DISCOVER ELBA ISLAND
To be quite honest with you, neither Lou nor I knew this island, even if we are in love with its cousin, Corsica for years now. This Island is more famous in France for its history related to the exile of Napoleon in 1814 than its beauty. After some research on Internet, we learn that this hilly island is an ideal place for many activities such as trekking, Bicycle and scuba diving.
This is where things get complicated for us French. In May, no ferry sails between Corsica and Elba Island, the remaining solution and the easiest is therefore to fly to Pisa, Livorno or Florence. Many airlines serve these airports including low budget airlines such as Ryanair and Easyjet. In our case we decided to take a flight Paris - Pisa. Once arrived at Pisa airport, we took the PisaMover to reach the railway station. From the main train station, we took a ticket to Piombino Marittima, and then a ferry to the island. Three large companies share this market (Toremar, Moby Lines and Blu Navy) boarding passengers and cars. In summer, count on a departure every 30 minutes to reach the cities of Portoferraio, Rio Marina and Cavo. The crossing takes about an hour and a half.
When you see the island from the ship's bridge, you start to realise its true beauty. For the travellers, the island of Elba is only slightly smaller than the island of Malta. We landed in Portoferraio, the main town of the island then we took a taxi to Capoliveri and Morcone. On the road you can admire the diversity of landscapes, including magnificent beech and pine forests, terraced crop, vineyards and beautifull small cities. Arriving to our destination, we admire some coves of fine sand and steep cliffs. The island is very hilly, with the highest point being Mount Capanne at an altitude of 1,019 meters.
The dive center and resort is located near the sea in the locality of Morcone only 5 minutes away from Capoliveri. Just arrived at our destination, the resort’s team gave us a very nice welcome. Not the time to greet everyone that a pizza and a beer are placed in front of us, very pleasant thing after a rather long journey. The diving club is run by Bjorn, a German expatriate on the island for 15 years now, in love with this little paradise. His team consists of Hanz, PADI course director with nearly 12,000 dives, another Bjorn a free diving expert and many scuba diving instructors. After a very nice evening, we could finally to rest in our room. Large and spacious, it offers as a bonus a beautiful view to the sea.
On this first day we discover the Bjorn’s dive center. Brand new, the diving club offers all the necessary facilities: courtyard, cloakroom, toilets, brand new diving equipment (changed every year), well maintained compressors, boats in perfect condition and there is even a bar for the thirsty ones. To start the day, we are offered a small exploration dive on one of the nearby reefs. The time to equip we left by boat to "Gemini Rock". It took us only 5 minutes to arrive to the dive site. This place is well-known in the surrounding area for two reasons. There is a commemorative statue in honor of Jacques Mayol who lived not far from there but also a small canyon. The dive starts at the buoy and then continues following the rocky reef right hand. Many sargo, moray eels and dentis hiding themself between the posidonias and the cracks. The temperature of the water is 17 °c in this month of May with a visibility of 15 meters. After 45 minutes our dive ends in a good mood. All happy to go for our first Italian lunch.
On our second day, we had the pleasure to test the Seabob, an underwater scooter designed for snorkeling, scuba diving and free diving. This amazing German product could have been a James bond equipment. First of all the Seabob looks amazing, the design is perfect, as soon as we saw it we wanted to go for a try. We are guaranteed that it can goes fast, up to 25km/h when you have enough strength to hold the handles. And it's true, the Seabob is super powerfull. We tested the Seabob F5S, with its 5 gears you can easily chose your speed from a really chilled ride to an amazing race with your friend. The Seabob is super simple to use, 4 buttons (turn on, turn off, speed up and low) and one triger (accelerator).
Lou and I did our first Seabob dive on a sunken plane wreck. The wreck is at 30 minutes away from the dive center by boat and it is called the "Relitto Aereo". The wreck is a small touristic plane that used to do the link between Napoli and Spezia. He crashed the 27 of January 1980. the plane is resting in a sandy place surrounded by sea grass between 14 to 22 meters deep.
Here some of our underwater photos of our dive:
Third and last day of our amazing diving trip. Time to dive the best dive spot of Elba, the wreck of Relitto di Pomonte. The 62 meters long merchant vessel landed on the Pomonte reef before disappearing sinking. This wreck, the most famous of the island is also the most accessible to divers, free divers and snorkelers because located only 15 meters deep which allows to observe it from the surface. Again, once again we had the chance to dive that spot with our Seabob, lots of fun playing with those amazing toy. Here some of our photos :
The island of Elba offers superb diving spots for the Mediterranean sea. There are caves, wrecks, drop off and beautiful submarine pinnacles. The island also offers other activities and other gourmet pleasures: Italian gastronomy is world famous for its delicious dishes, who doesn't like seafood dishes, pasta or pizzas?! Besides, we were lucky to have in the resort, one of the best cooks on the island, Mario. Between two meals, bike rides are part of these activities that allow to take its time and also to admire the beauty of the landscapes. However, those hikes can be complicated because of the numerous hills of the island. Aquanautic Elba, our resort and dive center, proposed us to rent electric bicycles that will allow us to climb the most difficult slopes without any difficulty. Finally, there is also many treks in order to discover differently the island's beauty. Our trip in Elba was fantastic, this journey punctuated by warm encounters, extraordinary underwater adventures, and wonderful landscapes will leave in our heads precious memories. Cannot wait to go back there!