Discover the underwater world with ARCHIPEL DIVING CENTRE
The PLEASURE of diving... in full SAFETY
With its peculiar shore formations, ancient and modern wrecks, amphoras from ancient civilizations, reefs, canyons and large caves, KAS is internationally recognized as an amazing dive destination, and one of the best in the Mediterranean. Our rocky reefs have been choses "the best in Turkey" by the turkish diver community.
Crystal clear turquoise sea purified by local currents offers excellent dive conditions. An exceptional fauna and flora, not only quite rich in mediterranean species, but also in "lessepsian" species coming from the Red Sea: You may be the first one to notice a new arrival in any of your dives (check our underwater photo album and try to identify those species)... Turtles will very often swim with you, even the very scarce and protected mediterranean monk seals are sometimes present. Many areas, unspoiled, have been opened in 2001 for diving after years of restrictions.
Water temperature: Between 19°C (January) and 29°C (August).
Visibility: Between 25 meters and 40 meters.
Archipel Diving Centre is covered by DAN-Europe.
texts and photos : The Diving Guide : KAS
1. “Flying-fish reef“
This rocky reef with its top at 4m below the surface gets its name from the plane wreck that lies on its southeast end between 55-71m. This Italian torpedo-bomber, model Savoia-Marchetti SM79 nick-named “sparviero/sparrow-hawk”, was brought down by anti-aircraft fire while bombarding Meis island during WWII. Warning: this very deep and very risky wreck dive is only for very experienced divers. We also remind you that the current is sometimes “dive-cancelling”. This site really deserves its “one of the best in Turkey” title! When the current, usually coming from the southeast is bearable, fish are numerous on the wall on that side: predators such as dentex, groupers, barracudas, amberjacks and bonitos will delight you. If not there, they must be away on the far southwest end of the reef, but that is only for those that are very confident on their breathing!! Going south from the top and returning up east- or west-ward are classic routes... It is very easy to navigate on this pyramidal reef! Algae quite intensively populate depths below 18m, but rocks are totally bare above 12m: sea urchins abound and graze.
2. “Besmi Island“
You can dive on this shoe-shaped reef by going round the island, and choosing between the northeast shallows or the big rocky steps going southeast... Check for turtles in the first case, and for barra¬cuda in the second... On the far northern side of the reef below 40’s you will find an antique wreck site renowned by its great “pitos”, whole amphorae and numerous anchors, but quite deep... On the east side of the island, are a lot of broken amphorae at the 20’s mark and strange cubical blocks deeper below. Pay attention to the current usually coming from the southeast as it may tear you off while sweeping the island sides. Just what you need for exercise but still, do not get too far from the rocks or else have your passport handy: Meisti island is quite close! Like Flying-fish reef, the rocks are covered with algae at depth but completely naked in the island shallows...
3. “The canyon – Dimitri (Cotton) Wreck“
“number one” in the Press: a Kaş classic. Fish may not always abound at this very popular site but the sights are worth it! You may have to go against a strong southerly current while passing the shallow gorge so staying at the surface until you get past the three rocks may save your air for the real dive. The “canyon” is now there with two steep walls going down to 19m inside. Please do not touch the very fragile sides while “flying” down. Inside the canyon you will find a cave, the walls covered with button coral and red shrimp. Be careful as these are hunting grounds for a Mediterranean monk seal! Going out you follow the right wall to get to the Dimitri wreck: this steel coaster hit the islands in 1968 and scattered around cotton ballots, hence the local name “cotton wreck”. It was dynamited to extract its valuable machinery and then it sank during a heavy storm. Going up westward from the wreck leads to a small chimney and more metal debris. Going east, the left wall of the canyon ends as a balcony with an easy rocky reef above. In both cases please finish your safety stop before returning back through the very shallow gorge. It’s here that lives the souvenir of our friend UMUT TURAL, who dedicated all of his life to the protection of the marine environment of Kaş...
