Mazarrón

Continuing south from Cartagena and La Azohía, you come to Mazarrón. Set in a wide bay and covering some 35km, there are two main urban centres – the port, and the town capital, some 5km from the coast.

Since it came into being, the name of Mazarrón has been inextricably linked to the mining wealth of its mountain ranges, namely lead, zinc, silver, iron, alum and red ochre. In Phoenician, Punic and Roman times, immense work was carried out in the mines, leaving behind an abundance of archaeological remains, and the Arabs also were attracted to the area for its mineral riches. Its importance rose in the 19th century and early 20th century when iron and galenite were mined, but once the mines were exhausted, Mazarrón developed into an important tourist resort, while simultaneously promoting its seafaring and fishing tradition.

Close to Mazarrón, you can find the weird-and-wonderful Bolnuevo Erosions, bizarre rock formations that have been carved and sculpted by wind and water and resemble something out of a science-fiction movie. Well worth checking out for a photograph.

Dive sites that can be visited from Mazarrón include the underwater mountain ridge known as El Bajo de Emilio o Piedra del Muelle, which covers depths from 14-34m and is home to conger eels, moray eels, dentex, grouper, damselfish and sometimes sunfish.

At the Azores, which as a maximum depth of 42m, divers can encounter bigger marine life, including grouper, barracuda, moray eels, lobster and tuna.

Sitting in a maximum depth of 35m, and rising to within 28m of the surface, divers can explore the Nalon, a Spanish Navy minesweeper that was sunk as an artificial reef on 6 June 1999 in the Bay of Mazarrón. Measuring some 44 metres in length, the vessel ended up on the bottom in an upright orientation, but it is deteriorating to the extent that it is not recommended to venture inside anymore.

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