The Top 6 Dive sites in the Greek Islands

26 January 2015

Greece is comprised of thousands of islands and with a vast amount of coastline, underwater adventure awaits. There is no better way to visit an array of spectacular dive sites than on a Greece yacht charter . Each trip overboard leads to a hidden world strewn with fascinating sea life and ancient underworld treasures. Charterfleet picks out the best dive sites dotted around the islands.

Dragonisi Island Caverns

Nine years ago, diving the Greek Islands was very limited. Strict regulation meant that only 997 kilometres of the 16,000 kilometres of Greek coastline was open to underwater exploration. Scuba diving around the Greek Islands was always popular with Europeans in the know, but since the rules were eased in 2005 the wonderland of the abundant seas have opened up to a wider audience. Diving is undergoing a huge surge in popularity. The dive location at Dragonisi Island off the south east coast of Mykonos is a true gem. The island is uninhabited so make sure there are provisions and request the captain drop anchor at the correct coordinates for the island caverns.

Jump into the briny abyss below and find the most spectacular natural rock formations. These monumental cavern walls are the result of thousands of years of eroding waves. Glassfish and vibrant yellow sea anemones are everywhere and it’s normal to encounter monk seals as they take refuge nearby. The azure waters and gobsmacking palette of colours make this a must.

The HMHS Britannic Wreck

As we are in the centenary year of the First World War, this site has some topical appeal. The Wreck of the HMHS Britannic is a jaw-dropping spectacle. A sister ship to the Titanic, this Olympic-class ocean liner was a hospital ship until it was sunk by an underwater mine in the Aegean Sea off the coast of the island Kea. Launched just before the start of the First World War, the ship was slated to be christened the Gigantic, evoking some sense of its sheer scale. It was the biggest ship lost in the conflict. Thankfully, of the 1,066 people on board, there were 1,036 survivors. The site was discovered by marine legend Jacques Cousteau in 1975 and is not advised for beginners due to the depth and complexity involved in exploring the wreck, but it is a revelation for ambitious divers and a favourite of the experts.

Chios Island

Chios is located in the Aegean Sea just seven kilometres from Turkey. It is the fifth largest of the Greek islands and there is a range of wonderful dive sites to discover. Ask the captain of your super yacht to head for the Great Wall. Now obviously this dive will not compete in terms of scale with the more famous Australian site, but it will in terms of kaleidoscopic splendour. Expect to admire everything from shipwrecks to vast rocky walls bursting in vivid hues.

The blue of these waters is a clear electric shade that seems endless when you stare straight down. The Great Wall itself is an eye-widening 30-metre underwater cliff that’s teeming with colourful corals. You’ll be sharing this wonderland with shoals of tunnies, salpas, wrasses, perches and combers. If you’re luck is in, tuna and sea turtles will also make an appearance.

Shinaria Beach

Crete is the largest of all the Greek Islands with a dramatic and expansive coastline. Tucked away on the east of the island, 33 kilometres south of Rethymnon and three kilometres away from the small village of Lefkogia, is one of Greece’s best places for observing marine life during your luxury yacht charter. Scuba diving in this little known enclave will reveal a host of sea creatures. Expect to see multi-coloured fish of numerous species horde together with octopi, morays and all manor of marine biology. A fever of manta rays gracefully passing by is another unforgettable sight that is not uncommon here. Visibility is excellent thanks to the clarity of the waters, making this one of the best spots in the Mediterranean for a fairly relaxed and secluded dive experience. The best time to visit Shinaria beach is from May to late September… ask your captain to put a tender out after your dive so you can relax on the beach and enjoy the surroundings above the water.

Marathonisi, Turtle Island

Not only does the uninhabited island Marathonisi resemble a turtle in shape, it also a birthplace of the Caretta Caretta or giant loggerhead turtles. These wonderful creatures swim thousands of miles to return here and lay their eggs on one of the two main beaches on Marathonisi. Away from the sandy shore you are likely to see loggerheads swimming in this region. Ask the captain to find a suitable place to drop anchor and head down below for a truly memorable dive on your luxury yacht holiday. This is not a technically challenging site and so it’s perfect for beginners. More experienced divers will not tire of the flying fish, grouper, bream, moray eels, octopi and parrotfish… not to mention the majestic loggerhead turtles. The best period for diving are the warmer months from May to September, with water temperatures from 16 – 23°C.

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