4. “Oasis reef“
This reef gets its name from its sandy surroundings and from the very abundant fauna. This is an ideal second dive after the Canyon without leaving the anchorage point, with maximum depths above 27 m. Oasis reef is almost exactly due north from the boat but so as not to miss it, it’s better to follow the sand &rock boundary slightly northeast until you find two distinct sandy spots in the sea-grass meadows at 14m, then simply go northwest over a fantastic pen shell colony: the reef is there, with its height is 16 m. The groupers there are accustomed to divers and its amphorae exceptional. This is quite a small reef and quick to tour. If the groupers are not there, check the small wooden wreck to the east, they must be there hunting smelts! Let’s hope that you don’t miss the barracudas hunting over the posidonia meadows southeast from the wreck at a shallower depth, nor the turtles nesting below rocks just there...The shallow sand&rock area you cruise through to return to the boat is great for night dives!
5. “Kovanli island“
There are a few bullet cartridges at depth and also a few beehives on the island... but this site gets its name from the former (both are called “kovan” in Turkish): bees are making the famous Sercüven honey from Meis island flowers... You will find one of the best underwater archaeology exhibits around Kaş here: amphorae who¬le or broken, stone and metal anchors abound. Be careful with the strong current coming from the west here. The best way to dive here is to start at the eastern end of the island and descend quickly in a south westerly direction to depth and then drift eastward with the current. Watch out for hunting predators as you drift... You can then return towards the dive-boat over the posidonia bed. It is also possible to go start your dive by going directly east and over a large metal anchor all the way to the deep reef at 30m but remember, getting back to the south side of the island may not be so easy in the reverse current which is also strong at depth. Back in the shallows check cracks for small surprises...
6. “Camel reef“
Getting popular recently and as good as Flying fish reef but much smaller so you won’t get so tired... Its top is at 14m and as its name indicates, it has two bumps. Inexperienced divers must be careful with the strong and normally southerly current when descending. It’s usual to go to the southeast side of the reef as predator fish will commonly be hunting deep there. One may then wander over the deep cracks and then go clockwise for a comp¬lete tour of the site: spiralling up it is possible to do a double tour. Those confident with their air consumption can leave the reef towards the southeast, cruise over the sand to another deep reef that seems to go on and on... In general, there is an intense algae and sponge cover below 18 m with much less in shallower water. The safety stop will be on the anchor chain or hanging from a rope but be careful with the current not to miss it!
7. “Heybeli island“
The dive-boat may be at the “outward” (east) or the “inward” (southwest) side of the islands depending on the wind. There are a lot of alternative dives here: one may dive around the bigger island anti-clockwise or around the smaller island or on the south reef. The southern reef with its rocks elevating to 4,5m and its eastern sandy slopes, diverse sea-grass meadows, rocky slopes at the east of the small island and at the northeast of the bigger island and the very shallow but usable pass between the two islands present a rich and diverse ecology. Turtles are guaranteed! A small population of red-sea trigger fish guard the small wreck debris remaining from the boat that went down east of Oasis reef. Coming usually from the southest and turning around the small island after sweeping the sout¬hern reef is the frequent current that will provide great hunting scenes! It sometimes gets very strong as you go north on the eastern side of the islands: one must be careful especially around the northeast side of the bigger island, not to end up in open waters! If you are returning from this side against the current, a passage between the rocks elevating from 18 meters with a millstone and broken amphorae inside protects you...
8. “Pen shell reef”
The dive-boat anchors either to the northeast of the island or on the wall. Between the island and the wall is a shallow area with a multitude of small rocks separated by foraminifera sand, home to a rich colony of pen shells! There is always a turtle too... The northwest end of the wall starts from 9m and gets deeper west as a rock&sand slope. Going east from the high area on the wall or north from the boat on the island shore you cross over a sandy pass to get to a second reef with the top at 8m... If instead, you follow the wall southeast towards the island you find a shallow rocky pass followed by posidonia meadows in a respectable current: pen shells and small fish abound here...You may then go away from the current to the shallow southeast side of the island, where there is a lot of life under the rocks...
