Águilas

The final diving area as you head south along the coast is accessible from the town of Águilas. The town sprawls along the shoreline, with more than 35 sheltered coves, and is watched over by the picturesque San Juan de las Águilas castle-fortress (first constructed in 1579 and then rebuilt in the 18th century). It can trace its origins back to the Palaeolithic age, with other cultures including Argaric, Phoenician, Roman and Muslim also leaving their heritage behind. It became a boom town in the 19th century, with the construction of a railway line and El Hornillo pier by British companies to enable export of silver, lead and iron, but now it is one of Murcia’s main tourist resorts.

There are several dive sites, including off of Isla del Fraile, which can actually be reached from the shore. The dive sites on this island are on the sea-side, and comprise large boulders and rocky reefs offering many crevices and cracks for marine life to hide in, including moray eels, conger eels, lobster and crabs, while shoals of reef fish forage for food. Depths range from 3-30m, making it perfect for all levels of diver. Around Cabo Cope, you can find what amounts to a series of ‘trails’ underwater. One leads from a selection of purpose-sunk wooden fishing boats – the Ana Maria and the Nueva Mi Teresa – to the remnants of a light aircraft, sculptures, various huge anchors and other paraphernalia. Expect plenty of moray eels, nudibranchs, damselfish, grouper and other reef fish. There is also La Cueva de la Virgin, a short cavern dive which brings you up into the shallows on top of the reef – inside there is a shrine with a tile mosaic featuring an image of Mary and her child, which is supposedly good luck for the local fishermen. The second ‘trail’ is the ideal site for those with more experience, as depths range from 24-42m. As well as the reef, you can find shipwrecks including the Montoya, El Sable and Hermanos Mayor, with plenty of grouper, barracuda, dentex and even the occasional sunfish.
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