Know as the “Land of the sun”, Rio Grande do Norte basks in up to 15 hours a day of sunshine and summer last year-round.
The beaches feature with sands, dunes and coconut trees. And the reefs form beatiful natural pools. This combination has made it one of the most popular destinations in Brazil among foreigners. Whereas divers – even brazilian divers – are still discovering the region. But those have been there know: the Rio Grande do Norte coastline is one of the best places in the country for diving and has the potential of rapidly becoming one of the most popular destinations in Brazil.
The waters are warm and clear, and rich in marine life. The reefs have exotic formations and the shipwrecks are covered in sponges and multicolored corals.
The shipwreck is a stomping ground of the southern stingray. They can be found in every nook and cranny. The number of tubular yellow sponges is also impressive. Schools of small fingerlings, anchovies and great barracudas are always present. The ship, wich sank to the ocean floor in 1954 after colliding with the Risca do Zumbi, is completely twisted and part of the broadside rises 12 m above the seabed. The stern is listing, but it is possible to enter its hold. A large rudder rises from the ship toward the surface. The bow is still intact, though slightly listining, with the anchor in its hawse.
Risca do Zumbi
One of the best diving sites in Brazil. The shelf is flat and smooth, supported by hundreds of Greek acropolis style columns – there are those who say they are the ruins of Atlantis.
The pillar form a real labyrinth, witn some narrow passages where snags and tight spots require special attention, especially when currents are strong. A large hall of white sand provides passage from one side to the other. Surrounding the main formation, there are other smaller ones. The marine life is another show altogether. Corals, sponges and an infinite variety of tropical fish make diving a colorful experience.
Despite its deteriorated condition and lack of entry points, the transparency of the water and the itensity of the marine life rank it among the most beautiful shipwrecks of Brazil. The cargo ship sank in 1911. Part of its broadside has collapsed to form a long tunel, one of its major attractions. The seafloor is made up of pearl white sand, wich helps illuminate the environment. Yellow tubular spongesadorn the wreckage, wich serves as habitat for lobsters, eels, spotted eagle rays and barracudas.
Parrachos de Maracajaú
One of the prime tourist locations of Rio Grande do Norte. There are kilometers of knolls that lie 4 miles off the coast of Maracajaú, protected by extensive coral reefs, wich from above could be confused with the Great Barrier Reffs of Australian. At low tide, visibility rises to more than 20 meters, which makes it one of the best spots for snorkeling along the Brazilian coast. All one has to do is fall in the water to be surrounded by schools of sergeant majors and other tropical fish. The location is also perfect for discovery scuba and check-out dives.
Batente das Agulhas
On a submerged shelf, hundreds of 2.5 meter high columns – the needles – support corals and yellow tubular sponges. Geologists believe that they are petrified tree trunks, but there is no consensus on the matter. Beneath the shelf, there are tunnels and many burrows. The mounds are surrounded by schools of barracudas, and many French angelfish, eels, rays and lobsters.
Source: Brazil Diving Guide