Three memorable technical dives in the sea of Pantelleria, where I grew up as a diver. Pantelleria either you hate it or you love it. Discover it with me. Only Pantelleria can do it !!
Each diver has their own sea and I am returning to mine
This was the post on my Facebook page the day before leaving to reach Pantelleria for new technical dives. I decided to start my new life as a narrator of underwater adventures right from this place, which I consider my sea.
I arrived here fifteen years ago, fresh from a diving instructor’s license and lacking in experience. I was a life wanderer, looking for a meaning and a place. This island kidnapped me, fascinated me and held me hostage for a long time.
Now I rarely go back and every time I arrive Pantelleria unleashes her anger for my abandonment with gusts of mistral almost to show me that she decides whether to offer me the possibility to embrace my sea again, or not.
And so also on this occasion I spend the first two days watching it, from the veranda of my house, as tumultuous as only it can be.
Then, on the third day, a respite finally allows me to savor the pleasure of making peace.
I agree with Ferruccio Fazio, an old friend with whom I shared the long journey of Diving Cala Levante.
Ferruccio has kept the dinghy, compressors and various equipment that belonged to our center and, together with Ettore and with the precious contribution of Alessandro, organizes his own personal dives.
Such a context therefore allows us to plan our technical dives without any restrictions.
And so, in a technical configuration with plate and large Mares XR bag, with a double twelve loaded with a trimix 21/35 and with a decompression stage loaded with EAN 50, we descend into the waters of Cala Tramontana.
The wall in front of Cala Tramontana descends towards the sea forming two long rocky protuberances with a large landslide in the middle. The tongue facing south-east forms a very high wall rich in coralligenous and madrepore which ends on a sandy bottom at a depth of forty meters. Our underwater exploration starts from here and proceeds following a very long ridge that forms a slight slope between fifty and sixty meters completely covered by huge fans of red gorgonians. Here the visibility is comparable to that of tropical seas and it is thus possible to admire a unique landscape of its kind with rocks covered with sponges and sea fans that contrast with the clear sandy bottom and with the turquoise blue of the sea through which the rays of the mighty sun of the Sicilian Channel.
Pulled by our underwater scooters, we slowly fly over this spectacle of nature, as in a hot air balloon and, while I look at it in raptures, I involuntarily coined the slogan of the week, which will accompany each of my ads on social networks: only Pantelleria can do it.
The next morning, with the same technical configuration as the previous day, with a trimix 21/40 and with a double decompression stage, we dive in Cala Rubasacchi.
This large cove is located northwest of Cala di Tramontana, from which it is separated by a recognizable tip thanks to an old rusty lighthouse once used to signal to sailors a safe landing from the strong sirocco winds that often beat Pantelleria.
Legend has it that this place owes its name to the fact that, presumably due to particular currents, the sea stole the nets full of fish (sacks) from local fishermen.
We go down to this area and continue towards the open sea to reach the Great Jump, a rocky step that descends vertically up to sixty meters on the white sand in a place where the water is less transparent than usual. This phenomenon gives this place a gloomy, almost ghostly aspect. I have always loved admiring, without the help of lighthouses, the expanses of bluish gorgonians found here in the penumbra of this cove. Sometimes I looked at this jump from above, with a group of recreational divers following me, and each time I thought that if I had to choose the place that best represents the concept of the abyss for me, the bottom of the sea from which you could see the sirens, I would certainly choose the Great Leap.
Now that I’m here I decided to fully enjoy it, using the diving torch produced by my friend Alessandro Stecca of IWaveOcean in Turin. The wall, illuminated by the 4,300 lumens of Caerberus, is completely covered by red gorgonians, on which wonderful colonies of sea squirts coexist, and by various coralligenous. Spongy tree-like formations rise on the sand on which beautiful yellow madrepores colonize. Among the ravines, almost obscured by an incredible amount of anthias, large and threatening morays watch while the ascent is enlivened by schools of sedentary barracudas that reflect their livery by contrasting the light that filters from above.
Not satisfied with these two extraordinary experiences, the following day we decided to go and see the deep seabed of the second language of Cala Tramontana, renamed Aquarius thanks to the considerable amount of sedentary fish that live in this area.
Here, a protuberance of lava rock slowly descends to end up on the sand at a depth of about thirty-five meters. A spectacular descent begins on a mixed underwater seabed of rock and sand that leads us to reach a maximum depth of eighty meters.
For me this is undoubtedly the best backdrop of Pantelleria. Most of the gorgonians are all two-colored, purplish red at the base and yellow at the top and are almost all colonized by clavelines.
After having discovered some large amphorae completely encrusted, to the point of being confused with the rock, on a large boulder I found a wonderful gorgon star resting on a gorgonian. While shooting this wonderful scene with my GoPro 5 Hero, I noticed that under the red fan there were two pencil curls. I kept going being happy, thinking about the shots I had just taken, when on another boulder, also covered with Paramuricee, I saw two other gorgon stars with as many pencil curls. I was extremely happy, I could not wait to review the images I had filmed. I think that if it is true that every diver has his own sea, I am very lucky to have this.
Only Pantelleria can do it …