Diving is a very popular pastime for many in North Cyprus, and there are some really good organisations that can provide training courses, trial dives and trips to great diving locations – both in the north and south of the island.
If you are interested in donning a wetsuit during your stay, or indeed if you’re living in North Cyprus and fancy taking up a water based activity as a hobby or interest then take a look at this article, which will give you an idea of what to expect and how you can become a qualified diver or just dive for pleasure.
Companies usually run their courses from May through to October and will be accredited to PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) and/or BSAC (British Sub Aqua Club), giving them the necessary qualifications to supervise and teach new divers. You can often have a free trial in a pool with all the kit you will need, to see if you feel able to take on the task in seawaters, and you will then have an initial classroom talk to go through the basics of diving.
Once you have decided that you really would like to progress after a proper sea based trial dive, (which usually costs around £20), then you have a wide choice of courses to participate in. You can dive to a beginner’s standard or go on to become a master diver, a rescue diver or even a lead diver. All courses are either PADI or BASC approved, and are suitable for all age groups with special Seal Group sessions aimed at introducing children to diving. For serious dive lovers the Amphora dive school now offer a TEC Deep diver course where divers can really discover the deeper depths of the North Cyprus coastline. Children can start learning at the age of 10 but need to be accompanied by a parent, or from age 12 with parental consent.
Course prices vary but a general cost for one dive is around £25-30, but you can do up to twenty dives for around £500. You can either invest in some scuba gear yourself to reduce the overall cost and just rent the oxygen tank and weights needed, or you can rent the whole kit from the centre. If you wanted to qualify in a particular area of diving then course prices can cost from £200 for a PADI or BASC course in Sports Diving or up to £500 for a Master Diver qualification.
Dives normally take place at set times in the morning and in the afternoon, and usually last a total of two and a half hours. You will be taught to dive in shallower waters until you have received your basic certification, and then you will be able to dive further out from the coastline and can also join groups on excursions and trips to some of the popular dive sites around the island.
There are some great trips to take part in with some fascinating wrecks, marine life such as turtles, and plenty of weird and wonderful fish to see as well as the interesting coastline to explore. You can take a trip to the Karpaz on the eastern peninsula or to Koruçam on the western tip for around £75, which includes the journey to the area and the dive.
There are around 20 dive sites located all along the coast in North Cyprus and you will not be disappointed as they include ship and plane wrecks, caves, reefs and an abundance of fish that will watch you with intense interest! The popular ship wreck site, whose contents are now housed in the Kyrenia Shipwreck Museum, is a popular dive for many experienced and beginner divers. When diving you should expect to see a large amount of fish such as Grouper, Soldier Fish, Sea Bream, Leer, Parrot Fish and sometimes Stingrays and Moray Eels. The colourful marine and reef life really do give divers an experience to remember.
If you are feeling ultra adventurous and have passed your Advanced level diving test then try a trip to the Zenobia ship wreck located off the coast of Larnaca. This is a top dive site and is a must for those who really want to experience a wreck which has not been touched and has that ghostly feel about it. The ship, a roll on roll of type vessel, sank in June 1980 on its maiden voyage when the electronics malfunctioned pumping water into its ballast tanks. It sunk just outside Larnaca and you can still see the lorry cargo it was holding, swim through the canteen and even come across preserved eggs! Dive centres in North Cyprus organise dives to this site for around £100.
As you can tell there is plenty to see if you would like to try out diving in North Cyprus, so if you fancy something a little different, or would like to see the underwater side of life here, then you are spoilt for choice! Perhaps try Turtle Bay Dive Centre www.hotelsempati.com/dive-north-cyprus or Amphora Diving www.amphoradiving.com or Nautilus Diving www.nautilusdivingcyp.com, three of the most experienced dive centres, to check out what they can offer and for information on prices and dive sites.