If you are looking for a diving opportunity, taking a holiday to Turkey may not automatically spring to mind. However, Turkey is a safe and cheap place to learn and enjoy this amazing sport. There are many great diving sites in Turkey. The Aegean coast line offers some of the best local diving. The water is warm and clear, there are few tides or currents to concern and there are hardly any sharks! Of course, the prospect of no sharks will delight some and thoroughly dismay others, but there are plenty of other attractions to keep you enthused off the Turkish coast. Here are five of the best diving sites that Turkey has to offer.
1. Fethiye is a relaxed holiday town with over twenty quality dives, going from shallow, right outside of the harbor, to over 50 metres in depth. The lack of any currents in this area makes it extremely safe and ideal for beginners. Dalyan Bay is the most popular site for beginner and advanced divers alike. It is easily accessible, with abundant fish. The Afkule Wall is a beautiful dive, home to Moray eels hiding in its cracks. It has colorful coral surrounding an impressive open cavern, from whence it has received its notoriety.
2. Marmaris is a long, laid back beach town, with a beautiful mountain backdrop, also visible from many of its local dive spots. Kadirga Rock is the best dive at Marmaris; another site with archaeological past, you may be able to find some ancient ship anchors, along with the obligatory amphora. The Rock has wide ranging marine life for this area, including a friendly resident Grouper.
3. For history buffs, Gallipoli and the Dardanelles are immediately recognizable as the sites of a huge failed military campaign, carried out by the British and the French against the Turks during the First World War. As such, the seas surrounding these areas are littered with scores of wrecks from this era. Most diving trips in this area will go from Cannakkale to the Sulva Bay area. Here lie wrecks such as the Lundi, a British military cargo vessel sunk in 27 metres of sea. You can still access the hold of this ship, which is still largely intact. Many also choose to dive on the unknown troop and provision carrier that was sunk just off of ANZAC Cove. This is probably due to its proximity to the beach, but it is also an atmospheric reminder of the destruction and slaughter that occurred at that place just under a hundred years ago.
4. Bodrum overlooks a number of small rock islands and reefs that channel water to produce light currents, attracting larger fish to the area. As one of the largest Aegean towns, Bodrum also attracts a healthy number of dive instructors and guide companies. The Amphora fields are an extensive area littered with ancient amphora vessels, used to carry goods via shipping up to 3000 years ago. Over time, the vessels would have been discarded or lost overboard, as they sailed in and out of Bodrum, a major trading post. Most of the amphora is broken but many are still intact and strikingly well preserved.
5. Kas probably comes top of all the Turkish dive sites, due to the range, frequency and quality of the dives. There are plenty of caves, reefs and wrecks in the area, along with abundant marine life such as Moray eel, rays and Hawksbill turtles. The area encompasses Arkeopark, the site of a ship wreck dating from the 14th Century BC, the oldest known. The actual wreck has been raised and taken to the Bodrum Museum for its preservation and further study, but a replica has been laid in its place and the area is now open to divers, following extensive recording and excavation. The wreck of a World War Two Italian aircraft, sometimes called ‘Flying Fish,’ is seen as one of Turkey’s best dives. The preservation is excellent. At 65 meters, however, this is a technical dive for the more experienced.
So while Turkey may not seem immediately synonymous with diving holidays, its coastlines offer more than enough options for enthusiastic divers no matter your level of experience.