Chilean coastline excites divers

The relatively undiscovered beauty of the Chilean coastline is attracting the attention of foreign scuba divers looking for unique underwater experiences. Sea life off the coast of the country is thriving because of the lack of divers, according to experts. Marine photographers are finding ideal conditions due to the lack of human intervention and the excellent visibility offered in the area. The NGO Oceana has warned divers that although mixing with dolphins and penguins surrounded by corals and sponges is a very attractive proposition, they should be certified and experienced before they attempt to dive in the Puerto Natales area of southern Chile. Sea lions, seals, small sharks, rays, sea stars, crab, local fish species, sea slugs, soft coral and flower coral are among the treats awaiting divers in the area. The most popular diving area in the country is in the protected waters around the island of Santa Maria in northern Chile, where more than 3,000 seals can be found. Sernatur spokesman Gustavo Herrera said: "It is becoming an internationally treasured place to visit."

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