Santa Maria
island

The largest of the three sister islands that overlook the Porto della Madonna.

The first patch of land you meet at the eastern entrance of the Strait of Bonifacio is the small island of La Presa, the northernmost point of all Sardinia, many do not even consider it an island but the northern end of the most large Island of Santa Maria from which it is divided by the very narrow Strangolato Pass, an arm of the sea so short that it can be traveled on foot, often dry, during the winter months.

The island of Santa Maria is separated to the west from the nearby Razzoli Island by the narrow Asinelli Pass and, to the south, from the Island of Budelli by the Porto della Madonna, the incredible stretch of sea whose waters with a thousand shades of light blue, azure and dark blue, have become the symbol of the paradise protected by the La Maddalena Archipelago National Park. From the Islets of Stramanari to those of Paduleddi, going up through Cala Santa Maria to the Capicciolu Island, one of the most fascinating places of infinite beauty in the whole Mediterranean.

Isola di SANTA Maria

Cala Aiacciolu

COORDINATE: 41.291945318582535, 9.36402442304403

A small beach nestled between the rocks, it borders the Porto Madonna pier and the private pier of the only hotel on the island of Santa Maria.

A place suitable for non-sporting bathing, and ideal for snorkeling but not for diving.

It is located between the Asinelli Pass to the west and the Topo Pass to the east and it overlooks one of the most characteristic and admired areas of the Archipelago but difficult to navigate due to the presence of numerous submerged and outcropping shoals and rocks.

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Cala Giorgio Marino

COORDINATE: 41.29104245962076, 9.366293571881736

The third largest beach on the island, it overlooks the Cecca di Morto canal and looks towards the Natural Pools of Budelli and the Cavaliere beach. Behind the Cala is the Padule, a humid area rich in birdlife, indicated as the ideal location for birdwatchers. Characterized by various shallows of low and medium depth, rich in marine fauna and Posidonia meadows, the Cala is perfect for a day stop but navigation in its waters is reserved for very experienced maneuvers due to the presence of rocks and shoals.

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Cala di Fosso

COORDINATE: 41.29034515371927, 9.369394205491982

A beach characterized by fine white sand, overlooking a turquoise sea, it is one of the favorite destinations of the tours that accompany visitors to discover the Archipelago.

Sheltered from the wind, immersed in a thick and fragrant scrub of vegetation, it is the ideal landing point for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts.

It is ideally located to reach the Paduleddi Islets, the Passo del Topo, the nearby Punta Missoggio beach and the large Cala Giorgio Marino.

It can be reached by land via the path that leads to Cala Giorgio Marino but is also suitable for docking during the day.

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Cala Santa Maria

COORDINATE: 41.294202411346234, 9.371212743204682

The largest beach in the entire La Maddalena Archipelago, the clear sand, the clear blue water and the easy landing make it the ideal destination for those who want to spend a day on the island. Very popular also with residents, it is able to accommodate a fair number of boats and is the starting point of the paths that lead to the Punta Filetto lighthouse, the Sanctuary of Santa Maria and the beaches of the north-western coast of the island. otherwise not reachable because they are included in the marine area of ​​integral protection.

Behind the beach there are, in addition to some private houses, the banks of the wetland area of ​​the Padule, frequented by a rich fauna that includes resident and migratory species of birds.

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Cala Macchione de Bovi and Cala del Tufo

COORDINATE: 41.293771151463, 9.378191851062116

Hidden gems of the south-eastern coast of the island stand out for their thick vegetation, the isolated and wild atmosphere, the easy landing and the fact that they are less crowded than the nearby beaches.

Overlooking shallow waters that quickly become very deep, they are places of choice for diving and snorkeling.

They can also be reached by land by deviating from the path that leads from Cala Santa Maria to the Punta Filetto lighthouse.

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Santa Maria lighthouse in Punta Filetto

COORDINATE: 41.29862366858288, 9.384135626228769

A panoramic point rich in history that dominates the cliff overlooking very deep waters and not very suitable for non-sporting bathing.

