Diving in Mortoriotto: The two cars

Diving in Mortoriotto: The two cars


Mortoriotto is a little islands which consists of two rocks that emerge from the seabed to rise up to about 10 meters above sea level situated to the east of the island of Mortorio. Mortoriotto is part of the La Maddalena Archipelago National Park. To get there from Baja Sardinia, we had to navigate to the direction of Capo Ferro, then Porto Cervo, then  we still have to navigate for 3 miles, to east from the famous Capriccioli Beach. The dive site is characterized by its particular geomorphology a bit different from the other dive spots of the La Maddalena National Park, what makes it truly unique is  its visibility, that can reach even 30 meters during the months of  August and September. The north eastern side of dive spot is characterized by a vertical wall populated by many morays and groupers,  it rises from a sandy bottom of 35-40 meters depth, where there are multiple granite blocks completely covered with red Gorgonians (Paramuricea clavata). The branches of these corals are among the largest in all of the La Maddalena Archipelago National Park. Among so much splendor we are further impressed when we observe real walls formed by two banded- breams (Diplodus vulgaris).In the blue  is possible to spot shoals of amberjack (Seriola dumerili), Eagle rays (myliobatis aquila) and other pelagic predatory fish like tuna(Thunnus Thinnus).Following the bottom we will see an unusual sight for these depths, in fact at about 36 meters in the middle of some red gorgonians there are two wonderful “fans” of False Black Coral (Gerardia savaglia). The False Black Coral is a colonial organism that is born around the dead skeleton of Paramuricea and has an intense yellow color so as to clearly stand out in the middle of the red gorgonian whose surround it.Thanks to a little current, we can see its polyps with which we gain nourishment by filtering the water that passes through it. If the situation is good with air supply and our computers are not penalized in terms of no decompression time, we try to pass some rocks immediately behind the False Black Coral to go and see two cars at depth of 38 meters.Chassis, wheels and steering wheel are still intact and many red chestnuts (Apogon imberbis), find refuge among the remains of these two cars. Wondering how the two cars ended up so far is the most frequent question that all divers ask me ……. My personal opinion: I think they may have fallen from a cargo boat, hit by a storm during navigation; on the other hand, as the rock of Mortoriotto is about 3 miles from the coast it seems to me quite improbable that they were swallowed by a river in flood and then carried by the current so far…It’s time to swim up  following the slope profile, to the depth of about 18 meters, we will find many rocks populated by scorpion fish, crustaceans (such as Bernardo the hermit), starfish and colorful sponges.After the first dive we will wait an adequate time on the boat of Proteus diving before jumping for the second dive. This one is definitely less deep than the first dive. Here  maximum depth is  22-24 meters and we got  the possibility to see a beautiful bench of Barracudas (Sphyraena sphyraena) and with a little bit of  luck also the stinging species belonging to the species Common sting ray (Trygon pastinaca) which usually stop in the sandy plains between rocks. The expectations for this second dive are really high… and we not disappointed, in fact as soon as we enter the water, just under the surface of the sea we see a creature as fascinating as strange to observe: the sea hare (Aplysia depilans). This species belongs to the phylogenetic class of Gastropods (Molluscs), and is characterized by a brownish coloring. It has attached, on its back, a very fragile shell that shows us with grace and elegance moving its lamellar body in a sinuous and hypnotic way (look at the video footage we made).This mollusk, absolutely harmless , has a head endowed with tactile and chemoreceptive appendages, as well as the eyes.The clearness of the water is shocking and the landscape alternates: canyons with walls covered by Parazonthus and sandy open spaces that make Mortoriotto look like a Caribbean sea. The current sometimes swirling clouds of blue damsel fish (Chromis chromis) around  divers. So many morays, that we have to stop counting for, as many as there are.  At the end of the dive there are colorful pavonine damsels (Thalassoma pavo) waiting for us at the safety stop, making their way through the rocks, eating small molluscs and crustaceans. Thank you once again Mediterranean Sea of such beauty that feeds our gaze .........

  • Sea hare (Aplysia depilans)
  • Sting Ray
  • two cars underater
  • Red Gorgonias
  • National Park Archipelago di La Maddalena
  • Barracuda
  • Eagle ray
  • dive sardinia
  • marine life
  • Diving
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