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Sesimbra is rapidly becoming one of the most popular destinations in Portugal for diving. Contained within the small town are three reputable dive centers all offering training courses through to single dives along the dramatic coastline. Sesimbra's main advantage as a diving location is that the waters of the Atlantic Ocean are very clear.
The ocean is also the main disadvantage, it is always cold (16-17C) with very little variation between the summer and winter months. Within short sailing distance of Sesimbra is an interesting wreck of a cargo ship close to the shoreline and other good natural formations with a diverse selection of cold water marine life.
River Gurara Diving Wreck
One of the main dive sights off the Sesimbra coast is the wreck of the River Gurara, a 170m long Nigerian cargo ship. This site offers two dive locations at different depths, the stern lies at 25m and bow at 30m (further from the coast).
Only experience wreck divers should attempt this site and at a minimum level 2/open water certificates are required. The River Gurara cargo ship sunk 1 mile off Cabo Espichel in February 1989 in bad weather with the loss of 45 sailors. The ship broke into two sections during the sinking and the cargo containers were wash up along the coastline. The coordinates are: 38°24'42"N 9°13'11"W.
Other Dives at Sesimbra
The coast line of Sesimbra offers a range of dives from shallow dives for inexperienced divers at Mar da Pedra which has a dive depth of 19m through to very deep dives of greater than 40m off the coast Cabo Espichel. Generally two areas are visited as dive trips either to the west and Cabo Espichel or to the east and Cabo de Ares. Popular dive locations are:
• Paredes do Cabo is a shallow dive close to the coast of Cabo Espichel with a variety of corals large rocks and views of the River Gurara.
• Ponta da Pombeira an area renowned for its big fish in the western area.
• Baleeira - Calm dive site with large biodiversity of fish, sea fans and octopuses which are very tame and be swam very close to.
• Pedra do Leão (lion rock) and Jardim das Gorgónias to the east of Sesimbra are two sites close together with distinctive rock and cave formation and a calm section with abundant corals giving the name of garden of the sea fans.