Scuba diving in Sesimbra (Portugal)
Sesimbra is about 40 minutes bus drive from Lisbon. It is a fishing town and most importantly a great town known for its dive throughout the year. The main disadvantage of the ocean in Sesimbra is that it is always cold and rough.
As part of my Europe travel this year, I wanted to include some dives as well. While researching for places to dive, I stumbled upon Sesimbra as a good diving option. The main reason I selected Sesimbra was also that it was closer to Lisbon. I then contacted some diving companies for the bookings and the details.
PIN for later reference
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I emailed many of the diving companies but only one company that was economical and who replied very quick was Dive Club Cipreia. I confirmed the dive with them and I was all set for the dive.
- Website: Dive Club Cipreia
- Cost: They charged 50 Euros for one dive with all the equipment.
- Note: The dive centre only accepts cash.
Transportation to the dive centre
In the morning, in Lisbon, I initially thought I would cancel the dive as it was raining and I was tired of getting up early every morning. But I still pushed myself and I decided to go do the dive. A 9.37 Euros Uber drive, 40 minutes bus drive and 30 minutes walk later, I reached the dive centre, just in time (precisely a minute before the boat was about to leave) for the dive.
Note: There are hourly buses that go between Lisbon and Sesimbra. The cost of the bus is 4.5 Euros one way. And the bus stop in Sesimbra is around 30 minutes’ walk from the dive centre. For information on buses, it is best to check with the reception of the hostel or the hotel that you stay in.
As I had arrived a minute before the boat was leaving, the staff quickly arranged for my wet suit (I had to wear two of them as it was that cold), fins, mask and BCD.
I was taken to a boat which was around 2 to 3 minutes walk from the shop. Other divers were already in the boat waiting for me. The diving place was about 15 to 20 minutes ride from the wharf. The sea was very rough and the waves were huge. The boat ride was definitely not pleasant. I would suggest taking a seasickness tablet to avoid falling sick and getting dehydrated.
A few weeks ago, I had had an anxiety attack during my dive at Rottnest Island which had made me more nervous for this dive. I didn’t know if I had it in me anymore.
My dive buddy/instructor Kien comforted me throughout the boat ride and he was very sweet to me. At the dive site, Kien first got into the water. When it was my turn to get in, I inflated my BCD a bit and took a big step from the boat. With a splash, I was in the water. I didn’t know what was happening, I was sinking and the waves were pushing me all around. When I got my senses back I realised that there was a problem with my BCD.
Kien kept trying again and again to inflate the BCD and it would inflate, but after few seconds I would sink again. A few attempts later, he quickly released my weights (6 kilos) so it doesn’t pull me down. He also realised that the thread fixed to the release on my left jacket of the BCD was stuck between my arm and jacket, because of which the BCD was deflating after few seconds of inflating. With a lot of fight with the waves and the jacket, Kien fixed it. And… we wasted some time on the surface.
Then the mask had to put up a fight and it decided to not listen to me. No matter how much I pulled the strap to tighten the mask, it would not and the mask would be immediately filled with water. This was making it really hard for me to descend. I would panic as soon as the whole mask filled with water. It happened quite a few times and I had to exchange the mask with Kien. We wasted some more time here. The thing was I had forgotten one of my most important skills, which came back to me when we were underwater and I did demonstrate that skill very well.
Finally, after everything was fixed, Kien and I descended slowly. The current was high and it was difficult for me initially to stay stable, but I got comfortable after some time.
The visibility of the water was great and was around 12 metres. I did see the other divers around. The marine life was really beautiful and abundant. I saw so many colourful corals and fishes throughout the dive. It was simply magical. Other divers said that they saw a stingray, which, of course as my luck had it, I did not see.
- Dive type: Boat dive
- Ocean: Very rough
- Wet suit: Yes (two of them) or a thicker one is better
- Visibility: 12 to 15 metres
The best thing about this experience was Kien, my instructor never left my side. He asked me to hold his hand throughout the dive. The guy was such a great diver/buddy where he understood that I am still a baby diver and he gave me confidence all along. Kien was extremely friendly and very approachable. He is definitely an awesome dive buddy to get while diving.
And he did take one of my best pictures clicked underwater. I loved these caves under water and they were great to take some amazing pictures.
I would definitely vouch for this site for diving – it was really worth all the trouble that I took. The marine life was abundant. The site is mainly famous for its small fishes as I did not see any big ones.