Saturday, 2 July 2022

Tabarca Island - Spain

Tabarca is an islet near Alicante on the Costa Blanca and is easily reachable from Santa Pola.  As it's been more than 6 months since I arrived in Spain, I was unable to rent a car with my UK licence (thanks Brexit) I therefore took the train down to Alicante from Valencia then the bus to Santa Pola. 

There are permanent inhabitats living on Tabarca all year round with numbers increasing significantly during the summer when tourism becomes the main economic activity.  It became a protected marine reserve in 1986 making it a very popular dive site.


Journey towards Tabarca

Dive 1: Islote de La Nao (#7 on map)

Islote de La Nao
Entry: 8:53am
Dive time: 52min
Depth: 9.9m
Temp: 27 degrees C
Weights: 8kg (overweighted 6kg better) 
Insulation: 3mm wet suit  

Met at the dive centre at 7:30 instead of 8:30 due to deterioration of weather forecast. It turned out to be very choppy.  Lots of people getting seasick.  I had planned to dive the next day at Tabarca but diving was cancelled and I decided against doing the shore dives at Cartagena.

Some nice arches which we were told not to swim through to protect sealife (it is a nature reserve)


Cratena peregrina

Juvenile damselfish, Chromis chromis

The brilliant blue colour of the juvenile damselfish, Chromis chromis, is common to rocky reefs ranging in depths from 3 to 35 m in the Mediterranean Sea.  It has been suggested that C. chromis is the most abundant fish species in the ecosystem and always ranked either number 1 or 2 in terms of most abundant species (Pinnegar, J.K.). It is a major prey item for larger fish and birds.

C. chromis feed in huge shoals and rest close to the seabed at night.  It consumes zooplankton and is a major consumer of fish eggs.  Shoals of adult damselfish fish can be seen here during a dive I did in Almeria.

The conditions made it difficult for some to enter the RIB

Dive 2: Pecio 19 (#9 on map)

Entry: 10:35am
Dive time: 45min
Depth: 19.8m
Temp: 21 degrees C
Weights: 8kg (overweighted 6kg better) 
Insulation: 3mm wet suit  



Pinnegar, J.K. (2018) Why the damselfish Chromis chromis is a key species in the Mediterranean rocky littoral – a quantitative perspective

Sunday, 17 April 2022

"1ª Ensenada" and "2ª Ensenada", Dénia - Spain

Denia Port

Punta negra bay between Torre del Gerro on left and Montgó mountain

First dive of 2022.  Had hoped to do a good few more but weather wasn't great all week.  This subsequently affected the viz - not great so not many photos! Wore the 3mm for dives - Ok for first dive but a bit chilly at end of second. Dived with Mon Diving Centre.


1ª Ensenada

Entry: 10:10am
Dive time: 45min
Depth: 18.6m
Temp: 15 degrees C
Weights: 8kg (overweighted 6kg better)
Insulation: 3mm wet suit 

Journey out 

Highlight was a Moray eel between the crevices.

 2ª Ensenada

Entry: 11:33am
Dive time: 41min
Depth: 15.5m
Temp: 15 degrees C 
Weights: 8kg (overweighted 6kg better)
Insultaion: 3mm wet suit


Sea anemone (Anemonia sulcata)

Sea anemones can be a nice underwater watch.  They get their name from flowering plants but are actually predatory animals.  Sea anemones are a popular dish in Spain. It is known as ortiguillas, 'little nettles' or ortiga de mar, 'sea nettle'. To neutralize the poison, they are marinated in water with vinegar.

Anemones can reproduce either asexually or sexually, with each method offering distinct advantages and disadvantages. 

With asexual reproduction, the offspring are genetically identical to the original parent. Asexual reproduction allows for larger numbers of individual offspring to be produced more quickly with less energy expenditure as compared to sexual reproduction; in stable marine environments this is a reliable, efficient and effective means of reproduction. However, this lack of genetic diversity in offspring could collapse an entire population of genetically identical animals if environmental pressures were to swing too far from tolerable conditions. On the other hand, rapid rates of asexual reproduction allows for faster responses to environmental pressures as they are occurring and could raise the rate of survival if individual offspring develop genetic mutations during mitosis.

During sexual reproduction, sea anemones release genetic material (gametes) through the oral disk. With many species of sea anemones, genetic material from two or more distinct species are released into the water whereby sperm and egg will connect with the possibility of producing a genetically different and unique offspring from both parents. The genetic differences among multiple offspring increases the probability of survival.

Saturday, 10 July 2021

Karslruhe II, Scapa Flow, Orkney - Scotland


Entry: 11:33
Dive time: 42min
Depth: 25.3m
Temp: 12 degrees C
Weights: 12kg 
Air: Nitrox 32
Buddy: Jo

Third dive back at the Karlsruhe and we definitely found it again - two out of three times! (",)

This was a surprise dive as the MV Karin had problems yesterday and we thought we had done our last dive.  An engineer came to look at the engine, presumed gearbox problem, sorted it out and the captain was keen to test how it sailed..  We were given the option of doing another dive and most were keen.


Sea squirt

Wreck info from Scap Flow

Nationality: German
Launched: 31 January 1916
Commissioned: 15 November 1916
Builder: Kaiserliche Werft, Kiel (Imperial Dockyard Kiel)
Construction number: 41
Type: Light Cruiser
Subtype/class: Königsberg class
Displacement (standard): 5440 tonnes
Displacement (full load): 7125 tonnes
Length overall: 112m*
Beam: 12m
Draught: 6.32 - 5.96m
Complement: 475 men
Material: Steel
Cause of loss: Scuttled
Date lost: 21 June 1919; 1550 hrs
Casualties (in scuttling): 0
Propulsion: Ten coal-fired and two oil-fired doubled ended marine type boilers, two sets
marine type turbines (high pressure turbines worked by geared transmission),
two propellers
Fuel: 1340 tonnes coal, 500 tonnes oil
Range: 4850 nautical miles at 12 knots
Power: 55700 shp** maximum
Speed: 27.7 knots maximum
Armour: ranges from 20mm – 60mm (position dependent),
control tower 100mm (on the sides)
Armament: 8 x 15cm guns, 2 x 8.8cm guns, 2 x 50cm deck mounted torpedo tubes, 2 x
50cm lateral submerged torpedo tubes, 200 deck-mounted mines


Friday, 9 July 2021

Wall at Copinsay, Orkney - Scotland


Entry: 13:48
Dive time: 42min
Depth: 24.4m
Temp: 11 degrees C
Weights: 12kg 
Air: Nitrox 27