Diving sites – Cabo Frio (RJ)

7 12 2009

Overshadowed by the glamour of Búzios and the fame of Arraial do Cabo as a diving destination, Cabo Frio has gone almost unnoticed by Brazilian divers.

But one just needs to peruse a nautical chart to see that the place is promising. A wonderful archipelago made up of six islands that extends off the coast, providing more than 30 diving sites.

Sea conditions vary, as they do along the entire southeastern coast. Visibility can exceed 30 meters and 25 degrees centigrade and, the very next day, drop to 10 meters and 12 degress centigrade. All of this because of the famous upswelling –  a cold current responsible for the name of the cape. One of Cabo Frio’s biggest advantages is it proximity to diving sites.
Ilha Comprida – Face Norte
A rocky mesa that covers an area of approximately 40 m2,a t a depth of 4 to 6 meters. to the left, near the passage way to Laje da Alagada, there are large burrows and a high incidence of open-water fish, including barracudas. Night divings is recommended.

Ilha Comprida – Laje de Dentro
A long strip of fine sand at 10 meters, and the not-so-rare presence of large rays and small nurse sharks at rest. Near the southern tip, a large rock formation serves as shelter for many moray eels. Excellent spot for underwater photography.
Ilha Comprida
The inlet is sheltered from the Northeastern and eastern winds. A rock formation with a strip of sand in the center provides shelter for rays, turtles, lobsters, many nudibranchs and various species of fish. Tumpetfish can be found at night.

Ilha Dois Irmãos
Excellent place for open water fish, but the timing is restricted to calm ocean days. Rarely visited, it offers rich and peculiar animal life. On the western side, the current makes drift dives possible.
Ilha dos Papagaios
The site most visited by dive operators. Exciting marine biodiversity: octopuses, spotted eagle rays, soft corals, nudibranchs and tropical fish. The sea is always calm, ideal for begginers. Don’t miss the site that divides the second and third inlets: a rock formation rising up to 21 meters has beautiful entrances and small caves in its shallower part – a small cathedral. In the third inlet, passageways in a wall that descends to 28 meters.

Carolina lies near the mouth of the Araruama channel, from where the boats depart. The shipwreck is in pieces, with only the boilers left. But its structure can be easily discerned. A good place for macrophotography and night diving.

Source: Brazil Diving Guide

Diving sites – Rio Grande do Norte

26 10 2009

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.

Comandante Pessoa

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.

São Luiz
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

Scuba Diving in Porto de Galinhas

22 09 2009

Located just 70 kilometers from Recife, Porto de Galinhas offers an incredible series of beaches with warm crystal-clear waters that are among the most beautiful in Brazil.

The sand is white and fine with palm trees lining the shore. Reefs are located less than 200 meters from the beach and form various natural swimmimg pools full of tropical fish during low tide. The town’s mais diving sites are located in this area. But the area also offers plenty of deeper shipwrecks and dives.

The reef ledge is located 2 miles from the coast. Dives usually take place according to the currents. The scenery is composed of coral, sponges, colorful fish and pelagic fish. Care should be taken on account of the occasional strong currents.

Poço da Paixão
This site faces the fishing village. Coral-formed tunnels provide enough room for divers to pass through. Groupers and lobsters hide away in crevaces. The swimming pools are perfect for discovery scuba and check-out dives. They are also good night diving sites.

A reef ledge in the form of a cake where you can spot rays, moray eels, mutton snappers, red snappers, and other fish.

30 Metros
Reefs peaks form passageways and tunnels five miles from the coast. At this site the following can be seen: rays, moray eels, snappers, turtles and sharks.

Gonçalo Coelho
The wreckage of a landing ship that participated in the transportation or armored vehicles during World War II and later used to transport cargo between Recife and Fernando de Noronha. In 1999, it was scuttled to serve as an artificial reef. Cranes, valves and various compartments can be found on the bridge – wich is listing 45 degrees – and in the holds. The local fauna is exceedingly rich and is represented by a large number of southern stingrays, cobias, turtles, jewfish and huge schools of grunts.

This shipwreck is quite old and much dismantled. However, it is still possible to spot two 4-meter long anchors, a wooden keel, hull pieces and a lot of marine life.

A tugboat was scuttled in 1997 near Ponta de Serrambi to become an artificial reef. At the bottom, it is now covered with sponges and coral.

Nurse sharks and Goliath groupers can be seen in the hold and machinery room, along witn schools of bluestriped grunts. In the bridge, red squirrelfish and yellow wrasses stand out against the intense blue of the ocean. Visibility is usually excellent.

Source: Brazil Diving Guide