9. “Sariot island - south wall“
A little far, but definitely the best wall in Kaş... The current usually comes from the south and may be very strong: as a classical start, you may have to work your way against it half way down the crack right at the southern tip of the island. Out of this narrow crack, there is no other way than going down the very much alive and seemingly endless wall: the current will ease off at depth. You can then go south following the wall where it’s well worth seeing the groupers and the lively colonies of anthias... On the way back, once up the wall and in the shallows, the current gets quite weak and it is easy to return to the boat following the bottom, amusing yourselves with a series of small rock circles. If you drift north with the current at the start, getting back will be by holding on to the rocks... Inexperienced divers will have it easy, by staying in the safe rocky shallows south of the island, without going over the wall...
10. “Thirteen reef“
This rocky reef with the top at 13m is usually very busy with hunting predator fish, but again the strong southerly current is also there... The fish are therefore on the south and southeast slopes! The dive boat anchors close to the top of the reef or takes the hard-to-see buoy there. Classically, divers go down south against the current, stay there for a while and then drift west staying deep for more fish, then up to the top... Drifting instead easterly from the south, the slope is more gradual, with a chance for a turtle encounter! Algae and sponge cover is intense after 18m, and at depth as well as the top of the reef abounds with fish, proportionate to the current. On the way back, do not forget that the shallowest point is at 13m, so that the safety stop will forcibly be on a rope or on the anchor chain. Be sure to find the boat: this may take a little longer for those that are not familiar with this reef as its top is quite flat and large.
11. “Cape Çoban - the tunnel“
The predominant winds and surge usually allow this dive only before noon but there is no current... Going immediately down to 20m from the dive boat that anchors on the calm north side of the point and cruising west at exactly that depth one arrives directly at the entrance of the tunnel, a large chimney hidden between big rocks... It’s very easy to miss it by cruising a little below or a little above! Salute the keeper of the gate, a big grouper, and go down the hole slowly. The exit is comfortingly seen right away. The 10m-long tunnel has most of its “Neptun’s lace” on its ceiling broken by divers’ bubbles and are now dense in the dark dents on both left and right walls continuing out of the tunnel. Please stay away and make sure that your bubbles do not sweep the side walls to keep those alive... You may climb up the north wall (to your right going out of the tunnel) and turn clockwise around its top to get back towards the boat, or climb the south wall and go further south to wander around some big rocks and back... As you get close to the boat, fresh water leaks out from cracks around 14m and life abounds there under the rocks... The bottom of the 6m wall by the shore is ideal for a safety stop.
12. “The big cave“
A mighty big cave descending below 40m for experienced divers only; lights and a cool com¬position are a must! The entrance is easily found going west from the point, but it cannot be seen without descending in front of the overhang at 27m... Watch out for torn fishing nets to the right of the gate! The ceiling drops down inside starting from 32m, the bottom starts at 44m and gets deeper inside: careful not to lift the fine sand! Watch your depth and decompression limits while admiring impressive Neptune’s lace bouquets, button coral and quickly disap¬pearing red shrimp colonies... The entrance will be temporarily invisible if you venture down the left side branches of the cave. Once out, there is another big dent immediately to the south. Climbing up the wall and going further south is a big chimney and a rock arch at 32m: going in is a sandy bottom at 42m and again, amazing Neptune’s lace! At this dive site without any current, inexperienced divers can comfortably cruise on the roof of the cave and around the point.
13. “Limanağzı – the lighthouse and the ottoman wreck“
This is a very popular site as it is the closest to Kaş,iologically very diverse and with an old wreck. Easy to navigate around and with little or no current, it is also ideal for night dives! The dive-boat is on the protected east side of cape “İnce Burun” as it is often choppy on the outside.Entering the water and diving east following the bottom should take you close to the “Ottoman wreck”, search for it at 23m... Its wooden keel and frame are still visible but eroded. The copper armour plating on its stern and some metal arte¬facts suggest that it may be a small early 20th century warship. There is also an intact clay pot. A little deeper is a single rock home to a white grouper... The reef starts from the lighthouse point and goes northwest to 30m. It is possible to get to it going north from the wreck and you may dive anti-clockwise round it. The less experienced can go directly there off the dive-boat and explore its top. Between 20-25m, close to the lighthouse and at the north side of the reef is a crack, home to big dusky groupers. As fresh water leaks out it gathers dense fauna and algae in an isolated spot... To start the dive there, proceed directly north from the dive-boat, go over the reef and immediately descend to 20m: the crack is then to the east... Watch for triggerfish on the sands! A scrapped WWII C-47 DAKOTA airplane (wingspan 29m, length 20m) was purposely sunk here at a depth of 22 metres to create an artificial reef: divers are able to explore the cargo area only.