Reachable on foot by the easy path that starts from the eastern tip of Cala Santa Maria.

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Cala La Presa and Cala Ghiarinaio on La Presa Island

COORDINATE: 41.30917014614268, 9.378771496340672

Located on opposite sides of the La Presa island, the two coves of La Presa and Ghiarinaio are two isolated paradises and therefore very little frequented.

The two beaches are difficult to reach even by sea, especially the Cala Ghiarinaio beach, very close to the Capicciolu Island, as it is located on the edge of the integral Safeguard marine area enclosed between Santa Maria a Razzoli.

The seabed they overlook are deep and rich in fauna and therefore particularly suitable for diving.

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Cala Muro

COORDINATE: 41.30542257727756, 9.378535461959032

A difficult beach to reach, consisting of two beaches divided by a rock spur.

The small and medium gray pebble beach also includes a thin strip of sand.

Rocky bottoms are perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving without cylinders (for which authorization is required), they have made this cove a popular destination but at the same time very little frequented.

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Cala Drappo and Cala Tamerici

COORDINATE: 41.30151359314183, 9.37334806971604

Two isolated but easily accessible beaches thanks to the easy path that, starting from the south of the island, crosses it, also passing near the Sanctuary of Santa Maria.

Separated by short rock spurs, the two beaches are distinguished by the golden sand (Cala Drappo) and the soft pink sand (Cala Tamerici). The dense vegetation that surrounds them and the tamarisk forest located south of the beaches protect them from moderate east winds.

The seabed on which they open are perfect for snorkeling and non-sporting bathing.

Easily reachable also from the Cala Ferrazzo beach.

It is located in the Marine Area of ​​integral safeguard so it cannot be reached by sea.

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Cala Ferrazzo

COORDINATE: 41.29783006789795, 9.366304588844425

Among the most beautiful areas of the entire Archipelago, Cala Ferrazzo is a large cove divided into two beaches distinguished by a large spur of rock of particular charm.

The very sheltered beach that is located in the northern part of the Cala is made of light sand, while the southern beach is famous for the pink color of its sand that overlooks beautiful backdrops ideal for exploration with mask and snorkel.

Entirely included in the MA area, it cannot be reached by sea, but can be easily reached by land along an agile path that starts behind the beach of Cala Santa Maria and, after about a kilometer, flows into the wide bay near the pink beach.

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  • Cala Aiacciolu

    COORDINATE: 41.291945318582535, 9.36402442304403

    A small beach nestled between the rocks, it borders the Porto Madonna pier and the private pier of the only hotel on the island of Santa Maria.

    A place suitable for non-sporting bathing, and ideal for snorkeling but not for diving.

    It is located between the Asinelli Pass to the west and the Topo Pass to the east and it overlooks one of the most characteristic and admired areas of the Archipelago but difficult to navigate due to the presence of numerous submerged and outcropping shoals and rocks.

    Scopri di più

  • Cala Giorgio Marino

    COORDINATE: 41.29104245962076, 9.366293571881736

    The third largest beach on the island, it overlooks the Cecca di Morto canal and looks towards the Natural Pools of Budelli and the Cavaliere beach. Behind the Cala is the Padule, a humid area rich in birdlife, indicated as the ideal location for birdwatchers. Characterized by various shallows of low and medium depth, rich in marine fauna and Posidonia meadows, the Cala is perfect for a day stop but navigation in its waters is reserved for very experienced maneuvers due to the presence of rocks and shoals.

    Scopri di più

  • Cala di Fosso

    COORDINATE: 41.29034515371927, 9.369394205491982

    A beach characterized by fine white sand, overlooking a turquoise sea, it is one of the favorite destinations of the tours that accompany visitors to discover the Archipelago.

    Sheltered from the wind, immersed in a thick and fragrant scrub of vegetation, it is the ideal landing point for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts.

    It is ideally located to reach the Paduleddi Islets, the Passo del Topo, the nearby Punta Missoggio beach and the large Cala Giorgio Marino.

    It can be reached by land via the path that leads to Cala Giorgio Marino but is also suitable for docking during the day.

