A round-up of diving news from the El Cabrón Marine Reserve Gran Canaria
Hi, it's time we kept you up to date with all of the things that are going on here at Davy Jones Diving, and despite the credit crunch and dismal news on all sides, you can still jump in the water and have an awesome dive with us! In this edition you can find what Annette has been up to, some of the changes we have made to the website, News from the reserve, and some of the special offers we have to help make the crunch crumble!
Most importantly for us, we were delighted to welcome baby Gabriel on Monday 30th March. He was born in St Annes at 8lbs and 5ozs and both he and Annette are doing fine. Since she finished instructing for us here, when they left Gran Canaria, eighteen months ago, Annette and Chris lost no time in getting jobs, getting married, buying a house and having our first grandchild!
We are just finalising a new online shop as part of our website, so that you can order and pay for Davy Jones Diving goods easily and quickly. We have linked to PAYPAL for the initial trials as they provide Secure Anonymous Transaction Handling which means we never see your credit card details, and all the transactions take place on a secure server. We have included in the store our range of branded clothing, log book binders and videos; as well as popular Canarian diving books and materials. The Spanish post office does not have the best reputation, which is why initially there is only a limited range of goods available. As we understand more about the dynamics and logistics of operating an online store, including the reliability of Correos, we may extend the range to include other items. You can look for your Davy Jones Diving clothing and logbooks and if you do use the system please do give us feedback so that we know if it is working properly. And don't worry, if Correos do loose the package we will refund or replace without problem!
This winter has been very mixed for us - the weather has been less stable than normal, making it quite cold on the surface on many days, and at the beginning of March, just as conditions improved, we got a bloom of plankton which has further reduced visibility for a couple of weeks. Despite this we still continue to find new things in the marine reserve - most spectacular of which was a Bull Ray over near Punta de la Sal, and the smallest of which is the Madeiran Sea-Slug (Nudibrach) just under our noses in the bay. Angel Sharks are about but slightly less common, but we have probably seen more rays, including some good sightings of Marbled Electric Rays.
Following the visit of Simon Rogerson in October 2007 we have seen a lot more coverage of Gran Canaria in the UK in the BSAC Dive Magazine. This should increase further shortly as we were delighted to host John Liddiard from DIVER magazine in February 2009 for a photo-shoot here in conjunction with ourselves, Canary Diving Adventures, Nordic Divers and Buceo Canarias in the North. This should result in a good review of Gran Canaria in DIVER magazine some time this summer.
Our reputation as one of the best places to swim with (or over)
angel sharks is growing all the time. In June last year we hosted
one of the world's top Shark photographers, Andy Murch, in Arinaga.
We were able to show him not only Angel Sharks but also Marbled
Electric and other rays. You can browse through his extensive library of Shark
photographs or read his article on Chasing
Angels which was printed in Shark Diver Magazine in December
We have also now completed two year of records in our Angel Shark survey, in cooperation with the University of Las Palmas. Just like last year, we have seen a 'winter/spring' pattern where we see them regularly, to a more irregular pattern (about one per week) for autumn and early winter. The researchers from the University have concluded that the angel sharks have a preferred temperature range of under 21ºC, which is why they disappear in autumn when the waters here are at their warmest.
Starting this spring, a new research project is taking place in the
El Cabrón Marine Reserve. The University has fixed special
'collecting nets' to the seabed in the Playa del Cabrón and
Risco Verde to collect samples of larvae from fish and other marine
animals. By putting the collectors on four different habitats
(sand, seagrass, blanquizale and rocky shore) and changing the
collectors ever month they hope to discover the relative importance
of the different habitats for spawning and the development of new
life. You can see these green plastic collectors when we dive in
the bay but please do not touch them!
This Spring we have also seem enormous blooms of new marine life - millions and millions of tiny fish-spawn covering whole areas in a thin white cloud. These are being constantly attacked by Jurels, Painted Combers, Cuttlefish, Lizardfish and Weevers, who in turn are stalked by the Barracudas, Stingrays and Angel sharks .. the complete food chain visible on many dives!
In the past it has always been difficult for us to organise excursions to the wrecks outside Mogan for just one or two divers. We are now working much more closely with another PADI 5 Star Dive centre, based in Mogan, and if you are diving with us on multiple days, you will be able to request one or more days diving with them as part of your package. This will truly make it easier to now dive on both sides of the island, being hosted by the experts in the appropriate areas.
Over the last year we have had several students who have taken their Open Water Course using the new PADI e-Learning system, and all of them told us how easy it was. The e-learning system allows you to complete all your studies before you arrive here in Gran Canaria to do the practical elements, and is delivered by means of a normal Internet Browser. So far this course has only been available in English, for the PADI Open Water Course. PADI has now released both the Open Water in Spanish, and also a new course for the Advanced Open Water Course in English.
We always like to see old friends back to dive with us in Arinaga, so for this spring and summer we have special offers available on many low season dates, although we only have a limited number of 'offer places' per day. If you want to warm up after the long English winter, get away from the pressures of recession and relax, or take the course you had been planning then contact us now and we can sort out some diving to sooth your mind and your soul.
We now have information on our website about a luxury flat which sleeps four and is available for rent on a weekly basis in San Agustin. If you are looking for somewhere to really chill between dives this may be the place for you.
In spring of last year we started a major overhaul of our website;
a new look, more pages in other languages, faster loading, improved
navigation and many more little changes. We have increased
significantly both the Spanish and German pages, and even added a
couple of pages in Scandinavian Languages.
One feature that is now established is the daily update on weather conditions and special sightings (in 3 languages!). You can look back over a year and see the sort of critters that are about at different times of the year and have an idea of when you are likely to see particular creatures. We were forced by a hacker to change our Photo Gallery, but the new gallery has a lot more facilities and seems easier to use and maintain; and as we noted above, there is now an all-new online shop through which you can order our own-label goods such as T-shirts and clothing.
A thank-you from all of us (Brian, Marilyn, Eduardo, Uwe, Andy and Siobhan) for your visits during 2008 and 2009, for being patient when things have not quite gone to plan, and for being a great group of people to go diving with.