Ten questions & Ten answers, Only One Premium Diving Center.
Where is your Dive Center located and what is so special about it?
Everyone in Alghero, the catalan town in the North West of Sardinia, the second biggest Italian island, knows the Villa of the Dutchman, and everyone at least once sailing to North stopped by to observe this white building, late 50s, overlooking the Gulf of Alghero from the cliffs of Capo Galera. The villa is surrounded by the sea and the Mediterranean maquis, and since 1987 is the base of our dive center. It hosts mostly divers with families and friends. Guests can enjoy a total relaxing holiday in a welcoming family enviroment, and even if the town of Alghero is only fifteen minutes car drive away, they feel far away from everything. The logistic is perfect and almost unique in the whole Mediterranean: we use a goods lift to bring divers equipment to the pier in front of the dive center where we board direction North, to the Protected Marine Area of Capo Caccia, only 5 minutes boat ride away. Dive courses are held directly in the bay facing the villa, protected from most winds, and with its resident sea horses, site of great attraction also for experienced divers and photographers. The high cliffs of the Costa del Corallo offer sheltered sites with any weather conditions and an impressive scenery even for non-divers.
How I can get to your DC and are there special things to organize like Visa or permissions to dive at your place?
Capo Galera is only 6 km from the international airport of Alghero, connected by direct flights with more than 30 airports across Europe. Many airlines fly to Alghero, including many low cost ones: Alitalia, Meridiana, Easyjet, Ryanair, Wizzair... Once you land you may decide to get our shuttle service to the resort, or even better, to rent a car which will be particularly useful to explore the surroundings, very interesting from the tourists point of view. If you choose to come with your car, you will have to opt for the ferry. Porto Torres, just 30 km from the dive center is connected with several ports in Italy, France and Spain. The alternative is to get to Olbia, 140 km from Alghero, connected by all domestic ferry companies. No special permissions are needed for EU passport holders while for others you may need a Visa. To dive in the Protected Marine Area special permits are not required, while you need to dive the caves and the caverns with an authorized Diving Center.
Which dive sites you go to and how are the dives there?
The dive sites are all in the Protected Marine Area of Capo Caccia and Isola Piana, and can be reached by boat in 5 to 30 minutes. The reduced depth (mostly not deeper then 20/25 meters), the conditions of good visibility and the absence of light sediment, the ease of navigation and a team of experienced dive guides and instructors, make the numerous caves and caverns, the highlight of the area, suitable for all kinds of divers. Clearly the profile of the dive will depend on the level, experience and desire to dive in closed environments of each diver. For this reason, in high season the dive center staff get up to 10/12 people, to meet the diverse needs of the divers community ranging from beginners to very experienced. Each dive site has different characteristics: stalactites and stalagmites in the Falco Cave, fossils in the Deer Cave, white limestone and sharp edges in the Ghosts Cave, 250 meters of penetration in the Nereo Cave, schools of barracuda in the Foradada Island and curious snappers in front of La Madonnina, and much more...
And so the caves, the light games, the colors of the fauna encrusting the walls, the remarkable biodiversity, the increased amount of fish thanks to the establishment of the Park, the presence of red coral already at a depth of 5 meters, a feature unique in the Mediterranean, help to satisfy even the most demanding divers. We are so aware of the beauty of our sites and the quality of service offered, that we decided not to work with prepaid packages. All dives can be booked on a day-by-day basis and at the end of the holiday the divers get the package price according to the number of dives they actually did.
What kind of boats, cars or other kind of transportation do you use to get divers to the dive sites?
Beside the bay in front of the dive center, mostly used for training purpose, we reach all dive sites by boat in maximum 30 minutes ride. We organize 2 excursions every day: in the morning we meet at 8.30 for the two-tank dives, while the afternoon we meet at 15.00 for a single dive, and a couple of times per week the night dive.
We are using 3 boats: a wooden boat 14 meters long, a 10 meters rib with 2 outboards engines 200hp and a 7 meters rib with 1 outboard engine 175hp. The wooden boat is particularly appreciated by divers not only for its undeniable charm, but also because it allows to equip on board enjoying the navigation: it is suitable for calm sea conditions otherwise we use the ribs that ensure shorter navigation time regardless of the weather and sea conditions. In total we can host up to 40 divers plus the dive center staff.
How does your DC look like and how many equipment sets do you have? Do I need to bring my own equipment or can I rent equipment at the DC?
Thanks to the will and determination of the Mares management who, after a short stay inevitably felt in love with the facility, since 2012 Capo Galera is one of the Mares Top Flag Diving Center. The 30 sets of MARES rental gear (including drysuits for the colder days) are renewed annually, to ensure the highest standards of quality and divers should not miss the chance to test the latest industry news.