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  • Cala Santa Maria

    COORDINATE: 41.294202411346234, 9.371212743204682

    The largest beach in the entire La Maddalena Archipelago, the clear sand, the clear blue water and the easy landing make it the ideal destination for those who want to spend a day on the island. Very popular also with residents, it is able to accommodate a fair number of boats and is the starting point of the paths that lead to the Punta Filetto lighthouse, the Sanctuary of Santa Maria and the beaches of the north-western coast of the island. otherwise not reachable because they are included in the marine area of ​​integral protection.

    Behind the beach there are, in addition to some private houses, the banks of the wetland area of ​​the Padule, frequented by a rich fauna that includes resident and migratory species of birds.

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  • Cala Macchione de Bovi and Cala del Tufo

    COORDINATE: 41.293771151463, 9.378191851062116

    Hidden gems of the south-eastern coast of the island stand out for their thick vegetation, the isolated and wild atmosphere, the easy landing and the fact that they are less crowded than the nearby beaches.

    Overlooking shallow waters that quickly become very deep, they are places of choice for diving and snorkeling.

    They can also be reached by land by deviating from the path that leads from Cala Santa Maria to the Punta Filetto lighthouse.

    Scopri di più

  • Santa Maria lighthouse in Punta Filetto

    COORDINATE: 41.29862366858288, 9.384135626228769

    A panoramic point rich in history that dominates the cliff overlooking very deep waters and not very suitable for non-sporting bathing.

    Reachable on foot by the easy path that starts from the eastern tip of Cala Santa Maria.

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  • Cala La Presa and Cala Ghiarinaio on La Presa Island

    COORDINATE: 41.30917014614268, 9.378771496340672

    Located on opposite sides of the La Presa island, the two coves of La Presa and Ghiarinaio are two isolated paradises and therefore very little frequented.

    The two beaches are difficult to reach even by sea, especially the Cala Ghiarinaio beach, very close to the Capicciolu Island, as it is located on the edge of the integral Safeguard marine area enclosed between Santa Maria a Razzoli.

    The seabed they overlook are deep and rich in fauna and therefore particularly suitable for diving.

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  • Cala Muro

    COORDINATE: 41.30542257727756, 9.378535461959032

    A difficult beach to reach, consisting of two beaches divided by a rock spur.

    The small and medium gray pebble beach also includes a thin strip of sand.

    Rocky bottoms are perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving without cylinders (for which authorization is required), they have made this cove a popular destination but at the same time very little frequented.

    Scopri di più

  • Cala Drappo and Cala Tamerici

    COORDINATE: 41.30151359314183, 9.37334806971604

    Two isolated but easily accessible beaches thanks to the easy path that, starting from the south of the island, crosses it, also passing near the Sanctuary of Santa Maria.

    Separated by short rock spurs, the two beaches are distinguished by the golden sand (Cala Drappo) and the soft pink sand (Cala Tamerici). The dense vegetation that surrounds them and the tamarisk forest located south of the beaches protect them from moderate east winds.

    The seabed on which they open are perfect for snorkeling and non-sporting bathing.

    Easily reachable also from the Cala Ferrazzo beach.

    It is located in the Marine Area of ​​integral safeguard so it cannot be reached by sea.

    Scopri di più

  • Cala Ferrazzo

    COORDINATE: 41.29783006789795, 9.366304588844425

    Among the most beautiful areas of the entire Archipelago, Cala Ferrazzo is a large cove divided into two beaches distinguished by a large spur of rock of particular charm.

    The very sheltered beach that is located in the northern part of the Cala is made of light sand, while the southern beach is famous for the pink color of its sand that overlooks beautiful backdrops ideal for exploration with mask and snorkel.

    Entirely included in the MA area, it cannot be reached by sea, but can be easily reached by land along an agile path that starts behind the beach of Cala Santa Maria and, after about a kilometer, flows into the wide bay near the pink beach.

