As a Central European and Mediterranean country, Croatia has a particularly preserved nature with hundreds of endemic plants and animal species. Almost 10% of its territory is protected within nature and national parks as well as nature reserves.
The Adriatic coast, with more than 1,200 islands, is one of the most indented coasts in the world — the result of many years of wind, sea, and stone influence. Although it is a small and closed sea, the Adriatic hides some of the world’s most beautiful diving locations and attractions.
The team of Croatia’s Jutarnji list, comprised of Cropix’s masters of underwater photography, explored the incredible depths of the Adriatic Sea by visiting an ecosystem that has been functioning as a perfect organism for millions of years.
Within our unique environmental and media project, Scuba Scanner, we brought our readers in Croatia closer to this underwater world for the first time with first-rate photos, reports, stories, videos, and infographics.
We acquainted them with not only the possibilities of scuba tourism, diving as an activity, benefits for the local community, and the beauties of the Adriatic depths, but also the importance of caring for and preserving the valuable sea and submarine life.
Getting back to nature
Over the course of 68 days, three experienced, award-winning photojournalists (who are all exceptional underwater photographers, skilled and qualified divers, as well as writers), visited 16 diving destinations selected based on geographical position to cover the entire Croatian coast from north to south.
Each diving destination was covered by stories from the locations, conversations with local divers, and information on how local communities are trying to attract this type of tourist, archaeologists, guides, etc. The stories also provided technical information about the location and details that make the location special for diving.
Additional features included an educational component about the characteristics of flora and fauna for a certain diving area, as well as ecological issues concerning the micro area or region. This included looking at such things as invasive species, protecting habitats and caves, rising temperatures, acidity, and environmental misconceptions.
In over 150 dives, more than 2,000 photos and 500 minutes of footage materials were taken. They recorded incredible natural and artificial reefs, underwater caves and pits, sea meadows, wrecks of ancient sailing and merchant ships, and sunken warships as well as warplanes, fish flocks, rich endemic flora and fauna, and so much more.
Readers were able to enjoy rarely photographed sights such as:
- The noble pen shell, snail triton, and red coral — all protected species.
- Mating seahorses and a cuttlefish eating a crab in just seven seconds — both occurrences rarely caught on camera.
- Invasive species like bearded fireworms and new fishes, including exotic ones more suitable for tropical areas.
We wanted to raise awareness about the preservation of the sea and nature in general by participating in environmental clean-up actions, as divers are first-hand witnesses of the devastation of the seabed.
In one of those regular underwater cleaning actions, the Scuba Scanner team found the wreck of the Italian warship Cosenza, which sank near Lastovo. The 645-ton ship, 72 meters long with four cannons, was sunk by the German Luftwaffe in 1943, and until now its exact location was completely unknown both to the locals of Lastovo and the researchers.
A feast for the eyes
The project was presented on the Jutarnji list digital platform, providing readers with as much diverse content, amazing videos, stunning macro photography, and underwater panoramas as possible. It evoked all the beauties of the Adriatic depths, underwater attractions, and the diversity of the ecosystem.
Judging by the satisfied reactions and huge feedback, the success of the Scuba Scanner was much greater than we could have hoped for. We managed to bring along our readers on a journey under the sea to experience the hidden beauty that is so often inaccessible to many.
Banner photo by Bozidar Vukicevic/Cropix.