Scuba diving

Scuba diving

One thousand years ago, there already existed underwater artefacts built by man and this is recorded in many drawings and ancient engravings.Man has always had a desire to dive, either to search for food, find artefacts, repair boats; and in moderntimes, to observe underwater life.In the 17th century, attempts werefirst made to try out manual systems for pumping air at depths of 18 metres.

The divers were supplied with air by means of a helmet joined to the surface by a tube, so that they could breathe. In the 19th century, the Frenchman Paul Bert and the Scotsman John Scott Haldane performed studies on the effects of water pressure on divers, andwere the first to develop safety tables for decompression.

Just as Jules Verne imagined, in the 20th century the French explorers Emile Gagnan, Jacques Yves Cousteau and Freédéric Dumas developed the autonomous diving helmet, in which the fundamental element was a regulating device that supplied air to the diver at ambient pressure, i.e., air subjected to great pressure in a cylinder. This development made it possible for man to dive to unimaginable depths, using a reasonable acceptable breathing system.All the equipment was developed at record speed; for example, the hydrostatic jacket which enabled the buoyancy of the diver to be freely adjusted, the diving computer and new bubble-free breathing systems.

Unlike the Mediterranean or the Red sea, the Cantabrian sea is not crystalline.In the gulf of Biscay the light is absorbed in the first few metres of water, due to the enormous quantity of suspended organic and inorganic matter from the water coming from the rivers, the re-suspension of fine sediment from the bottom and the existence of important microscopic life. The water temperature of the surface ranges from 12.5 degrees in winter to 20 degrees in summer, but at a depth of 15 m, fluctuates between 11.5 and 18.5 degrees Centigrade.Diving is usually practised in different diving clubs, which permit the oxygen cylinders to be refilled and on boats in diving areas, in order to explore places, reefs or even dykes that provide shelter for the differentspecies of fish. The clubs that offer their services to visitors and tourists can be found in the area entitled Organising of activities in the Active Tourism section.


Udalarrantz - Red de municipios pesqueros del País Vasco