Scuba Diving in Recife

20 08 2010

Recife – Brazil – is also a capital when it comes to the sea: it is the shipwreck capital of Northeast. There are 22 of wich are regularly used for diving. The combination of natural and artificial reefs with clean, warm and crystal-clear water that are full of marine life has made Recife’s coastline a true underwater playground.

Vapor Bahia

The steamship Bahia was rammed by the steamship Pirapama at the end of 19 century. The reason: passion. It is said that the steamship captains began their own private little war over the love of a woman. The steamship sank off the coast of the Ponta das Pedras beach, causing the death of 37 people. Despite begin half-discovered, it is or a rare beauty and has rich fauna along with excellent visibility.

Corveta Camaquã

The brazilian Navy minesweeper sank in 1944, at the end of World War II, 27 miles from the port of Recife. The beauty and intensity of its marine life is comparable to Corveta V17 in Fernando de Noronha. Its practically intacts structure allows visits to various compartments. But the enormous amount of stuck fishing lines requires special care by divers to avoid getting entangled.


This English steamship sank in 1972, 12 miles from the port of Recife, killing six of its 11 crewmembers. Today, it is one of the most beautiful shipwrecks off the coast of Pernambuco, full of life and with great visibility.


A few years after its collision with the Bahia steamshipin 18889, the Pirapama was dismantled and scuttled 6.5 miles from the port of Recife. It is a diving experience of rare beauty where divers are surrounded by turtles, rays, cobias and even sharks. It is the most visited shipwreck in Recife. Night diving is also possible.


The 25-meter long shipwreck has the highest intensity of marine life. Schools of gray and french agelfish, as well as cobia, are always present. Large Goliath group may also show up.


The shipwreck is 34 meters long and all its compartments can be entered, Schools of tropical fish live around the shipwreck. Occasionally, cobias and rays can be seen in the proximities.

Vapor do 48

An old shipwreck of a still unidentified steamboat. The name comes from its depth. It is half- buried in the sand. The highlight is a large propulsion wheel covered in sponges and coral. The boilers also stand out among the wreckage. The site has a lot of marine life and visibility is excellent.

Servemar X

One of the seven tugboats scuttled by the Artificial Reef Park project. It is 18 meters in length and intact on the sea floor. Marine life has been slowly taking over the shipwreck. Some nurse sharks live in its interior. Schools of bluestriped grunts and red squirrelfish are found in practically all compartments. Southern stingrays are usually found near the propeller. It is possible to enter the holds, the engine room and the superstructure.


Scuttled in May 2006, along with the Mercúrius and the Saveiros, this tugboat already provides good diving conditions, with a very reasonable amount of marine life, making it a hit with local operators. This was the tugboat’s second sinking. Two years earlier, it sank during a misguided maneuver in the Recife port bay. After being raisedfrom the sea, it was no longer in working condition.

 Source: Brazil Diving Guide

Diving point Paraiba

4 11 2009

The state capital, João Pessoa, is less well know than its trendy sister cities of the northeast: Natal and Recife. But it does not leave anything to be desired. On the contrary. Midway between its famous neighbors, roughly an hour by car from each one, João Pessoa is the point of departure for the major diving spots of the region: beautiful reefs and must see shipwrecks. João Pessoa really  has many beautiful surprises.

Few people know that João Pessoa is Brazil’s leafiest capital city. It is also the safest of the Northeast ant the only one where there are no skyscrapers on the coastal avenues – a strict municipal code limits the height of buildings to three floors. And thre’s more: the first sunrays of the Americas fall here, since the city lies at the eastern most point of the continent, Ponta dos Seixas – wich means visitors have to get up early. Not a problem.

There is so much to see and enjoy on the Paraíba coast: urban or deserted beaches, with powder white sand and coonut palms and cliffs of unique beauty, restaurants with excellent traditional cuisine, a wealth of handicrafts and historic attractions. That is, if one doesn’t spend every walking minute underwater.

Pedra de Baixo

The sandstone reef, covered by algae and corals, is know for its large sponges and starfish. Sharks, goliath groupers and others groupers hide in their small holes. Visibility ranges from 15 to 30 meters, during the summer. It is sough out mainly by novive divers seeking greater depths.

Erie (or Queimado)

The most popular shipwreck on the Paraíba coast. This two-thousand ton American ship sank after catching fire, in 1873, and today is found completely broken-up. The wreckage is spread over 100 meters of sand. A large patially buried propeller lies in the sand and many schools of small fish are the main attractions. Average visibility ranges from 20 to 30 meters.


Intact and uprigth, the small shipping barge is a beatiful shipwreck when viewed from a certain distance. When desceding, you can see the entire outline of Alvarenga, 20 meters in length, 5 meters in width and simple in structure. It is possible to pass through the compartments from bow to stern. And there is lots of life inside there. Nurse sharks, schools of spadefish, lobsters and green eels are commonly seen. The shallow depth, clear water and white sands give the location a peaceful feel.


This 53 meter steamship sank in 1911. The iron hull is in pieces. The bow is listing to port, with the highest point at a depth of 7.5 meters. A large anchor remains linked to the ship by a thick chain. Up toward the bow, one can see the round boilers and parts of the steam engine. The aft part of the hull is in an upright position and the bow still maintains part of its original shape. Many moray eels, octopuses, small lobsters and large schools of grunts are often seen above the wreckage. And excellent spot begginners.

Cabeço dos Cangulos

On the flat seabed of the continental shelf, there are formations of small mounds and limestone algae and outgrowths of large sponges. Each with its own special microfauna, made up of small shrimp, crabs, octopuses, eels and small fish. The name of the spot comes from the large number of triggerfish species, listed as threatened with extinction.


This is a new diving site, a small natural reff against a seabed of light colored sand and grave. It is composed of various elongated mounds spread over the ocean floor, on wich grow macroalgae, corals, sponges and other organisms. Schools of fish frequent the area and surround divers.


As the name suggest, it is a trench in the continental shelf probably formed by a river that emptied there eons ago. The shallowest part is 36 meters from the surface and the trench extends for 56 meters. High rockly walls separate the flat surface of the shelf from the steep slope of the canyon. Various shapes and colors of sponges almost completely cover the ocean floor.

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