Lanterna

dive site type: nature
difficulty: medium
depth range: 0-50 m
distance from the diving center:  6.5 nm
short characteristic: a cape continuing under the water as a ridge with huge orange sponges on the walls and various, also rare, animals including seahorses commonly met in the nearby bay

 

The word lanterna refers to the lighthouse and comes from Interlingua. Both the meaning and origin seem not to be coincidental. To understand this it is necessary to focus for a while on the history of the Hvar island. In the 4th century BC it became a Greek colony and was named Pharos. This name was firstly bound to a lighthouse, similarly to the Lighthouse (or Pharos) of Alexandria, from which the word of lighthouse comes from in a few languages (for example French phare, Spanish and Italian faro, Portuguese farol). Then the meaning of the island was being connected to pine trees growing on the island and was changing through years. It the Roman times it was called Pharia and later Fara, but when Slavs came to the island it was changed again – this time to Quarra, as the newcomers did not know the letter f. After further Slavicisation the name evolved to Hvar. Meanwhile the Venetians called the island Liesena, what also comes from the forestry.

Taking into consideration this mixture of languages and meanings, it is hard to be astonished by the fact that the diving site located close to a lighthouse was, first of all, named after it and, secondly, was named in the language understandable for more than one nation. This lighthouse has a significant for sailing – situated on one of the furthest headlands of the northernmost peninsula of the island of Hvar, it determines the southern border of the Hvar Channel located between the two islands – Hvar and Brač. The diving site of Lanterna is an underwater continuation of the cape with the lighthouse. As it is located in the Hvar Channel, there might occur pretty strong sea currents, which intensively mix the water causing its good oxygenation and contribute to rise of biodiversity. It is here, where the divers can see various crustaceans and rarely encountered fish, among which Peter’s Fish and anglerfishes should be pointed.

This diving site resembles the located nearby Travna, but a significant difference between these two is easily visible – as in Travna the underwater embankment ends with a hill, in Lanterna the embankment itself is the most interesting part of the dive site. Going deep into the Hvar Channel, it consists of two parts. Shallower one ends at a depth of about 20 m, where a rocky shelf begins. This shelf drops off at a depth of 30 m and goes down to 50 m as a vertical wall. The wall is rarely visited by divers and it is well-preserved. Besides the organisms mentioned above, it is worth noticing that the wall is abundantly covered by yellow and rarely seen orange sponges, which sizes and colours combined with the depth and a fluorescent effect make a great impression. Nevertheless, this dive site is also interesting for the beginners, who can spend time close to the boat moored in one of the coves and look for the seahorses. A trained eye has a chance to look out for at least a few of them, but these animals are usually melting into the bottom, being as yellowish or greenish as surrounding plats.