There is a reason Italy is known as one of the top travel destinations in the world. The picturesque scenery, the ancient civilizations, the impeccably blue Mediterranean waters contouring the distinctive boot… For regular travellers it is considered a dream vacation; for avid scuba divers it is pure bliss.
There are many different kinds of blue: the colour, the feeling and the ocean… can you guess which one is my favorite? #scuba #scubadiving #divinglicious #divebuddies4life #diving #underthesea #uwphotographer #tbt #throwbackthursday #traveltheworld #animals #seaside #ocean #mermaid #followme #travel #blogger
Every year, tons of tourists flock to Italy to enjoy the first-class beaches, vibrant culture, and world-class cuisine. But what they’re really missing out on is the supreme scuba diving. To date, some of my favorite diving sites have been in this part of the globe.
The marine protected area of Punta Campanella is located on the Sorrentine peninsula about 50 kilometers from the big city of Naples. Surrounded by the rich waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea, this peninsula is part of the Amalfi coast, a 40-kilometer region of Italy stretching between the Gulf of Naples and the Gulf of Salerno. The marine protected area includes some grotto’s, inlets and bays starting at Punta del Capo and ending near Punta Germano.
One of the most popular places to visit on this peninsula is the town of Sorrento due to its accessibility to the Amalfi coast and view of Mount Vesuvius.
Sorrento is a little of an unexpected diving destination. Most people go to the Amalif for the food and the beaches, but then when you see the water you just know it needs to be explored further.
All around Sorrento, there are diving opportunities big and small to be found. It took only one glimpse at the blue Tyrrhenian sea for Joey and me to get the scuba diving itch. After weaving through Punta Lagno’s maze of streets and dead ends, we finally arrived at the water’s edge ready for a much anticipated day of diving.
From the Punta Lagno harbour there are about 17 dive sites that can be explored by boat from this center. The dive sites range from plunging wall dives carpeted in marine life to dark and dismal cave dives forcing you to navigate cracks and crevices with only a flashlight. Today Joey and I would be dipping our toes into the cream of the crop; Vervece and Grotta dell’Isca.
Like our other fellow divers along on the trip, before we took off from the harbor, Joey and I prepped our dive gear. Once everyone was ready, the boat headed out to the first dive. A mere five-minute boat ride from the shop, the Vervece dive site was visible right from shore. At first glance, Vervece may seem like just a small rock poking out of the water but don’t be fooled. This part of the gulf is an integral part of the Punta Campanella marine protected area thanks to strong currents and abundance of healthy marine life.
I was one of the first to roll off the boat and hit the fresh blue water at Vervece. Like clockwork, Joey followed with his GoPro in hand. As soon as the water enveloped me, I knew it was going to be a good dive. Just looking down from the surface the visibility was incredible. Still, nothing could have prepared me for the fauna that was waiting for us out in the blue of Vervece.
Our dive group was split into two different teams; the main group which was lead by one of the female divemasters and would be doing a few circles around the gigantic Vervece rock and Joey, myself and the shop owner diving for the sole purpose of finding the massive school of barracuda that is known to frequent the area.
We started the dive descending 6 meters (20 feet) down to a sunken statue of the Virgin Mary. The religious figure was anchored to the bottom by a concrete slab and complete with hands brought together in prayer and a dainty rosary encircling her upper torso. The algae growth that covered her body lead me to believe that she had called this dive site her home for quite some time.
As we moved away from the statue and out into the open sea, fish were flying at us fast. The amount of damselfish was truly staggering. They filled the water like confetti on New Year’s Eve. It wasn’t just damsels either, so many groupers were sneaking around at the edge of my visibility, close enough to identify but too far for a good picture.
At a depth of about 21 meters (70 feet), we stopped following the bottom, which just kept plunging down, and headed towards the open sea. The divemaster told us at the beginning of the dive if the schools of barracuda were hanging out at this dive site there were two possible locations they would likely be, both places involved free swimming out into the blue.
It must have been our lucky day because not even two minutes into our swim I caught sight of a few silvery arrow dynamic bodies in the distance. They were here!
We followed the handful of barracuda from a distance and before I realized what was happening more and more started to drift into my line of sight. The next thing I knew we became surrounded by these magnificent creatures. I think I counted over 100 at one point all gliding along effortlessly through the water. The closer I got the more I realized how big these predatory pelagic fish were. I think the largest one I saw was about 1 meter (3 feet) long.
Contrary to what a lot of people believe the school of barracuda we dove with were shy and skittish creatures. As much as I tried to approach them, they never let me get closer than 2-3 meters (7-10 feet).
Interesting Fact: Barracudas can swim at the speeds of up to 25 miles/hour (40 kilometers/hour) useful for both hunting and escaping predators.
