Did you know that in 2018, the Ministry of the Environment – upon proposal by the Council Administration – recognised the stretch of sea in front of Santa Teresa Gallura, in the heart of the renowned Bocche di Bonifacio, the status of “Capo Testa – Punta Falcone” Marine Protected Area? Its proximity to the other Maddalena Archipelago Protected Area and the Regional Park of Corsica led to the creation of the largest integrated natural reserve of the Mediterranean Sea.
Today, together with Alfred Cardi, product manager of the new Gallura Highlands catalogue, we discover what awaits us below the surface of the sea.
- When did your passion for exploring the sea floor start?
I was born with this pull to the sea. Like many, I was lucky enough to be born in Sardinia and moreover my parents are both divers so my love for everything found below the sea blossomed at a very young age.
- Is the underwater scenery of Santa Teresa Gallura as enchanting as its mainland?
Absolutely, if not more so. The unique geographical situation of the Bocche di Bonifacio makes this stretch of sea the only one like it in the world. The strategic position was renowned as early as Roman times, a famous and notorious stretch of sea due to the many shipwrecks that happened here.
Today, it is the custodian of 2000 years of history, from the navis onerariae cargo ships of the Roman Empire to the ships of the First and Second World Wars.
The natural aspect is no less interesting thanks to its abundance of flora and fauna – it is no coincidence that it is known as the most sought-after destination for coral workers in the whole of the Mediterranean.
Climate change as we are witnessing it today is also affecting these sea floors, meaning that even we who know them well are being constantly surprised by what we find.
- Are there particularly favourable periods for practising this sport or is it something you can do all year round?
The best time for diving in this stretch of sea is from April to June and from September to December. Over the past few years, our winters have been fairly mild so we have been able to offer our services without stopping, taking our more expert customers diving and embarking on research dives.
- Do you need to be an expert swimmer or an athlete or complete a course to be able to go diving?
To start getting to know the sea floor all you really need is to know how to swim. There are programmes (studied and standardised by international associations) to introduce anyone interested to this activity, known as Discovery or Baptism of the Sea. Then, you can decide whether or not to follow an actual course which will further expand your horizons.
- Does Santa Teresa Gallura have any structures specially equipped to welcome and accommodate diving enthusiasts?
There are a number of different Diving Centres with various types of offer available, presenting a different approach to diving and equipment. As of today, whether you are an occasional diver or keen on technical diving, Santa Teresa Gallura is able to offer you a wide variety of choice.
- The sea diving school offers courses of various levels as well as free diving: are participants also taught to respect the marine environment?
There are three ways to approach the sea floor: snorkelling (mask and fins on the surface of the water), free diving (mask and fins but diving while holding your breath), scuba diving where the diver has equipment that allows him to stay underwater for a longer period of time. Over time, the system that has proven most successful is scuba diving, as the longer time spent underwater means that divers can explore the marine floor better, more safely and accurately. All diving approaches are, however, based on respecting and safeguarding the marine environment.
Deep-sea diving with an aqualung is not a sport but a discipline as there are no competitions or limits of any kind to surpass. This means scuba divers are able to develop a natural empathy with the sea that can be trained but which the diver finds on his own.
It is hard to explain in words to anyone who isn’t a diver what it means to respect and safeguard the sea floor: it is not a question of culture or mental approach but more a deep emotional relationship.
Gallura Highlands is a pleasant, exciting experience on a discovery of the depths of the sea… but not only. The natural environment makes it possible to carry out training sessions outside, combined with trekking excursions, bike tours and guided tours making the package even more appealing.