The coast of Salento

The coast of Salento

Wednesday 06 July 2022

Our journey to discover the seabed starts from the city of Otranto which stands on a tuffaceous ground.

In this area the currents are directed towards the south even with sirocco winds and in summer they even reach the speed of 1.5 knots. The tides, on the other hand, are insensitive and the weather forecast is given by the state of the atmosphere of the Albanian mountains: if it is clear it indicates sirocco, if it is cloudy it indicates north wind.

Moving southwards, along a stretch of coast where groupers in particular abound, we can see Torre del Serpe, in a low position above the sea, thin and dilapidated; Torre dell’Orto, Punta Faci, flat and rocky, and finally S. Nicola di Casole. In this area underwater fishing is carried out according to different criteria: since there are no large rock falls, and therefore landslide holes to rummage, the range of the speargun is exploited to hit targets outside the hole. After Capo d’Otranto, which divides the Adriatic Sea from the Ionian Sea, the coast, hard and jagged, turns south-west where it is faced by the island of S. Emiliano.

From here to Porto Badisco, a narrow and deep calanca with high rocky banks, there is an area favorable to underwater fishing, whose seabed is not significant and the rocky areas end rather abruptly on the sand; however the presence of mullets, sea bass and other fish is guaranteed by a constant exchange of water.

Continuing south, we arrive at Santa Cesarea, a well-known spa town, and, just over a mile south-west from it, in the Porto Miggiano bay, a shoal with a limestone and cracked bottom is inhabited by groupers, white breams and corvine.

In Castro Marina the seabed mixes seaweed, sand and rock and two miles away, in Marina di Andrano, the coast lowers and huge rocks rise in the sandy bottom where bream, corvine and grouper abound. Then follow Marina Porto (port of Tricase) where there are depths of about 3 meters, Marina Serra, whose coast is characterized by rocky hills dominated by numerous towers, and even further south, after 5 miles of rugged coastline, you reach the Capo di Santa Maria di Leuca, in whose waters it is easy to meet mullets, sea bass and, at times, even sharks.

Not far away, on the alignment of Punta Ristola with the Sanctuary of S. Maria Finibus Terrae, there is a small limestone shoal where, at depths from 6 to 12 meters, in the numerous burrows, you can find significant groups of white breams and large groupers.

In front of Torre Mozza the seabed alternates with areas of rocks, rich in all kinds of fish, and sandy areas, covered with algae; in particular, there are white breams, corvine, moray eels and groupers. After the Scoglio la Fanciulla and after Torre S. Giovanni, the Scoglio dei Pazzi emerges, near which some groupers are buried.

Beyond Punta del Pizzo, the wide bay has sandy shores and shallow waters and is limited by Gallipoli, a city that straddles a limestone islet and a short promontory, connected by a bridge. About a mile to the west of the city is the Island of S. Andrea, surrounded by the extensive Secca del Rapo and scattered with numerous outcropping rocks: the Scoglio Campo and the Scoglio Piccioni. Torre Sapea and Torre dell'Alto Lido are the the only points on the coast where you can find white bream, mullet, octopus, moray eels and sea bream. Subsequently, after a stretch of low and deserted coast, the towers of the Inserraglio, of S. Isidoro, of Squillace appear and again the Penisola della Strega, a narrow strip of land extending towards the north-west, constitutes a natural dam and shelters the inlet of Porto Cesareo.

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