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Banco D. João de Castro

General Rating 
Marine Life Rating 
Very Good
Seafloor/Scenery Rating 



By boat

110 minutes from the Praia da Vitória Harbour (Terceira), 140 min from the Angra do Heroísmo Harbour (Terceira), 160 min from the Ponta Delgada Harbour (São Miguel).


Average Depth 
Maximum Depth 
Dive Types 
Ideal place for 
Underwater photography
Diving Experience 
Advanced Open Water

Banco D. João de Castro

This unique experience begins with a boat trip through the rich seas of the Azores where you can often catch a glimpse of many species of cetaceans, turtle, and seabirds, particularly as you reach the bank.

This spectacular dive revolves around an underwater volcano that last erupted in 1720. During the eruption the top of the volcano, which now lies 13 metres deep, came to the surface and formed the 10th island of the archipelago. Only 250 metres high and 1.5 kilometres in diameter, this small island disappeared about two years later, with the submarine bank found by a hydrographical ship of the same name in 1941.

The entire dive takes place around the old caldera of the volcano which is still seismically and volcanically very active. This activity is particularly visible at the top of the bank (at 13 metres) where thermal springs and fumaroles are caused as gas is released.

There is a great opportunity to sight large species of pelagic fish: yellowmouth barracudas (Sphyraena viridensis), Atlantic bonitos (Sarda sarda), Almaco jacks (Seriola spp.), Bermuda chubs (Kyphosus sectator) and wahoos (Acanthocybium solandri). The crystal clear waters, dotted by small air bubbles from the fumaroles, also offer opportunities to spot species that are harder to find in other locations, such as sea turtles (e.g. Caretta caretta) and devil rays (Mobula tarapacana).

This site is only recommended for experienced divers, since it is far from a harbour and prone to strong currents.