Arriving in Natal, I hadn't really planned on going diving. It was just another beach town stop on my trip of Brazil. However, there seemed to be a place called Maracajaú up the coast which companies ran snorkelling trips to, so it seemed worth a look. Typing "Natal" and "mergulho" into Google brought up some promising looking options, so I went to the front desk of Republika Backpackers and asked if they could phone for me as my Portuguese really isn't up to phone calls.
There were some dive trips to Maracajaú but it didn't sound like I really wanted to go there as it's very shallow and they only run 4m try dives there. Caju Divers seemed a better option and they agreed to pick me up the following day at 7.40am.
|Punta Negra, Natal|
The first site was just over 18m. The viz was about 15m and the bottom composition was rocky. There wasn't much in the way of coral, just the odd patch here and there, but there were colourful sponges and plenty of fish life. Shoals of grunts and snapper swam around, as did a shoal of Atlantic spadefish. There were blue tangs, some other surgeon fish, queen angel fish, porcupine fish, orange file fish, soldier fish and several that looked distincly familiar from my plate previously in Venezuela. In amongst the cracks, it was possible to see an octopus and three different species of moray. We'd been promised a dive time of 35 minutes, but people were better on their air than that, so it wa 50 mins before I surfaced. It was a nice dive, not spectacular, but plenty of fish life, 28C water, you can't really complain.
At 35 mins, the surface interval was a bit short but the second site was only 13m. It was similar to to first though the rocks had more holes in them for marine life to hide and there were probably more fish in general. There were also several lobsters in holes, two nurse sharks hiding under rocks as they do in the day and a green turtle that hung around for quite a while. So a better dive, though it was a bit shorter at around 40 mins.
|Punta Negra, Natal|