Bay Biology



The seabed of the Marine Protected Area of Baia is sandy in nature and has a very slight slope. The only rocky area, however rather limited, is that of Punta Epitaffio (Zone A): a small tuff promontory that separates the coast of Lucrino from the port of Baia. Generally the sandy coasts do not present a high naturalistic interest but here, contrary to all expectations, underwater excursions reserve great emotions. The submerged landscape is, in fact, totally conditioned by the presence of numerous Roman artefacts dispersed at various depths and which constitute the entire solid substrate on which numerous animal and vegetable organisms live.
A first fascinating visit, within the reach of anyone who knows how to swim with a mask and fins, is that of Portus lulius (Zone B), where, descending into the water from the mooring buoy, you can observe the ruins of the ancient Roman port with its shops and adorned villas. of numerous remains of cocciopesto floors, columns, mosaics, marble fragments, walls of rooms in opus reticulatum and latericium. These structures emerge from a sandy detrital bed colonized, at times, by small meadows of Cymodocea nodosa, and by rare spots of Posidonia oceanica. An enormous variety of organisms finds nourishment and shelter among the numerous cracks in the submerged walls, often unrecognizable due to the luxuriant algae that cover them, and among the sediments and fronds of seagrasses.
Reserved for scuba divers, however, is the excursion on the so-called "Secca Fumosa" (zone C), just over 750 meters from the coast, consisting of a group of 28 pillars (pilae) in opus reticulatum and latericium based square, arranged in a double row with a trend almost parallel to the coast. These imposing pillars are a few meters away from each other and rest on a detrital bed at an average depth of about 10 meters, which from the external side, on the south side, slopes down with a small collapsed escarpment up to 13 meters. It is undoubtedly one of the most interesting and varied diving excursions in the area, as it is of great biological and naturalistic interest as well as, of course, archaeological. In fact, at the base of this escarpment covered with the remains of artifacts (which offer shelter to numerous species of fish), numerous outcrops of hot water and gaseous exhalations emerge from the sandy bottom in various points and evident yellow deposits of sulfur are observed. These volcanic manifestations, observable in various points of this site, affect the communities of organisms present only in a point-like way, causing a drastic and evident decrease in the number of observable species. Upon closer observation it is possible to note that the upper part, located between 3 and 5 meters, being well exposed to light is richly covered by various species of algae, mainly brown or pheophic algae. The vertical side walls, on the other hand, being poorly lit, are covered by a typical coralligenous population, consisting of predominantly animal organisms, with very bright colors, which usually settle at greater depths. Rotating around any pillar it is easy to realize that the orientation of the various sides, determining different exposures to light and currents, directly influences the composition of the populations, which is expressed with different chromatic dominances for each side.