Dive Sites in Ilhabela – Brazil

27 05 2010


Ilhabela is strategically located between the two largest cities in Brazil (250 km from São Paulo and 350 km from Rio de Janeiro). It is the right destination for divers on the São Paulo coast. If you like to party with beatiful people, plan your visit in July when the town hosts the International Sailing Week.

The island is covered with Atlantic Rainforest and has more than thirty waterfalls. There are dives for all tastes, from snorkeling to technical, including famous shipwrecks such as the Aymoré and the Velásquez.

One of the largest, if not the largest, concentration of shipwrecks in Brazil is located to the south and east of the island. Ironically, the sea in Ilhabela is calm most of the time. More than one hundred ships are believed to lie at the bottom of the blue Atlantic. Ships from centuries past, sailboats, fishing boats, all types of vessels have transformed Ilhabela into the largest naval graveyard in Brazil.

The island is also shrouded in legend. During the sisteenth century, english pirates used to sail around Ilhabela where they are said to have hid treasures pillaged from Spanish galleons loaded with gold.

The mos famous lost treasure stor in Ilhabela involves the pirate Cavendish, who supposedly buried a large amount of gold in Saco do Sombrio. If this is true, hurry up! The treasure is still there. Welcome to the Shipwreck Heaven! The diving island!

See dive sites in Ilhabela!

Source: Brazil Diving Guide

Shipwrecks in Alagoas Brazil

25 11 2009

The capital of Alagoas (Maceió) is know for its beaches, nightlife, highly competitive prices and the traditional friendliness of its people. Its infrastructure has improved considerably during the past ten years.

Additionally, Maceió has the largest number of know sites in the state. Water visibility is good, varying from 6 to 30 meters depending on winds and currents, as well as the rain season that usually goes from May to July. On the other hand, special days with visibility of over 30 meters are possible from September to March.

This is one of the most attractive shipwrecks off the Brazilian coast. Torpedoed by a German U-boat in World War II, the Itapajé appears twisted and became a giant artificial reef, offering many penetration possibilities into its interior. A huge number of small fish is present.


The ship sank circa 1918 and became also known as the “Frenchman’s shipwreck”. It is a small shipwreck, less than 50 meters in length, but some of its compartments can be penetread. The main attractons are its gears and the intense marine life on the site. Barracudas, cobias and rays are frequently seen. Schools of very red squirrelfish stand out against the intense blue of the ocean. Some of the coral that covers the wreckage may harbor batfish. Visibility is excellent.

Praia do Frânces

The barrier reef runs parallel to the beach for 2.5 kilometers, 100 meters away. During low tide, the site is excellent for discovery scuba and check-out dives. Various tropical fish species can be seen, such as butterfly rays and sergeant fish. There are also the remnants of two seventeenth-century ships that carried tiles and brazilwood.


A barge built to navigate on sheltered waters that sank in rough seas. The shipwreck is about 20 meters in lenght and does not have cabins or nay type of compartment that may be penetread. A winch motor stands out among the wreckage. The site’s main attraction is its marine life. The wreckage is home to many rays, cobias and large schools of yellom jacks. Visibility is excellent.


The dredger is completely overturned. Its bow is formed by two hulls, separated by a space of approximately 3 meters where the dredging structure was located. It is still possible to see the dredger’s boom resting on the hull, firmly supported on the ocean floor.

Cabeço de Guaxuma

A short reef with a maximum height of three meters. The rock is literally covered by red squirrelfish. Their concentration in a single location is impressive. The coral formation is poor, but there are many lobsters in their crevices and some “well-behaved” moray eels. Schools of white angelfish make the dive even more interesting.

Pedra Baia

The rock formation is similiar to that Cabeço de Guaxuma. There are many tropical fish, including rock hind, blue tang, porkfish and blowfish. It is a good site for macro photography. Lobsters can be easily found, as well as small moray eels and barbfish.

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

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