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

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Plunge into Brazils Living Aquarium – Rio da Prata

19 03 2010

During his visit in the region of the Serra da Bodoquena, in Mato Grosso do Sul (Brazil), Brian Clark published in The Daily Green some images on site. Below is the report:

Plunge into Brazil’s Living Aquarium
Near Bonito are the crystal clear waters of the Olho d’Agua (“eyes of water“) and Rio da Prata (“silver river”), offering an unparalleled view of tropical fish and other species. Even a caiman! Also see spectacular Brazilian wildlife and an ecotourism adventure.

One of the highlights of my ecotourism adventure in Brazil’s Pantanal and Mato Grosso do Sul was snorkeling in the Olho d’Agua (“eyes of water”) and adjoining Rio da Prata (“silver river”), two freshwater rivers with spectacular clarity.

We floated effortlessly for a few hours, taking in views of colorful fish — many of them popular in amateur aquariums around the world — as well as a caiman! The area is protected from fishing and pollution, and guests are even prohibited from wearing sunscreen or bug spray, in order to preserve the clean water.

Souce: The Daily Green





Diving Maracajaú is featured in news site

17 03 2010

The news site the Zero, the Clic RBS, published recently in the box “Brazil“, some information about the fate of Maracajaú – known for its natural pools that allow the practice of activities such as snorkeling.

See below:

Maracajaú is a small fishing village about 60 kilometers from Natal, famous among those who like to dive. After spending hours of rest and relaxation in a hammock under coconut trees in small hotels, one can also enjoy various activities such as buggy or raft, horseback riding, fishing, hiking, snorkelling and diving in natural pools formed by reefs.

It is still in Maracajaú which is the water park Ma-Noa, similar (though less in quantity and variety of attractions) to the Beach Park, Fortaleza. Admission costs $ 32.

The clear waters of Maracajaú are surrounded by reefs, forming what they call the potiguares parrachos (pools). The depth varies from one to eight meters, depending on the tide and the distance of the beach coral reefs. In shallower, the ideal snorkeling.

 





Dive sites in Bonito and Jardim – Brazil

24 02 2010



Nature-lovers and adventure-seekers should definietely visit Mato Grosso do Sul. It is a paradise for ecotourism and adventure activities. But what is truly surprising is that despite lying in the very heartland of Brazil, many miles from the coast, Mato Grosso do Sul is one of the country`s best diving destinations.

The towns of Bonito and Jardim boast the clearest waters in all of Brazil, with an enormous range of aquatic life and geographical features to atracct divers, from absolute beginners to the techinical level.

The former can enjoy a terrific “underwater cable car ride”: wear a snorkeling mask and flippers – just relax and let the current do all the work, while the awestruck diver is carried off through hidden beauties.

Cave diving experts have nothing to complain about either: Bonito and Jardim`s underwater caves are unique and unforgettable among the finest in the world.

Snorkeling is one of Bonito and Jardim`s major attractions. The best thing is to go with the flow along the riverbeds, observing the underwater fauna and flora, pretending to be a part of this fabulous ecosystem.

Abismo Anhumas

An amazing underground lake with crystal-clear waters lies 72 meters below the surface of the Earth. You rappel down to the floating deck through a crack in the rocks. The most beautiful part of the lake lies from 15 to 25 meters deep, a maze formed out of huge underwater cones. This is beyond any doubt one of the region`s most extreme dives. It takes roughly 45 minutes to return to the surface.

Nascentes do Rio Formoso

Bonito`s major river rises from two springs that are side by side. The larger spring flows gently down and narrows with increasing depth. It is interconnected with the second spring, but only divers with experience should attempt the passage, wich is over sixty meters deep. At the entrance to the other spring there is a strong outflowing current.

Rio Sucuri

Spectacular visibility and lush aquatic plants. Piraputangas and dorados are part of the landscape, as are catfish, tetras and small crustaceans. The descent takes 45 minutes and the place is stunningly beautiful. Is is forbidden, howewer, to dive to the source of the Sucuri River because it is too shallow. But the place should not missed because it is one of the town`s most beautiful landscapes.

Lagoa Misteriosa

The skinhole forma a lake with crystal-clear waters. Seventeen meters down, two skinholes open, each ten meters across, descending vertically to over 240 meters. The water is so transparent that from thirty meters below the surface, the diver can look up and see the trees surrounding the lake. Acess to this beautiful site is along a sloping trail some seventy meters in lenght.

Buraco das Abelhas

A cavern only slightly over three meters in diameter formed by a spring. At its entrance the passage bends to the right, and natural light dissapears. At 18 meters a cleft falls vertically to 42 meters. It is ideal for training cave diving.

Olho d`água e Rio da Prata

A large crystal-clear water lake that is a habitat for piraputangas, huge dorados, pintados and corimbas. Unbelievably transparent. A stream flows toward the Rio da Prata, where care must be taken with the descent. You have to clamber over tree trunks, and there is also a waterfall to be negotiated, in order to continue the dive lower down, where there is a huge spring in the middle of the river. The descent takes over one hour and is one of the region`s most beautiful trips.

