A vertical underwater cliff that hosts a unique ecosystem where thousands of colourful small and bigger animals find shelter in the dark rocky cavities. The ”Abyss”, as it is known, is one of the most exciting diving destinations of Kythnos island. It is located in the northeast of the island, in the bay of Agios Sostis, just north of Loutra harbour. The seabed descends relatively smoothly from the surface up to 30 meters. Here lies a big “balcony” with abandoned fishing ropes and nets, creating an eerie landscape. From 40 meters down begins an impressive steep cliff with a negative slope, full of colours from various animals: sponges, anemones, corals and bryozoans. Another “balcony” is located at 50 meters and from there the seabed continues vertically down to +84 meters. Marine life here is abundant as the big hunted species from the shallows find refuge in these depths, while hundreds of colorful small animals live in the peaceful caves of the vertical rocks.
Protagonist of the wildlife in the “Abyss” is an impressive sponge of the species Axinella cannabina, which reaches 1.5 meters tall and is distinguished by the intense red color that contrasts with the blue sea. Rare species here are the starfish Luidia sarsi, the nudibranchs Berthella ocellata and Notarchus punctatus, the lobster Palinurus elephas, the Cadenat’s scorpionfish (Scorpaena loppei) and the long-snouted seahorse (Hippocampus guttulatus). It is important that in the region have been observed giant devil rays (Mobula mobular). The cavities host large numbers of the beautiful swallowtail seaperch (Anthias anthias) and the diver can easily admire the complex behavior of their society. At the deeper points live dusky groupers (Epinephelus marginatus), goldblotch groupers (Epinephelus costae) and dogtooth groupers (Epinephelus caninus). Other common fish here are mediterranean moray eels (Muraena helena), forkbeards (Phycis phycis), atlantic lizardfish (Synodus saurus), red scorpionfish (Scorpaena scrofa), deep-body picarels (Spicara smaris), black seabreams (Spondyliosoma cantharus), greater amberjacks (Seriola dumerili), cuckoo wrasses (Labrus mixtus), axillary wrasses (Symphodus mediterraneus), blacktailed wrasses (Symphodus melanocercus), οcellated wrasses (Symphodus ocellatus) peacock wrasses (Symphodus tinca), black-faced triplefins (Tripterygion delaisi), golden gobies (Gobius auratus), red-mouthed gobies (Gobius cruentatus) and striped gobies (Gobius vittatus).
From the nudibranchs, here live species like Aplysia fasciata, Elysia timida, Thuridilla hopei, Umbraculum umbraculum, Felimare picta, Felimare villafranca, Phyllidia flava, Peltodoris atromaculata, Caloria elegans, Cratena peregrina and Flabellina affinis. Tritons (Charonia variegata) and giant tuns (Tonna galea) are the protagonists of the gastropods, while common are the impressive Calliostoma conulus and the spotted sea snail Naticarius punctatus. Many starfish are found here, like Antedon mediterranea, Leptometra phalangium, Astropecten irregularis subsp. pentacanthus, Asterina gibbosa, Coscinasterias tenuispina, Echinaster sepositus, Marthasterias glacialis, Peltaster placenta and Ophidiaster ophidianus. Other interesting animals are the hermit crab (Dardanus calidus), the red sea squirt Halocynthia papillosa, the red algae Nemastoma dichotomum, the sponges Axinella verrucosa, Chondrosia reniformis and Hamigera hamigera, the coral Parazoanthus axinellae, the jellyfish Pelagia noctiluca, the fan worms Bispira volutacornis, Protula tubularia and Sabella spallanzani and the bryozoans Bugulina turbinata and Reteporella couchii.