in small local boats. ‘The Immortal’, is a crucified figure on a funeral pyre. Perhaps the most haunting sculpture is ‘The raft of Lampedusa’, a group of abandoned figures in a small inflatable raft looking for safety.
Lanzarote – Don’t Touch
A brisk 15-minute trip in the RHIB gets us to the site in the Bahia de Las Coraladas. The waters of the bay offer excellent visibility and at 12 metres deep the site is accessible to all levels of diver. Access to the site is strictly controlled. Dive schools have to log in and have defined times for access. This means the site is never congested and allows plenty of time to swim around the statues and examine the exhibits. There is a strict ‘Don’t Touch’ policy but taking photographs is allowed. Good buoyancy control is expected.
Lanzarote – The Human Gyre
Moving through the site you can meet statues taking selfies, hybrid figures and even businessmen playing on swings and see-saws. You finally come to ‘the Human Gyre’ consisting of over 200 life-size figures creating a vast circular formation or gyre. It has various models of all ages and from all walks of life. The positioning of the figures constructs a complex reef formation for marine species to inhabit and is a poignant statement for visitors to take with them at the end of the tour.
Overall the tour of the site takes about 45 mins and is well worth a visit.
Lanzarote – Flamingo Wall
After a suitable surface interval and lunch at a local café next to the dive centre it was time to head off to Flamingo Wall. This area is renowned for Angel sharks. Flamingo Wall is only a couple of minutes away on the RHIB and is basically the wall of a breakwater for a local beach. Reaching the bottom of the wall at about 12 metres you then continue to descend down a sandy slope to about 18 metres. It is on this sandy bottom that the Angel sharks tend to bury themselves in the sand.
Lanzarote – Angel sight
Until you get your eye in the sharks are difficult to see, so well do they hide in the sand. Eventually however, with the help of Bob (one of the English instructor/guides at DCL) it is possible to recognise the very flat outline of buried sharks, with only eyes and mouth protruding in true ambush predator style.
Lanzarote – Angel Sharks
Flamingo Wall not only supports Angel sharks but we also came across an octopus, barracuda and lots of bream. An interesting site and again well within the reach of all divers.
So was a morning at the museum and an afternoon with the Angels worth it? Very much so. A couple of new experiences for yours truly and excellent service by Dive College Lanzarote. If you are planning on visiting Lanzarote and have a day spare then why not give it a try.