Volcanic oceanic islands emerge from the bottom of the ocean floor and grow until they break the surface of the water. Most often than not, only a small part of the volcanic structure is above sea level, and the vast majority of it remains submerged. This means that there are countless geological structures that are open to exploration to scuba divers--that is as long as they remain within recreational scuba depth limits. The UNESCO Global Geopark of Lanzarote has steep underwater cliffs that are located close to the coast that drop steeply to depths as deep as 200 metres before meeting the shelves that join the different islands within the Canary Islands archipelago. These depths and their proximity to the coast make Lanzarote an ideal location for freediving events.Lanzarote has a total of 19 designated underwater geosites (sites of geological interest). One of them, the littoral shelf (Geosite LZ48) just off Puerto del Carmen is easily accessible to scuba divers as the town is one of the main tourist areas in Lanzarote. There is also a huge selection of licensed dive operators to choose from in the vicinity that provide competent divemasters as well as well-maintained equipment, but unfortunately not much information regarding the geology and the history of the volcanic structures.
Interactive Location Map
The Puerto del Carmen geosite was formed by submerged lava flows that were sculpted by coastal erosion when the sea level was lower. The forms that were shaped range from columns and monoliths, to tubes and caves. One such cave is referred to as 'La Catedral' (The Cathedral), but this site is probably more known for its large denizen than its large cave structure. As divers swim up to the cave, a curious dusky grouper (Epinephelus marginatus) called Felix will sometimes approach and accompany them inside, almost as if he is showing them around his grand abode. We know that large dusky groupers are all male, as they, like many other fish species, are protogynous hermaphrodites and are always born female. As they grow older and larger, they develop into males. Dusky groupers are solitary fish that prey on molluscs and crustaceans, which makes La Catedral a perfect home for Felix as there are plenty of crustaceans hidden in nooks and crannies within the vertical walls of the cave.
Much further away, at the southern tip of Lanzarote, lies a collection of forms that were shaped by completely different means. The site is Europe's first underwater museum, 'Museo Atlántico' (English : Atlantico Museum), and is located in a sheltered area in Bahía de Las Coloradas which requires a boat (usually from Marina Rubicon ) to get to. The museum contains over 300 pH-neutral sculptures that have been laid 15 metres deep in order to create an artificial reef. The sculptures, some that were molded from actual residents of Lanzarote, are supposed to illustrate "the dialogue between past and present and the divisions within society", with a focus on Europe's refugee crisis that dominated the news in 2015-2016. The artist, Jason deCaires Taylor, has said that it is a tribute to the refugees whose "dreams and hopes remain at the bottom of the sea".
'The Raft of Lampedusa'
'Crossing The Rubicón' / 'The Portal'
'The Human Gyre'