Dive sites in the El Cabrón Marine Reserve (Arinaga) Gran Canaria

Dive into the warm subtropical waters of the El Cabrón marine reserve
There's fish everywhere here - looking up through a shoal of roncadores
This common stingray can be found at several places in the reserve
Dive into the warm subtropical waters of the El Cabrón marine reserve

Here's a brief taste of what you can expect to find in Cabrón as we take a quick look at our most popular dive sites in the Marine Reserve.

  • The Hole in the Wall
  • The Table Top
  • Punta de la Sal
  • Punta de la Monja
  • Discovery Bay
  • Risco Verde

Altogether there are over 12 different dive routes and entry points in the reserve, and enough different routes to be able to dive here for over a week. We are one of the few dive centres to take clients to dive sites such as Cal Steps, the Goat Track, Muelle Vieja or the Moon Reef, but our intimate knowledge of the area means we often dive here safely, when some of the main dive entry points are closed by abnormal wind directions. Our school is the closest dive centre to the reserve; the experience of diving here for over seven years; and instructors who live on the shore in Arinaga, watching and learning every mood of the sea; means that we know the area better than any other diving school in Gran Canaria and can achieve great fun, exceptional safety yet challenging diving make Davy Jones Diving your first choice for diving in the El Cabrón Marine Reserve in Gran Canaria

Damselfish shoaling on Cal Steps
get close to the angel sharks when you dive in Gran Canaria
We find 3 types of moray eel in Gran Canaria including this tiger moray

The Hole in the Wall

The Arinaga Arch makes a dramatic swimthrough

This is not only the most spectacular, but also a more challenging dive, and can only be attempted when the winds and currents are favourable

The dive begins with an entry from a reef into a vee-shaped channel with a depth of about 5 meters; we then descend to 14 meters by swimming down through a hole,and out through the cave that gives the site it's name.

Swim down the slope for 25 metres and you are then greeted by the amazing sight of a large archway filled with Trumpet Fish and Bream, following a slope that quickly drops down to a maximum depth of 24 meters.

If you have not yet been amazed by the diversity of life on this dive, swim on for another 100 metres and the sight of around two thousand bastard grunts (or roncadores) in a large 'fish ball' confronts you. There is also a school of Striped Bream with the ever present Barracudas in search of a quick snack. The Barracudas can grow up to 1.2 meters long and are at the top of the food chain here.

You are also likely to see Eagle Rays, Morays, Marble electric Rays and Common Sting Rays as well as the occasional Angel Shark. Common fish include bream, grouper, nudibrachs and many of the other common Canarian species. There are also two caves on this dive, and divers with good air consumption and appropriate qualifications can be taken here to see rarer species such as forkbeard, leopord spotted goby, canarian lobsterette, prickly shrimp and yellow coral.

This is rated as a favourite site by those lucky enough to get the right conditions to attempt it.

Butterfly ray gran canaria
This parrotfish is being cleaned by turkish wrasse at one of the local cleaning stations
A nudibrach grazes on the vegetation on the table top

The Table Top

A diver swims into the fish-ball of Roncadores, or bastard grunts

From this entry point there are several classic dive routes, including the Fish Ball, The Finger, Arco Pequeno, The eel garden and The Table Top itself. The entry point for this dive can look daunting at first, as the waves can often appear to break right on the entry point. A special entry technique, an underwater channel and the combination of currents make this a lot easier that it may first look. The diver is rewarded with a variety of dive plans, taking him to the Fish Ball, or to the caves and swim-throughs. Fish life is abundant in this area, and apart from the common species of parrotfish, damsels, wrasse, and bream, you are likely to find yellow snappers (roncadors), trumpetfish, a shoal of barracudas, plenty of morays (tiger, brown and dotted), cernia rossa, and in spring large shoals of sardines and bogas. Several species which are less common have resident populations in this are including Shi Drum (verrugato), glasseye, marmor bream, jurel (yellow jack), painted comber, zebra bream and some stunning giant anemones. If you look carefully or just get lucky you may also see dusky grouper, three types of stingray, forkbeard, unicorn fish, tuna or in exceptional circumstances sea-horse, blue sharks or manta rays. A night dive can reward the adventurous with stingrays, squid, octopus, angelshark and many other night hunters of the reef. And as for plant life and invertebrates there is much more to look at here as well.

In addition to the prolific marine life, there is a fascinating underwater scenery, allowing 'wall dives' around much of the outside of the reef; several caves, the small arch and lots of larger holes to look in for morays and other creatures.

