This dive, also called “La Esquinita”, is highly appreciated by divers with autonomous equipment and by free divers.
The dive usually begins in the westernmost area of Cantarriján beach, sailing to the west. We are in the provincial limit between Malaga and Granada, so most of the immersion takes place in Malaga waters. The maximum depth is 9 m but several caves exist at this depth that shelter species of deeper levels such as gorgonians, forkbeards, etc. In addition, this area has a great diversity of sea bottoms, from rocky, to the fine sand and silt bottoms. The existence of a phanerogams prairies nearby also favors the presence of an important diversity of species.
Sailing to the west from the beach, going beyond the ledge “Cerro del Sol” ends, we begin to immerse and swift we will observe a large number of fish and invertebrate species. Anemones, lots of spirographs rocking their tufts in search of food, a multitude of nudibranchs and several species of gorgonians can make this dive very interesting from a biological point of view. During the route we can find several crevices frequently occupied by some forkbeard, conger or other species of similar habits.
We will be struck by the presence of a truck wheel that is quite covered by algae and animal organisms, but it will be advisable to leave it as it is since it serves as a refuge for various species. Shortly after we will arrive at the first cave, which many divers insist on diving inside although it is not recommended due to the fragility and delicacy of the species present in the environment, which can be damaged. After crossing a small door, we would reach a vaulted room about 15 m wide, and about 5 m deep. A large part of the cave’s roof is covered by orange coral, and among its polyps there are slipper lobsters (Scyllarus arctus) and some sea snails (Cypraea lurida = Luira lurda). In its walls there are numerous gaps in which lively colored shrimps and prawns hide. We could also frequently find some conger, forkbeard, torpedo ray and even a lobster that inhabited this cave for a long time, although their encounter would always be brief since it is extremely shy and elusive.
After the first cave, diving to the west, we will encounter a kind of inverted and deep “V” on the cliff that leaves two converging walls and a multitude of holes inside. The walls are occupied by various species, among which tuberous worms such as spirographs and serpulids stand out, and their numerous holes serve as a refuge for groupers and morays. This cave also requires caution to avoid damaging the species, so please do not enter more than necessary. It will be enough to look inside from the entrance.
In the hollows it is frequent to find shrimps, congers, forkbeards, some trigger fish and other species of rocky bottoms. If we look at the wall towards the surface, with sufficient visibility it will be easy to find several species of sea breams such as Diplodus sargus and Sarpa salpa, or other species searching among the algae exposed to currents and waves. In the sandy area, we can observe some flat fish and striped red mullet of considerable size, and with luck we can find sand congers.
Following the cliff we will find a third cave with a smaller entrance and it sometimes serves as a refuge for some grouper. In this cave, it is more notorious the presence of fresh water from the adjacent mountain range. This phenomenon of mixing freshwater with seawater may be responsible for the diversity of species present in the area that are not observed elsewhere in the coast. After this third cave we can diver around large rocks and sands until we have consumed a third of our bottle, at which time we must begin the return.
With luck we can find some squids that come to the area to lay their eggs, a show that will undoubtedly leave us amazed.
Start in the vicinity of the beach or right at the tip, diving in N-W direction. Visit the caves to observe biodiversity (do not enter). Dive the bottom bordering the cliff on the limit between sand and rocks. Return in the opposite direction once consumed 1/3 of the bottle.
Access by boat only. Access by road: from Mediterranean motorway (Autopista del Mediterráneo) A-7, take the exit 305 and later the National road N-340 towards Nerja-Málaga (if we travel from Granada). Restricted access to the beach for vehicles in high season (June-September).
Caves with great marine diversity.
Communities and Species. Sea-fans, spirographs, nudibranchs, orange coral, forkbeards, congers, sea snails (Cypraea lurida), shrimps, lobster, groupers, morays, trigger fish, squid.
A diving permit is required to dive in “Paraje Natural Acantilados de Maro-Cerro Gordo”. You can make the immersion through the dive centres that have the required permission or independently requesting the “autorización para la realización de actividades de uso público, turismo activo y ecoturismo en Parajes Naturales ” to the Territorial Delegation of the Ministry of Granada.
No more precautions need to be taken than normally adopted. The dive has a low difficulty level, with a maximum wind force of 4 (Beaufort scale) of moderate breeze, and depth is not considered dangerous.