14. “Cave II and the Likya wreck”
Here, two distinct dives can be planned: the wreck and the south wall for one, the cave and surroundings for the second. Those who consume little air may start with the wreck and go north to the cave, they may have to swim back to the boat on the surface... Northwest from the cave and very deep, there is a small but beautiful drop-off with a lot of life... The Likya wreck, a small wooden boat, lies at 24m on the sand with only the frame remaining... The wall to its south has appealing hollows, drop-offs and sponges. North from the wreck, you get to a rocky drop-off followed by a straight wall: you can then go up to the wall to continue on the shallow ridge all the way to the cave or follow a deeper itinerary at the bottom of the walls or on their deepening slopes. The route to the cave, mostly bare rocks and sand is a bit long! Just below the cave, two rocks lean on each other as if tired, to create a small tunnel at 17m. Careful when exiting here and ascending as a Mediterranean seal may be around! If one has been seen, please avoid the cave! The entrance is at 6m with a flat rock bottom. Going in and left takes you through an icy layer of fresh water mixed with the sea into a blurry crystal soup. You can surface inside the cave and breath the air!
15. “Hidayet Bay – Underwater Archaeopark – Stonehenge“
Uncle Hidayet took refuge in this bay in his time, he had good taste: this bay is very beautiful underwater and above, and also well sheltered! The sea-grass mea¬dows in the bay are full of life, day and night. East from the small cape, bare rocks slope down to 32m gradually with lots of life; moray eels and bigger fish at depth. Going across to the sand and staying at 18m one will find a small agricultural airplane, now an artificial reef for small fish... This, with a shallow return to the bay is enough for a dive. An exceptional second and dive is done at the east end of the bay! A replica of the oldest known and very rich wreck excavated between 1984 and 1994 at cape Uluburun is sunk here to become home to all local grouper species, among others... Dated at the 15th century B.C., the cargo of this boat is now at the Bodrum Underwater Archaeology Museum. An “in situ” represen¬tation of the original Uluburun wreck, as it was found by sponge divers, is located at 15m with imitation amphorae, stone anchors and copper ingots. Please ask your dive boat for donation stamps if you wish to support this ongoing “Arkeopark” project made by local volunteers! The rock&sand drop-off in front of the south point offers rich wildlife as it goes quite deep in big steps. The intricate bottom formations in the bay east of the wreck deserve their nickname: “Stonehenge”.
16. “Pigeon island“
The pigeons are not there anymore but the shallow depths are teeming with life, rabbitfish galore... A white marble shark sculpture reminisces of recent underwater art exhibitions and gives heart attacks to first-time divers! Very well sheltered from the south and west winds and with easy shallows, this is the ideal location for those starting dive courses or getting back into diving... There is also a lot to see for experienced divers! If your air usage is good you can to see it all in a single dive! Swim on the surface to the northeast edge of the small island to save air. Dive south-eastward over the rocky slope and over a bit of sand: you will find an old wooden wreck at 22m, a bit scattered around... East from there is a deeper small reef at 28m, famous for its friendly striped groupers and a profusion of broken amphorae... Holes in the soft sand are full of surprises! Going back northwest while staying at 25m, you will find a newer sheet metal wreck sunk as an artificial reef; then going west takes you back to the island and to rest near the friendly white shark. If you follow the shore northward you will find the “peak performance buoyancy” exercise rings a lot of fun!
