Marine Environment

Diving into the seabeds of Elba Island and those of the Tuscan Archipelago is an extraordinary experience. Indeed, these incredible underwater worlds with spectacular colors will give you the chance to meet extremely rare habitats such as the one where the red coral lives. The great biological diversity is also due to the variety of the coasts so as the one of the seabed: there are in fact, flat and sandy beaches, rocky cliffs, shoals, tormented seabed, ravines and caves. In these environments live thousands beautiful species of animals and plants.

Where the presence of water is linked to the periodicity of the tides, the marine life grows lush characterized by rocks covered with reefs, a brown and pink type of seaweed. Here move slowly also sea tomatoes (Actinia equina, biological indicator of unpolluted waters), sea anemones that collect organic residues and small animals thanks to their tentacles. Under the low tide limit, which is well signposted by the regular dark line of the brown seaweed, there is indeed much life.

In the first submerged zone, rocks are covered with many algae including Penicillus capitatus or Neptune's shaving brush alga, to be found only in the Archipelago. Here there are also urchins and starfishes, octopus and abalone. Among the rocks of the first 20 metres of depth, illuminated by a light which is still pretty intense and full of frequencies, live countless algae, plants and many animals of different size .

Where a horizontal plane plunging into darkness replaces the rocks , the seabed is covered with debris originated by the millenary erosion of the cliffs and of limestone shells of invertebrates . Under these conditions, with a light yet sufficient, develop large seagrass meadows, the ribbon like marine plant that ripples as the currents move.

These meadows appear very compact almost entirely made of Neptune grass, a biological rarity, which represents the habitat for many passenger or permanent marine organisms .
Salps and bogues live in these grasslands, but also the large Pinna nobilis and the increasingly rare seahorse. Near the rocks and not too deep below, lives a surprisingly rich Mediterranean fish community. There are in fact groups of small damselfish and perches characterized by the beautiful blue spot on the belly; damselfishes, the various species of thrushes; large benthic predators like the moray and the conger eel; the spiny and camouflage redfish that in greater depth gives way to the scorpionfish.

Sought after by fishermen are also breams, red mullets and sea bream. The ideal environment of the coral is when the depth increases sharply with the presence of a vertical rocky wall rather than with one sloping more or less gently. Today the sea is certainly more looted because of the commercial value of the coral, but it still offers magnificent red gorgonians, yellow sea whip or sea scallops.

In the sea away from the coast, often near the surface swim tirelessly large predatory fishes chasing anchovies and sardines: the leerfish chasing mullets, the large and quiet moon fish that can reach a ton of weight; the wonderful swordfish and tuna now are being repopulated after the closure of the historical tuna fishing nets (tonnara) where fishing slaughter used to be practiced.

Reduced to no more than three areas in Italy, even monk seals seem to appear sporadically along the coasts of the Tuscan Archipelago, where they supposedly find shelter in a cave on the southern side of the island of Montecristo. On the contrary, cetaceans hang out at the Archipelago far more assiduously. There are frequent dolphin and sperm whale's sightings, while more rare are the blue whale ones.

The Cetacean Sanctuary

The Cetacean Sanctuary

The Cetacean Sanctuary is an important protected marine area that stretches for 90,000 km2 and is intended to protect the cetaceans swimming in these waters.



There a lot of place at Elba to do Diving in Elba’ sea, with courses and classes to practice it. 

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