The most exciting aspect of living in Rio is the never ending list of adventures and activities the city has to offer, like scuba diving Rio de Janeiro. Last weekend, I was planning on having a normal Sunday: eating breakfast at Big Polis and perusing the local farmers market- until about 10pm Saturday night when three of our CR guests announced they were going scuba diving early Sunday morning.
This is a guest blog written by Nicole Mobley, an American English teacher in Barra da Tijuca
My eyes instantly lit up, and after hearing it was only $250 reais, I was determined to go with them. They heard about the trip when they were leaving a restaurant and walked past the local diving store where a group was celebrating. Most of the group spoke English and in no time they had invited Stefan, Kim, and Arild to come along.
We arrived at the scuba store bright and early, about 7:30, to be greeted by the owner and his wife who were packing up the gear. They happily invited me join, and we hopped in their vehicle and travelled towards Marina Gloria. In true Brazilian fashion, we were treated like long lost friends, and within an hour I was referring to the owner’s wife as my Brazilian mother, and I was her daughter. When we arrived at the marina there was a group of about 15 people that were joining us.
Scuba Diving Rio de Janeiro
It was turning out to be a beautiful day as we hopped on the boat and headed towards Ilhas Cagarras. We were welcomed with a nice breakfast- fresh fruit and a common breakfast cake, and quickly got to know everyone else on the boat.
The trip out to the island was very relaxing and provided such a beautiful view of the city. We passed Sugar Loaf mountain, an old fort in the marina, and traversed along Copacabana and Ipanema beach until we reached the small group of islands where several other boats were already claiming a spot for fishing and diving. When we arrived, everyone suited up and the experienced divers jumped in the water.
Since none of us from CR have ever dove before, two instructors stayed with us and explained the equipment and basic safety procedures. Since we were not certified to dive, they would be accompanying us on the dive, and controlling the buoyancy regulator for us, thank goodness. Arild and Kim went first as Stefan and I sat back and enjoyed the sun for their 30-40 minute dive. While we were waiting we were overwhelmed by the delicious smell of the churrasco, or BBQ, that was getting started at the back of the boat (Brazilians know how to BBQ, this is a fact!). When it was our turn, we suited up and jumped in.
Although this dive location isn’t like you see in the Caribbean, it was still beautiful nonetheless, and I was surprised by the many different types of fish and how close they would come to you. Arild was even lucky enough to see a sea turtle on his dive, can you imagine!
Around 4 pm, we made our way back to the marina as the sun slowly started to dip behind the mountainous coastline of Rio. The best part of the trip back was talking to Bruno, the main instructor. He has been diving since the age of 6 (now 32) and is extremely passionate about diving.
His love for the sea was contagious and inspiring. There was an overwhelming feeling of love on this ship, and everyone was genuinely excited and concerned about us having an amazing day. One thing I am slowly learning down here, is there is no better host than a Brazilian.
I wholeheartedly encourage every Connection Rio guest to schedule a dive with this phenomenal group, Narwhal Rio (you can find them on Facebook). They are conveniently located along Avenidas das Americas, walking distance from all of the CR hostels, and next to the well-known Frontera pizza rodizio. I promise you, it is worth the $250 reais (that is about $125 US, or 90 Euro), not just for the dive, but for the opportunity to experience the hospitality of the Brazilians that their culture is famous for.