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July 8, 2008

Diving Isola Di Ponza

BY: Keith Ellenbogen


©OCEANA/ Keith Ellenbogen


Onboard the Oceana Marviva Med, this afternoon at 2pm the Dive team loaded all the scuba diving equipment (scuba tanks, oxygen safety bottle, and camera/video) onto the yellow RIB (Rubber Inflatable Boat) hanging on a crane 15ft/5m over the side of the boat for a dive to Formicce — a short distance from the harbor of Isola Di Ponza.

From the surface, before diving, we observed three fishing boats depart the harbor one after the other. The team immediately began documenting the activity and communicated our observations to the mother-ship (Oceana Marviva Med) — where we received the green light to continue our underwater exploration.

Underneath the beautiful blue water is an ecosystem in trouble. Over the last month upon returning from each dive with the excitement of photographing exotic marine animals with vibrant colors — today I thought I would show a few images that are not often seen — because they lack beauty and tell a story that we do not want to hear — reality.

While life can flourish and does flourish — the animals I have recently been observing look stressed. As our team continued the dive we observed, corals decaying, fishing line and buoys caught in rocks and disrupting the scenic landscape as well as an innocent stonefish hiding in a bed of diseased sea grass.