Forests of algae plants, sea animals and mysterious shipwrecks make up the ideal setting for adventurers eager to explore the other side of the Beagle Channel, the one under the sea.
The City of Ushuaia offers countless attractive possibilities for adventurers and scuba diving is indeed one of the most attractive. This is not only due to the natural conditions making this activity unique in these latitudes, but also for the incredible unknown sites to explore, like the remains of many shipwrecks lying in this cold southern sea in silence.
First of all, diving in Ushuaia requires the assistance of local dive guides. These guides will provide information about the diving locations and, if necessary, give a complete training to start diving.
In this case, Carlos Giuggia was our guide. He is a member of AFASyN (Asociación Fueguina de Actividades Subacuáticas y Náuticas), which stands for 'Association of Underwater and Nautical Activities of Tierra del Fuego', and has been teaching scuba diving courses since 1989. He told us that those interested in this activity must learn basic scuba diving techniques and, besides, be familiar with a proper dry suit for the average temperature of these waters ranging from 8 to 10º C in summer and from 2 to 4º C in winter. He also assured that scuba diving practice is possible at any season of the year with a suitable scuba gear and bearing in mind that in winter visibility reaches 20 meters and in summer 7 meters as a result of the large number of plankton dwelling in the sea.
The other side of the Beagle Channel
Forests of algae plants
Other colors under the channel
Fascinating natural landscape
Underwater Landscape Photography
The first diving experience is in a shallow shore, where beginners may discover large forests of algae plants, crabs, starfish and the popular spider crabs. It is recommended to start training at Ensenada Bay. Adventurers should access Tierra del Fuego National Park to reach the coast, just in front of the Isla Redonda (Round Island). This site is ideal to practice buoyancy and test suits, due to the calm waters and easy accessibility from the beach.
Once beginners manage to handle the scuba gear, they can reach Round Island on a motorboat. Here they may discover 27-meter-high walls surrounded by a dense forest of algae plants and enjoy the marine life typical of the Beagle. It is possible to access this site from Isla Estorbo (Hindrance Island), which allows beginners to descend progressively to a seabed with a gentle slope and discover a wide variety of tiny fish and dense forests of algae plants.
Setting off from Ensenada and after a 20-minute voyage, diving enthusiasts may reach the protected area at Puerto Cucharita (Teaspoon Port). This underwater landscape with plateaus covered with algae allows beginners to rejoice in the same experience as diving in tunnels. Here it is possible to dive 35 meters of depth.
Outings to estancia Túnel, Isla de los Lobos(Island of Sea Lions), Bridges Islands and Iturrieta or the so-called “H” Island, ideal for night diving, are other options to explore the Beagle.
If there is something that makes this spot more attractive than its fascinating natural underwater landscape is the chance of exploring numberless shipwrecks lying on the bottom of the Beagle Channel. However, this wreck diving requires an advanced level of knowledge as they may be exposed to harsh weather conditions. Although some of these shipwrecks are inaccessible to divers, those easily explorable make divers have an unforgettable experience, if weather conditions are favorable.
In the eastern Beagle Channel, enthusiasts will find one of the most popular shipwrecks, the old Sarmiento vessel. As it is situated in the outskirts of the city, it is advisable to start diving around the debris very early in the morning from the beach. Divers may appreciate the hull encrusted with sponges, ascidians and algae plants.
The best-kept treasure of the channel is the Mount Cervantes, a famous 160-meter-long cruise which shipwrecked in 1930 near the Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse.
In 1953, there was an attempt to raise the ship and tow it to the shore of the City of Ushuaia. Even though it was divided into two parts for such purpose, unfortunately one part got completely lost at the bottom of the sea and the operation failed. However, several local divers managed to find its deck, cabins, poles and part of the freeboard that got stuck between 35 and 45 meters of depth. The hull rests on the bottom, 110 meters deep, completely inaccessible for sport divers. Nowadays, the nearby debris may be explored around by expert divers only as these diving spots offer no protection against possible strong and variable currents and winds.
Karina Jozami Gentileza Sergio Massaro - Ushuaia Divers
Contact of the excursion or tour
Av. Alem 4509 (9410) Ushuaia, Tierra del FuegoTel: +54 2901-444701 Cel: +54 2901-619782
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