Sardinia deep wrecks challenge: Nautilus and Monteponi

The whole world is envious of Italy for Sardinia and its sea. True and wild land: the imprint of God who has saved it from the waters for its beauty. The sea fights it with the coast shattering on unique cliffs and beaches.
Here there are amazing underwater panoramas which pay off the efforts made to reach them and the almost prohibitive depths to face up to admire them. As evidence, once again, that Italy is a wonderful Country.

Salvatore, my partner in this adventure, and I, together we have found several of these places: remote, distant. Places to 50-60 meters deep and beyond, inaccessible to those who dont’know them.

Plenty of big fish and spectacular underwater scenery.

We focus on the wrecks also called “places of rebirth“. The wrecks are called so because the sea gives new life to them that are the ghosts of history. Here, there are very high fishing opportunities.
We got information on two specific wrecks, we have studied them on the map to try to understand the sea bottom on which they stand: the Monteponi and the legendary Nautilus, which has many affinities with the submarine of Captain Nemo.

We decide to point first to Monteponi which has precise coordinates.


Cargo steamship built in 1917 it was hit by a torpedo and sank while navigating from Cagliari to Olbia in 1941 off Posada. The wreck, about 60 meters long, lays in sailing trim on a sea bottom made of sand and debris, with its prow towards the open sea. The whole central area is collapsed on itself as a result of the explosion. The stern is intact.

The presence of fishing nets and old abandoned fishing tackle makes diving very dangerous.

We sagely decide to do some exploration dives. The atmosphere down is quite gloomy, due to a muddy and cold water under 40 meters and to the disastrous conditions of the wreck. The big prow is covered by sections of rather old fishing nets, now colonized by sponges, ascites and gorgonians; between the fallen sheets metal and the labyrinth formed on the ship I see lobsters,mantis shrimps, big groupers, forkbeards and big common two-banded seabreams:  a unique show.

But down something moves, something bigger.

The echo sounder marks some passage of fast tuna which are in search of prey and in fact, during the exploratory dives, we immediately notice them: unavailable. But there is more.

At the first dive we take on the prow at -51 meters, we see some big dentex hunting. The pack leader is really impressive, we estimate it in over 12 kg.
In several dives we can catch two fish of the same size, around 7.5 kg
One of the two I have to regain because it is stranded at -56 meters under the wreck.
We are content and we return to the base, for now it’s okay.


Salvatore had come to the notice of a wreckage lying deeply far away several miles off Porto Rotondo.
Leaning on a backdrop of about 82 meters goes up to 70 meters, it could be the NautilusPoggiato su un fondale di circa 82 metri risale fino a 70 metri potrebbe essere proprio il Nautilus, the tanker, built in 1921 by the historic Krupp shipyards in Kiel, had a tonnage of 2,070 tonnes and a length of 88 meters.
It was sunk on October 13, 1942, from the British Utmost submarine, while  navigating without load from Maddalena to Civitavecchia.

This is the real challenge.

We are in the open sea and the possibility of big catches on the seabed, or a few meters below the surface, is very relevant.
We had been here a few days earlier and I had the opportunity to do a couple of exploratory dives. The wreck is clean at the point where we are: few fishing nets on the deck.

The environment is full of great gorgonians, what a spectacular show!

I have not noticed the presence of fish, for once I was distracted by something else.
The urge to dive them and accept the challenge is too strong.

It would be my deeper catch, probably the deepest spearfishing catch ever!

We decide to try the last day of my stay in Sardinia and this makes everything more electrifying: I will not have a second chance.


On arrival, the sea is calm, with moderate current and intense blue water.
The echo sounder does not indicate a great movement around the wreck: only clouds of “mangianza” (baitfish breaking the surface) that go crazy but which are, however, an indication of the presence of some predators.
I trustfully dive into the sea.

It takes me about a minute to get down to -70 meters.

Here’s the wreck! With it I find the whole set of great gorgonians which have colonized it.

The light is poor, but looking around, I see, on the side of the wreck, the shape of a big dentex still in the sea current. I point and then I shoot.

I never really understood what the problem was: a bit ‘of narcosis at that depth, a targeting error, an imprecision of my spearfishing gun. The certainty is that the dagger has fled away, carrying a bit of me with it.
Now it’s time to go back to the surface… I have 70 seconds to regret that missed opportunity, the record which is so suddenly blurred in a fraction of a second.
But I do not give up, I’ll be back here next season to raise a new challenge!

Sardinia Deep Wrecks Challenge

Spearfishing at large depths is an EXTREME SPORT. The risks associated with this practice can also be FATAL to athletes of long-term experience if a STRICT DISCIPLINE is not followed: always in the water with the COMPANION, great psycho-physical PREPARATION, SAFETY equipment and boat support, appropriate RECOVERY times, THOROUGH KNOWLEDGE of the apnea discipline and its limits, are essential elements to lessen the RISK OF DEATH!