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Posted on janvier 29, 2014
Are you planning to dive along the French Riviera ? Don’t forget to visit Marseille and its spectacular nature. The sun is shining almost every day and the water temperature is never colder than 13°C ! Here is a small overview of my amazing experience diving in Marseille.
Let’s start with the diving gear. During winter, the sea water temperature is nearly 13°C, thus you will be comfortable with a 7 mm wetsuit and minimum 3 mm gloves and socks. Of course, the thickness of your wetsuit or the number of layers that you’ll need not to be cold, depends on your ability. I dove in a Licra T-shirt with people who were cold in a 5 mm wetsuit in a 29°C water… During summer, the temperature can reach 25°C so you will need a finer wetsuit. The wonderful accessory which ease the life on board that I just discovered, is the towel poncho ! It allows you to be dry, protected from the wind and to get changed discreetly ! Absolutely perfect !
Now, let’s see the fauna. Crawling on the substrate, many invertebrates color the seabed. They are not very hard to see despite their littleness and they are always a pleasure to observe !
From left to right : Peltodoris atromaculata (A. Ledey), Prostheceraeus giesbrechtii, Aplysia fasciata (O. Lecorre) and Prostheceraeus vittatus (V. Lamare).
Fishes are the most numerous along rocky drop offs, and it is not rare to cross a grouper swimming above the seabed as well as into a rocky fault. You might also be able to see the moon fish (or sun fish, depending on where you are from) Mola mola, which is a truly fascinating fish.
From left to right : Epinephelus sp (O. Jude), Chromis chromis, Diplodus vulgaris (J. Colombia) and Sarpa salpa.
Cephalopods are mostly found hiding in rocky cavities or in the sand but you might see some of them « swimming » in the water. Some fishes, as the scorpionfish, can be observed posed on the substrate, imitating its color and shape. Others, like the barracuda, can be seen in numerous schools (very impressive !).
From left to right : Octopus vulgaris, Sepia officinalis , Scorpaena porcus and Shyraena sp.
While diving in Marseille you will often see the protected Posidonia oceanica ecosystem (described in this article : Posidonia oceanica ). Of course this is a not at all exhaustive liste ! Many other species, wrecks (of boats as well as airplanes), amphorae, creeks remain to be explored. This is a flourishing place, where thousands of species remain to be observed, studied and protected.
To go further in the French mediterranean Sea, I recommend you to dive in Port Cros and Scandola (Corsica), two marine reserves among the most efficient in the Mediterranean in term of species recovery, hosting an impressive fauna, by the size of the individuals and by their diversity.