Pictures from scuba diving in the Azores: octopus and moray eel near Faial Island.
Octopus in Faial (Entre Montes Bay), in the Azores.
With its natural extraordinary conditions, the Azores can offer a wide range of diving spots. Some of them are world-class sites. Throughout the year, the sea temperature varies ranges from 17º C to 24º C. The visibility of the seas varies according to the time of the year and the specific weather conditions of each day. It is best during the summer months. Visibility can be as deep as 30 meters. The south coasts of the islands have better conditions for diving. When the sea is favorable, the north coast can also be a pleasant diving experience. Depending upon the time of the year, access to some marine reserves may be restricted.
Entre Montes is a very easy dive site at a low depth with rocky and sandy seabeds. It is ideal for night diving. Entre Montes is located in a bay in the southeastern end of Faial Island, near Monte da Guia. Octopus, stingray, cleaver wrasse, wide-eyed flounder, Atlantic lizardfish, striped red mullet, and more are found in Entre Montes. Octopuses move about by crawling or swimming. They feed mainly on crustaceans or gastropods. The color and structure of their skin can change according to their mood and environment.
Other diving spots off Faial Island are Baixa da Feteira, Boca das Caldeirinhas, Gruta e Ilhéu Negro, Princess Alice, and Radares. They range from easy (Entre Montes) to difficult (Princess Alice) sites.
Moray eel (Muraenidae) in the Monte da Guia Cave near Faial Island in the Azores.
There are about 200 species of Moray eels. The longest species reaches up to 4 m (13 ft) while the smallest moray is maximum 11.5 cm (4.5 in) in length. Moray eels live in coral reefs or rocky areas of shallow tropical seas worldwide. They have a long, muscular, and snake-like body. Morays lack scales, caudal, pelvic and pectoral fins, instead they move by flexing their long, continuous dorsal and anal fins.
Moray eels are nocturnal. They feed on other fish and mollusks. They hide among rocks, coral, or eelgrass beds, waiting for prey animals to get near enough to catch them.
There are many diving spots in the Azores. Diving spots off Pico Island are Baixa da Barca, Baixa do Norte, Baixa do Sul, Cachorro, and Ilhéus da Madalena. Diving spots off Sao Miguel are Arcos do Hotel, Dollabarat, Dom João de Castro, lhéu de Vila Franca, Naufrágio Dori, and Panela. Diving spots off Flores Island are Baixa do Morro, Baixa Rasa, Gruta do Galo, Ilhéu do Garajau, and Ponta da Caveira. Diving spots off Santa Maria: Caverna da Maia, Ilhéus das Formigas, João Lopes, Pedrinha, Supermercado dos Badejos, and Tartaruga. Diving spots off Terceira Island : Calheta do Lagador, Cemitério das Âncoras, Cinco Ribeiras, Gruta do Ilhéu das Cabras, and Lidador. Many other diving spots are located off the other islands of the Azores too.
Some of those diving spots are for experienced divers only.