Caves breed odd life: iridescent troglobites and blind salamanders and nearly blind bats. The saltwater caves off Alghero, Sardinia, are no exception: conger eels and lobsters here grow twice as big as those on nearby reefs.
“The animals are so much bigger because they have hundreds of meters of tunnels to shelter (them) properly,” says Federica Bedei, Capo Galera Diving Center manager. Several of these saltwater environments are lined with red coral, endemic to the Mediterranean. Stalactites and stalagmites form the teethlike formations you’d expect to see in a cave, thanks to its freshwater beginnings.
The best part: No cave training is needed.
“The caves felt hard-core,” says photographer Alex Mustard, “but were all within recreational limits.” (A dive guide is required.) Many of the routes cut straight through the mountain and, like tunnels, begin and end at different points.
- When To Go Dive season extends from April to October; winter conditions are too rough for the safe passage of dive boats.
- Operator The Capo Galera Diving Center offers rooms in its cliffside villa. The dive center offers boat dives and specialty courses, including cavern diver.
- Price Tag One cave dive costs $60; buy a package, and each dive costs $43.