Martulina Beach is situated on Peroj’s coastal promenade. It is a pebble beach, easily recognisable for the remains of the Austro-Hungarian pier jutting out of the sea.
​​​​​​​Yet, the real deal is hidden under the sea.

Snorkeling spot Martulina Beach
Martulina Beach is situated on Peroj’s coastal promenade. You can reach it taking a leisurely 15-minute stroll from Portić Bay or by car, following the directions for Peroj’s beaches. It is a pebble beach, easily recognisable for the remains of the Austro-Hungarian pier jutting out of the sea. Looking from the promenade, nearby the playground, you can see a single-track, wide, paved stone jetty with a collapsed middle section. Some ten metres away, there are two parallel piers rising out of the sea, each ending with iron columns with small observation decks on their tops.

Yet, the real deal is hidden under the sea. 
This snorkelling spot preserves traces of the not-so-distant past, evidence of maritime and war heritage of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in this territory. Since Pula was chosen as the main military port of the Empire, the mid-nineteenth century witnessed a period of intense construction of the fortification system, anchorages and waterways, as well as development of a modern navy. The Fažana Canal was used as ancillary anchorage, with the most modern warships of the day, armoured and equipped with heavy artillery weapons, passing in front of this beach.

​​​​​​​To protect the central war port of the Austro-Hungarian navy, a unique defence system was developed in the greater area of the Bay of Pula which, in addition to fortifications and battlements, also included the use of sea barriers/barricades. It was the time of the invention of the torpedo and construction of the first submarines. Hence, it is not surprising that anti-submarine defence in the form of a steel nets or thick steel cables was installed right here during the First World War, from Cape Mertulin, present-day Martulina Beach, to the island of Mali Brijuni to defend the northern entrance to the Fažana Canal. 

​​​​​​​You may start exploring this interesting site at the collapsed section where two parallel piers run in the direction of the Brijuni Islands at an average depth of two metres. Between them is a wide pass, a hideout for shoals of juvenile fish, whereas the warty crab living in a special form of symbiosis with the orange sponge hides in the shady crevices of the pier. The crab tears the sponge off the seafloor and uses it as camouflage. 

​​​​​​​In the pass between the piers, you can take a peek under the stone blocs where the cuttlefish and the little red scorpionfish are hiding – there is also a particularly wide crevice looking like a tiny blue window. In the horizontal cracks on the walls of the pier, you can also find the tiny black-faced blenny with a distinctive black head, whereas its body can be yellow, orange or red. It is a skilled swimmer backwards too, and when it spreads its side fins, you can see a white border as an extra decoration. On the walls of the piers, you can notice the flat Spirastrella sponge which developed a rare bright red colour due to its shady location.

​​​​​​​Very interesting are sections of the collapsed pier on the right, seaward side. If you go round them from the outside, you will notice a large mooring ring used to tie up the ships. 

​​​​​​​Still, the most impressive part of this structure is the sunken waterfront situated at the very edge of the piers, only a few metres away. Nowadays, it is adorned by large oysters, common sponges and three large mooring rings.
Underneath it lives a diverse fish community, including the two-banded sea bream, large specimens of the East Atlantic peacock wrasse, some sheepshead bream, damselfish and painted comber. It is frequently visited by the European bass, shoals of the thinlip grey mullet and gilt-head bream.

​​​​​​​The surrounding sea bottom is interspersed with stone bases with small rocks, however, if you are returning along the larger pier, on the outer side, you will notice a sandy seafloor with various seashells and sea slugs like purple dye murex and banded-dye murex, abalone, cockle, smooth clam and starfish. 

​​​​​​​Once you reach the shallows, you will be surprised by a large sea hare colony. This is where they mate and graze on the seagrass. They can be yellow, light brown or darker and spotted. They belong to the genus of sea slugs, with small wing-like extensions they use to clumsily glide through the water. If you seriously disturb them, they release a purple fluid with an unpleasant smell. It is also possible to see other species of sea slug on this site, like the endemic dendrodorid slug. It is brown, with a yellow or orange rim and it grows up to 8-9 cm in length. There is also the intense yellow tylodina with a small thin shell which usually lives on the yellow sponge it feeds on. At this location, you can also find the rarely seen spindly spider crab with legs as thin as toothpicks.
No matter how tempting it may seem, do not try to dive under the stone blocks or under the sunken seafront, as it would be dangerous. 

A careful observation of the surrounding seafloor will also reveal empty bullet shells and the remaining iron construction fragments, but do not take them away. They are a trace of the past that delights their finder, and they are there to excite your imagination for bygone events. 

What you should leave this place with is a memory or a photograph, so that future generations can also enjoy the magic of the past…