Sailing west from Marciana Marina is Punta Nasuto. Here the seabed is very varied. An interesting dive is the one that begins on the east side of the promontory. After moving through thick shoals of damselfish hanging constantly in mid-water you will reach the base of the cliff at a depth of 42 meters.
This route continues for about 50 meters towards the open sea along a sandy tract, until reaching a large isolated rock that rises imposingly through the surface of the water by a couple of meters. The life surrounding these two underwater cliffs is extraordinary: there are shoals of white breams and shadefish inside the deep clefts, with lobsters and conger-eels appearing from behind rocks, as well as the beautiful Anthias whirling inside the cracks with their pink coats.
The rocks display a particularly rich coralligenous with bright colourful sponges, bryozoas and the delicate crowns of the Protula tubularia.
Punta della Madonna
Not far from the previous dive is Punta della Madonna, which can be reached in just a few minutes by boat from the port of Marciana Marina.The dive can be made on the north side of the promontory to explore what looks like its underwater extention and is constituted by a large cliff the top of which almost reaches the surface of the water.
Towards the open sea, the wall descends quickly to over 44 meters where the rocks display a large number of deep and large fractures, the ideal hideout for the many species that prefer a dark environment. There are many red Apogon imberbis, small slipper lobsters, Galathea and the Stenopus spinosus crayfish with their long antennas. Thanks to the alternation of fractures and extraordinarily clear water this underwater landscape is unique. For this dive a flashlight is a must.
The Careno Shallow
Between Capo Sant’Andrea and Formiche della Zanca, the great Careno Shallow rises up to 14-20 meters from the sea surface. The area facing the coast slopes gently to a moderate depth while the area towards the open sea forms a rockslide of various terraces which reach a depth of 40 meters. The morphology of the seabed is characterized by a succession of big rocks one on top of the other, forming hide-outs, caves and narrow tunnels that create the perfect housing for many reef fish such as wrasse, groupers and blennies.
In the darker areas grow sponges and tunicates, such as the transparent Clavelina lepadiformis and the red Halocinthya papillosa, which beautifully colour the rocks. The side facing northwest is spectacular: descending along the wall formed by enormous rocks and after reaching a depth of 30 meters, there are gorgonias, lobsters and plenty of scorpion fish. This part of the coast is particularly luxuriant thanks to the presence of constant currents carrying essential nourishment for the development of many forms of life. As on most shallows, even here it is possible to observe the passing of dentexes and amberjacks that reach these waters in search of prey.
Formiche della Zanca
To the west of Marciana Marina, between Capo Sant’Andrea and Punta della Zanca, is Formiche della Zanca, one of the finest dive sites on the northern coast of the Island of Elba. The so called Formiche, is constituted by a group of emerging rocks, the underwater part of which is an amazingly scenic seabed with various routes for the diver.
The side towards the Island of Capraia is particularly beautiful: beyond a detrital plateau confined by rocks the dive route starts descending until it reaches tall pointed cliffs and a large channel, the walls of which are made of large rocks containing many hide-outs for conger-eels and shadefish.
Deeper, beyond 45 meters, there is a fantastic seabed covered by fans of red Paramuricea clavata: a particularly interesting photographic subject thanks also to the schools of Anthias and damselfish elegantly swimming among the branches. Among the rocks it is fairly common to spot the antennas of a lobster, while surfacing schools of saddle breams, bogues and occasional amberjacks regularly accompany the diver.