Vulcano – underwater excursion


Volcanoism is without doubt the most peculiar characteristic of the Aeolian archipelago and makes the island noted and famous all over the world. Descending along the slope of an active volcanic cone is not an everyday experience. Finding the starting point is very simple.

Coming from Lipari you cross the channel and you leave on the right of Vulcano’s port. Continuing along the coast for a few hundred metres, at a certain point a large rock appears surmounted by the statue of a mermaid that emerges a few metres from the coast. Here you find yourself on a rocky platform,which suddenly gives away to a steep wall;a few metres fom the edge the sea-bed starts to rapidly slip away. The powerful black lava ramparts fall markedly towards the sand,which itself falls towards the abysses, following a very steep gradient.

At a depth of 15 metres it is worth going around the Sirenetta rock, characterised by large stones on the bottom. In some places the sand is reddish-yellow; gassy emissions and rising hot water from the bottom can also be seen. Following the coast’s rocks and the start of the plateau,at around three metres deep,cavities can be seen.

The first evident coming from Sirenetta rock and heading towards the port is not deep, but rich in thermal water emissions; the second however penetrates for a few metres into the rock and rises up to reach the surface of a spectacular tiny hypogeum sea water lake.

Observing Capo Testa Grossa from the sea, we note that it is made up of a massive layer which ends with a rather long wall, which goes down into the sea in a north south direction.

From here you go down into the cove’s water to the north of the head, close to the rocks. In fact, inside the fall the rock sinks to a peak forming a solidified vertical wall where beautiful colonies of sponge are found. Swimming on  you arrive at the real and true point.

Here you find a truly suggestive atmosphere: the wall falls vertically into the water, but is extremely jointed. The rocks are indented in peaks, channels, and recesses. This imposing morphology continues for a few metres, until a rather elevated depth, more than 50 metres.

The suggested trip concerns the channel area between Vulcano and Lipari. Leaving from Lipari or from one of Vulcano’s landings,you head towards the slopes of Vulcanello facing onto the castle.
The dive starting point is easily identifiable: two hotels built on the coast, a few metres apart.

The descent starts in the part of the coast that divides the two buildings. The sea-bed falls gradually, for a number of metres, forming a vast plateau between three and five metres, covered alternately by small rocks and posidion stains.

Then we move towards Lipari, following a direction perpendicular to the coast,until we can identify the start of a rather steep descent. The first few metres, from three to twenty metres are characterised by the presence of a fall of small rocks. Passing this part, until drifting at a depth of between 35 to 45 metres,the dimensions of the rocks which make up the fall increase dramatically, forming a much more spectacular sea-bed.

Capo Grosso is a bizarre rocky structure which stretches out towards the sea as if it was a fortification constructed to obstruct the southern waves.

The wall is in fact absolutely vertical and there are no flat surfaces on which to find a hold. The descent towards the high sea depths is sudden. A few strokes on, you find yourself suspended in the water opposite the afore mentioned vertical wall.

The most evocative thing of this dive is a type of ramp cut into the rock wall completely covered with Astroids.

The cove which opens between Capo Testa Grossa and Quaglietto rock is surely one of the most beautiful in all the archipelago. Entering on our right we discover the stunning natural swimming pools of emerald coloured crystallized water: this place known as “the Virgin’s pool”. At the end of the cove a wide cave opens, called “Grotta del Cavallo”, in which it is possible to enter by boat.

Nearing the rock you have to moor on the southern side. Swimming on the external side and crossing the channel between the small rock and the real Quaglietto, you go down to the bottom. From here, leaving behind a smaller rock which appears you start to go around Quaglietto; after a few metres you arrive opposite a large cave which is the goal of our  descent.

In the center of the cavern, positionned on the sandy sea-bed a representative Madonna figure rises up placed by an underwater club. After a brief stop in the centre of the cave you can  proceed towards the inside armed with a strong torch: at the end of the cave you will find a thick shoal of red prawns.