Aquário Natural

The place is know as Baía Bonita; it is rich in aquatic plants and surrounded by dense vegetation. Spectacular shoals of piraputangas, corimbas and occasionally dorados. The water is clear to over fifty meters, in a stream 800 meters long that flows into the Formoso River. The dives ends in the herat of the gallery forest, on a trail that passes a number of waterfalls.

Gruta do Mimoso

This is the most sought-after and also the most beautiful underwater cave in the region. The dive begins in a sunlit underground lake in the middle of the cave. Curtains of stalactites advance into the lake, and small tetras shelter among the rocks. You follow  the guideline to a large tunnel whose roof is covered with thousands of small stalactites. Another chamber opens to the left containing more than twenty cones, some as much as ten meters tall.

Gruta Ceita Corê

A spring with a cramped entrance that requires a certain effort of the diver. A second constriction occurs nine meters down, wich is even tighter, endling in a cleft that is over 160 meters deep.


Source: Brazil Diving Guide





Meet the dive sites of the Chapada Diamantina

20 11 2009

Chapada Diamantina rises out of Brazil’s northeaster sertão or “backlands”. Hundreds of thousands of years ago these mountains lay at the bottom of the ocean, but now rise over 1000 meters above sea level.

The Chapada welcomes divers year-round to its crystal clear waters in places such as Gruta da Pratinha and Poço Azul, where the skeletons of prehistoric animals have been found.

Diamond mining in the late nineteenth century hacked huge wounds in the landscape, wich still bears the scars of diamond prospecting. In the twentieth century mining stagnated , and the economy suffered. Howewer, agriculture and livestock breeding then flourished, and tourism took off a few years ago. It is to be hoped that the latter activity has come to saty.

Gruta Azul

This lake possesses fascinating rock formations and exceptionally transparent water. The area of the cavern is approximately one thousand square meters, and its covers the entire lake. To reach it by land there is a steep descent down a staircase carved in the rock. The lake is fed by a spring and is heavily sediment.

Gruta da Pratinha

The cavern lies below the ranch house of the Pratinha farm. The blue is even more intense when seen from the cavern. There is a very beautiful rock formation. Thousands of fish reflect the torchlight, providing a beautiful spectacle. The visit follows the main passageway to the skinhole down to Gruta Azul. From that point onwards, only experienced divers should continue.

Rio Pratinha

The river rises in the Gruta da Pratinha, and forms a lake with crystal clear water – with visibility of 30 meters. On the opposite shore there is a cliff with a small cave, in wich divers can practice snorkeling to observe tilapia, characins and other small freshwater fish.

Os Impossíveis

The cave lies 3 kilometers from the Fazenda Pratinha ranch house, and is reached by a pathway atop a 50 meter drop, with very tight clefts, a tunnel cut from the rock through which visitors must crawl, steep slopes you lower yourself down by clinging on tree trunks, and a river flowing out of the cave and flooding the first chamber, making a type of quicksand. In the cave there are chambers decorated with stalactites, curtains and wonderful speleothems, or cave deposits.

Poço Azul

Several passages make up a kind of maze conecting with the underground lake. Several hollows have been sculpted out of the rock. Right below the wooden platform there is a skinhole down to another chamber. At the bottomthere are skeletons, including that of a giant sloth. On the opposite bank, wich is a larger area, you will find rock formations and small crustaceans.

Poço Encantado

This is a lake inside a cavern, with crystal clear blue water, through wich you can observe submerged boulders and tree trunks over 50 meters deep. From july to august, sunlight enters through a cleft in the cave, and a beam of light falls on the surface of the lake. The cavern is currently closed, but with the new cave diving regulations brought in by IBAMA it may open again.

 

Source: Brazil Diving Guide





Maracajau Snorkeling

14 07 2009

Maracajaú is located about 50km from Natal (Brazil), and it takes one hour to go there. This region is considered to be the best area for snorkeling and diving, near Natal.

There is a big area of reefs named Parrachos de Maracajaú (7km from the coast), an area of 13km2, with a deep varying between 1,8m and 3,2m, during low tide. The water temperature is in average 26°C, and the development of corals contribute to a rich marine fauna and flora, turning the region to an enormous, natural aquarium.

This scenery is idealistic of practicing Snorkeling and also Scuba Diving for beginners. Also more experienced scuba divers can enjoy the region’s very pleasant diving, with reference to the rich marine life, and the waters temperature and visibility.

The Snorkeling kit  includes: Diving flippers, Mask & Snorkel, and boat transfer from the coast to Parrachos de Maracajaú (takes 10min one way), where it is a small platform/base station – effective time for snorkeling 2 hours.

The Scuba Diving kit includes: Diving equipment – Cylinder/Oxygen, Regulator, Vest & Ballast, Diving flippers, Mask & Snorkel, and boat transfer from the coast to Parrachos de Maracajaú (takes 10min one way), where it is a small platform/base station – effective time for diving 40min.

Source: PackTours