Kaş - Kekova/Antalya
The southern district of Kaş in the province of Antalya is one of Türkiye's most cherished diving spots. Kaş offers a range of diving options from Kaş to Kalkan further to the east, and as far as Patara. Crystal clear waters allow for near perfect visibility. Fish, marine life, seaweed, seagrass, coral and sea sponges all live among the ruins of ancient cities and await enthusiastic divers.
At all 15 dive sites in this part of the Mediterranean, there is an abundance of reefs, walls, underwater canyons, and beautiful scenery. Kaş is hailed as one of the world’s Top 10 diving sites, and it offers the bonus of an Ottoman shipwreck, and the mystery of the Sakarya and Duchess of York vessels. The Turkish-built Sakarya was wrecked in the 1940s, while the Duchess of York was a naval trawler built in Glasgow between 1927-1929.
A Dakota makes diving at Kaş even more interesting. The Douglas C-47 Skytrain or Dakota was a military transport aircraft that was sunk in 2009 at a very dividable 22 meters to create an artificial reef. Now, it is covered in a lightly colored alga. It’s a hugely popular dive, not least with photographers, who love the chance to shoot the relatively rare sight of an underwater plane.
Heybeli Island, near Kalkan, offers a rocky landscape for divers to explore. Two small islands form the basis of this relatively shallow and scenic dive with a maximum depth of around 24 meters. Either island may be circumnavigated and there is seagrass, turtles, and the skeletal frame of an unknown wreck on offer.
The cargo vessel Dimitri ran aground on the islet of Kovan in 1968 and offers a 20-meter descent down a narrow crevice known as the Canyon, which is covered in colorful growth. The wreck itself is a twisted mass of metal, the result of a salvage operation that involved the use of dynamite, but it remains a fascinating dive.
Another grand vessel, the TCSG 119 was scuttled in 2011 to provide an artificial reef. It came to rest deeper than planned and now sits at 40 m on a flat, sandy bottom. The reef itself begins at around 15 m and the wreck sits upright, with the deck around the 35-meter mark. It has a substantial covering of growth including large spiral tube worms. Small fish patrol the wheelhouse, while inside the wreck you can see saddled seabream.
Located in eastern Antalya, Alanya is a touristic district and offers many opportunities for diving enthusiasts.
Aquarium is the closest diving location to Alanya harbor, situated at a 5-minute sailing distance. The depth here ranges from 4 to 25 meters, and the location is mainly used for educational diving.
Amphora owes its name to many shards from ancient amphoras that are found here. The depth limit is maximum 29 m, and you’ll find groupers, moray eels, octopuses, thornback rays, and pigfishes.
The Pirate Cave (Korsan Mağarası) is a multipurpose diving site for both inexperienced and experienced divers with a minimum depth of 10 m and a maximum of 32 m. There is also a wreck at 25 meters. Pirate Cave is an open and large cave, and inside divers can ascent and observe bats with flashlights.
Lovers Cave is located 15 minutes sailing distance from Alanya harbor. It is suitable for both educational diving for inexperienced divers and for experienced divers. The seabed is mainly rocky, and the site has a lively underwater life – there is even an ancient anchor at a depth of 21 meters.
Mersin is a popular diving site further east on the Mediterranean coast. The area has an interesting history: it was part of many states and civilizations including the Hittites, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Armenians, Seljuks and eventually, Ottomans. The area has numerous bays and inlets where ancient artifacts and ruins offer glimpses into the past. Dana Island, Sancak Bay, and the area near Taşucu are worth investigating.