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🡡 Click and discover the points of interest

Approfondimenti sull'Isola di Santa Maria

Santa Maria is an island inhabited since ancient times and, even today, together with La Maddalena and Caprera, it is one of the only three islands of the Archipelago to be permanently inhabited throughout the year, even if by a single family. The remote history of the island is linked to the presence of a church prior to 1200 dedicated to Sancta Maria di Budello, on which the Benedictine monastery, which remained active until the 16th century, depended, before being partially destroyed and used as a dwelling. Today only the ruins remain, reachable along one of the easy internal paths that cross the flat island. Santa Maria, in fact, unlike its sister islands, is practically without reliefs and its highest point, Guardia del Turco, is located just 49 meters above sea level.

The island, and the monastery itself, were also inhabited by the Bertoleoni’s, the family of Genoese origins who, coming from Corsica, first moved to the island of Santa Maria and then to Spargi, before taking up official residence on the island of Tavolara.

The presence of about twenty houses inhabited mainly in summer, a small church, a hotel and the lighthouse, make Santa Maria the most populated of the three sister islands that make up the northern part of the La Maddalena Archipelago. Less wild than Budelli and the nearby Razzoli, Santa Maria is famous above all for its two main beaches which are among the most popular in the area: Cala di Fosso and Cala Santa Maria, the latter, with its over 200 meters of beach, it is also the largest in the entire Archipelago.

Closed on both sides by rock formations, the beach of Santa Maria stands out for its fine white sand and a shallow, slowly sloping seabed, creating a large natural pool known for the transparency of the water and the intense colors which tend from light blue to turquoise in the area where the depth allows the anchoring of the boats.

Behind the beach there is also a large pond, the Palude, a habitat of choice for a rich bird life that includes various species including woodcock, mallard and gray heron.

The Island of Santa Maria, the green island of hermits and the Punta Filetto lighthouse.

Announced to the south by the Stramanari Islets that guard the entrance to the Port of the Madonna and guard the rare Silene Velutata, a flower believed to have disappeared and yet found here in the 1980s, and from the Paduleddi Islets, from which the narrow Passo del Topo divides it, Santa Maria, the easternmost of the three sister islands of the La Maddalena Archipelago, stretches northward to the northernmost point of Sardinia on La Presa Island.

With its 2 km2 of surface, the greenest of the northern islands of the Archipelago is also the largest. 10 km of coasts facing south-east and north-west, different in composition, harshness and protection regime. The north-western coast of Santa Maria, partly granite, falls completely within the Marine Area of ​​the integral reserve (MA Zone) bounded to the north by a line that connects the small Capicciolu Island with the Punta Maestro of the Razzoli Island and to the south by the Asinelli Pass which divides the two islands with a very narrow passage less than a meter deep.

On this stretch of coast, which overlooks one of the most beautiful and protected areas in the Mediterranean Sea, there are the beautiful sandy beaches of Cala Ferrazzo, Cala Drappo, Cala Tamerici and Cala Muro. On the south-eastern coast, facing the small island of Corcelli, there are the Cale Colombaro, del Tufo and the Macchione de Bovi.

Stretching towards the east, Punta Filetto, hosts the Lighthouse of Santa Maria, once also home to the school for the families of lighthouse keepers, while, not far away, towards the south, Punta del Vecchio Marino marks the boundary of the wide Cala di Santa Maria.

After the Passo del Topo, the short stretch of southern coast opens up with an animated profile that encloses the Porto della Madonna on which a promontory full of inlets and the beautiful Cala Giorgio Marino and the small and sheltered beaches of Cala Aiacciolu overlook the Cavaliere beach and the natural pools of the island of Budelli.

Cala Santa Maria
Cala Santa Maria 3
Isola Santa Maria 2

Santa Maria Island, the pink beach of Cala Ferrazzo and the rugged stretch of coast between Punta Filetto and Punta Vecchio Marino: a perfect synthesis of Budelli and Razzoli.

Starting from the Asinelli Pass, and proceeding in a north-easterly direction, just after a small rocky promontory recognizable by the imposing rock that looms over a small beach that cannot be landed, the north-west coast of the island opens up. scuba diving and snorkeling, a wild paradise in the most accessible of the three sister islands that offers a privileged view of the Razzoli Island and its lighthouse.

