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Dive Review of Altamarea Diving Center/Residence Stella Marina in

Altamarea Diving Center/Residence Stella Marina: "Altamarea Diving Center Ustica", Jul, 2015,

by Ellen Marie Smith, MN, US (Contributor Contributor 19 reports with 11 Helpful votes). Report 8413.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 2 stars
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 3 stars
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments We have friends in Palermo and decided to spend a week in Ustica. The laid back feel of the beautiful island was wonderful for a break from our busy lives. There isn't that much to do on the island, but for us that was perfect. We spent each day on the boat, taking lunch aboard and ate out at quaint local restaurants in the evenings. Now for the diving : Mauro has owned and operated Altamarea diving for 20yrs. The boat "Nanu" is comfortable and the best on the island. The alternative is to take a dingy back and forth, with land breaks between. Aboard Nanu there are 2 relaxed paced dives - one before lunch and one after lunch. The dive boat doesn't have a large gearing up area, so the divers leave in waves. It takes some time to get all the gear (some is stored up front) and because the water has as much as 20 degree thermoclines, a 5 mil and hood (some wore 7 mil, one even a drysuit) are essential. Much of what you see is volcanic, though now that the water is getting warmer (global warming) there are some colorful corals growing on the underside of many rocks. There are also large areas of grassy seabeds, which I had never encountered previously. What you will see: schools of barracuda, jacks (some), octopus (which was accosted by the divers in one case), nudibranchs, large groupers, bream, lobsters, cicadas, yellowtail tuna and jellyfish. The divemasters were professional and helpful. My husband (who is fluent in Italian and German) and I enjoyed the meals and camaraderie aboard, though he had an easier time holding conversations than I did. The only turtle we saw was a little one brought over from another boat.(yes, they had taken it out of the water to show us...ugh) At one point, someone took an octopus out of the water as well. These types of actions I had not seen before and did not appreciate. There are caves (caverns really) and I found some fabulous anemone crabs, shrimp and other small critters. The days were beautiful but I'm usually up for more diving. However, 2 dives a day for a week was relaxing and we came home refreshed. Mauro and crew kept us safe, happy and well fed. Bellissimo!
Websites Altamarea Diving Center   Residence Stella Marina

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Red Sea, Galapagos, Hawaii, Caribbean (Cozumel, Belize, Turneffe, Utila, Turks & Caicos, St. Martin, Nevis & St. Kitts), California
Closest Airport Palermo, Italy Getting There via Rome, Palermo by car to ferry

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, no currents
Water Temp 56-75°F / 13-24°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 40-100 Ft/ 12-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Diving with divemaster strictly enforced. Groups of 4-6, sometimes fewer.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish N/A
Small Critters N/A Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 1 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments No rinse tank, can rinse with hose on back of boat. Setup not idea for serious photographers.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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