La Manga

La Manga is situated in the south-east corner of Murcia (Spain). It is a narrow 20km long strip which runs roughly north- south. To the west of La Manga - between the strip itself and the mainland - lies the salt water lagoon of the Mar Menor. To the east lies the Mediterranean. With water temperatures of 26-28C in July and August, abundant marine life and good visibility, La Manga is a great place for diving and snorkelling.

The Mediteranean coast of La Manga features islands and submerged pinnacles of volcanic rock. There are also vast prairies of Neptune grass (Posidonia Oceanica) which provide food and shelter for all shapes and sizes of marine life.

Main boat dive sites are La Laja, El Farallon and Isla Grosa to the north of the strip, Islas Hormigas Marine Reserve to the south and a selection of wrecks including Naranjito, Turia, Ulla, Carbonero moving from south to north. Shore diving is also popular in the area - usually from Calas Correo, Fria and Reona near Cabo de Palos. Please note, individual permits are required to dive the Islas Hormigas marine reserve. These can be arranged in advance by dive centres in the La Manga area.

The geography of the area means you can usually find somewhere sheltered to dive in winds from the South, West or North. A fresh - force 4/5 upwards - Levante (East wind) can be a problem for any of the dive sites and can affect visibility for a day or two afterwards.

Currents are not usually a problem for the more northerly sites. Sites to the south - Islas Hormigas marine reserve and the wreck of the Naranjito - are exposed to strong currents from time to time.

Marine life is typically Mediterranean. The usual suspects of Damselfish, Cardinal fish, Bass, Bream (salpe, white, two banded, gilthead, saddled, etc), Wrasse (again many types), Dentex, Moray Eels, Blennies are almost always seen on dives in La Manga. Octopus are fairly common on all dive sites. Grouper and Barracuda are frequently seen - Islas Hormigas is best for the larger specimens and schools of Barracuda. La Manga is also good for nudibranchs (large and small), fan mussels, sponges, soft corals and sea fans.

This story is courtesy of La Manga Dive School

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