El Tancón is among the most perilous underwater caves in Tenerife, despite the alluring appearance of its crystal-clear waters meandering through volcanic rocks. The interplay of light and shadow, coupled with the top opening facilitating the ingress and egress of pressurized water, adds to its inherent danger. The currents, akin to whirlpools, ensnare, impact, and pull in swimmers.
Swimming in this renowned pool in Santiago del Teide is strictly prohibited, as indicated by information signs at the cave entrances. Nevertheless, recent times have witnessed its continued popularity, primarily among tourists and, more recently, influencers like Marina Rivers, who faced significant criticism for taking a plunge in this unique pool.
What remains indisputable is that El Tancón cave has claimed the lives of at least six individuals in the last eight years. This sobering fact was explained by Federico Linares, the head of the Santiago del Teide Volunteer Fire Brigade, in a report for DIARIO DE AVISOS: “It is not a puddle or a natural pool, as it is often portrayed on the internet, but a highly dangerous abyss due to its currents and the tendency to engulf anything in its path when the tide rises, making escape impossible.”
In the same newspaper article, Sebastián Quintana, the advocate behind the platform “Canarias 1,500 metres of coastline,” emphasized that El Tancón and La Laja pool in San Juan de La Rambla are the two most perilous locations in the Canary Islands for underwater diving.
LA CUEVA DE LOS CAMARONES (THE CAVE OF THE SHRIMPS)
The Cueva de Los Camarones, situated in Arona, is also notorious for its extreme danger. Found at a depth of 30 meters and roughly 700 meters from the El Palm-Mar coast, it lacks air pockets for breathing. Its primary hazard lies in the sediments settled at the bottom. A sudden movement by a fish, alerted by the lights, or improper finning by divers can trigger a cloud of mud, drastically reducing visibility for hours.
In 1975, Juan José Benítez, a 29-year-old Spanish and Canary Islands diving champion from Tenerife, and Francoise de Roubaix, a collaborator of Commander Cousteau and renowned French music composer, tragically lost their lives in the murky waters. They were trapped in the volcanic maze while on a reporting assignment.
Nine years later, another incident occurred, involving a dozen young people and two German divers, Henry Sarpentin and Jens Steiner, aged 38 and 17, respectively. They were ensnared in the perilous “gorge” while diving around the grotto. In early January, the World of Silence Association erected a substantial iron cross at the cave entrance as a tribute to the victims.