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Unknown Greece - the diving face of Kefalonia

A three-and-a-half hour flight with a small change in Athens and you’re already on the small, magical island of Kefalinia. Z gr. Κεφαλονιά – formerly Kefalonia, Cefalonia, ancient Kefallenia, is a Greek island in the Ionian SeaKefallenia, the largest of the Ionian IslandsIt has a beautiful mountainous landscape and an interesting coastline. Until now, it
Published: November 29, 2017 - 13:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 15:58
Unknown Greece – the diving face of Kefalonia

A three-and-a-half hour flight with a small change in Athens and you’re already on the small, magical island of Kefalinia. Z gr. Κεφαλονιά – formerly Kefalonia, Cefalonia, ancient Kefallenia, is a Greek island in the Ionian SeaKefallenia, the largest of the Ionian IslandsIt has a beautiful mountainous landscape and an interesting coastline. Until now, it was mainly famous for its vineyards, fig trees, olives, fishing but for some time its greatest asset has been tourism, especially diving.

At the end of October I had the pleasure of attending an international meeting, Press Trip, for the media, organised by Scuba Hellas. The purpose of this meeting was to show how much this small island has to offer for tourists, especially for divers. When I read the plan, I was oriented towards wrecks from the Second World War, but the weather made our dives more cave dives than wreck dives, which was to the benefit of all participants.

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The Greek Aegean Airlines flight to the island of Kefalinia took less than an hour and was very pleasant, with excellent service. The island greeted us with blue skies, full sun and pleasant temperatures. We started our tour by sampling the delicacies of the local cuisine at the STO PSITO restaurant. The restaurant, with a wonderful view of the Ionian Sea, has existed since 1990 and is still famous for its dishes, based mainly on local products such as olive oil, own bread, dairy products, vegetables and fish. It is very popular among the local people, spending time here with family and friends, and this is, in my opinion, the best recommendation for a tourist to taste good local cuisine.

For the duration of our stay we were accommodated at the Hotel MIRABEL in the town of Argostali. The hotel is located in the centre of town, right next to the beautiful promenade on one side and the harbour alley on the other. It is a lovely hotel with a restaurant on the ground floor and well equipped rooms. Once settled in, I couldn’t resist the temptation to go for an evening stroll around the town and harbour. Small streets paved with stone, various small shops with local products, atmospheric restaurants offering local dishes based on olives, oil, cheese and fish, confirmed the Mediterranean character of the island.

Two dive centres, Pirate Divers Club and Blue Manta & Aquanautic Club, were responsible for the dive plan, equipment and dive service – they cooperated perfectly and despite the unfavourable weather they managed to show us at least a small part of this beautiful underwater world.

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The first cave was at a depth of about 11-15m. The entrance was high and vertical, but wide enough to allow two divers to pass each other. Huge boulders lay at the bottom and the tapering ceiling created interesting rock formations. After entering the depths, the corridor gently narrowed at the sides to become a huge chamber with a gap at the end through which daylight entered. On the right was another small corridor leading to another chamber – narrower, but also with an upper clearance and beautiful white sand with small pebbles at the end. The rippling sea made the water forced inside the cave to form wonderful white clouds.

The entrance to the second cave was at the end of a small lake just offshore. From the outside it looked like a shallow greenish pond ending with a rock wall. At first, the view did not encourage us to dive and did not promise that we could see something interesting underwater. The organisers decided to divide us into several smaller groups so that we could all get a good view of the cave. I decided to go with the first group because I wanted to have a chance to see the cave before the other divers wet the water inside.

After just diving in, I knew it was the right decision. The outside light made my eyes see a beautiful green grassy carpet decorated with tiny shells. The depth of the lake was 2-3 meters, but the crystal of this water encouraged more and more to be inside the cave. The entrance was huge, lined with beautiful boulders descending into the depths of the cave. The ceiling was chandeliers of stalactites of an intense orange colour, emerging in the torchlight.

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In the first cavernous chamber on the left you could see a corridor leading into the depths, unfortunately it turned out to be a dead end, but I had to check. Right at the entrance a railing started leading to the next chambers. Swimming very slowly, the cave was descending or gently ascending, the bottom was full of white boulders, and the ceiling was descending with stalactites of various sizes – the atmosphere was perfect for underwater photographers, but I was drawn further. I wanted to see what was at the end of the railing, where the next corridors and passages led.

