Madeira Diving Sites

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The beautiful, mountainous island of Madeira has a lovely sub tropical climate and with lush vegetation and spectacular flowers it has been described as a 'floating garden'. It is located in the clear waters of the Atlantic and, thanks to the warmth of the gulf stream, water temperatures range from 22ºC (72ºF) in summer to 16ºC (61ºF) in winter. Diving is possible all year round.

Most diving places in Madeira are on the southeast coast between Funchal and Canical Visibility is normally good but can be reduced significantly following winter storms. The rocky nature of the coastline means that many sites can only be accessed by boat.


Club Naval. Numerous canyons at a maximum depth of 25 meters. Smooth down to 12m and then vertically until 24m down. There is an abundance of aquatic life such as Morays,  Parrotfish and Barracudas.

Canico. The rocky coastline here offers the possibility of entering a cave and boasts a wide variety of sea life including arrow head crabs, pipe fish, moray eels, cuttle fish, grouper and shrimps.

Monastery Reef. Is a 300m long reef with depths of 17m - 36m, offering colorful dives.

Marine Reserve in Garajau. The single marine reserve is at Garajau, near Canico on the southern tip of the island. Diveable from the shore or by boat, one of the major attractions of this site is the possibility of meeting one of the large, tame groupers that live here and are attracted by divers' bubbles. Away from the shore, large shoals of fish can be seen and there is the possibility of sighting a manta ray.

T-Reef. Also near Garajau is the T-Reef with its 12-30 meter pinnacles offering excellent views with schools of barracudas, moray eels and manta rays.

Reis Magos. Wonderful place for night diving, this reef has at its end a large variety of sea night life.

Shore diving is possible in this area at the eastern side of Machico Bay. Further offshore, Baixa da Cruz boasts a reef from 4 - 38 meters planted with black coral.

Canical. Canical at the east of the island offers shore diving with numerous colorful anenomes, urchins and star fish. There are many caves in this area with conger and moray eels and the chance to see rays.

Ponta de Sao. In the summertime, visibility can reach 50 meters at sites around the eastern tip of the island.

Porto Santo.
There is more that 20 diving sites in Porto Santo with depths ranging from 15-20 meters to more than 50 meters for advanced divers. Visibility is normally above 20 meters and often as much as 30 meters. Sites include a 70 m long purposely sunk transport ship close to the dive center.

Selvagen Islands. These islands lie about 165 nautical mile south of Madeira Island and are classified as nature reserves under Net Natura 2000. True to their name the islands are still wild and free- two Madeira Natural Park wardens are the only permanent human inhabitants. Their isolated location has ensured that humans have had little impact on them so the Selvagens Islands remain a haven for marine life, flora and fauna. Jacques Costeau declared these islands one of the best spots in the world for diving thanks to their crystal clear waters, high visibility and abundant fish life

Shipwrecks. There are a number of shipwrecks around Madeira, both natural and artificial, including the Bowbelle, infamously remembered as being involved in the accident in which the Marchioness pleasure boat sank in the Thames in 1989 with the loss of 51 lives. Following the accident the boat was sold to a Madeiran company and renamed the Bom Rei. During routine dredging operations, the Bom Rei sank in 32 meters of water about 45 minutes by boat from Funchal and now forms one of the most popular dive sites on the island. As well as viewing the wreck, sea life is also in evidence with groupers and eels making the site their home. Another wreck is the Madeirense which in 2000 became the first and, as yet, only ship in Portugal to be purposely sunk to create an artificial reef for divers.

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