The Bay at the End of the Path
The main goal with “the bay at the end of the path” is to promote the respect of the local environment through a combination of functional activities and information. Specifically, this respect refers to the beaches, structures and the bay itself in Ieranto.
Ieranto Bay has hosted a human activity for thousands of years, with the remains of Roman villa foundations and ancient agricultural areas have been found. The bay, in recent times, also hosted a quarry, which has impacted the aesthetic of the area significantly.
The initiative “The Bay at the End of the Path”, as touched upon, wishes to allow access for people to appreciate this unique environment and let them enjoy themselves. All the while, environmental awareness is the central aspect of this mission.
Project M.A.R.E. plays a key role in accomplishing these ideals. Volunteers in the project work closely with the Fondo Ambiente Italiano (FAI) who maintain the terrestrial part of the bay, whilst volunteers themselves represent the marine side.
One of the most important factors is information. This is why actively and passively upholding a communication link with people who arrive through posters, info points, and surveying is very important. Making sure people know the rules is key to making sure the area is filling its purpose as a bridge between a place to enjoy but also to respect. A friendly approach and presence of M.A.R.E. volunteers in the sea and on the coast provide this connection between environmental action, appreciation and education of the public.
Volunteers of project M.A.R.E. spend most of their time in the sea in kayaks when they are not talking to the beachgoers. Rules have to be followed on the land as well as the sea: there are those who do not know that Ieranto Bay is a Protected Area and those who try to ignore the rules. Informing approaching boats, both private and touristic, what the area represents and how they can enjoy it without breaking official park rules is very important. The main reason for the protection of the waters in the bay itself is because of the Posidonia oceanica. Boats, when they anchor, destroy this precious seagrass and important habitat for other marine life. Our initiative is what Posidonia needs to keep it from being destroyed!
While protection of the marine life within the bay from destruction or damage is a central focus, the monitoring and surveying of it is also something project M.A.R.E. works on. Regular volunteer snorkelling excursions alone or with park staff and/or the public provides an insight into how the bay is performing. Guided tours in a kayak and underwater also serve to reinforce the educational aspect of the initiative in terms of respect. The beauty of these underwater environments serves to open peoples eyes and show them that there’s always more beneath the surface.
In order to achieve our goals, we offer different types of excursions. You can find more information about the schedule in the next pictures and further information in the document you can download here.