During the days 14 to 24 May, I had the opportunity to collaborate with a team that participated in the first part of a study carried out in the Parco Nazionale del Cilento, Vallo di Diano e Alburni (PNCVDA), a partnership with the Area Marina Protetta Punta Campanella (AMPPC). This study consists in the realization of a method called Fish Underwater Visual Censos. Through snorkeling and diving we aimed to monitor the coastal fish fauna of the two Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) of the PNCVDA. The MPAs are the Area Marina Protetta Santa Maria di Castellabate e Area Marina Protetta Costa degli Infreschi e della Masseta. During this period there was also the opportunity to collect some data on the mortality of the mollusk bivalve Pinna Nobilis.

To study the first MPA, me, Mimi and Linda (an AMPPC worker) stayed in Castellabate. Here we slept in the agriturismo “La gabbianella e il gatto”, where we were one more time welcomed with open arms. In one of the days of the first week, due to bad weather conditions, we could not work, so we took the opportunity to visit the location of the famous Italian comedy “Benvenuti al Sud”. As a company for the walk in this lovely town we had the friendly Stéphanie, a Marelini volunteer of 2013 and her lovely mother Pia. I really enjoyed this week, it was full of good times with a great company.  

In the second week we went to Marina di Camerota to continue our work in the second MPA, with more dives every day (  ). In one of the days, it started to rain while we were diving, but this did not stop us from continuing until we reached the goals of the day (one can not get wetter than we were that day!). Between the work we manage to see a bit of Marina di Camerota and the surrounding area. This place is so beautiful, full of fantastic landscapes and unforgettable views. It was my first time here and I definitely would like to come back.

To finish this adventure, on the last day of work I went to Naples to take samples collected during the dives, in order to be analyzed by the University of Naples.

In the course of these days, there were good friends and of course good traditional Italian food, such as gelato, pizza made in the wooden oven, pasta e fagioli, pasta e zucchine and other typical dishes. 

Despite of missing my colleagues and friends of M.A.R.E. project and although it was a very tiring week I feel as a very lucky person. This was an amazing experience! Working in the sea and diving is such a privilege. The sea is just a wonderful place where I feel free and I can swim in to the infinite… I am very grateful for this opportunity and I hope to have the possibility to repeat it.

P.s. 1: Lia, thank you so much for the beautiful afternoon of the last day and for showing me Marina de Camerota.

P.s. 2: Alvaro, thank very much you for the afternoon well spent in Naples.