Posted on 14 February 2011
Turkey’s underwater world: a scuba-diving wonderland
Turkey‘s historical heritage and Blue-Flag beaches have made it a rising star in world tourism. Its underwater beauty also attracts many tourists each year. The coastlines of Antalya, Balikesir, Mugla, Çanakkale and Mersin host rich underwater fauna, underwater caves and wreckages, attracting the attention of many underwater explorers.
Many scuba diving schools can be found in Antalya’s Kemer district, which offers different kinds of diving opportunities. Near the Kemer Marina at a depth of 33 meters, there is a wreckage known as the “Paris shipwreck,” which all divers are encouraged to visit, and off of Tekirova there is an area called the “three islands,” which is an ideal place to perform different types of diving, including cave diving. Divers are likely to come across seals and schools of tuna in this area.
Since the winds are strong and the waves are high in Kalkan, which is another popular scuba diving area, it is ideal for more advanced divers. There are many ruins as well as thousands of barracudas and groupers in this area. The Patara Canyon, which is decorated with corals and sponges, attracts attention with its “lantern wall,” which goes down from 11 meters to 132 meters.
In the area between Antalya’s two big beaches, Lara and Konyaalti, there are cliffs that are suitable for diving into the crystal blue water from the land. Another area that attracts divers is Siçan Island, which is located a few kilometers away from the port of Antalya. The most interesting diving is on the northeast side of the island, the west side of which is relatively shallow and has a sandy bottom, with its rocky structure going down 22 meters. There is also a little cave on the east side of the island.
Gök Cave, located in Finike, is one of the deepest caves for diving in Asia. The cavern reaches the seabed and has a wide entrance as well as stalactites. Ayvalik, which according to one legend is the site of the lost city of Atlantis, offers unique diving options. Günes Island, Yuvarlak Island and red corals make Ayvalik a special place.
The Datça Peninsula offers wonderful diving opportunities with many dolphins and Mediterranean seals at depths between 10-40 meters, especially around the nearby islands, which vary in size. Marmaris hosts 52 diving points and a large selection of ancient underwater ruins including Kütük Burnu, Cennet Island, Kadirga Feneri and Kargi Island.
Bodrum, which houses one of the greatest underwater museums in the world, is also a diving haven with its caverns, colorful sea sponges, Orak Island, which is located on the eastern side, and its east wall, which has a depth exceeding 100 meters. The waters around Kargi and Köçek Islands contain antique ruins, with sea creatures of all sizes, and it is a good area for macro photography.
Saros also attracts divers due to its proximity to Istanbul and its submerged ruins. The area has fascinating underwater beauty, which includes unique fauna. Divers are advised to be aware of the current. Gökçeada and Bozcaada are two points that are known for shipwrecks.
A sunken cargo ship at the western cape of Dana Island near Mersin is another popular diving site. Some popular diving points on the island are Kurt Burnu and Fok Burnu. There is a submerged island northwest of Sancak Bay, with large ancient oil jars. Among the popular wreckage areas where divers must obtain permission before going on an underwater visit is a B-24 American war plane near the coast of Manavgat; ancient ruins near the coast of Uluburun; ancient ruins in Gelidonya, located to the west of the Antalya bay; a French battleship located one kilometer away from the Antalya yacht harbor; and the Paris shipwreck, located one-and-a-half kilometers from the Kemer Yacht harbor.
Today’s Zaman 3 June 2009