Pantelleria is called The Black Pearl of the Mediterranean for it black volcanic rock. The lava flows have cooled and solidified and have now been eroded by the wind and water creating and extraordinarily beautiful coastline. Small bays, stacks, beautiful arches all combine to create and area that is as beautiful underwater as it is above. You can find giant patellas (Patella
ferruginea) on the rocks closest to the water and algae like Lithophyllum incrustans and Lithophyllum lichenoides, and Polysiphonia serularioides, on the areas that get the most sea spray. There are fish species like groupers, moray eels and red snappers and pelagic fish like greater amberjacks, bonito and small tuna. The areas called Punta Spadillo, Punta Tracino, Fossa Grande and Arco delle Elefante – the island’s symbol – are the best spots for diving. On the steep, rocky seabed you can see coralligenous colonies with red violescent sea-whip, sponges and orange yellow colonies of large Astroides calycularis. There is an underwater archaeological site at Cala Gadir, where ancient anchors and amphora are pointed out or you can boat around the island to see its many caves hidden in the volcanic rock along the coast.
Located in the centre of the Mediterranean, Pantelleria is an excellent place to stop halfway between Africa and Sicily. Also known as the Island of the Wind, there is breeze all year making it a cool place to stop even in the summer. A large port has never been completed and there are no services for boats other than shelter in the part closest to shore where there are some shabby docks. The old port has a public docking space with water. You may only enter by day and it’s best to call ahead and ask where there are potentially dangerous spots underwater.