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HMS Perseus (N36)

Perhaps the top WW II wreck dive in Mediterranean, British Overseas Patrol submarine HMS/M Perseus, (N36) lies virtually intact on the sandy bottom, at 52 meters depth, about a mile off the south coast of Kefalonia.

Perseus submarine is not only among the most impressive wreck dives a diver can experience, but has an amazing history as well. The vessel was on combat patrol in December 1941, and while cruising at the surface at night hit an Italian naval mine and sunk. From the crew of 59 only one, the Royal Navy leading stoker John Capes managed a daredevil escape from a depth no one has attempted before, swam his way to Katelios and with the aid of locals escaped capture from Italian and German occupation forces and finally transferred in Turkey. While legendary in Royal Navy, almost nobody believed his adventure until in 1997 a team of Greek divers located the submarine and verified details of his described escape.

The divers approaching the submarine encounter a magnificent vessel 88 meters long, with a large conning tower, the ship’s gun and the rear hutch still open indicating the escape route of John Capes, while a look in the interior is possible. Among other things, the torpedo tubes and the ship’s propellers and rudder are visible.

The submarine is practically an artificial reef and colorful sponges, small fish and aquatic creatures take shelter here, while predators like amberjacks and snappers are frequent visitors.

The average depth or the dive is 40 m, while the max is 50, reserving the submarine for experienced and technical divers. The visibility is usually greater than 25m while temperature ranges between 18-24 C in summer months, depending on depth. Occasionally there may be strong currents close to the surface. Boat ride duration 15′.

 

 

Kakava Amphorae Yard

“Kakava” is an extended ancient wrecks site, once believed to be a submerged village. There is an abundance of amphorae, primarily from Roman era wrecks with at least one from 2nd century BC. Around the reef more evidence of ancient to modern day wrecks are present, such as steel ship parts and huge coal pieces, marking the resting place of an unknown steamboat. Schools of damselfish hover against the current attracting predators such as snappers, Mediterranean barracudas and amberjacks. Parrotfish, brown meagres, groupers and octopuses occupy every recess and crevice along the reef. The dive site is situated between the two main nesting beaches for Loggerhead sea turtles around Kefalonia “Kaminia” and “Skala”, so chances to catch sight of one looking for her next meal, are quite high.

The average depth or the dive is 8 m, while the max is 12 m, appropriate for divers of all levels.

The usual visibility is 25 m and temperature ranges between 22-27 °C in summer months. Occasionally a weak surface current may be encountered. Boat ride duration 6′.

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Tilemachos’ Cave

Out of the seagrass meadows (“Posidonia oceanica”) a lone reef rises, a death trap to ancient vessels passing through the area. At least 2 of those wooden merchant ships once roaming the Mediterranean, have found their final resting place here, scattering their ballast stones, lead and bronze parts of their hull and rigging and scores of amphorae – their primary cargo, proving the area a puzzle to seamen through the ages.

On the underside of a long shallow rocky ridge, a small yet impressive underwater cave awaits to be explored. The dark chamber in the rock features two side-openings and one on the top acting as a skylight shedding ample light into the interior, rewarding the daring diver with spectacular views. Also a variety of fish and quite often Loggerhead sea turtles are frequent visitors to the site.

The average depth or the dive is 7 m, while the max is 12 m, appropriate for divers of all levels.

The usual visibility is 25 m and temperature ranges between 22-27 °C in summer months. Occasionally a weak surface current may be encountered. Boat ride duration 5′.

Cape Kapros

Cape Kapros marks the northern tip of Skala’s coastline, and just around it one is at the doorstep of Kefalonia-Ithaca channel. The water movement and the occasional currents around the cape is as intriguing, and create a habitat for huge noble pen shells (fan mussels), nudibranch species on the bottom, whilst schools of bogues, picarels and damselfish feed against the current, just above the noticeable thermocline and attract predators like red snappers and amberjacks. The cape has probably a turbulent past, as ancient merchant vessel anchors and broken clay jars (“amphoras”) lie scattered around.

The average depth of the dive is 12 m, while the max is 26 m, appropriate for divers of all levels.

The usual visibility is 25 m and temperature ranges between 19-25 °C in summer months. Occasionally a moderate surface current may be encountered. Boat ride duration 7′.

 

Snappers’ Alley

On the eastern boundaries of Kakava reefs, before water depth drops significantly, there is an area where Posidonia sea grass, rocks and sandy patches alternate. This is the place where colourful wrasses, brown meagres and all kinds of breams find shelter, whilst sea turtles and eagle rays are common visitors, but without a doubt the stars are the red snappers that are foraging around this alley, preying on schools of damselfish and parrotfish. This is probably the site more likely to spot a snapper especially from May to July, as they never fail divers in early morning dives.

The average depth of the dive is 16 m, while the max is 22 m, appropriate for divers of all levels.

The usual visibility is 25 m and temperature ranges between 23-25 °C in summer months. Occasionally a weak surface current may be encountered. Boat ride duration 7′.

Twelve Anchors

 

Located at the northern extents of the Kakava reefs, this site is the most representative example of Mediterranean seafloor landscape and biodiversity in shallow coastal waters and provides excellent chances for u/w photographers. Collapsed caves and holes, along with meadows of Posidonia sea grass create the perfect environment for parrotfish, wrasses, gilt head breams, scorpion fish, young groupers and snappers. