Diving in Marettimo the Orlando di San Simone

Diving in Marettimo, the edge of San Simone: an esplanade covered with Posidonia that creates wonderful rocky peaks, canyons and tunnels. Covered with gorgonians and madrepores. Unmissable dive for a diver, in Marettimo.

08/28/2022 Marettimo

The sun had just risen when I opened the door of our house in Marettimo. In front of the old port, with its masses of dry Posidonia and the fishing boats. Some of them were chatting quietly. They almost certainly said that no one was going out that day.

There was a strong sirocco wind, dark clouds gathered on the mountain. The current from the south rippled the sea menacingly.

We had a task for those days in Marettimo: to go and monitor the sea eagles.

We also tried to go to Cala Martina for our monitoring day. But, as soon as we passed Punta Bassana, we were forced to give it up. The sea eagles were standing alone.

I will shortly tell you the complete report of our expedition on the sea eagles of Marettimo on the pages of this blog.

Diving in Marettimo: the Orlando di San Simone

We had a few days available here in Marettimo. And we absolutely could give up a day of diving because of the sirocco.

Our plan B was a buoy in front of the harbor about a mile away.

Fortunately, the navigation did not last long as the sea conditions were almost prohibitive. On the site, on the surface, there was a lot of current.

Immersione a Marettimo l’Orlata di San Simone
Photo Credit: Julie Sferlazzo

The base of the dive in Marettimo dell’Orlata di San Simone was an esplanade of Posidonia at a depth of 18 meters. Even underwater, the current was strong, we glided on the bottom and passed the base of the rock.

We met some large rocky peaks that were covered with coralligenous. The red gorgonians had medium-large branches, very beautiful and with completely open polyps.

Wonderful canyons form between the rocky peaks. We walked through them among the fans of gorgonians that open inside them. The play of light was wonderful.

Immersione a Marettimo l’Orlata di San Simone
Photo Credit: Tony Scontrino

One of these peaks did not rest completely on the sand but created a tunnel with the vault covered by the yellow polyps of the Leptosammia pruvoti and the orange ones of the Astroides calycularis. Their polyps were nice fleshy and open, thanks to the current they are feeding.

Immersione a Marettimo l’Orlata di San Simone
Photo Credit: Julie Sferlazzo

I was already familiar with the feelings I experienced, typical of the southern Mediterranean seas. I felt like I was back home, I felt like I was back in Cala Tramontana, in Pantelleria, in the days when the current made that place unique.

In the burrows we found groupers and scorpion fish. Thanks to our Mares Horizon SCRs we were able to bring them closer and take close-ups with our cameras.

Immersione a Marettimo l’Orlata di San Simone
Photo Credit: Roberto Bottini

Going up, in the blue, there were barracudas and there was a lot of current. We just saw them from afar.

We remained underwater for 48 minutes, maintaining an average depth of almost 30 meters. After 30 minutes of bottom-up my computer showed three minutes of decompression. Power of the Horizon.

The maximum depth I reached during this dive in Marettimo at the Orlando di San Simone was 38 meters, I dived with an S80 tank loaded with nitrox 34, with a set point of 28%. I only consumed 60 bars.


It was time to go back.

The sirocco had increased, it was really difficult to go back to port.

Uncle Mauro, the captain of our boat, decided to fall back on the old dock, the one in front of our house. We docked on the dry Posidonia, in piles.

On our return, a scene that I will never forget.

We were approached by a fishing boat that inevitably created waves. In a small moment of inattention, due to these waves, our boat began to take on water from the bow. A waterfall of sea water entered our boat. Andrea Di Vaira’s readiness was immediate: he managed to save his Horizon SCR resting on the fiberglass at the bow. We immediately moved to the stern to try to give weight to the boat and put it back in navigation trim.

Uncle Mauro, the commander, was seized by a moment of panic and exclaimed, in strict dialect: “Maronna !!! O’funno let’s sleep “.

Unfortunately we did not have the readiness to record this video, which would have definitely depopulated on social networks.

We are left with this fantastic memory …

The storm and the calm after the storm

In the afternoon the bad weather increased.

Marettimo was completely covered with dark and threatening clouds. Towards evening a very strong tropical storm, almost tropical. A splash of water that lasted about 20 minutes and then ended suddenly.

The sky turned blue again, the sirocco stopped as if by magic, leaving us a sparkling refreshing temperature as a gift.

This too was magic!!!

The following day we were able to go back to the sea eagles and, I promise you, sooner or later I will tell you about it …

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