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Fernando de Noronha Scuba Diving

NOVEMBER 3, 2005
115 FEET (32M)
Atlantis Divers

Cagarras Fundas is a deep dive along the northwest coast of Fernando de Noronha, an island off the northeast coast of Brazil.  It is a deep dive, with a maximum depth of 32m (115 feet). 

Named for the rocky crags that extend down into the water, we found visibility here to be fairly average at around 65 feet (20m).  Clarity we understand improves much more in the winter months (April to November), and lessens in the Summer months (December to March).  The water color is a nice pale blue - similar to that in the Florida Keys, but with better visibility.  There is no coral at this site - the rocky shores are what attract the fish. 

There are three people with our divemaster, including us - Atlantis says no more than four people to a divemaster.  He explains to us that if we're lucky, we'll see a barracuda, and we'll see a lot of fish (we had explained to the shop that Sandra likes to see fish - apparently they took that into consideration).  The water is fairly rough on the surface, but very calm down below.  Our gauges are in the metric system, but our divemaster explains how to use them to measure our air.  The rental gear is good quality and apparently well-maintained.

Almost immediately upon descent, we spot a huge spotted eagle ray, then a group of massive barracuda.  Throughout the dive, we see dozens of barracuda, along with a wide variety of tropical fish, including many large varieties of parrotfish, angelfish, and many fish we had never seen before.  We also had a nice hawskbill sea turtle sighting which is always fun.  We're struck by the average size of the fish, which is much larger than in Mexico.  I guess they eat well.

Overall, this dive site was pretty good - lots of marine life, nice smooth, calm, water, good visibility, varying depths for varying life, and all those BIG barracuda.

Diving in Fernando de Noronha Brazil

NOVEMBER 3, 2005
50 FEET (15M)
Atlantis Divers

Ressurretta is a shallow dive site along the coast of the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago off the northeast coast of Brazil.  With a maximum depth of 15m (50 feet), this is a nice second dive.  This day, there was a lot of surge on the surface as well as down below. 

A drift dive, the current wasn't much of a problem, but the surge was a little frustrating, though not too big of a deal. The visibility was near 100 feet, about average for this time of year.  The clarity increases during the winter months (April to November) and decreases during the summer months (December to March), at least according to our divemaster aboard the Fly n Dive.

Located along a narrow channel between islands, the water was very choppy on the surface - I'm amazed I didn't get sick.  Once below, the surge continued, but it was workable.  There was no coral at this site - the marine life congregated for the craggy rocky slopes entering the sea.  Right away for the second dive in a row, we spotted a huge spotted eagle ray.  This one just floated slowly, allowing us to follow it and observe it for quite some time.

Later in the dive, we spotted an 8-foot nurse shark asleep under an overhang - exposed in profile - a real treat.  Under another overhang we saw two very large spiny lobsters, and a couple of small crabs.  Then suddenly a giant green moray swam by us, slowly against the surge.  It was probably about 8 feet long.  Later, another big green moray showed us it's head out of the rocks.  A large stingray lay on the bottom for us to see, and later another one was spotted under an overhang. 

The abundant and very large marine life at this site more than made up for the surge and lack of coral.  There were many types of sponges and seaweed here, but not much other color except for that of the parrotfish, angelfish, sergeant majors, and large schools of jacks.  We had a bottom time of about 40 minutes and still had 1000 psi of air left at the end of the dive.

After boarding the boat, I got sick briefly as usual, chummed over the side, then was fine.  As we headed back to the marina, we spotted a pod of about 20 spinner dolphins off the side of the boat - another treat in a good afternoon.

Diving at Macaxeira in Fernando de Noronha NOVEMBER 4, 2005 -
Atlantis Divers

Ponta de Macaxeira is a deep dive site at the far North end of the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago.  Ponta de Macaxeira  is a massive rock wall dive with strong currents and heavy surge at the water's surface and depths of over 45m (160 feet). 

The rock wall extends from Rata Island, where the mix of currents meeting at the northern point of the island chain provides not only for unique visibility, but also for an amazing array of marine life.  This is definitely an advanced dive - even being on the boat on this day wasn't for the feint of heart or weak of stomach.  Those who endure are treated to an exciting descent down a sheer rock face with massive numbers of fish and other marine life.

The waves were huge as the boat was tossed around forcefully - we were all a little green in the face as we hurriedly donned our gear and hurled ourselves into the torrid surface.  We descended immediately to avoid the strong surface current, which quickly subsided as we reached about 5m (15 feet).  Sandra and I had some trouble clearing our ears, so we were still descending when the rest of our group spotted a large nurse shark swimming free.

Once at a depth of about 40m (130 feet), we started along the face of the wall as the current grew in intensity.  Looking up, we could see the water filled with fish, silhouetted against the sunlit surface of the water like something out of a scuba diving magazine.  The rocky crags were filled with fish, but we didn't see any larger life near the wall area.  Venturing out onto the ocean floor, we found a stingray with a large fish swimming above it and a nurse shark.  Continuing on, primarily marveling at the wall itself, we rose to 30m (100 feet) and then after a while up to 15m (50 feet).

Now as we turned the corner around the end of the wall, the current became very strong and we had some difficulty swimming against it.  We churned away from the wall and across a current-ridden channel to where we started our ascent back to the boat.  After our safety stops, as we neared the surface, we saw the ladder wildly thrashing side to side.  We grabbed at the ladder and tried to stay on as it whipped strongly in all directions.  Eventually, we got back on the boat and we all looked a little green - wishing for less tumultuous waters.

Overall, this dive site was quite interesting - a huge variety of fish life, despite very few pelagic sitings and a lack of coral or other such organisms.  The wall itself was quite impressive, and we definitely saw potential for better sightings in the future. 

Fernando de Noronha Diving NOVEMBER 4, 2005
45 FEET (13M)
Atlantis Divers

This was the second day in a row we dove this site, but this time we circled the small inlet in a counter-clockwise direction, and saw the other side.  The dive was just 13m (45 feet) in depth - a good second dive depth. 

Overall, this area was not very interesting - a few overhangs to look under to no avail, and a lot of avoiding other divers.   Although Atlantis had told us there would be no more than 4 divers to a divemaster when we had signed up, there were 6 of us with him that day.  This made a crowded scene when there wasn't much to see - when we spotted a stingray, lobsters, or one of two nurse sharks, or an eagle ray, divers were piling all over each other, especially when two beginner groups were diving the same site at that time - there were a lot of divers in a small area, and that was not cool.

Apparently there weren't a lot of shallow dive sites in that area or something, because to dive an overcrowded site that everyone on the boat had already dove that trip, we were all a bit disappointed.  We did see a boat anchor that had rusted several different colors, along with the whole line still intact, now covered with barnacles, but the other divers seemed more interested in that than we were.

For more details on the Ressurreta dive site, please see our first-dive roundup of Ressurretta Fernando de Noronha a couple of paragraphs up the page.

Once on the boat, we chatted it up with a couple of Norwegian divers who had been diving for the last five days.  They raved about a couple of sites on the far side of the island, calling one of them the best dive they'd ever had.  Apparently you had to dive more than two days to get to dive sites of that quality, but we enjoyed the dives we had for the most part.  The only disappointing part was diving the same site two days in a row.

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