The “Mountain” of Scylla
At the foot of the legendary rock of Scylla, numerous large rocks descend on the gravel and sand sea bottom to about 20/25 m; then the seabed drops rapidly up to 35 m, where there’s a submerged reef. There we’ll bump into an imposing spire with vertical walls, twenty meters high, known by everyone as “the Mountain”. Circumnavigating the submerged cliff clockwise, returning to the south, we patrol the wall facing the coast, marked by a deep vertical crack, often inhabited by fish and shellfish.
Business card for the seabed of Scylla, this site has unique characteristics in the Mediterranean Sea and a benthos so colored to satisfy the more demanding divers.
We are in the realm of coelenterates, marine colonial invertebrates that have colored these waters to the point of making them comparable to tropical seas. Among these there’s a gorgonian, the Paramuricea clavata, that covers densely the walls of the main pinnacle; commonly red, here it’s present in its variant color yellow or bicolor. These thin out only in the upper half of the reef, where there are groups of Astroides calycularis and some Eunicella cavolinii. On the sandy plateau above the “Mountain” huge Cerianthus membranaceus show off their flashy white tentacles with luminescent ends.
Clusters of Clavelina lepadiformis have settled on gorgonians, while small numbers of Halocintia papillosa and some Microcosmus sulcatus colonize the available substrate, completing the presence of tunicates.
Big specimens of bearded fireworm (Hermodice carunculata) walk on the gorgonians branches, rich of exquisite polyps, their favorite food.
Exceptionally, on the seabed of Scylla, it’s possible to identified also several examples of a rare echinoderm, the Astrospartus mediterraneus. And finally the fishes: typical is the presence, from January to April-May, of beautiful St. Peter fishes and large monkfish. From October to December you can instead meet pelagic fishes: shoals of yellowtail, skipjack or bonito appear out of the blue as if by magic, and then disappear in the same way. Large red scorpion fish, sedentary and sly, are motionless on the bottom, while occasional groupers, large moray eels and some timid white hakes are hidden in the dark rock crevices.
|The “Mountain” – Scylla
|Reef, from the shore
|Imposing spire of rock with vertical cliffs
|There can be strong currents; recommended the presence of expert guides.
|In circle around the reef, with roundtrip parallel to the coast.
|Visibility generally very good.
|High, with the presence of coelenterates
|“Forests” of yellow and red gorgonians Paramuricea clavata. Old and huge specimens of Cerianthus.