All over Croatia the sea is crystal clear with millions of shades, promising and seductive. It embraces a strip of land broken up into tiny islands with rocky beaches, upright cliffs and hidden lakes.
Some years ago we fell in love with these places, amazed by the variety of environments and different ecosystems, among the most intact and pristine of the Mediterranean.
At all latitudes, on the border between land and sea, people live suspended between two worlds: the fishermen and the lighthouse keepers, the sailors and the
professional divers…incurable dreamers, adventurers. People who are strong and tough, who spend every day at sea; sweet, generous people who love to share time and experiences; respectful, patient poeple ready to help those who are in need - in Croatia we found many examples of these large-hearted people. Their availability, their professionalism, their care for their equipment, their open minds are all a must for divers who will not settle for easy diving in the warm tropical seas, but who are looking for true wonders in their own backyards. There was no better place for extending our range and experiencing our brand new Mares XR technical equipment.
A sea of contrasting colours
In the southern part of Croatia there are many steep rocky plateaus, plenty of bridges, cracks and caves. There are cathedrals entirely built of limestone that the sea has carved and shaped, opening a gap among the tender porous rocks.
On every dive we discover different, new environments, depending on the depth where we start to explore the walls rising to the surface, where the currents determine the unique biological development.
A continuous succession of caves and niches create environments rich in life: sponges, gorgonians, bryozoans, tunicates, encrusting algae, yellow polyps (Parazoanthus) and corals of various kinds create a landscape saturated with colour. There is an intricate tangle of creatures which are extraordinarily varied: jewel anemones, hydroids and crinoids, so many elements of the benthos which completely mask the substrate on which they have settled, camouflaged in a colourful mosaic.
The walls of the north-facing beidges are often surrounded by red sea fans (Paramuricea clavata), forming a strong contrast with the deep blue of the sea. Among the sea fans there are large sponges (Axinellae cannabina) in bright colours and some white corollas of isolated tube-worms. The walls end on sandy seabeds; scouring the rocks we find the favourite retreats of the big scorpion fish, lobsters and dogfish.
In the crevices of the rocks an expert guide shows us some branches of red coral of considerable size, even at moderate depth.
The pinnacles and bridges appear to be different from each other and are home to different biotic communities on each section of the walls. On some a large amount of fluorescent worm (Cerianthus) grow. On others, in shallow water, a colony of yellow polyps (Parazoanthus) covers dozens of square meters of rock, leaving the opportunity for fans, sponges and bryozoans to grow and soar to the soft carpet. At depth, the hosts are often red gorgonians (Paramuricea), in good company with the bright yellow branches of the false black coral (Gerardia savaglia) of remarkable size.
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