Portugal – September 2015

Ocean Revival, Portimão, Portugal (2nd – 7th September 2015)

Looking for a new destination for a dive trip we thought we would try a few days in Portugal, diving with SubNauta dive centre on the ships that had been sunk as part of the Ocean Revival Project. 

This project was born with the objective to promote the underwater tourism in the region by creating an exceptional diving destination. For the first time, four vessels connected by a common history were deliberately sunk in the same place. The four warships, representative of a Navy Fleet, form the largest single artificial reef structure in the world with the ideal conditions for the proliferation of marine life.  

So on 2 September 2015, a group of 16 (12 divers + 4 non-diving partners) met at Gatwick for our flight to Faro. Flight, pickup and journey to the Hotel Tivoli in Portimão went smoothly and although it was late when we arrived, the hotel arranged for snacks and beer to be provided for those who wanted something before falling into bed. 

Early breakfast the next morning and pick up by the dive centre at 8.00 am.  Getting kit sorted at the dive centre took some time (most divers had only brought some of their kit as the Centre provided everything).  The most worrying concern was the water temperature as the 21°C that had been promised was actually only 15°C and only Tim had his dry suit!!

The daily programme was:

  • Briefing at the dive centre and then transfer to the marina by golf buggy
  • Check gas mix and set up kit
  • Dive 1 – usually exterior of wreck
  • Warm up on boat during surface interval where a hot drink and lunch was provided
  • Dive 2 – usually penetration of wreck
  • Tidy loose dive kit into a goody bag
  • Kit could be left on board (unless we wanted to dry or charge items)
  • Back to the marina and transfer to dive centre by buggy

The boat, a catamaran, was well equipped and the crew very helpful.  We dived in 2 groups of 6, each with a guide.

The cold water and low viz did make it seem as if we were diving in the UK.  Definitely dry suits if we go again!

Afternoons and evenings were spent in the usual pursuits – sun bathing by the pool, dozing, or looking around the area.  Ferragudo, a picturesque fishing village just across the river (water taxi arranged by the hotel), was worth a visit.  Plenty of restaurants/bars for socialising ‘après dive’ and eating out in the evening.

 Club members’ contributions:

Some Photos (George/Jenny)

6 Sept 2015 – The Corvette (Andrew)

After a race with the golf buggies from the dive centre to the boat and with the wind dropped and a calm sea we descended the shot to the bow.  Having dived the wreck a few days earlier, navigation was easy even in the 4m vis and we headed straight off along the starboard side to descend into the engine room to view the two very large engines with one of the pistons lying along the top of the cylinder block and with cylinders almost big enough for a diver to fit into.  Exiting on the port side we headed one deck level up into the canteen with the tables and chairs all neatly arranged as if patiently waiting for the next lunch sitting.  Heading back for’ard we spent some time round the mast groaning under the weight of mussels and with shoals of fish milling round before heading into the bridge.  It is a bit cramped and spartan but a diver has to do what a diver has to do.  As we exited to starboard we were confronted with a free swimming conger.  With gas running low it was time to head back over the foredeck and up the shot to the boat. 




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