Plongeurs autour d'une épave dans les calanques

Diving in the Calanques

full of nature and history

What  would you think about discovering the Marseille seabed during  a scuba diving in the Calanques of Marseille? The Calanques National Park owns a natural unique underwater heritage: whether it is  a begginer’s diving session or a seastrip for the most experienced, it’s the perfect place to practice this discipline.

A perfect  place  for scuba diving

Exceptional sea floor

Calanques National Park is a  very interesting playground for diving lovers but  also for people who want to do their  first  dive in Marseille. Indeed, it is home to an incredibly diverse fauna and flora, both in terms of the  number of species that  live there and the number of underwater landscapes : caves, rocky bottoms, posidonia meadows, coralligenous plants, underwater canyons, etc. You have to see it to  believe it !

These different  kinds of  marine habitats are conducive to the  development of life : fishes, turtles, cetaceans. The Calanques are a real shelter. We  must  protect them and learn how to treat them with the utmost respect.

A practice rooted in the history  of the Calanques

Diving has made its mark on the history since they have been a privileged exploration ground for explorers such as Georges Beuchat, Albert Falco nicknamed ” captain calypso” or  Jacques-Yves  Cousteau and Emile Gagnan, who are co-founders of the aqualung,  today called “détendeur” they  are  pioneers in modern scuba  diving.

The many  wrecks found in the waters of the National Park  make it a  hot  spot for  underwater archaeology. Snce Marseille is the first port in the  country, open to trade since Antiquity,  we can find some boat wrecks, vases, jars and ceramics from different kind of  Phocean history. You have  probably heard of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of the ” Le Little Prince“: his plane was discovered there, at the  bottom  of  the Marseille’s  waters. It is on display today at the air and aviation museum in ” le Bourget”

Besides, in  1991  Henri Cosquer discovered (under  37 meters of depht) the cave that will take its  name. Decorated by  a dozen of paintings and engravings from  – 27000 to  – 19000 BC years ago. It is  a  real witness of the Paleolithic history that has been highlighted. In order to  give the  opportunity to many  people as  possible to admire this unique cave, a  replica  will be opened in 2022 in the Villa Méditerranée.

Did you know?

A diving charter was set up in 2014 in  order to encourage divers and also  some professional  and associative infrastructures ( signatories of the charter), to  adopt the right behaviours  when going out to sea for an eco-friendly diving in the Calanques.

Diving in Marseille

A regulated discipline

Setting up of certain closures :  

  • It  is forbidden to  dive in the Costeau triangle off the islands of Riou and Plane and at the Pointe de la Voile at Cap Morgiou, which are archaeological protection zones (ZPR)

Others  rules to  follow :  

  • Use the mooning buoys and rings provided for divers.
  • The Donia mobile application, which provides a wreath of  information on the mapping of the seabed can be a great help in ensuring that boats do not anchor on the posidonia meadow and coralligerous.
  • Respect the species by avoiding voluntary contact, do not feed them.
  • Respect the seabed by  taking care not to kick the posidonia meadow with you flippers.

For your safety:

  •  Be aware of your physical skills and your experience in scuba diving
  • Check the weather forecast before leaving 
  • Inform your relatives of your trip and have a means of communication on your boat: telephone, portable VHF.  
  • Signal your presence on the surface with suitable flag. More information here.
  • Bring food and drink

Useful contacts:

Sea rescue CROSS MED : VHF canal 16 – Tél. : 04 94 61 16 16 or 196. 
Harbour master’s office : VHF canal 9 
Harbour master’s office Vieux-Port Marseille : 04 91 99 75 60 
Harbour master’s office Frioul : 04 91 99 76 01 
Harbour master’s office Pointe Rouge : 04 91 99 75 67

Harbour master’s office Port-Miou : 04 42 01 96 24 
Harbour master’s office Cassis : 04 42 32 91 65 
Harbour master’s office Nouveau port de La Ciotat : 04 42 08 62 90 
Harbour master’s officeSemidep Port-vieux de La Ciotat : 04 42 83 80 27 
Marine weather forecast: VHF canal 80 or 3250