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About Ustica Island

Ustica is located in the Tyrrhenian Sea, some 36 miles north from Palermo (Sicily). Due to the color of its volcanic rocks Ustica is also known as the "Black Pearl of the Mediterranean". The island of Ustica has been a Marine Reserve since 1986 which shows in the number and variety of the local marine life. Coming here divers can observe groupers, a rare giant mussel Pinna nobilis, seagrass meadows, nudibranchs, amberjacks, false black coral, shrimp, neptune's lace, gorgonians and numerous large shoals of fish. With its hidden grottos, gorges and caves it is a paradise for scuba divers and snorkellers. The main dive sites include The Doctor's Rock (at a depth of 30m/98ft in Zone A, which is the most heavily protected area of the Marine Reserve) and Secca della Columbara (40m/131ft depth). Some other popular sites include Grotta dei Gamberi (42m/137ft deep), Punta Gavazzi ( 9m/29ft-17m/56ft deep), Sicchitello Shoal (depth 40m/131ft) and quite a few others. Secca della Columbara comprises a straight, colorful wall, overgrown with corals and sponges of all shades of orange and pink. At the end of the site there is a wreck and a large school of barracudas that inhabit it. At Punta Gavazzi divers can explore many archaeological artifacts including anchors and Roman amphorae that can be seen at this site.

When to go to Ustica Island

Diving is possible all year-round. The best months for diving are from April through October, although in July and August air temperatures can become uncomfortably hot. During the summer the air temperature may reach 32C/90-38C/100F. The water temperature stays at 14C/57-16C/60F during the period of January to April, 17C/62F - 26C/78F May to October, and 18C/64F-21C/69F in November and December.