On-board Diary: Diving in Capri

Author: Soledad Esnaola
Date: June 11, 2006



No luck this time either. Even though we imagined we would not find much activity from the netters tonight, it is very annoying to see we were correct. There is almost a full moon, and our only satellite lights up the water like the best spotlight. Perhaps that is why the netters haven’t gone out to work. It’s too clear.

We divers don’t stand guard tonight because we are going to Capri Island, where there are plans to dive and we have to have rested, so we leave the dirty work to Carlos, Jordi and Albert. Early in the morning we arrive at our destination, and we realise why these islands have the reputation they have. A piece of rock appearing from nowhere in the middle of the sea thousands of years ago, with escarpments, cliffs and a slightly less steep thin stretch of land and trees where man has taken the opportunity to build a few houses and two hotels.

Thierry studies the submarine land on the nautical chart and finds a rock in front of the coast at an acceptable depth for the dive, and off we go. We prepare the equipment, put the zodiac in the water (which is always a sight worth seeing…if you don’t believe it ask Carlos), and we dive into the depths in our “frogmen” disguises. As soon as we go down we see a rope some 12 metres away against the almost vertical wall, attached to which are baskets for fishing octopus, fish, lobsters or whatever wants to venture inside. We continue diving and swimming parallel to the wall and find ourselves among fields of phanerogams, sea cucumbers and some soft corals (Astroides calycularis), as we did on Ponza Island. We also see colonies of encrusting anemones (Parazoanthus sp.), small gorgonias, tiny nudibranchs (Flabellina sp.), shoals of small fish, and other species lining the rock that quickly fell away to 30 metres deep. Another dive without any problems and we all come out of the water happy; the photographers with their photos, and the camera man with his recordings. Our plans for a second dive in the afternoon came to nothing when the sun disappeared and it rained, and the wind turned up. The good thing had come to an end. Now we are at the mercy of the weather, which we STILL haven’t learnt to control. Tomorrow we have to return to the port of Napoles to pick up Xavier, who returns after a 3-day break, and María José Cornax, who is coming on the Ranger for the first time and…she has no idea what she has got herself into!