This is the third of our occasional newsletters to keep you updated on the changes that are continually happening here at Davy Jones Diving in Gran Canaria. In this edition you can find out about our celebrations of five years, progress with the new Canarian laws, news from the reserve, and updates to the website. We also have some special offers for the winter and spring.
In September we reached an important milestone - Five years since we took over Davy Jones Diving in Arinaga! Yes, it seems incredible but we have been running our dive centre in Arinaga now for five years, during which time so much has changed. We have become a PADI Gold Palm Centre, a BSAC Premier Centre, and are now widely regarded and respected as one of the leading dive centres in Gran Canaria. We have made many minor and a few major changes over the five years; the dive centre looks completely different internally, yet we have also kept all the best bits - our commitment to giving you a great diving experience in the El Cabrón Marine Reserve, at whatever level of skill you have; and of course our friendly attention to help you have a great holiday here in Gran Canaria.
One of the areas that has changed a lot is our transport over the last five years. This summer saw an important upgrade as we traded in our old Ford Transit for a brand new, air-conditioned version. It is still just a nine seater but the tinted windows and air-con, plus three point seat belts for all have made the journey from Playa or Puerto Rico more comfortable and of course potentially safer. In the summer we also got a second Mitsubishi van to join Tomas, our hard working blue beach-van, on the run down into the reserve and back.
As usual, July was a hard month with a lot of surface wind, however August, September and >October have so far been excellent months for diving. The highlight for us was to come across a small green turtle in the reserve on three different occasions. We have also had reports from wind-surfers of two other turtles on the surface near to the Arinaga island. Having seen fewer rays this spring they seem to have reappeared from mid July (just as the Angel sharks disappear), and we have seen butterfly rays and marbled electric rays and a possible rough-tailed ray, as well as the more common three: eagle rays, common and round rays. We have also been lucky to show our divers three different seahorses in two different locations.
We have now completed one year of records in our angelshark survey, as part of a study by the University of Las Palmas. Just like last year, we have moved from a 'winter/spring' pattern where we see them regularly, to a more irregular pattern (about one per week) for autumn and early winter. You can read a copy of the report on the last year here, although with only one year of data they did not seem keen to make any bold observations. The University has however been doing some other excellent observations, and you must read the poster on the wall in our training room which describes how an angelshark pup was captured and eaten by a giant anemone!
We are now offering excursions to Sardina del Norte; If you want to sea Angel sharks in summer this is the place to go - we saw five on one dive; and on a night dive we saw and photographed a very rare bottlenose skate. Other highlights of Sardina include their resident seahorse, a shoal of striped grunts and the chance of a manta ray at La Calleta del Abajo.
We had a great time in October hosting Simon Rogerson, the editor of BSAC DIVE magazine for a forthcoming article on diving in Gran Canaria. After a couple of non-committal reviews in the past we wanted to show Simon all of the best dives on the Island, and were rewarded with some great diving conditions and some fabulous shots. We visited Sardina del Norte, La Catedral, the wrecks of Las Palmas, the El Cabrón Marine Reserve (of course) and Simon also dived on the West Coast. Simon really enjoyed meeting a red-legged octopus on a night dive, and rated the wreck of the Arona as good as any wreck in the Red Sea. The full in-depth review of Gran Canaria is scheduled for the January edition of BSAC Dive, and in the meantime we have included a couple of Simons great shots which really show the scale of some of the diving highlights here in Gran Canaria.
We always like to see old friends back to dive with us in Arinaga, so for this winter and spring we have some special offers. Pre-book your diving with us, for diving or courses between 1st November and 20th December; or 7th January and 15th March, and we will give our existing customers a reduction of 10% off our normal prices. If you want to do a course with us, then let us know as we have several offers for courses during winter!. If you want to warm up away from the English winter, take the course you had been planning or just enjoy diving with us then contact us now and we can give you a great deal for the spring.
In the summer we 'refreshed' our design to make our pages easier to read, and have been adding new pages in various languages. Among these we have added a new 'whiteboard' to the site where we can put 'stickies', miscellaneous articles which don't easily fit into the structure of the website anywhere else; We have also added a 'recent photos' folder to the online photo gallery.
Finally, if you want to keep up to date with the conditions and what we are seeing, we have added a brand new 'daily conditions' page, so you know how good or bad the diving is. We will update it every day with a summary of the conditions, water temperature, and any special sightings. These daily results are also stored to give a history of the recent diving conditions
As we noted in the last newsletter, in April 2006 a new law was passed by the Canarian Government to register and manage dive centres. We expected that by Easter everything would be completed, however the local authorities work very slowly here. Nevertheless our application to become a registered dive centre attained approval in June 2007 under Articulo 5.2 of Decreto 35/2006 de 25 de Abril (Regulan los centros de buceo y las enseñanzas deportivas-recreativas subacuáticas en la Comunidad Autónoma de Canarias) making us one of the first diving centres to meet the rules and one of the few diving centres in Gran Canaria to hold this authorisation.
In October, Annette and her boyfriend Chris returned to the UK to take up new jobs. Annette originally 'planned to stay one year and just do the snorkelling as the fish are slimy'. In the event she learnt to dive, became a PADI and a BSAC Instructor, and helped many students to overcome their fears and become confident divers. We will all miss her and wish her every success in the UK, especially with her forthcoming wedding in 2008
A thank-you from all of us (Brian, Marilyn, Eduardo, Andy and Siobhan) for your visits during 2007, for being patient when things have not quite gone to plan, and for being a great group of people to go diving with.