Diving Tercera Island, Azores

Ornate wrasse (Thalassoma pavo)
Ornate wrasse (Thalassoma pavo), very present in Terceira island diving spots. Pic by cquintin

Terceira, the mauve island, is an island belonging to the Azores archipelago with great significance in the history of Portugal and recognized bravery for its strong defense against the troops of Philip II which was given the name of «Angra do Heroismo» to its capital. This island was also vital for the Portuguese empire era and divers can corroborate that role on its Underwater Archaeological Park.

In this park you will have access to one of its most important diving spots «Cementério das Âncoras», which is an anchor graveyard where you can dive through 40 anchors, some of them sunk over 300 years. This is a classic diving point in Terceira that also has moray eels, sea bream fishes, groupers or black rays.

In Terceira you can also find wrecks like the «Lidador», a 78 meters steamship sunk in 1878. Still with well-preserved remains, especially in the bow, which have been colonized by large numbers of nudibranchs, sea bream fish, octopus, groupers or curious gray triggerfish.

Black ray
Black rays are very common in Terceira diving spots. Image of Philippe Guillaume

A highly demanded dive in Terceira is «Fradinhos», just 20 minutes by boat from Angra do Heroismo that, although it requires some experience because of its depths and currents, it is worth the visit because of the great abundance of species: large groupers, pollacks and even black coral from 30 meters deep. And you should always keep an eye on the blue, where very interesting pelagic creatures can show up: schools of barracuda, carangidae and even mobulas are often spotted.

Like most of the islands of the Azores archipelago, Terceira also has great dives where the main interests are the rock formations, reminiscent of his volcanic activity. In «Arcadas do Judeo», 15 minutes by boat from the capital of the island, where between vertical walls and small caves you can have an overview of the typical life of Azores like moray eels, groupers, wrasse or different parrot fish. Here one of the most curious places is a formation that looks like a giant staircase carved by man. Other dives where rock formations stand out are the «Gruta do Ilhéu das Cabras» and especially «Gruta dos Ratões» where you can find lots of black and eagle rays specially during summer.

Aetobatus narinari eagle ray
These eagle rays (Aetobatus narinari) are common inhabitants of the «Gruta dos Ratões» during summer. Pic by jome jome

Terceira Island is also well known for its natural pools where you can make a surprising dive, «Cinco Ribeiras», which leads to a complex of small underwater caves and halls full of rays, wrasse or colorfull anthias.

Where is Isla Terceira?

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