Few dive sites in the Canaries have such variety, such abundance, and such scenery so close in to the shore all available from one shore entry point.

Cave dive in La Reserva Marina del Cabrón, Gran Canaria

Shoal of Roncadors in Gran Canaria

Glass-eye canaries

Punta de la Sal

This Gorgonia is over 2m wide

There are two ways to reach this area, which is the deepest part of the reserve. We normally use the 'Table Top' entry point as this is less prone to the effect of a northerly wind.

This is not only a deep dive, but also a long dive, so is only suitable for experienced divers who can demonstrate similar previous experience, as we normally plan this as a decompression dive.

We start by following the undersea cliff at a level of 10-15m. In clear conditions this area can hold tuna, barracuda, trumpetfish and grouper. We descend slowly, passing a field of garden eels on our right, till we reach an area of large boulders, in around 20m,where large numbers of morays can usually be found.

Continuing on from this point, we reach the 'campo de gorgonia' in 30m where you can see these delicate gorgonians. There is one particular gorgonian which is over 2m wide.

In this deeper area other species such as marbled-electric rays, gilt-headed bream and angelshark have also been seen.

Triggerfish are often found at Punta de la Sal in Gran Canarias Marine Reserve
the rare Abade Capitan near Punta de la Sal
chucho comun cerca Punta de la Sal

Punta de la Monja

Punta de la Monja

By starting from the 'Hole in the Wall' entry point, you can swim all the way around the point of the Punta de la Monja, and finish your dive in the calmer waters of El Cabrón bay. This is a very long dive, and careful air consumption is a must. There are several small caves, and big recesses in the rocks where more nocturnal species such as Glass-eye, and Conger can be found during the day. Huge shoals of Atlantic Damselfish inhabit the rocky crags and ledges that make the topography very dramatic here.

Bucear con angelote o chucho cerca de Punta de la Monja Gran Canaria

Sargo a lado de punta de la monja

 

Bull ray (obispo) a lado de punta de la monja

 

Risco Verde

Anchor in risco verde

Risco Verde (or Green Cliff)is the closest dive site to the town of Arinaga, and is at the northern end of the 'Avenida' - the promenade which snakes all the way along the shoreline.

This is a nice dive to 10m with lots of life. You can find damsel fish, mullet, wrasse, cuttlefish and octopus in this area. It can be a good place to find large Spinuous Spider crabs.

striped mullet in risco verde
octopus in the canary islands
lizardfish with breakfast

 

The bay at Cabrón is sheltered from the prevailing winds making entry and exit safe and easy

Playa del Cabrón

The Bluefin and atlantic damselfish are found in abundance in the bay

This is a fun dive to 12m maximum, beginning with an easy walk from the beach; we then follow the reef out towards the headland, which forms the natural shelter for the bay.

As conditions here are invariably calm this makes it the perfect site for beginners or trainees, and those of you who have been out of the water for some time. Yet many experienced divers and underwater photographers also enjoy the bay because of the diversity of life and excellent light conditions

There is a wide range of sea-life ranging from the ever present shoals of atlantic and blue-fin damselfish, bream, parrotfish, wrasse, lizardfish and pufferfish. More diligent searching will reward the diver with clams, razorfish, juvenile barracudas, trumpetfish, wide-eyed flounders, common stingrays, octopus, as well as cuttleFish and many other species. In spring many predators enter the bay at night to feed on the spawning fish. Some stay during the day giving close-ups of stingrays, anglesharks, barracuda and weaver fish

Visibility will rarely fall below 15m making this a nice easy dive full of variety and interest.

cuttleffish gran canaria
buceo islas canarias
razorfish in the sand

Visitor Facilities

Preparing for diving in Gran Canaria's marine reserve at Arinaga

As the local authorities have restricted development on the shore of the marine reserve there are no 'visitor' facilities at all. Sorry about that .. but that means no loo's or shops or cafes or bars. For this reason, we have our dive centre about five minutes drive from the dive sites in the town of Arinaga. We are in fact the closest dive centre to the marine reserve, and the only PADI and BSAC centre in Arinaga.

Relax at the Davy Jones Dive Centre in Gran Canaria

You get changed and kit up in wetsuits within our dive centre, where we do have facilities! You can safely leave valuables in the centre, or relax in Arinaga in one of the cafes between dives. We transport you to the dive site and back in one of our off-road vehicles.

This makes a day trip to the marine reserve at Cabrón with Davy Jones a relaxed and fun day out with great diving!

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