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Diving in the Mediterranean Sea: Port-Cros Marine National Park, France by Andrew Falconer

 

While in the south of France, I asked about the best place to go diving and was told Port-Cros National Marine Park. It is a short ferry ride trip from Hyeres to Porquerolles, on the nearby iles d’Hyderes. Although the island was busy (it was July), the absence of motor vehicles creates a relaxed atmosphere.

 

I stayed in a studio flat in town and dived with https://www.porquerollesdiving.com/   one of two dive shops on the island, although there are others on the mainland that also go out to Port-Cros. The islands were once privately owned, but were bequeathed in 1963 to the state on condition they were made into a national park.

 

Location of Port-Cros, near Hyeres in the south of France

 

 

I did two days of diving (double boat dives), the first day on the south side of Port-Cros and the second day on the wreck of the Donator, reputed to be one of the best wreck dives in France. Diving was from a semi rigid inflatable in a small group. Refreshments were provided.


The results of over 50 years of conservation are quite remarkable. In terms groupers, I have never seen so many on a single dive as here, something that is rare in the Mediterranean.

 

 

Porquerolles avenue to the marina

a friendly grouper

I lost count at 50 groupers!

Grouper close up

There was also quite a few other fish such as trevally

 

The Donator was a 80m long cargo ship built 1931 which sank in 1945 carrying a cargo of wine from Algeria just after the end of WW2 after hitting a mine that had no been cleared.

 

Inside the wreck of the Donator

a bath on the Donator

The stern of the Donator

forward deck mooring bollards 

 

 

In conclusion, the diving was indeed worthwhile, and the island was a pleasant place to stay and coast about $AUD500 all up.