Home > Ecuador > A fascinating diving adventure in Ecuador´s Central Coast

A fascinating diving adventure in Ecuador´s Central Coast

April 7, 2012

We leave the comfortable coastal lodge where we had spent the night and head on towards the south, with the blue Pacific Ocean escorting us to our right hand side and the coastal flatlands to our left… It is one of those typical sunny days of March and the vegetation, most of the year rather dry and arid, looks unusually green due to the recent rains which periodically occur around this time of the year in the area. The yellow flowers of the “muyuyo” plants and the beautifully leafy “palo santo” trees provide a sharp contrast with the sparkling white coralline beaches and the deep blue of the ocean…
Michel, Walter, Ivan and I are off for a diving outing in one of Ecuador’s central coastline’s best diving places.  Going past a few fishing villages, we reach Salango, a quaint coastal town which boasts a small but well laid out archaeological museum, rich in collections of objects from some of Ecuador’s most ancient cultures which established along the country’s coast several thousands of years ago.  A short stroll around the village is just the prelude to boarding a motorized canoe, hired from a local fisherman, who takes us on a fifteen minute ride to the islet of Salango, located right across the village and a natural beacon to its harbor. The island was a ceremonial place for the millenary Manteño culture and its “Salangome Lordship”.  The island is home to blue footed boobies, Nazca boobies and pelicans which thrive on the nutrient rich waters which surround the islet. A short tour around Salango Island terminates positioning us on the relatively sheltered northern shore of the isle.
We get onto our shortie wet suits (it is the warm season and the waters are expected to be a pleasant 25-27 Celsius degrees in temperature).  Michel is our leading dive master and we follow his instructions, making sure that our equipment is working well, the back-up systems are in place and functioning; we rehearse the underwater signals and we receive a short briefing about the dive, just about to start.  Right after, a series of splashes bring us into the sea and we start progressively descending to a relatively shallow 12 feet of depth, bringing us right into the “Parcela Acuàtica” or “Water Parcel”, an idyllic natural aquarium, surrounded by coral reefs.
As we slowly drift-dive following the gentle current, we begin getting immersed in the fascinating underwater world: myriads of brightly colored green and metal-blue parrot-fishes, yellow tailed surgeon fishes, the amazingly pretty king-angel fishes and large schools of rainbow wrasses are just some of the creatures to catch our attention.  Sea fans, sea stars and pretty heads of yellow cup coral give the perfect touch to this natural aquarium.  A small school of spotted eagle-rays bring more admiration and camera clicks to our submarine expedition, further enhanced by the presence of two sea-turtles idly swimming with seemingly no fixed direction.  They look at us with apparent curiosity and fearlessly continue on with their slow motion navigation. As we drift with a due-west course, keeping the same depth, as we follow the rich and semi-tropical marine platform which sustains the Salango Islet; we find a perfect underwater garden, complete with moray eels, scurrying octopuses and, of course, more schools of colorful tropical and subtropical fishes.
The submarine outing wasn’t meant to be a major marine adventure… Instead, it was a pleasantly soft adventure, to demonstrate that along the Ecuadorian coast there are several locations with the perfect conditions for beginners’ diving experiences, yet rich in fascinating marine encounters and colorful fish life…. We spend about an hour exploring the Marine Parcel, before emerging back to our boat, greatly satisfied with having seen a beautiful marine garden, just fifteen minutes off-shore from Ecuador’s central coast……

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