The Medes Islands Marine Reserve, or Illes Medes, which has now been protected for 20 years, is an outstanding dive location and a model of good practice as a marine protected area. There are actually 13 dive sites at the Medes Islands Marine Reserve and dive permits are strictly regulated.
Illes Medes is an archipelago of 7 islands offering a wide range of habitats for an amazing array of marine life. There are Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadows within which you’ll see the increasingly rare fan mussel, Pinna nobilis, many caves and tunnels, and vertical walls plunging to over 50 meters.
After around 15 to 18 meters there are the most beautiful gorgonian corals. Big Dusky groupers - some over 20 years of age - are probably the most famous Medes inhabitants and always curious towards divers and willing to pose for photos!
Many species of Bream, Picarel, Sea perch and Damselfish form dense shoals and Bass, Moray eels, Eagle rays, Barracuda, and Sunfish are commonly encountered.
Dolphins are known the feed at the Medes Islands at night, their echo-location systems being recorded by listening devices, and are sometimes seen by divers during the daytime. There are a number of interesting caves and tunnels at Illes Medes, which act as refuges for Dusky groupers, Meagres, Bream, Cardinal fish and lobster species.
Of all the spectacular dive sites at the Medes Islands, one of the most famous is Cueva Delfin (Dolphin Cave) named after the dolphin statue placed at the entrance. In reality the Dolphin cave is a tunnel, or swim-through, wide enough to easily drive a bus through. Shoals of Bream usually hang inside the Northern entrance. Look for Slipper lobsters and precious corals in the roof of the tunnel and Dusky groupers in side tunnels near the dolphin statue at the southern end. From here you can explore the outer walls for Moray eels and beautiful soft corals, whilst admiring large shoals of mixed Bream species, and explore some other nearby caves where Groupers hang out.
If the dive boat is moored at the northern buoy, you can (if air allows) head right around the headland to see Eagle rays, Barracuda and Sunfish, or return via another tunnel that has a wonderful wall of gorgonian corals at 20 meters on the north side and provides a quicker route back to the boat.