I had so much fun playing follow the leader with the school of angry looking barracuda that I could have sprouted gills and stayed there all day. But as our tanks slowly emptied it was time to bid them adieu and head out of the open water back to Vervece Rock where were would do our safety stop and locate the dive boat. Talk about ending our Vervece dive on the right fin!
From the Vervece dive site, we headed south towards the point of the Sorrentine peninsula. Our next stop was the Grotta dell’Isca or Isca Caves (as the non-Italians like to call it), a stalagmite filled cave just waiting for exploration. It took us about 30 minutes by boat to reach the Grotta situated beneath sea level under the Homonym Island.
Once again we had fabulous visibility everywhere we turned our mask. I felt like a Mediterranean mermaid.
Going from swim-through cave to swim-through cave, we admired the silhouettes of other divers in front of us. Their profiles resonated against the vivid blue of the sea as we exited the tunnel on the other side. Colorful fish were darting this way and that way with no set path in mind. I finned by huge rocky walls sweeping from the rough surface into the depth. The walls were coated to the nines in colourful sponges and green and red plant life. For two scuba divers who have done most of their diving in Canada, it felt like heaven on earth.
Before long our scuba group made it to the main cave. We gracefully swam into the jet black tunnel, careful not to stir up any of the silty bottom sediment. Slowly and by the beam of our flashlights we surfaced in the heart of the cave and were greeted with a ceiling covered in long, dripping stalagmites.
Joey and I inflated our BCD’s and floated like to buoys in the ocean, gazing up at the massive dome. There was something about the black stillness of the cave that had us under its spell. After 15 minutes of floating and gawking it was time to exit the confines of the cave.
On our day of diving with Punta Campanella, I was treated to several first-time species sightings, but the highlight was hands down seeing my first big school of barracuda.
When it was finally time to return topside, Joey and I swam slowly back towards the boat. I can’t say I was ready for the dive to be over.
Punta Campanella may be a lesser known Italian dive destination, but after spending a day diving in this neck of the woods, I can say that this spot packs quite the diving punch. From diving in giant shrimp filled caverns to swimming with fearsome barracuda, the clear blue waters of the Amalfi coast was second to none. To this day it has been my all-time favorite dive spot.
The average cost of diving on the Sorrentine peninsula is 40.00€ with equipment or 70.00€ for those without. The dive includes tanks, weights, boat transport, protected area pass, and a dive guide. Night dives run at 45.00€ or 75.00€ however not all scuba outfitters offers night diving.
Scuba diving courses are also available and range from a cost of 90.00€ to 500.00€. Most shops readily offer Discover scuba diving, open water diver, advanced diver, rescue diver, and dive master. Make sure to contact the shop and plan well in advance if you are thinking about taking a scuba course.
Prime Amalfi coast dive seasons runs from April to October, with June to August having the warmest waters at around 29°C/84°F. While the coast can still be dove in the winter months, flora and fauna are significantly less bountiful, and the water generally hovers around 10°С/50°F.
Divers of all different levels are welcome to dive the shoreline of the Amalfi coast. The dives sites range from easy, beginner level sites to more advanced and deep dives. Because of the steep and cliffy nature of this touristic peninsula, having a cavern diver specialty course is an asset as it allows certified divers to access the caves, caverns, and grottos formed along the picturesque coastline.
Divers can find a fair share of scuba shops around the Amalfi coast. Punta Campanella was our choice of shop, and we were left speechless with the staff and dive sites. When planning your trip, make sure to reach out to this dive shop via telephone, especially during the busy summer season, as they can be hard to reach over email. Here are all the dive shops that can be found on the Sorrentine peninsula.
Divers, do you have a favorite Italian scuba diving site to share? Let us know below, we’d love to explore and write about it
Saint Andrews by-the-sea may be small in size, but this summer town packs a pretty big dive punch for scuba divers willing to brave the Bay of Fundy's tides.
Bonaire TEK is an annual October occurrence, where Buddy Dive Resort partners with leaders in the tech diving industry for a week of technical dive demonstrations, equipment trials, presentations, training ins and outs, and camaraderie.
When it comes to getting outside and immersed in nature, Ontario Parks is at the top of the list. Not only do the parks boast magnificent nature, but it's hundreds of thousands of lakes make it a real treat for those who love the water.
Not all things underwater can be seen at first glance - for some, you need to take a closer look. Macro photography is the art of close-up photography on small subjects.
Do you enjoy cold water wreck diving? This dive destination will let you experience the best shipwrecks and scuba diving opportunities on the Canadian east coast.
When diving in Nova Scotia where do you even begin? Do you start in Halifax the province's capital or do you wander beyond to see what the surrounding area has to offer?
