Second week in western Sicily

May 23-28, 2023

The second week of the sailing campaign opened in Palermo with a major event organized by Lega Navale Italiana (LNI) on the occasion of the National Day of Legality: a sail, in memory of the victims of the Mafia, which in fact inaugurated the Sicilian stages planned by the project. Participating, in fact, was Our Dream, seized from criminal activities and entrusted to Lega Navale Italiana for institutional, social and environmental activities as in the latter case. At the same time, also on May 23, Lipu organized at the Riserva Naturale Orientata (RNO) Isola delle Femmine a sailing initiative entitled “Let’s Sail in the Gulf of Carini.” The RNO created in 1997 was entrusted to Lipu for management and includes many peculiarities. The island, in fact, is also a geosite and ZSC Isola delle Femmine. In addition, the Capo Gallo – Isola delle Femmine Marine Protected Area and the Natura2000 site Fondali di Isola delle Femmine – Capo Gallo were created to protect the sea. Basically a matryoshka of biodiversity!

Our Dream then set sail on May 24 from Palermo in the direction of San Vito Lo Capo with skippers Fulvio Cardella and his wife Adele and, for Triton Research, Costanza Viglianisi, a student in Global Change Ecology (Uni Bologna), on board until its arrival in Trapani (on May 25) where Diego Mattioli project manager of the LIFE A-MAR NATURA2000 project took over. From Trapani on May 26 Our Dream entered the Egadi Islands MPA, Europe’s largest marine reserve, circumnavigating the islands of Levanzo and, the following day Favigna before returning to Palermo on the 28th.

Among the side events Federparchi-Europarc Italia organized two participatory events, on the 26th in Trapani at the local LNI headquarters with the participation of the Magistrates’ Association, and on the 27th in Favignana in collaboration with the Egadi Islands MPA. Also in Favignana, two free guided tours were organized, respectively on the 27th to the former Florio factory, including biology, history and archaeology, and on the 28th to Cala Rossa to the Bue Marino quarries. Again, the priority habitats of the navigation area consist mainly of reefs, underwater caves, Posidonia oceanica meadows and submerged sandbars. In addition to these, there are the unique worm-like frames created by the sessile gastropod Dendropoma petraeeum present mainly in the Natura 2000 site Fondali del Golfo di Custonaci.

Among the most significant marine species is the bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, the most coastal and well-known dolphin in the Mediterranean but not only, which our crew was lucky enough to encounter on two occasions. There are also many bird species present, in view of the fact that the Egadi Islands are an important migratory corridor for storks, raptors and vultures such as the Egyptian vulture.

A total of 11 marine-coastal Natura 2000 sites were crossed or approached during navigation, here they are in chronological order:

  • ITA020047 Fondali dell’isola delle Femmine
  • ITA 020005 Isola delle Femmine
  • ITA010032 Fondali dello Zingaro
  • ITA010025 Fondali del Golfo di Custonaci
  • ITA010007 Saline di Trapani
  • ITA010003 Isola di Levanzo
  • ITA010004 Isola di Favignana
  • ITA010024 Fondali dell’Arcipelago delle Isole Egadi
  • ITA010027 Arcipelago delle Egadi
  • ITA010026 Fondali dell’isola dello Stagnone di Marsala
  • ITA010001 Isole dello Stagnone di Marsala