Dive with Eagle Ray......You missed something!!!

Dive with Eagle Ray......You missed something!!!


We were in the Strait of Bonifacio in waters belonging to the La Maddalena Archipelago National Park. On the boat we were in six divers, all  different nationalities: Me, Fabrizio, Italian  as  diveleader, Dominique a Swiss diver with Italian origins who has been diving in Sardinia since manyl years, Robert an Austrian diver experienced diver with hundred dives around the world, a German couple of divers and to conclude this European mix, Joana as dive guide from France.We all were having our surface stop after the first dive of the day,  we were  enjoying  the  morning sun warmth , drinking hot tea, eating some snack kindly offered by Proteus Diving. We were still thinking about the amazing passages went through during the first dive, between the enormous granite blocks completely covered with red Gorgonias (Paramuricea clavata) and yellow Gorgonias (Eunicella cavolini). Meantime we were discussing on  which spot to choose as second dive. It will have been the fate, or just a touch of unscrupulousness (typical of Proteus diving) but we decide to do not  move from the buoy  and go diving in the same spot but going to explore the eastern part of the dive site that we had not previously visited.We have to say that also the conditions of  current were good as it was not so intense to allowe us to return to the boat without too much difficulty. The only negative parameter we had to consider was the relative high level of Nitrogen from the first dive.  The second dive would have a square profile with a maximum depth of 25 meters and average depth of 18 meters. We started  the descent along the rope with compass on our wrist, we headed east / south-east to explore the southern edge of the site. The landscape we observed was almost  flat interspersed with large granite monoliths that rose towards the surface. In the rocky plateau and inside some holes, we began to see some brown Grouper (Epinephelus guaza). They let themselves be approached quietly so  we colud make some beautiful photos. We continued the dive  on the edge, when we observed in the blue a dark shadow swimming transversally to us to disappear  behind a rock. We swam to reach its position and we saw a young specimen of Eagle ray (Myliobatis aquila). At the beginning, it let be surrounded by our group of divers then as soon as one of us approached with the camera, the flash light  triggered the animal, which took off from all of us. Everybody excited about what we had seen, we continued our dive by passing a large granite monolith. After some seconds the curtain was raised: two specimens of Eagle rays (Myliobatis aquila), probably the mother and its puppy, were lying in a sandy bottom. Swimming towards them, we observed other eagle rays “Flying” in the direction of those two, and once they reached above them, the two eagle were swam from the bottom to join with others. We checked the air of the thanks and our computers ,so we decided to continue in the direction of the sea eagles , when we saw a circular wall of Barracudas (Sphyraena sphyrena). We slowly tried to enter the circle but magicly it was the school of barracudas that surround us. The Barracudas (Sphyraena sphyrena) paraded around ours bubbles, swimming fast, showing their sharp teeth close to the glass of our masks. . . We immortalized this moment with  videocameras, but soon we realized, we have to go back to shallower depths. We began to return to the rubber boat. Swimming about 15 meters, we dived over the highest parts of the rocks that rise from the bottom,  when we scanned a bank of small fish moving frantically all together to the north. This could have been a probable sign of the presence of predators coming from the south. We saw first, the Corvines (Sciaena umbra) that swam out the holes of the rock below, then  we saw five or six specimens of snapper (Dentex dentex) swimming through the school of fish, starting  a fight for surviving . . . It is wonderful to watch these predators hunting! Now the air supply was low so we went as close as possible to the boat and to a lower depth too, ranging from 12 to 10 meters but today the Mediterranean Sea and specifically this stretch of Sardinia did not want us to let get out from the water , as behind the last pinnacle, which separated us from the buoy, we saw something astounding: a dozen large specimens of brown Grouper (Epinephelus guaza) were swimming together, sometimes rubbing each other, not at all intimidated by our presence, they continued their dance (probably their courtship rite). We had seen enough. . . It was time to go to safety stop at 5 meters. I took the inflate buoy and inflated it.. All together we were driven by a light drift towards the Blues II (our boat). We emerged one by one. "You missed something! "said the Austrian diver to Joana. . . these are the only words that I remember  after this fantastic dive: Thanks again Mediterranean Sea.
barracuda.jpg          passaggiogorgonie.jpg               20604244_10212920136310387_218545581349685046_n.jpg


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