Not just the dive, the entire experience is what makes it awesome.
– JD Dorfman
Claudia Facin has been diving the waters of Paraty, a beautiful town 4 hours from Rio, for over 20 years. With her husband Sergio, they run Paraty Dive, the friendliest dive boat I have ever been on. I usually dive on the bigger dive boats with 20+ divers or shore dive with my friends, so the experience and warmth of Captains Sergio and Claudia was unexpected.
Claudia picked me up from my pousada at 9 am and drove us the short distance to Marina Farol de Paraty (Lighthouse Marina of Paraty). The harbor is an interesting place with spectacular boats docked everywhere including the “Paratiii 2”, a 28 meter boat captained around the world and through the arctic ice by Amyr Klink.
Sergio was waiting at the boat, prepping all the equipment, which added bonus is all the newest gear. Soon enough we were speeding off to our dive spot for the day: Ilha dos Meros.
Dos Meros is a beautiful island, something straight out of a national geographic picture, and getting into the water surrounded by that level of scenery is a cool experience. We were scheduled for two dives that day, the south and north parts of the island. The first dive took us to a max depth of 12 meters with perfect water temperature (73 degrees F) and over 20 feet visibility. A series of sunken statues, that have started to grow life over time, were dropped in the water several years before as a way to attract tourist to the area. Knowing there is no historical importance to any of the stuff you are looking at was a bit of a bummer but getting to see how the sea was claiming the statues for its own and the way it was becoming part of the eco-system was very neat.
The second dive followed along a steep rock face that had some interesting sea life darting in and out of the nooks and cracks and other hiding spots the wall provided and I saw bigger sand-dollars than I knew existed. Easy, safe dives in beautiful conditions.
Both Sergio and Claudia are excellent dive buddies, giving that perfect combination of allowing you to have your own space mixed with the occasional hand gesture to either point out something in the water or just to let you know you have a partner in your dive. Things that will be appreciated by both experienced divers and will make better divers out of beginners.
Claudia had packed us all a lunch of fruit, snacks and the best homemade chicken salad sandwiches I had ever had, all adding to the warm, family atmosphere of the boat. After our lunch Sergio took us on a tour of the bay, entertaining us with his stories and facts about every beach and every house we passed. It was an absolute pleasure to spend an afternoon with them.
On diving alone these are not the most scenic dives I have experienced. The majority of the floor is sand and I saw just as much, if not more life, during my snorkeling experiences in the same area. What made this trip was that the dive became part of the day, spending the day with Sergio and Claudia enjoying the water, learning about the area, culture, the homemade sandwiches, beautiful scenery AND the diving, together is why avoiding the larger, but a little cheaper, boats was a great move in Paraty.
For a complete guide on options check out: The best way to explore the Bay in Paraty
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