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Cyprus Turkey - visit to the other side of the island - report and photo gallery

There are several reasons for diving in the Turkish part of Northern Cyprus. Curiosity, a different mentality of the natives, getting another place on the world map, lower prices for single dives, and finally adventure. Each of these reasons was mine, and the difference in price from €40 to €22 left no illusions. Important tip:
Published: December 21, 2015 - 14:56
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 12:27
Cyprus Turkey – visit to the other side of the island – report and photo gallery

There are several reasons for diving in the Turkish part of Northern Cyprus. Curiosity, a different mentality of the natives, getting another place on the world map, lower prices for single dives, and finally adventure. Each of these reasons was mine, and the difference in price from €40 to €22 left no illusions.

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Important tip: when renting a car in Cyprus, make sure that the rental company allows you to drive to Turkey. Most unfortunately do not offer this possibility. Also the insurance does not cover Northern Cyprus. However, buying such insurance is not a problem, because at every border crossing there is a booth or a window open, in which the formalities related to insurance of the car are done very quickly. The minimum period is 3 days at a cost of 22 euros, regardless of the number of passengers in the car.

On the other side of the island

On this side of the island we used 2 dive centres. The first is Shack Dive with friendly staff and the possibility to use free WiFi a short distance from the centre (e.g. during a surface break).

We went diving on a pontoon boat. The centre is unfortunately very popular and despite October it was crowded. Maybe because it is located within the town of Alsancak? The air temperature was 31° C and the water temperature was 28° C. Quite pleasant.

After splitting into groups and getting acquainted with the guides, a briefing took place. Then we got dressed in our wetsuits and liquefied our equipment, which we had to carry by ourselves to a boat parked nearby. We were a little surprised as one person was diving in a dry suit. We approached the guy with Adam and started to talk about how cold it was today. He smiled pityingly and asked about our wings. He was Turkish and he knew our native company X Deep and spoke well of it. He was just about to order their computer. We both swim in Ghosts so we were able to exchange a few sentences.

cyprtwzgola003

We dive

The first dive site was named “Wall to rock garden”. The water clarity reached 20 metres. I was surprised because at 22 metres depth a thermocline appeared and the water temperature dropped to 22° C, and 6 degrees down is quite noticeable. We looked at groupers penetrating the Cypriot corners of the Mediterranean. Overall it was so-so. Interesting terrain and nothing else. I found 2 nudibranch snails and observed typical and frequent fish for this sea. We reached a depth of 32 m.

After a break we went to a place called “Zeyko”. It was a very similar dive, but we were accompanied by the current, even quite strong in places. I observed polychaetes, starfish and single, various types of large groupers in the depths. It is interesting that “umbrella fish” – as I call them privately – swim here, and they are trumpetfish. They are not typical representatives of the Mediterranean and are practically rarely seen here. The fun started at the lowering. There we made a safety stop, and as there was a current, the vast majority of divers were holding on to the line. It so happened that everyone wanted to hold on to it at exactly 5m depth. It got crowded and it looked bad.

At the very end, already at the settlement, it turned out that the guy from the dry suit, which we made fun of a little (quite wrongly, by the way) was the owner of the Diving Centre ???? .

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Cyprus archaeologically

We spent one whole day travelling and diving at the north end of the island, a distinctly continuous headland. Here there is a dive centre called Mephisto Diving, which I sincerely recommend. Earlier we had explored Nicosia with Adam. We parked at the border and walked the old part of the Turkish town up and down. It seemed poorer and more run down. Now going to Mephisto we were surprised to discover that it is not so bad, in fact it is even quite rich compared to Cyprus of the European Union. You can see the investment. Good roads, nice houses, well-maintained housing estates, and the marina, which housed the Diving Centre we wanted, looked as if it had just been put into operation and in Switzerland, not in the Turkish part of the island.

Mephisto Diving Centure is located in Karpaz Gate Marina (www.mephisto-diving.com) on the Karpaz peninsula. They are run by a friendly and particular German lady who has lived here for several years. An interesting fact, which Adam and I observed up close, is that in a Muslim country the employees carrying out the orders of a woman with blond hair were Turkish Cypriots.

For the first dive we went by boat. Unfortunately, at the very beginning we came across a turtle floating on the surface, which must have taken a fatal blow from some other passing vessel. After the inspection and obligatory reporting of the incident to the appropriate services, we left in a slightly worse mood heading for the place called “Old Ancor”.

Under water

After a short briefing, we rolled backwards and jumped into the water to begin our dive. The old anchor rested not far away, at a depth of over 20 metres. I spent some time by it remembering all the underwater archaeologists I know and am friends with. I took a few shots. Then I laid down on the anchor to measure her somehow. It was 2.5 metres long. Later, based on the photos, one of the archaeologists – Piotrek – made a guess that it looked like a T0/T1 type anchor (according to Piotr Prejs’ typology). According to him it was a transitional anchor between Roman and Byzantine type. The supposed dating is roughly the 4th to 6th century after Christ. He further stated that it is very interesting because there are few of them, at least in the literature.

Finally, we swam out into the depths. Again, we were accompanied by groupers of different sizes and types. It is amazing that there are so many of them on this side of the Mediterranean Sea. We dived between the rock walls reaching the depth of 30 meters.

Break

After a break, which we spent in a modern marina with free internet access, we returned to the Centre. Marion, the owner of the base had already briefed the staff and asked where we would like to dive. I said anywhere, but generally what she recommended. All in all, as there were only three of us left and our air consumption underwater was quite low, we agreed to do 2 sites in one go. She said to pack into a green jeep standing in front of the base. I looked outside and said that there was no green jeep here. For a moment I noticed the surprise in her eyes, but after a few seconds she understood the joke. The jeep was turquoise (at least to me), so green it was not.

cyprtwzgola002

Among the artefacts

We arrived at the site quite quickly and carefully entered the water. Slippery rocks can make a diver’s life miserable. The places we visited were called “Lighthouse” and “Antic harbour” respectively. Probably hundreds, if not thousands of years ago there was a harbour here. There are man-made stones and lots of fragments of amphorae under the water. There are hundreds of them. Scattered over a large area, often in peculiar conglomerates, and just as often united with rocks into one whole. Between the amphorae floated obladas, sarpa salpa, chestnut chromis and the first time I saw in the M. Mediterranean for the first time. We also encountered octopuses, polychaetes, crabs and snails. In places Marion showed us larger fragments of amphorae, the kind with appendages or an outer rim. All these finds are in shallow water. The deepest we went was 17 metres, and the dive lasted a full hour and a half at a water temperature of 27°C.

Passing through a small canyon we arrived at the exit point and with great care found ourselves at a “green” jeep. Moved by the amount of artifacts I asked about some research. According to the owner of the centre, nobody had ever researched anything here, and last year, driving a good hour further to the tip of the Karpaz peninsula, she had seen a completely preserved small amphora underwater.

I recommend this site and in my opinion it should be on the list of sites worth diving in Cyprus. Even more so if any of you like to discover underwater history about which little or nothing is known.


Wojciech Zgoła
wojtek@dive-adventure.eu

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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