While Arthur and Jozef were in Valparaiso I spent a fantastic day scuba diving in a small town further south called Quintay with an amazing Spanish and English speaking company called Austral divers. I made two dives with them from their dive centre at Quintay bay over about half a day and had one of the best dives I have had in my life.
I had to get to Quintay before I could start scuba diving, this seemed to be a bit of a problem because there was nothing online. After spending about an hour looking around I decided to phone Austral Divers which proved to be the best thing to do, I talked with with them and they told me the best and cheapest way to get to them so at around 9:00 I got a collectivo to Quintay.
This collectivo will cost between 1500 to 2000 peso’s (current date) and take you about 45 minutes and drop you at the main plaza. To get down to the bay you have to take a walk though, if you look down the big street there is a big green building (which is the police station) and turn right, down the hill until you get down to the beautiful bay and the Austral Diving Centre is on the beach with a great set up and a spectacular view from the centre.
My first dive was at 12 o’clock , as unfortunately my timings were slightly off so I missed the 10 o’clock dive, which was a 28 meter, 45 minute dive with 9 other people co-ordinated by Sebastian the divemaster. The boat ride was less than 10 minutes on their own boat and the staff were able to help everyone on board with there equipment, all in good humour as well as being professional. Although the water was a little cold, I had great fun and it was a tremendous dive.
Sebastian knew the dive like the back of his hand and I always felt safe.
The dive was a kelp dive and like nothing I had ever done before and with over 200 dives under my belt (being a little big headed) is saying something. Also I was diving with a couple of just qualified open water divers who had been taught by Austral Dive Centre and you wouldn’t know they were open water divers. As well as a couple of open water divers there were some more advanced and more experienced divers but also some inexperienced divers who the divemasters looked after.
After finishing the first dive and returning to shore we warmed up a little at the dive centre, changed tanks over for the 3 o’clock dive and headed for the wreck site! This was a smaller trip with only a couple of us with a different divemaster called Fernando who took us on another 10 minute boat ride to the site where we dropped down to a much warmer, shallower and truly beautiful area. The marine life was very different even though it was only about 500 metres/ a kilometre from the first dive site.
The wreck itself was surprisingly intact, teaming with life and the water was much clearer than the first dive and so many of the dives I have done. The wreck itself still has lots of its engine intact and you can go in and out of the wreck quite easily meaning that you could quite easily spend a whole dive just investigating the wreck and with a maximum depth of about 15 metres its a perfect second dive and one I would recommend to all divers.
The days diving was spectacular and worth every peso. I actually couldn’t wait to get back to tell Arthur and Jozef about my day and try to describe the wonders of scuba diving in Quintay. The total day cost about 50,000 Chilean Peso’s (40,000 CHP for the dives , the rest being for transport from Valparaiso) but its a day that I would happily pay double for. The dives were one of the last things I did before we headed to Santiago and then out of South America. It rated as one of my best memories of América del Sur!