Diving the Columbretes Islands
Updated: Dec 30, 2021
As I looked out the window of the plane I boarded from Menorca last year, as we got near the Valencian coast, I spotted some Islands with many boats roaming around. These islands were not familiar to me. I later googled the rest of the Balearic Islands but none of them were the same size and shape as the ones I had seen. I also did a manual search to spot any islands on Google Maps with satellite view, but found nothing!
Later on that year, I was reading an article on the “Best Places to Scuba Dive in Spain”, and one of the places on the list was the Columbretes Islands. I had never heard of these before! A quick google search now made me realise these were in fact the Islands I had seen from the plane! … Bingo!
I later found out that diving was by day trips from Castellon de la Plana in mainland Spain. The trip took 2.5 hours each way and they conducted two dives at the Columbretes Islands.
I found some days off from my work shift recently, and I booked and headed for Castellon this summer. But just when I had arrived at settled into the hotel, I received and email from the Dive Centre, that the day trip the next day was cancelled due to bad weather! Obviously I wasn’t happy at all, after having to drive for 9 hours from Gibraltar and paying for an extra night in the hotel for a cancelled daytrip. Anyways I decided to stay and look forward to the 2nd day of 3 day trips I had booked.
I arrived at the Dive Centre early that morning and all looked promising to leave the port and head to the Islands. It was a bit choppy along the way, but I have seen far worse conditions before. Some of the clients became seasick! About half way to the Islands, we get told by the Captain that he was turning around due to bad weather conditions again, and that the forecast for later that day was expecting worsening conditions! I didn’t believe any of it, I’m sure it was due to the seasick clients! As you can imagine I was fuming!
People don’t realise how difficult arranging a dive trip can be. Sometimes you book hard to get to remote places miles and miles away from home, with thousands of pounds in travel costs, just to not be able to dive, either cause of bad weather or medical issues such as just the common cold! These are things that don’t really affect land travellers!
It was now my 3rd and last try in Castellon to dive the Islands, and quite frankly I had no intentions to try again if this time it didn’t go ahead, it wasn’t just round the corner from home to get to! The sea was this time flat, and looked quite promising! And indeed we made it to the Islands… third time lucky as they say!
Our first dive was off one of the further away Islands, with clear visibility and a lot of marine life to see. The second dive was off the main island. Here many boats are moored inside the sheltered bay that the volcanic Island forms. The Columbretes Islands is a strictly controlled Marine & Nature Reserve Area, and Park Wardens live on the main island, taking it in turns to swop every couple of days. One of them boarded our boat to check all documentation was in order. Not anyone can just turn up to dive off the Islands, certain permits and certifications and experience is required. They even documented how many cameras and flash lights or torches where on board, to collect data for Marine research on the effect these may have on the Marine Life here!
Overall two out of a possible six dives took place on my summer getaway to the Islas Columbretes, which is a shame! I don’t see myself coming back here again.
Below is a link to a video I put together on my two dives at the Columbretes Islands: