February Dive in Madeira

BA had a sale on, and flights to Madeira were £85, so I booked hand luggage only planning to hire kit and do one or two dives on the Saturday of a long weekend. I'd booked with Divepoint Madeira to go boat diving. They're in the Pestana Hotel Madeira Carlton which is a bit of a walk from downtown Funchal. We sorted out the kit and some 5mm wetsuits. Then we had to descend into the harbour, which did have a good ladder and rails down the steps and then swim the short distance out to the boat.

The site was about 15 minutes east and called Garajau. Descending to about 25m, the viz was about 10m and the temperature was 18°C. There were a couple of big dusky groupers that soon arrived. They've obviously been fed in the past. There were also bream, red mullet, parrot fish and several barracuda circling above our heads. It's a rocky reef with a few anchors scattered about. I think the dive guide took one look at us in our rental gear and decided we'd be low on gas because we reached the turn point after about 12 minutes, when obviously I had about 150 bar. Then we came back, went back past the start point and did about 40 mins in total which was enough for me in those temperatures.

Arriving back, we had to swim back the short distance to shore and decided that one dive was enough for the day. Apart from the cold, my sinuses were less than happy, so we called it a day. We were a bit lucky on the weather. It was sunny and relatively calm. The next day it blew up and diving would have been impossible.