Cala Ferrazzo and the pink beach of Santa Maria Island

Budelli is not the only island of the Archipelago to be able to boast a pink beach among its pearls. Just beyond the promontory that protects it from the westerly winds, the wide Cala Ferrazzo softens in a perfect curve and the coarse sand beach that slopes into the sea has shades ranging from golden to pink. The seabed alternates large sandy areas with low rocky areas perfect for snorkeling.

Going up the coast in a northerly direction, beyond the rocky spur that closes the pink beach, a deep inlet between the rocks hides a second beach of light sand, sheltered behind by thick vegetation, which overlooks a shallow sandy bottom and waters that range from green to blue. Both beaches can be reached by land, along an easy path that starts from the beach of Cala Santa Maria and in less than a kilometer leads to the first beach from which, crossing a short rocky stretch, you can access the second beach.

The full protection regime of the stretch of water between Santa Maria and Razzoli prohibits reaching the beaches of Cala Ferrazzo by sea, and this usually makes them uncrowded even during the high summer season.

Cala Drappo and Cala Tamerici

Guarded by two spurs of pink rocks just north of the beaches of Cala Ferrazzo, at the edge of a small tamarisk forest, there are the two small beaches of Cala Drappo and Cala Tamerici. The colors of the sand, ranging from pink to golden, color the waters of this stretch of sea with shades ranging from green to turquoise to the deep blue of the areas where the shallow sandy bottoms quickly become deep and rocky.

Even these beaches cannot be reached by sea because they are part of the MA Zone (Marine Area of ​​integral reserve). However, they can be reached by land, along an agile path that crosses the island starting from the beach of Cala Santa Maria and passing through the Sanctuary of Santa Maria, immersed in the thick scrub of the land area of ​​general reserve, and flowing into the tamarisk wood at the shoulders of the southernmost of the two beaches.

Cala Muro and the Isthmus of the Strangolato Pass

At the point where the island of Santa Maria narrows, near the Strangolato Pass that separates it from the La Presa island, there is the splendid Cala Muro. Very exposed to the westerly winds, the beach is divided in two by a spur of gray rock and small beaches of light sand; the seabed on which it overlooks is low but falls rapidly becoming rocky and deep.

Due to its position, in the northern extremity of the island, often beaten by strong winds, the Cala Muro beach is not easy to reach both because it falls within the marine area of ​​integral protection which prohibits navigation in the waters in front of the cove and because it is far from the marked trails that stop at Cala Tamerici to the west and near the lighthouse on the east coast.

This makes it one of the less frequented beaches of Santa Maria together with those found on La Presa Island.

Cala Santa Maria 4
Santa Maria Foto
Santa Maria Foto 2

La Presa Island and the beaches of Cala Ghiarinaio and Cala Presa.

Far from the routes of scheduled ferries and organized tours, at the extreme limit of the Maddalena Archipelago, in the northernmost point of the island of Santa Maria, the last part of Sardinia stretches out, an island that looks like a cloud beaten by the wind in an arm of the sea in which, depending on the days, it blows strongly from the east or from the west without sparing the low vegetation, nor the jagged coasts of La Presa, crowned to the east by the tiny island of Capicciolu, little larger than a rock.

Immersed in a sea with shades of green and blue among the most intense of the entire archipelago, La Presa, which represents the northernmost point of Sardinia, has only two beaches: Cala Ghiarinaio to the west and Cala Presa to the east. The first is a small deep inlet, in the shape of a horseshoe, with a small beach that slopes down into waters of extraordinary beauty and transparency and depths rich in fauna and vegetation that make it an ideal place for snorkeling.

On the opposite side of the island, Cala Presa is a small beach overlooking an immediately deep seabed. And full of surprises, perfect for underwater exploration.

Both beaches, being accessible only from the sea, are not very popular even during the high summer season, and are distinguished by a particular atmosphere of wild stillness.

