After a few day or weekend diving trips this year, I went scuba diving for a whole week on the island of Premuda, Croatia. Premuda is a small island that is open to the Adriatic Sea. This means there can be a lot of current at some locations which is perfect for a drift dive.
Since I normally take macro photos, a strong current can be a bit problematic from this perspective as it is difficult to stay perfectly still.
The only way to get there is by ferry which takes about 5h. So quite a long trip. We were extremely lucky with the weather which was great.
The visibility was good, even up to 15 – 20 m on a few occasions. The maximum depth you can get to is quite high (over 50 m) but I limit myself to about 43 m maximum due to the camera enclosure depth rating and also the 40 m recreational limit.
Our normal schedule included two dives per day, one in the morning and another early afternoon. We also included two night dives and those dives are always great as you get to experience the sea from a different perspective.
Overall I did 13 dives altogether, saw a lot, and managed to get a few good photos. We also did one drift dive in a strong current which was a nice experience. Since the current dragged us onto the open sea you do need a bit of experience to do the decompression and safety stop. The DSMB which is a must-have is extremely helpful so you have at least one reference point.
Now for the pictures.
One of the common animals there is the spiny lobster (Palinurus elephas). You could see their antennae protruding from various holes in the walls. I would estimate I saw over 100 of them over the course of the week. Most noticeable was a large crack where I would say 20 of them were grouped together.
Normally you see them in their holes but if you are lucky you can also see them climbing on the wall.
While there are two species of octopus in the Adriatic Sea, I only saw the common octopus (Octopus vulgaris). I saw at least one in almost every dive which is the most I saw to date.
I saw the last one swimming towards me, hide and then swim away. Looking at her tentacles she seemed hurt but luckily they do regenerate and rather fast.
Octopuses are quite an interesting species. In addition to regeneration, they can even tweak their RNA.
Snails and worms
This is the most colorful section. I saw one snail and two flatworms I never saw before.
Let’s start with the Nudibranchs first.
The Nudibranch section
Next a couple of pictures of Felimare orsinii which are quite small.
And following is a slug I saw for the first time, the Janolus cristatus. It really is quite beautiful with a translucent body. This also makes it a bit difficult to photograph.
And the last one is a Felimare picta in yellow color.
Various species of Nudibranchs were currently mating so you could see their egg masses if you knew what to look for.
I also observed several bearded fireworms (Hermodice carunculata). I tried to do a close-up photo of its head. There is always room for improvement but I think I did quite well.
Looking like flowers that can retract quickly are various species of tube worms.
I already mentioned the spiny lobster above.
First on the list is the hermit crab. I think the left could be Pagurus anachoretus and the right one Paguristes eremita although I am not entirely sure. The right one had a nice collection of anemones (Calliactis parasitica) attached to the shell. I counted 7 but I think there were more in the back.
This shrimp was really tiny and translucent. It wasn’t over 1 cm and I saw it on one of the night dives.
Next, we have Dromia personata, or sponge crab, which normally has a sponge attached to its back. It uses the last two pairs of legs to hold the sponge in place and it uses it for camouflage. They even shape and grow them to suit their needs. This one was without a sponge. I normally don’t spot them during the day as they are hiding under their sponges and can be difficult to see.
And a shrimp with a difficult-to-pronounce name, the Brachycarpus biunguiculatus, or easier, the twoclaw shrimp.
There was a lot of life on Premuda so I will include a few of the best pictures here.
First is the Moray eel, specifically the Mediterranean moray (Muraena helena). They were quite common but a bit shy.
Then we have the red scorpionfish (Scorpaena scrofa) which is a venomous fish. I saw a few quite large specimens at around 40 – 50 cm in length.
Next is the spiny starfish (Marthasterias glacialis). I observed a lot of different types of starfish but this one looks the most interesting to me.
And that is it. Quite a long post but I did take a lot of pictures and quite a few were good enough to share.
I certainly enjoyed Premuda and it has a lot to offer.
In addition to the sea life, I also saw this little guy on the island.