One of the most picturesque and famous coastlines in the world
Diving in Sorrento
This could well be one of the most picturesque and famous coastlines in the world. Sheer cliffs plunge vertically into clear blue Mediterranean waters, interrupted only by idyllic little beaches and impossibly beautiful coastal villages. Magnificent villas, vineyards and citrus groves, carved over the centuries into the cliff walls, tower above the winding coast road.
Southern Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula pierces the Mediterranean, pointing straight at the legendary island of Capri and splitting the Gulf of Naples from the Bay of Salerno. Nowhere is more than an enthusiastic stone’s through from the water. It was here that the sirens of Greek mythology tempted sailors on to the rocky shore, and today, divers can still find remnants from the cargos of ancient wrecks.
Diving in the region is typified by the same topography found on shore: Steep drop-offs, caves and caverns. The jewel in its crown is the protected marine area of Punta Campanella. With some 40 kilometres/25 miles of coastline, the protected area allows limited use with permission of the managing authority ensuring a healthy marine ecosystem. The protected area also covers the shore, where well-marked trails guide visitors through citrus groves, forests and ancient archaeological sites to magnificent viewpoints.
The PADI Cavern Diver specialty will help with access to many of the caverns, caves and grottos that are common.
April through October is prime dive season. In May the average air temperature is 22°C/71°F during the day and falls to 12°C/53°F during the night. From June to August, the hottest time of the year, temperatures can reach 29°C/84°F.
Li Galli Islands – Crystal clear water and abundant red and yellow sea fans greet divers on the underwater walls. Beam and croakers lurk in the nooks and crannies, and, especially early and late in the dive season, tuna visit the current-washed dive sites.
Vervece Rock – This tiny rock, close to the town of Sorrento, is the tip of a seamount that plunges to 50 metres/165 feet. At 12 metres/40 feet rests a bronze statue of the Virgin Mary. For advanced divers, a wreck of a cargo ship nearby lies in 40 metres/130 feet of water. Ocean currents, and the marine protected area, make for abundant marine life.
Mitigliano Grotto – This cavern is a high voltage dive site for those with the right qualifications and experience. It features several air-filled chambers into which divers can surface and fresh water seeps in through the rocks creating haloclines and keeping the water temperature cool. Divers sometimes see the rare, and decidedly odd, fish Oligopus ater here.
Capo di Sorrento – This is a shallow dive, near Queen Giovanna’s Baths, where divers can find shards of ancient pottery. Colorful invertebrates, including nudibranchs, sponges and sea fans abound.