Southern Europe

Blue Sharks in the Azores

Freediving with blue sharks is a dream come true for many divers. The irridescent blues of this slender and graceful creature make it seem to appear and vanish from another dimension as it moves through the shifting light of the ocean. It has long pectoral fins, which complement its narrow form, a pointed nose, and large eyes. Like other sharks, it is curious about divers, and will come close for a look.

Medas Islands

At a glance, the Medes Islands doesn’t look like much—some 50 odd acres of craggy outcrops sitting close to shore, just opposite the small fishing village and resort town of L’Estartit, along the Spanish coast of Costa Brava. Little, if anything, gives away the fact that it is a marine national park boasting some of the most renowned diving in the Mediterranean.

Azores

It’s been almost 15 years since my first visit to the Azores. I was studying law then and was on my first diving trip, with all of eight dives written down in my brand new logbook. Six years later, I was living in the Azores. I had traveled and dived in many remote locations by then, Africa, Australia, Asia… but one place never left my mind—those nine small islands that stood alone in the middle of the Atlantic.

Spain's Tamariu: A Hidden Secret

I made up my mind quite a long time ago about whether or not I should entrust you with one of my favourite holiday destinations. Tamariu is not like any other small port town in which one can swim, dive and eat well. No! Tamariu is my little secret, and I share it already with quite a lot of other insiders. But if you like, I will initiate you now.

Stingrays: Winged Wonders of the Canary Islands

 Photo by Andy Murch
A diver enjoys a close encounter with a fearless common stingray. Photo by Andy Murch

Los Gigantes is a small fishing community on the west side of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. It is named for the enormous cliffs that dominate the shoreline to the north of the village, but the name is equally appropriate for the gigantic rays that frequent the area.