Diving in the Basque Country

The Basque Country, or País Vasco in Spanish, is an autonomous community in northern Spain. It includes the Basque provinces of Álava, Gipuzkoa, Biscay, with its bay bordering the northeast Atlantic Ocean, and to the south of the Celtic Sea. Its rich and varied terrestrial landscape forms many valleys with terse rivers which flow from the Basque mountains to the Bay of Biscay. The Basque coast, though beautiful in its uniqueness, is rather rugged, with high cliffs, small inlets and many beaches. This drama is also represented under the water’s surface, with exciting rocky dive sites to explore. The Bay of Biscay is home to some of the Atlantic Ocean’s ferocious weather, with abnormally high waves especially during the winter. However, the Gulf Stream entering the bay keeps water temperatures moderate all year long, averaging at about 16C, and 22C in August. The cooler waters of the Atlantic make diving and conditions challenging in places. However, even the most inexperienced of divers will be able to brave the choppy and shallow waters along the small inlets and coves. Diving is best during the summer months, especially in July and August, while conditions can be dangerous during the winter, the more experienced and technical diver should not be put off.

Dive Sites in Basque Country

Aquatic Life in Basque Country

Although rather different to the warm Mediterranean, the cool dark waters of the Spanish Atlantic offer a variety of underwater sea life to soak up. The bay is mainly dominated by sardine, anchovy, mackerel, whiting and blue-whiting, as well as skates. Additionally, the northern Spanish waters are frequented by both blue and great white sharks, and the occasional orcas (killer whales), however these underwater species inhabit the continental slope and the deeper parts of the bay. The underwater landscape is diverse, and boast a mixture of features, including caves, canyons, and seamounts, as well as beds of sea grass and maërl, kelp forests, coral and fields of gorgonian, and of course reefs.