Diving Formigas islets, Azores

Formigas islets (Ilheus das Formigas) is a small group of islands of just 170 meters long and less than 15 meters at its highest point. They are lost in the Atlantic Ocean, 1.5 hours by boat from Santa Maria. These islands, a marine reserve, provides access to a seamount of great interest to divers: Dollabarat bank. This bank receives strong currents and can only be dived when the sea is in good condition and it is recommended only for experienced divers. It is different from other seamount in the Azores archipelago, having several plateaus and pinnacles between 5 and 20 meters down to depths of more than 40.

schools of carangidae
Large schools of carangidae are quite common at Islets of Formigas. Image PacificKlaus

Its high visibility gives us a very beautiful panoramic of mobulas and other pelagic species as Galapagos sharks, schools of tuna, gigantic oceanic manta rays and you can even get to see hammerhead sharks. Along the walls and mounds there are also remarkable examples of typical fauna of the Atlantic Ocean as groupers, pollacks or wrasses.

gigantic oceanic mantas
During summer gigantic oceanic mantas arrive to Dollabarat bank. Image jome jome

In Formigas Islets there are also interesting dive sites where mobulas show up. You can also dive into the «Olympia» wreck and enjoy the excellent visibility to see marvelous schools of gray triggerfish. One of the most interesting aspects of these islands is the possibility of deep diving through walls reaching down to 70 meters deep. Through these walls filled with cavities you’ll see moray eels, ornate wrasses and even beautiful black coral formations.

But certainly the greatest show the islands provide is the chance to dive with pelagic creatures, from the smallest to the largest, in schools or in solitary, all over a blue background with more than  50 meters of visibility.

Where are the Formigas islets?

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