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A dive boat trip with Futuro Mare along the coast into the edge of the Marine Protected Area.
Visibility from 10-6 metres, overcast day, water tempt 15 deg C. Calm seas.
A dive with Mariangela Russo from Futuro Mare.
First dive at a location called Baia di Paulo and was down to a wall, with a maximum depth of 26 metres, and then working our way along the edge of the wall, and then up into shallower waters. At full depth it was fairly dark, and although there was sea life, it was mostly small fish, but we did spot coral, and tube worms.
The second was at Punta del Capo, and was a drift dive along the base of a cliff by the roman ruins, with plenty of life - octopus, lobsters and so on down to 16 metres. We kept the depth shallower so I could take my camera (rated to only 10 m !), but the lack of light meant the photos didn't really come out that well this time. I noticed the camera (Olympus 1030 SW) would work down to about 14 metres, and then the buttons would stop working as the pressure held them in. No water ingress and the camera was happy again once at the surface.
As the boat chugged out from the harbour, with the bulk of Vesuvius dominating the bay, I started to kit up. At that point a got a text message telling me that UK airspace was closed due to an unpronouncable icelandic volcano. Oddly enough my friend Tim, has been to visit Eyjafjallajokull only two weeks before, so here I was in Italy in view of one Volcano, potentially having travel plans wrecked by another volcano far away. At this point it all seemed a bit abstract, and the thought of not being able to travel in two days time seemed unlikely. However, as events unfolded this all changed.
Once kitted up and in the water, I was at last able to see as this was my first time with my new perscription dive mask, and what a difference it made. The visibility wasn't great, but for once it was the water, rather than my eyes limiting how much I could see. It was like going from a black and white TV, to HD widescreen! The dive was good, and I went deeper than I'd gone before. At 22 metres in Stoney Cove it was very dark. Here it was still pretty dark, but not quite so dark even at 26 metres. At least all the extra stuff we did on PADI Advanced Open Water could be used, as the regular OW only allows you to 18 metres.
My guide wore a dry suit, but I was at least for the first dive comfortable in a wetsuit, as 15 degree C was positively tropical after diving in +2 Deg C. Although dry suits keep you diving all year, they are very bulky and restrictive, so being in a wetsuit felt liberating.
The first dive was nice enough, and quite a long one with some depth, which always makes a more exciting dive, but the life you could see was limited to fish and these giant clams. The second dive was better for life. As well as teeming with small fish, we soon saw a pair of lobsters, and then an octopus hiding in a little overhang, plenty of star fish and sea urchins. In fact the list of creatures seen soon started to sound like a local menu. As well as that we also saw down at 5-6 metres an underwater shrine. This part of italy is full of shrines, and the underwater is no exception. As it was a drfit dive, below the cliffs on the point we covered a lot of ground and saw a lot of stuff, which made it the more interesting dive, even if visibility did decline a lot in the last part of the dive.
I must admit, I was pretty cold by the same I came out. I wish I'd stuck a shorty on top of the wetsuit for a bit of extra warmth. Still, it was nice to dive in clear and warmish water.
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