Peru Scuba Diving with Spondylus Dive
Peru scuba diving, I never thought it was possible until I rocked up in Mancora. I love diving and after 7 months on the road in this amazing continent I could believe I haven’t donned some gear and delved into the blue. In Mancora I found the only dive company in Peru, Spondylus. They are a very good company, you understand this by just visiting their office and their online organisation speaks for itself. When it comes to diving you want people who know what they are doing, professionals. I talked it through with again Magali, she also helped us with our awesome whale watching experience, and works two jobs. It wasn’t the cheapest but I really wanted to get into the water.
The Dive Site
There was a choice of three dive sites out of Mancora, the shore dives of Playa Vichayito and El Ñuro, and then the oil rig dive. I chose the rig dive, the visibility was better out there and the chance to dive with huge sea lions was an awesome thought.
The rig is abandoned but still operates although ion a very low level. It is not in great condition but has become an animal haven both above and below the oceans waves. It is home to maybe thousands of sea birds, using it as their launchpad for forays into the rich waters. Also sea lions have made this home, ideal, their food right below them as under the surface the rig has become a safe haven, to a degree, for thousands of fish. The rig goes 60m plus I believe and its columns and stanchions have become decorated with sea life of all forms.
Diving at this time of year, end of winter, meant the water was a little chilly! I am used to tropical coral reefs, sometimes not even wearing a wetsuit, this was an awakener! At first I was fine, the only part of my body not covered by 7mm polyester was my head, but once I got past five meters the chill factor set in. My nose was freezing, and the inside of my ears. Maybe I’m just being a pussy, but the 17ºC sounded a lot better on the boat than in the water! I got used to it pretty quick as soon as I started taking in my surroundings and the huge shoals of fish swaying in and out, and between the structure, sometimes guided by big bursts of current. The sponges covered the steel structure as well as stinging corals. We saw big predatory fish coming in from the blue too, bursts of speed trying to catch out the shoals. We also swam out into the blue with the hope of hearing whale song. We listened, trying not to breath, just letting out little bubbles, it was so hard but I did hear it, but so briefly. I wish it could have been more, the bubbles just made it too difficult. I have heard it loud and clear before, snorkelling the Whitsunday Islands in Australia, when it is loud and clear it is something else.
We done two dives, I thought a little short on time, 30 minutes each, but we were at 30m depth and our guide, the owner Maurice had the dive computer. I am happy to follow his rules, I don’t want the bends! It was a great experience but the only thing missing was the big sea lions. They decided not to come close to us, and the top 5m visibility was not good, although my dive buddy did get to see one, but not me. Never mind, I have the Galapagos to look forward too!
The Diving is very different from the shore and you get to see many small macro life as well as sea turtles. Maybe next time.
The Facts and Figures – Peru Scuba Diving
- Company: Spondylus Dive School – www.buceaenperu.com
- Where: Mancora, Peru (Also office in Punta Sal – 3hrs north of Mancora)
- Dive Sites and Prices: 2 Dives incl. Full Gear and Guide;
- El Ñuro Beach – S/.270
- Los Organos Pier – S/.270
- Playa Vichayito – S/.300
- Oil Rig Platforms – S/300
- Punta Sal Reefs – S/.360 (Punta Sal Office)
- Courses: PADI courses, from Kids & Open Water to Dive Master (Pool at Loki Hostel)
- When: Peru Scuba Diving is All Year Round
- Water Temperature: 18ºC to 24ºC
- Divers Accommodation: Spondylus have their own Beach House too – click!
Alternative Mancora Tours & Operators
There is quite a few places to visit within a few hours of Mancora and all offered with single days trips. The most popular places and activities are;
- Humpback Whale Watching – Pacifico Adventures – www.pacificoadventures.com
- Amotape Hills NP – Treks, Waterfalls and Thermal Springs – www.iguanastrips.com
- Mangales National Sanctuary – Mangrove Wilderness near Tumbes – www.iguanastrips.com or www.pacificoadventures.com
- Water Sports and Adventure – www.quehacerenmancora.com
- Surfing Mancora – Take your pick of the Surf Schools, there are heaps!
- Snorkelling with Turtles @ El Ñuro Pier – hire a snorkel & mask / take a taxi not a tour / pay S/.5 to enter pier / pay another S/.5 if you want to get into the water.