Hidden treasures: the caves
They are fine natural works of art created through millions of years by the corrosive action of the water . they preserve marvelous natural scenarios and are located in the surrounding of Dorgali and along cala gonone coast. They constitute a true Mecca for submarine world lovers. Their speleological variety can fulfill the expectations of the most demanding visitor. They offer opportunities not only for the most reckless visitors, who love exciting and adventurous sports but also for the calmest ones , who can admire in comfort and in safety the Bue Marino and Ispinigoli caves equipped whit lights and corridors since long ago.
A spectacle out of this world : the Bue Marino caves
The Bue Marino caves were named after the Sardinian word used to call the Mediterranean monk seal (monachus), found there until the 80’s. they were first opened to visitors in the 50’s thanks to the far-sightedness of the town-administrators as well as to the initiative, of early local tourist operators.
The caves can be reached from the sea by means of a very modern transport service from the harbor of Cala Gonone , by a thirty –minute trip. Along the sea way the impressive limestone slopes can be admired . they sink into transparent and crystalline gulf waters fascinating even the most inattentive person. Visitors reach the entrance of the caves through a comfortable wooden dock and they are amazed before the majestic sight. The entrance is made of two main braches: the northern one that is now a fossil since the calcareous erosion activity inside of it stopped long ago: and its southern branch still active because of the presence of an underground river. The Neolithic graffiti is the first aspect that tourist guides show visitors. They are made of several human figures who dance around circular objects, believed to represent sun disks.
Nowadays visits can be made to the southern branch along a comfortable path , full of stalagmites and stalactites of very rare shapes . their colors are very pretty and rare , too. They become quite sharp because of the limpid water from the salt lake, which makes the caves look fascinating. There are also many interesting fossil. Among them is the oysters wall, which makes the tour even more beautiful.
The tour takes around thirty minutes. It finishes at the “seal’s beach” (spiaggia delle foche). This is an enchanting small sand beach surround by impressive scenery , where just some years ago, Mediterranean monk seals used to give birth to their pups. It is here where fresh water coming from underground rivers mixes with the sea salty water. This is the end of the tour but not end of a marvelous scenery, which spreads itself over the inner parts of the Supramonte Marino. These beautiful spots have been seen only by a few skilled diver speleologists, who tell us of incredible fauna and flora. The northern branch is very interesting , as well. It can be visited only under special authorization released by the limpid waters of the emerald-color lake act as a mirror and visitors are amazed by the particular shapes found in the chandelier hall (“sala dei candelabri”).
The pole position cave: Ispinigoli
In this cave there is a long column, 38 m. high connecting the vault with the base of the cave, which has very few rivals in Europe and in the world. This is the best part of the Ispinigoli cave, which can be reached through a bifurcation at the right of Km, 32,600, along the state road nbr. 125, direction Dorgali/Orosei. It was equipped in the 70’s by the pro loco (local tourist board) with a lighting system and stairs along the stalagmites and stalactites cascades, full of very colorful shapes. It can be visited ten months a year due to its excellent tour guide service.The two other months are open forbookings at the pro loco office.
The itinerary lasts around forty-five minutes. It stars at a panoramic observatory, at the let of the entrance, where the depth of the abyss can be admired. That place was a shelter by ancient pre-historic humans. Until just some years ago it was used by goatherds, too.
Its pleasant and constant temperature (approx. 15°c) makes the visit quite comfortable while descending the 280 stairs all the way down to the base of the column. It actually makes one wonder if it should not be a Guinness record. Among its particularities ,one can find the “abyss of the virgins” (l’abisso delle virgini) ,which is a deep and narrow funnel-like hole capable of connecting the underground cave branches. Its length is around 12 km. underground. Small rivers and creeks constantly cross this part of the cave , which can be accessed only by skilled speleologists.
At the base of the abyss, Phoenician necklaces made of vitreous paste have been found and they are now exhibited at the Dorgali archeological museum , as well as bone remains believed to belong to young girls. That is why after these discoveries, there appeared a legend telling that Phoenicians used to perpetrate human sacrifices in order to please and thank their gods.
Un'intera giornata partendo dal porticciolo di Cala Gonone in direzione Sud per raggiungere Cala Luna, Cala Biriola, Cala Mariolu, Cala Goloritzè e i piccoli fiordi di Monte Santo.
Sul veliero, i legni curati, gli ottoni lucidi e l'efficiente servizio di bordo, regalano un'atmosfera suggestiva come gli scenari che si susseguono... fare il bagno nelle acque turchesi, rilassarsi, gustare un aperitivo e altri sapori di mare... lasciandosi cullare all'ombra delle grandi vele.