Sometimes finding a good dive spot is easier said than done. Shore diving around Saint John, New Brunswick is a testament to how unpredictable the Bay Fundy can be.
No matter what level of diver you are, scuba backroll entries are a fun-filled way to get off the dive boat and get into the water.
Sitting pretty right next to the gulf stream, Jupiter is known as one of Florida's best shark diving location. Drift along in the current as you enjoy an up-close encounter with the ocean's apex predators.
Forget the colorful piñatas and all-you-can-eat tacos, when in Mexico's coastal town of Zihuatanejo, it's all about the scuba diving!
The Sony SEL90M28G FE 90 mm f/2.8-22 Macro G OSS Standard-Prime Lens for E (NEX) Cameras.
Compact scuba diving finger spool with 150ft of white line and a 4-inch brass double-ended clip
Black Mares Cruise Roller Tauchen bag, perfect for scuba diving and traveling
If you’re not quite ready for the expense of big lights, this little video light goes perfectly with any GoPro setup
SHOOT 6″ Underwater Dome Port for GoPro Hero 6/Hero 5/Hero(2018) Black Camera Diving Lens Hood Housing Photography with Waterproof Case Accessories
Suunto Vyper Novo wrist scuba diving computer with USB
Bare SB System Mens Full Under-layer
The Cuticate floating dry box is a waterproof sports container perfect to fit money, ID, cards, keys and more. The case is small, portable, compact, and comes with a lanyard clip hook to take with you as you scuba dive.
Bare drysuit drawstring scuba gear bag the perfect alternative for transporting a dry suit to-and-from the dive site
Sigma MC-11 mount converter lens adapter (Sigma EF-Mount lens to sony E cameras). Essential photo kit contains Altura photo rapid-fire wrist strap, small lens pouch, cleaning kit, and microfiber lens cleaning cloth.
The Hydra 5000 WSRU is an all in one photo and dive light with wide, spot, red, and UV modes
Canon Macro Lens EF-S 60mm f/2.8 USM – non Image Stabilised
Mini blue scuba diving tank key ring with brass pick tool and o-rings
Capture amazingly smooth shake-free video with the GoPro Karma Grip
Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM FLD Large Aperture Standard Zoom Lens for Canon Digital DSLR Camera + 32GB Memory Card + Photo4Less Cleaning Cloth.
Compact underwater scuba diving hand reel with a 150ft of white line on the spool
Bare drysuit trek boots designed for rocky shore entries, boat decks, and boat ladders
Black Mares Dragon Scuba Diving BCD
Ikelite TTL dual flash sync cord attaches two strobe’s to the underwater camera housing.
Dry glove lock system that accommodates all hand sizes
Dive hands-free with a diving flashlight glove. This torch holder has a universal adjustable wrist strap scuba and is made of superior nylon material, which means it’s durable and comfortable to wear.
Scuba diving 4ft neon yellow surface marker signal tube with “Diver Below” print
Black scuba diving turtle fins
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0 L USM Telephoto Zoom Lens
DUI heavy duty dry suit gloves with yellow liners available in sizes: S, M, L, XL
AmazonBasics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod and Bag with adjustable-height legs and rubber feet
13-inch inflatable dive buoy with a 12 by 11-inch scuba diving flag surface marker
Ikelite photography strobe DS161 with NiMH rechargeable battery pack
Bare 7mm thick elastek dry suit hood
Ikelite aluminum digital camera tray with dual handles
GoPro dual battery charger conveniently charges two HERO6 Black, HERO5 Black, or HERO camera batteries simultaneously
Sony Alpha a6500 24MP mirrorless camera with a 16-50mm lens, able to shoot 4K movies.
Capture amazingly smooth GoPro footage in the air with the GoPro Karma Drone
Flexible Lightweight Portable Tripod for Projector DSLR Cameras and Go Pro
Ikelite underwater macro lens casing is comprised of an acetyl body with glass front and can hold lenses of 4.37 diameter x 3 inches (111 x 76 mm)
Ikelite compact ball arm for quick release handle
Ikelite Canon EOS 100D Rebel SL1 underwater camera housing in white
Suunto SK-8 wrist compass with bungee straps, faster stabilization, and enhanced readability
Bare Sports 5mm men’s wetsuit made with elastek full-stretch nylon-2 and neoprene celliant liner infrared technology.
Bare 5mm evoke women’s full suit designed by Bare’s all-female design team. The suit has technically, innovative celliant infrared technology which increase circulation, body warmth and performance.
Diving lens filter kit for GoPro HERO 5/6 which enhances colors for underwater video and photography conditions
3PC curved armband glow in the dark slate.
Rechargeable Ikelite NiMH battery pack compatible with Ikelite’s DS125, DS160, and DS161 strobes.
GoPro HERO6 Black Camera