Between gorgonians and barracudas

A small rock burned by the sun floats one kilometer from the fishing village of Marina della Lobra, in the Sorrento Coast. It’s the Vervece. Protagonist of a local legend and symbol of fishermen, Vervece is the soul of Massa Lubrense.

The Vervece rock with the lighthouse | Ph. Gianluigi Di Maio - Trentaremi

The Vervece rock with the lighthouse | Ph. Gianluigi Di Maio - Trentaremi

Its name derives from vervex (ram, in latin) because its profile looks like this animal. Someone even calls it “Capri island’s husband”, because of Capri is the island of the rams. It is said that the women of Marina della Lobra for fear that people of Sorrento stole the rock, made a large rope to pull it ashore and save it. But as they tried to pull the rope, it broke and the women fell with their backs on the floor. Since that day, it is said that all the women of Lobra have a flat bottom.

Fifty meters long and less than twenty wide, a lighthouse watches on Vervece and its waters. It is part of one of the two areas of the Marine Protected Area of Punta Campanella, but its astonishing beauty is reserved only for people who dive among its waters. Gianluigi Di Maio, manager of the Punta Campanella Diving Center, is one of the lucky ones.

A huge bank of barracudas in the seas of Vervece | Ph. Edoardo Ruspantini - Trentaremi

A huge bank of barracudas in the seas of Vervece | Ph. Edoardo Ruspantini - Trentaremi

Gianluigi, which fish do you meet when you dive at Vervece?

Snappers, breams, sea basses, scorpion fishes, moray eels, St. Peter's fishes, large groupers and a huge bank of permanent barracudas. The distance from the coast and the currents of the Gulf of Naples favor the development of a very rich fauna. In fact, Vervece is one of the most beautiful place to dive in the Gulf.

What other submarine beauties can you admire?

On the north side there is a “garden” of red sea fans of incomparable beauty. While at lower depths the Sargassm algae create a varied habitat to explore. The west side is characterized by a beautiful wall of Halimeda Tuna and by expanses of parazoanthus.

Is it a dive for experts?

Its conical shape with terraces at -12, -20 and -30 meters of depth and beyond, make it a dive suitable for divers of any level.

Vervece has often been the victim of date predators that devastate the seabed...

It was the worst mess of all time in the Marine Park of Punta Campanella, a clear offense to the management of the park and to the authorities responsible for its preservation. In the early days, many of us cried with the mask on our face as we dived: the biodiversity envied by any other sea in the world had disappeared. Today, however, the bare white limestone walls are a distant memory. The Vervece is reborn and the re-colonization of the rock is in full swing!

Red gorgonians (paramuricea clavata) | Ph. Edoardo Ruspantini - Trentaremi

Red gorgonians (paramuricea clavata) | Ph. Edoardo Ruspantini - Trentaremi

Red gorgonians (paramuricea clavata) | Ph. Edoardo Ruspantini - Trentaremi

Yellow cluster anemone (parazoanthus axinellae) | Ph. Edoardo Ruspantini - Trentaremi

An underwater procession is celebrated every year on the first Sunday of September. What's it about?

On September 28, 1974, the Syracuse apnea champion Enzo Maiorca reached 87 meters deep, establishing the new world record for the time. A perennial memento of this undertaking and a "protection" for those who love the sea and lost their lives, a bronze statue of the Virgin was placed at a depth of 12 meters. Every year we go down to pay homage to her together with many people from all over Italy.

What does Vervece represent for the people of Massa Lubrense?

For years it was a sort of nursery where the fishermen, with respect and awareness, fished what they needed for sustenance. Then the fishing became more intensive and often greed had the upper hand and impoverished the waters. With the establishment of the marine park it was decided to create an ecological oasis, favoring a recovery that also benefited fishing on the borders of the park itself.

Madonna of Vervece | Ph. Edoardo Ruspantini - Trentaremi

Madonna of Vervece | Ph. Edoardo Ruspantini - Trentaremi

What do you feel when you dive at Vervece?

In the last 27 years I don't remember how many dives I have done at Vervece, but it is always a great thrill to dive into its waters, fly over the "garden" of red and yellow gorgonians, wait for the passage of sea eagles, hover between the barracudas , wait for the tuna that visit the rock in the summer. Or simply hover in the water with an eye towards the open sea, waiting for a memorable meeting with some great marine animal.

Mario Vella - Sea

Read more

Scroll

This website uses cookies to improve your experience