Diving Costa Brava Spain: The Medes Islands, L’Estartit
Scuba diving Costa Brava...the protected Medes Islands marine reserve
The Medes Islands (Isle de Medes) are an archipelago of several islets covering one nautical mile of sea, just off the coastline of L’Estartit on the Costa Brava, offering some of the best scuba diving in Spain. They are considered a top Mediterranean dive spot.
Jacques Cousteau came to the Isle de Medes in 1955 to document the marine life, and noted that preservation of it’s rich ecosystem was essential.
Thankfully, the Islands were made a marine nature reserve in 1990 protecting not only the islets themselves but also the sea below.
This marine reserve protection has allowed the sea life here to grow and grow. Not only can you see a vast array of creatures (see the list on our diving homepage), but you can also swim through a cave guarded by a statue of a dolphin!
Due to its protected status and popularity as a scuba diving area, many of the fish at the Medes Islands are tame (we have been approached by a friendly grouper on several occasions).
The visibility is normally very good, but after heavy rainfall visibility can be reduced, as the River Ter enters the Med in L’Estartit (about 1km from the Medes Islands), and carries quite a bit of silt from in land.
Diving Costa Brava: Medes Islands - Level of Diver Experience Required
The Medes Islands offer something for all levels of diver, with depths up to 50 metres, drop-offs and caves.
Diving Costa Brava: Medes Islands - The Dives
Pedra de Deu - A wall dive with depths of 12 - 35 metres. On this dive you are likely to spot red coral, eel and lobster.
Cow Cave (Cova de la Vaca) - A shallow cave (well actually it’s a tunnel) with an entrance at a depth of 14 metres, extending to a depth of 20 metres further in to the cave. Because it is actually a tunnel you get that amazing light as you near the end, where it seems like you are in an underwater cathedral and sun light is pouring in through the stain glass windows. In the cave you will find red coral, scorpion fish, octopus and plenty of grouper.
Dolphin Cave (Cova de la Dofi) - A deep, wide cave dive (again, it’s actually a tunnel), with a dolphin statue at its entrance. In here you will find corals, moray eels, groupers, lobster and shoals of bream.
Bernat - A circuit dive around the islands, along the sea bed. The maximum depth is 25 metres. There is plenty of marine life to spot on this dive, including massive grouper, eagle rays, schools of bream, barracuda and perhaps even a dolphin or sunfish.
Dive: The Medes Island Secret
The Medes Islands are so wonderful that they have even inspired a Wii computer game...
“It was in the Great Medes Monastery, in 1412, where Martin I “The Human”, leader of an Order of the Temple and long-time resident of the island, was buried. The secrets of the Order were also buried with him, where they would be sealed in the same crypt and kept through the centuries. But two hundred years later, an earthquake split the island in two and the crypt disappeared into the depths of the Mediterranean Sea.”
This is the start of the story that will take John Sanders, the hero, on an adventure through the 10 levels that make up the game “DIVE: The Medes Islands Secret”, a Platform/Action game that is rooted on the Medes Islands, a fantastic protected natural landscape located at the heart of the Costa Brava in Catalonia, Spain.
Dive: The Medes Islands Secret recreates underwater scenes from 10 different real locations from around the world (including another Costa Brava diving site: Cap de Creus), with large levels filled with enemies, mazes, dangers and treasures. It contains an economic system that will enable players to exchange or upgrade their diving equipment, which is required to reach the deepest mysteries.
Watch the Diving Medes Islands trailer...
Diving Costa Brava: Medes Islands - L’Estartit Dive Schools
There are several dive schools in L’Estartit that dive the Medes Islands. However, because the Medes Islands are a nature reserve, the number of daily dives permitted is around five hundred.
There is also a diving tax (often included in the price of the dive).
If You Don’t Fancy Getting Wet...
You can also visit the Medes Islands by glass bottom boat from L’Estartit Marina.
You can even walk on the Medes islands BUT only once a year and only if the sea is calm...during the Festival of Pirates. We have yet to make it there ourselves as we have been thwarted by rough sea every time. We are determined to do it though and will let you know what it is like when we do.
Diving Costa Brava - More Dive Sites...
There are other fantastic sites for diving on the Costa Brava. Please follow the links for details...