Cave Heaven?

Captain’s log: January 5th 2022

Location: Cabo Verde Islands, Islands of Sal, Palmeira

As we passed the date from Dec 31st 2021 to Jan 1st 2022, entering a new year, this also means setting new goals and in our case, a new dive area to explore.

Looking at the ocean maps that we use for navigation onboard, we can study the coastline and have a serious estimation how the underwater geography looks like. But nothing is better and more satisfying than taking a look underwater ourselves to find out what lives and breaths down there.

Our first dives in 2022, Jan 1st are planned outside the breakwater wall of the bay of Palmeira. A small shallow reef is seen on the ocean maps and so we are ready to explore.

As we set of on this first 2022 dive, we have no expectations and are ready for everything. Armed with our Paralenz Vaquita underwater videocamera, we find a visibility of 10-15mtr (30-45ft) and take some video-footage.

Our first impressions: a lot of fish, both in amount and variety, average size up to 15cm (5inches).

On our first dives, we did not spot any larger species of fish or other marine creatures.

Next on the list, is a dive alongside the outer wall of the island.

This wall drops down from the surface to -18mtr (54ft) and is nicely decorated with Yellow Tree coral and Yellow encrusting Anemone.

The view is both impressing and breathtaking…

As there are no given names to these dive sites, we baptise the new discovered divesites:

Yellow Wall

Mellow Yellow

As we can not find a wreck; “Yellow Submarine” is still unappointed for!

Remarkebly, we can see that the outer wall gives way at the vertical ending near the bottom by having larger sections cut out, creating caves, sea caves.

By our experience, diving multiple sea caves in the red Sea aswell as in Mexico (Cozumel) and the Philipines, sea caves are always nice to explore and often the habitat for turtles and larger ocean creatures to seek shelter in.

As we explore the daylight accessible parts of these sea caves, we are impressed by the size of the multiple caves we encounter.

Time to head back to SY Blowing Bubbles and get our cave divegear out and prepare for some more serious cave diving!

Once finished setting up our gear for some more indepth cave exploration, we return to the outer wall and start exploring the deeper parts of the caves.

All caves are located at the same depth, starting around 18mtr and staying almost horizontal. Some caves go as deep as 200mtr inland, quite worthy the exploration. Several passages, hallways and chambers give living space to multiple inhabitants, some permanent, other just seeking shelter for the day or rather the night.

The more we explore the caves, the more we get impressed by the size of the long stretch of coastline filled with caves. In total we explore 2500meter of coastline filled with sea caves.

The outer parts of the caves, bordering the open water (and catching some daylight) are beautifully decorated with corals, sponches and anemones.

The inner parts are often filled with larger groups of fishes, many of them Monrovia Doctorfish.

In the smaller parts of the caves, there will always be a Long-Spine Porcupine looking out its big eyes…a marvellous encounter, again and again.

This all must be heaven for cavern and cave divers?

After 3 weeks of exploring, we identified a total of 18 different caves alongside the outer wall between Palmeira and Buracona.

At Buracona, even 1 cave ends up in a ‘moon pool’, a pool of water accessible from the surface, so the sunlight (or moonlight) can enter from the surface, lighting up the tunnel from the other side!

But as we did not have the possibility to cover all the distance between these 2 places (5500mtr in total), we are sure that there will be 25+ more sea caves waiting to be explored!

This place is the ideal place to set up a NAUI cave dive centre. The town of Palmeira is super easy accessible from SAL airport (10min away), the airport offering up to 8 flights daily connecting to all major cities of Europe. A great place to set up a business offering many dive possibilities and guess what: there is NO competiton!!

With a rather small boat with limited horsepower, all divesites are accesseble within a few minutes of navigation, saving lots of money on fuel.

And you know what is a super positive point about Cabo Verde: the sun shines 355days a year and the average temperature is 24-26°C, water temperature 22-24°C, making it all together a great place to live and scuba dive!

So, looking for a new place to settle down or start a carreer in scuba diving? This place has so much potential, that you will love it!