Description of site of natural interest
The Vernazza swimming lane starts at the entrance to the little tourist port of Vernazza and follows the coastline towards Monterosso for about 300 metres. When swimming near the lane, you are immediately greeted by clouds of black damselfish (Chromis chromis), damselfish (Oblada melanura), bogue (Boops boops) and salemas (Sarpa salpa). If you stick your head under the water, you can easily come across small shoals of common two-banded seabream or seabream or lesser bream, as well as young saddle seabream and groupers. On the rocks covered with algae, sunset cup coral and coloured sponges, where there are also “twigs” of gorgonia (Leptogorgia sarmentosa) and cerianti (Cerianthus membranaceus), mullet (Mullus surmuletus) look for food, rummaging around with their white whiskers, “with their white whiskers, together with red thrushes (Symphodus mediterraneus) and peacock thrushes (Symphodus tinca), surrounded by damsels (Coris julis), perches (Serranus cabrilla) and sharks (Serranus scriba), always very curious and attentive observers. Rocks cover the seabed up to about 10 metres, after which the sand begins. On the border between these two habitats are patches of Posidonia oceanica, which are invaluable for the survival of the juveniles of many species that find refuge there from predators. Vernazza’s swimming lane lies right at the intersection of these two habitats, which is why it is so rich in biodiversity.