The lighthouse of Punta Filetto and Cala di Tufo

Traveling along the coast to the south, along the jagged cliff that flows into a sea with a deep and mysterious seabed, you reach the wide promontory of Punta Filetto, the eastern end of Santa Maria which seems to extend towards the nearby Corcelli Island. The cliff is dominated by the large lighthouse, now automated, represents an important piece of the island's history.

Reachable by means of a path that departs from the northern end of Cala Santa Maria, the large building in the past also hosted a school for the children of the lighthouse keepers, but today it appears only as an exceptional panoramic point on an arm of sea ​​among the most beautiful of the entire archipelago.

Not far away, towards the south, one of the hidden wonders of the island of Santa Maria, the small Cala di Tufo, recognizable by the small concrete pier that does not undermine its beauty. A tiny beach of coarse and gray sand that is a real piece of paradise secluded from the world, surrounded by rocks and rocky bottoms rich in marine fauna, behind protected by a dense vegetation. The cove, not far from the path that leads to the lighthouse, is still easier to reach by sea because it is not signposted by land.

Cala Macchione de Bovi, Punta Vecchio Marino and Cala Santa Maria

South of Punta Filetto, cut out in the profile of the promontory of Punta Vecchio Marino, there is Cala Macchione de Bovi, a beach sheltered by two rock spurs, which overlooks rocky bottoms that slope rapidly into a deep sea with intense shades of blue .

After the top of the promontory of Punta Vecchio Marino, the large bay of Cala Santa Maria opens up, the best known and most popular beach on the island, a beach of fine white sand over 200 meters long, within a vast inlet and deep, able to accommodate numerous boats and therefore considered a valid alternative to the more celebrated Porto della Madonna.

Cala di Fosso, the Passo del Topo and the Paduleddi and Stramanari islets

At the southern limit of Santa Maria at the point where the deep sea of ​​the east coast meets the shallow waters of the Passo di Cecca di Morto and Passo del Topo that lead to the Porto della Madonna, there are the beaches of Cala di Fosso, a favorite destination for fans of white sand, shallow water, snorkeling and open views. Sheltered from the westerly winds, the beach is surrounded by rocks and thick vegetation that seems to isolate it from the rest of the island.

Always proceeding southwards, Santa Maria seems to crumble into the Paduleddi and Stramanari Islets surrounded by depths of very difficult navigation due to the shoals, and not very suitable for bathers but perfect for exploration with mask and snorkel.

As soon as you pass the tip that faces the small Isola Carpa, the marvelous and sheltered Cala Marras opens up, characterized by a very clear seabed, its dimensions allow the stop of small boats.

Cala Giorgio Marino, Cala Aiacciolu and the Port of the Madonna.

Continuing northwards, now within the extraordinary arm of the sea known as Porto della Madonna, the wide Cala Giorgio Marino opens up, which goes inland with very shallow waters and green waters and the nearby Cala Aiacciolu , set among the rocks in which there are three small coves that border on the Porto Madonna pier.

The seabed of this area is extraordinary and lends itself as an ideal setting for any type of activity linked to the sea. The waters of this stretch of sea have shades of green and blue that become more and more intense as you get closer to the center of Porto della Madonna.

From the southern coves of Santa Maria, you can admire the north-eastern coast of the Island of Budelli at the point where the thick vegetation gives way to the renowned Spiaggia del Cavaliere and the sea becomes so transparent that it deserves the name of natural swimming pool.

Prices

Rental with group

Daily tour

Starting from € 50 per person

Exclusive rental

Daily tour

Starting from € 500 for the Lomac 790 IN inflatable boat

Timetables


We are open in the months of June, July, August and September

The excursions start at 10 am and return around 5 pm.

In case of exclusive rental you can decide the departure time but the return must always be before 18:00

Find us

Le Isole has been operating for some time as a dinghy rental in Cannigione. Our information point is located at the "Golfo di Arzachena" Camping Village.
Boarding is carried out from the jetty of the Arzachena Nautical Club of the Cannigione tourist port


Contact us

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