17. “Neptune – three rocks”
Underwater gardens of the roman sea god Neptune; a shallow reef under tough waves just off cape “Çondur”. The 29 metre ex-coastguard boat TCSG-119, that was purposely sunk here at a depth of 21 metres to create an artificial reef, has moved deeper due to strong winter storms... Descend under the boat anchored at the calm north side of the cape, and cruise until you arrive at the point, then turn east. There may be some current when crossing the 15m deep channel where striped groupers will be in the open, hunting smelt... The reef faces you with its 10m wall. On top, the shallowest rock is at 8m and there are two more groups at 10-11m. The reef then slopes eastward down a series of large terraces to the sand at 45m, from where the bottom deepens rapidly. The north side is steeper, so it is best to go round the reef clockwise and then go to the top. At the east end crossing from north to south, the current will give you a bit of a hard time but after that the predator fish should be there, hunting on the south side... The more current the merrier... Algae cover is sparse... Completing the loop westward there is a definite antique wreck site at 20m and above, as the slope is full of amphorae... If you have some air left, go on westward to the mini-canyon by the shore with all the commotion around and the chain of rocks below, are worth seeing! You can then cruise back to the boat while executing your safety stop!
18. “Anchor reef”
Curious looks from people sunbathing by the hotel swimming pool here, won’t make you feel alone with nature but the diversity and life underwater are not negligible... As indicated by its name, this reef has a lot of anchors scattered around it along with a few amphorae, and two millstones. The current is mild. Rocks go down gradually southward. Turn west following the rock&sand boundary to find a hole in the bottom at 35m: it seems to continue deeper as fish go in but it’s quite narrow and unstable... Better not to take any risks! Deeper is livelier and a shoal of bar¬racudas is often seen gathering around here! The shallows continue back up west as a sandy plane with big rocks scattered around. Sweeper fish are under every rock and in every fissure by the shore...
19. “Gürmenli rocks“
This reef spreads out on a southwest-northeast axis from two surface rocks in the open sea; seldom visited as there is no protection from high winds... Dives usually start at the north side of the rocks as the south is quite flat and gradual. Down the steep 15m north wall just off the tip of the rocks, one can continue north on the rocky slope that reaches the sand abruptly at 35-40m. Swimming west takes you to a seemingly endless ridge going northwest. On the southeast side of the island, the wall continues with lively cracks and terraces: its algae covered ridge slopes down gradually southeast and ends on sand at 40m. Big fish may be scarce except for the passing amberjack, but thin red sponge layers intensively cover the shaded side of the bare shallow rocks to add beauty to the wild landscape!
20. “Gürmenli island - Cappadocia“
At the far west tip of Çukurbağ peninsula, the smaller of the two islands sees a lot of wildlife action on its south-western side. Dropping quite fast from the edge of the island, filled with cracks where squirrel fish abound, the rocky slope then gradually gets deeper and hits the sand abruptly in the west: stingray encounters are guaranteed in sandy spots! Getting shallower towards the south side of the small island onearrives at an area nicknamed “Cappadocia ”, a marine version of the famous national park with its peculiar rock formati¬ons, quite deserted but pleasant... The north side of this island drops straight to 12m, then slopes down quickly towards the sand at 30m... If you don’t use too much air, you could consider a complete clockwise tour of this island that presents a huge variety of landscapes...
21. “Gürmenli island - the wall"
Starting from the bigger of the two islands from its northern edge, the wall con¬tinues far north. Its eastern side drops steeply and its base gets deep quite fast : there you will find metal anchors of various shapes and sizes, amphorae and hollows teaming with life. Check the sands to the east from time to time; don’t miss out on the stingrays! On top of the wall, the ridge very slow ly deepens in the south-north direction.The west side of the ridge is of flat stone which also deepens progressively. Together, they create an area ideal for the inexperienced! Moving away from the boat on the ridge or by the wall, you may be helped with a gentle current; be careful as the way back may be quite long... If winds allow, it is best to anchor the boat by the middle of the wall and dive from there without having to swim far!