Next time you want to take a look at the bottom of the ocean, you might want to give it a go at some of the better seascapes of Europe by scuba diving in Portugal. But, like in all matters concerning scuba diving, safety should be your number one concern, so thankfully we now live in a world where smartwatches and smartphones can help us out. And the latest version of Subsurface, by Linus Torvalds, is just out.
An app to track your dive
If the name sounds familiar to you, that's because Linus Torvalds was the creator of the Linux Kernel that would one day be the source of not only Linux, but also Chrome OS and Android. But besides being an avid programer, Linux is also a keen scuba diver, and that's why he undertook the task of writing Subsurface, an open source dive log software.
Subsurface, currently in version 4.5.1., can track single and multi-tank dives using air, Nitrox ou TriMix, but it also allows you to track your diving location through GPS, indicate the equipment you used and who was diving with you. The software will work with most dive computers from the main brands, including Cressi, Citizen, Mares or Suunto.
Why come scuba dive in Portugal
The Berlengas Archipelago is one of the top places to come scuba diving in Portugal. Located just a few kilometres off Peniche, the Great Berlenga is a natural park and the deep blue waters around the islands offer visibility up to 30 meters, which is the most you'll get anywhere in the mainland. Divers enjoy the multitude of species you can find in the area, and to top it all, the life ashore is also calm and relaxing. If you are out of the water, there's a lot you can do to enjoy your stay, particularly if you enjoy the great outdoors inland.
The many underwater caves are certainly a highlight, making the area around Peniche one of the best to dive in the whole mainland, if you want to swim away with the kind of photographs that will last you a lifetime.
Still around Peniche, there are plenty of other locations for those looking to come scuba diving in Portugal. Cova do Sono is very shallow, with a depth of 12m at the most, but being a protected bay, it's very easy to dive and offers a relaxing dive that is a favourite among macro photography fans. If you're looking for more challenging dives, then Vapor do Trigo is your place to go, but there's also Baleal where you can find the wreck of the Leven, a steamer sunk near Christmas 1905, in what the court of inquiry would determine to have been an error from her master.
Sesimbra and the Algarve have other points of interest in a country that, with over 1000Km of coast lines, offers plenty of diving opportunities.
If you want warmer and clearer waters you can go to the Azores which is the home of amazing fauna and flora, with many international magazines about nature and sports having at some time featured photos taken in the crystal blue waters of the archipelago.
For anyone scuba diving in Portugal, the country offers very good conditions for amateurs and pros alike. A large portion of its coastal line has clean water certification, meaning you will find healthy waters to dive into. Temperatures are some of the best the whole year around, rarely below 10ºC and allowing for more relaxed swims in thin wetsuits our semi dry suits as you move to the south of the country, even if it's winter time, when other locations are already too cold for you.
With a strong connection with the sea since the age of discoveries in the 15th century, Portugal is well aware of the potential its shores have for watersports and has become a surf Mecca in Europe, with main legs of the international championship tours frequently stopping by. The communities nearby have adapted well to the visitors and, as such, a lot of support structures exist that will make you stay quite more agreeable.
To come scuba diving in Portugal, just make sure you pack all you need and remind yourself to stay safe.