The Diving

Introduction

Our PADI 5*IDC Resort is based in Golfe Juan. A half hour from Nice, we are nestled between between Antibes/Juan Les Pins and Cannes.  This gives you access to some of the best dive sites on the Cote d’Azur. The principal dive zones are the islands around Cannes (Les Iles de Lerins), the Cap d’Antibes and La Fourmigue. You can Discover Scuba Diving, learn to dive and continue your dive education with us.

The quality of diving is of a high standard.  Stunning visibility, amazing wrecks and thriving eco-systems all combine to create a great dive destination which is often overlooked in the UK. When combined with the beauty of the surroundings and the quality of food and wine you are onto a winner.

Our clients are often extremely pleasantly surprised regarding the richness and diversity of life, particularly more experienced divers who have experience diving in other areas of the Mediterranean.

At our home base in Golfe Juan the diving consists of caverns, shallow plateaux, swim-throughs, canyons, gulleys, deep pinnacles and vertical drop-offs. Topography is spectacular. The great advantage here is that many of the sites can accommodate complete beginners through to the most confident and experienced of divers.

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The dive sites

Golfe Juan (the name of the town and the bay) is host to three main zones of dives sites : La Fourmigue, Les Iles de Lerins and the Cap d’Antibes itself.

La Fourmigue

This is a large rock formation that stretches over several hundred metres and is marked by a small lighthouse which is a notable feature of Golfe Juan. An interesting and historical dive site can be found just North of the light. This site is home to an underwater village built in the late sixties. The village, recently renovated/completely reconstructed courtesy of our former neighbours, CIP Golfe Juan, is situated at a depth of around 15m in what amounts to an “underwater valley”. The new improved version is larger than the original and includes a Roman amphitheatre, church, and bridges.

The light also marks a group of rocks known as L’Enfer de Dante (named after Dante’s Inferno), truly a spectacular dive site. These are a number of pinnacles which rise up to just 15m the surface and drop off to depths of 55m and beyond. This site is extremely rich in Gorgonian Fans, soft coral and schooling fish.

To the south lies a small cave known as the Grotte de Miro (it once held a sculpture of the Goddess of the Sea by the artist Miro). In the 1980’s this was replaced by a statue of Commandant Yves Le Prieur, inventor of the first self-contained regulator, and co-founder of the first ever leisure diving club in 1938 (St Raphael and Paris). The cave has three exits and is located at the bottom of the rock at about 18m. It is carpeted in colourful sponges and soft corals. The top of the rock is awesome for macro photography with multiple species of Nudibranch, Blenny and Scorpionfish in abundance.

Cap D’Antibes and Les Iles de Lerins (islands in front of Cannes)

Other highlights and areas rich in dive sites in this area are the Cap D’Antibes and Les Iles De Lerins (Saint Honorat and Sainte Marguerite).

The Cap D’Antibes is home to at least half a dozen sites, again all suitable to a wide range of ability levels. A couple of the most known sites are Rascoui and Le Grand Boule.

There are at least three or four recognised dive sites to be found on the landward side of Ile de Sainte Marguerite including “Le Vengeur”, “La Tour Espagnole” and “La Convention”. These are all wall dives ranging in depth from shallow (4m) to 40 metres and above.

Finally there is an interesting little wreck in the Bay, Le Robuste 2, lying at a depth of 26m that is home to a large number of congers and morays.

 

Visibility

One of the most obvious differences for divers used to the waters of the Atlantic, Channel or inland sites is the visibility. 30 metre visibility is not unheard of for Cote D’Azur diving, so it can be certainly said to provide a strong contrast to diving in UK waters. Anything from 10-15 metres is usually considered below average.

On the best days the viz rivals and even betters many tropical destinations.

 

Marine Life

What will you see? A common misconception is that the French Med is “fished out”.  This is a long way from the truth and having dived along the coast regularly since 2004 we can say definitively that Cote d’Azur marine life populations are at a good level and on the rise.  A very good example of this is the Mediterranean Grouper, arguably the most emblematic species of this part of the Med (Latin name, Epinephelus Marginatus), that nearly become extinct in the 1980’s, but is now a protected species.  Depending on the time of year that you choose to dive with us, among the highlights you might see are:

  • Barracuda
  • Grouper
  • Sunfish
  • Lobster
  • Crayfish
  • Moray eels and cleaner shrimps
  • Conger eels
  • Cuttlefish
  • Jackfish
  • Gorgonian fans
  • Monkfish
  • Scorpion-fish
  • Nudi-branches and sea-slugs
  • Multiple colourful encrusting sponges
  • Dentex (pelagic snapper)
  • Octopi
  • Rays

A very healthy coastal marine ecosystem with a diversity and density of life that continually surprises and delights our clients.

 

Sea Temperatures Cote d’Azur

The current trend is towards milder sea temperatures on the Cote d’Azur particularly from the middle towards the end of the season.  In recent years the water temperature has peaked at between 28 and 30 degrees celcius for varying lengths of time in late July and early August. Frequently as late as mid November surface water temperatures are still at 20 degrees.  This is a trend towards a longer season and for this reason we now open year round.

The following table gives a reasonably accurate comparison between UK and French Med sea temperatures year round (based on the Channel):

Month Mediterranean (French Riviera) English Channel (South West England)
January 13 10
February 13 9.5
March 13 9
April 16 9.5
May 18 11
June 21 13
July 25 15.5
August 26 16.5
September 23 15.5
October 21 14
November 19 13
December 15 11