The first chamber descended gently and at the end of it was a short corridor, a slight narrowing you might say before another large room full of rock shelves. Although I couldn’t see much life there, the crystal water and torchlight refracting on the white and orange rocks created amazing patterns. The railing continued hanging in the air between two boulders as its anchor. Just when it seemed like the end, the railing dropped down leading through a high and narrow tunnel to the last chamber I reached.

The water was crystalline, the walls white with sharp edges, the bottom lined with boulders, and the ceiling tapered conically upwards. All this made it, in my opinion, the most beautiful part of this cold cave. “The white chamber” ended in an embankment of small stones where the handrail ended. Behind the embankment there was a fault and perhaps another chamber, but I didn’t get there again – the manomenter indicated that it was time to go back. When I emerged from the cave into the open water I had the impression that I had spent several hours there, as the lake had changed beyond recognition. I walked in, accompanied by a large number of fish on a green carpet, and came out in murky brown water, muddied by drops of intense rain with no sign of underwater life.

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The weather was not conducive to more diving, but this cave made me start to see Kefalonia as a great place for cave divers – it was a simple cave, and the island, as well as supposedly all of Greece, have many such sites to offer with different levels of difficulty.

Concluding our trip around the island, the organisers showed us two more interesting places worth visiting. The first one is a small ROBOLA winery located in Omala. Robola is nothing else but a white Greek grape variety, which is grown on the island, mainly because of its rocky soil. Fresh Robola wine, characterised by an intense aroma, is a pleasure to drink. It is ideal with fish and seafood, but also indispensable in Kefalonian cuisine.

The second is the Melissani Cave located near the town of Sami, surrounded by forest. The cave has a B-shaped lake with two halls separated by an island in the middle. The cave is 36 m high, 40 m wide and 3.5 m long. A balcony has been built at the top of the cave for tourists to get a spectacular view of the interior from above, but the most fun is the journey into the cave in a small boat accompanied by a Kefalonian guide.

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The first chamber was lit by the rays of the sun and the second by electric lamps. The water in the lake is a mixture of fresh and sea water. Salt water enters the Melissani Cave from one end and flows out from the other. The crystal clear, turquoise water takes on different shades as a result of the sun’s rays entering through the opening from the first chamber and reflecting in the rocky bottom of the cave.

This beautiful colourful grotto was the final stage of our tour of the island of Kefalonia. Both what we saw in a small way underwater and what we could touch or taste on land make the island of Kefalonia a highlight of my travels, to which I will not only want to return myself, but also take my family and friends.

Greece can definitely become an exceptional diving destination by offering unforgettable experiences, providing a well-organised tourist infrastructure and a long tradition of hospitality. Even after such a short stay, I can firmly state that the island of Kefalonia is an excellent destination for beginners, advanced divers, wreck divers, cave divers and their families.

Greece has the longest coastline in Europe, 11 in the world, 3,000 islands, 240 of them inhabited, 240 diving centres, offers more than 2,000 dive sites, 150 known and accessible shipwrecks, countless caves and all this in a very clear way (underwater visibility exceeds 30 meters) and relatively warm waters (14 ° – 30 ° all year round). Greece is a three-hour flight from most European cities, offering safety and stability.


Thank you to Frogfish Photography for providing the images.

Unknown Greece – the diving face of Kefalonia

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About author

Marcin Pawełczyk
Marcin’s journey with diving has been an adventure. Starting as a recreational diver, he soon found himself drawn to the fascinating stories and mysteries of Baltic wrecks. After gaining experience, Marcin decided to go beyond just leisurely exploration and took his training up a notch by completing the TMX course, allowing him to explore even deeper and uncover the secrets of inaccessible places. His next challenge has been cave diving, where he is honing his skills to become a certified diver. Not content to simply take in the breathtaking beauty of underwater life, Marcin has also embraced underwater photography since 2018, capturing stunning shots that bring these worlds alive for those who are unable to experience them first-hand. Marcin’s passion for the underwater has taken him far and is sure to continue doing so as he dives into new depths and captures breathtaking images.
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