The wide range of sizes allows us to equip every diver, from the 8yrs old kids keen to Bubblemaker dive, up to extra-extra large ones.;-)
How does your staff looks like? Are there instructors that speak different languages? Can they deal also with kids or disabled persons? Can I do some training specialties during my dives?
The divers of Capo Galera are 70% foreigners and for this reason our staff comes from different European countries: Italy, Spain, Poland, Germany, Catalonia, Serbia ... A jam of languages and cultures that has learned to live perfectly together in the villa on the cliff, and it is certainly one of the most beloved features of the diving center.
The team consists of 6 instructors/dive masters in low season and up to 12 in high season, and it is able to teach in the following languages: Italian, English, French, Spanish, Catalan, German, Polish and Portuguese.
Do you want to improve your knowledge?! The specialty courses are waiting for you! Deep, Nitrox, Photo, Underwater Naturalist, Dry Suit, and many more!
Everyone can find the favorite staff member … Laura is our expert in kids diving as well as the favorite model of many underwater photographers: pure energy! Bart is our sea horses expert, never tired to take pictures, as well as the ideal buddy for side mount lovers: extremely laid back can calm even the most nervous diver. To Luca you can ask anything, strictly in Italian, regarding any cave, tunnel, narrow passage from Capo Galera to Isola Piana ... surely he went in there at least once! And let´s not forget that he is our pizzaiolo at the pizza parties! Duccio and Cecilia, our Florentine couple, will always welcome you with a smile, but do not speak with them about newly released diving equipment: they are compulsive shoppers! Maria Giovanna and Alessandro are since longest time part of the team, a real institution! Aurora our "almost biologist" who will accompany us during the high season, will infect you with her enthusiasm for marine life… and for everything in general!
But the soul and the heart of Capo Galera is surely Gaddo, who has been born and raised in the villa on the cliff, and the one who strongly wanted this paradise for divers.
Sadly this wonderful location is not suitable for all disabled divers, since it is characterized by numerous barriers. When possible our staff will do everything to minimize the logistical difficulties.
What kind of breathing gas is used on your DC and what is available as safety/back-up infrastructure at your DC or nearby?
We do provide normal air fills and nitrox up to 100% (against a small fee). On special request we can also provide other gases, but it needs to be agreed in advance. As safety infrastructure we use on every boat pure oxygen supply as first aid for any decompression abnormalities as well first aid suitcases with all necessary equipment for standard injuries. The closest decompression chamber is in Platamona (near Porto Torres) 30km from the dive center.
What is the best time to come to go diving at your place.
The center is open from April till end of October, and the best time is definitely from May till beginning of October, when the water it is not too cold and it is more pleasant to dive, as well as the weather becomes more stable and the chance of winds from the South West, that create more discomfort in the area, decreases. Each season of course has its peculiarity: April till June is mating period of slipper lobsters (one of the most protected species in Mediterranean) that are easily found in shallow water in groups of 6/8, and when the water begins to warm up and the visibility to increase it is easier to see large schools of snappers and barracuda.
For cave diving any season is perfect!
What else can be done/seen at your place. Are there other sport/culture activities to see/attend and could I come with family and/or kids?
But if your idea of a vacation is more than just diving diving diving, your choice is perfect as Alghero offers many alternatives from the tourist point of view!
The list of outdoor activities is very long: hiking, biking, climbing, horse riding and any kind of water sports ... for kids and grown-ups!
Even if in Capo Galera most likely you will have satisfied your desire of sea, you should know that the most popular beaches of the area are in the surrounding: Le Bombarde and Spiaggia del Lazzaretto are at walking distance.
If you are accompanied by non-divers definitely you gotta take them to see the Grotte di Nettuno, the largest and most fascinating of the whole Sardinia: decide only between reaching them comfortably by boat, or facing the 656 steps leading down to the entrance from the top of Capo Caccia.
The old city center is the destination for the evenings: it still retains the atmosphere of the ancient Catalan city and offers great ideas for evening entertainment.
Last but not least, remember that the real attractions of Sardinia are good food and good wine: you cannot miss the restaurants and agriturismo ready to get spoiled!
What is the strongest argument for your DC to convince me as customer to dive at your DC?
Capo Galera is not only a Dive Center! It´s a magical place, where you can live the sea at 360°. A resort designed by divers for divers! Words and images are rarely able to fully transmit the atmosphere in a place. We hope to have aroused your curiosity and to see you soon in Capo Galera!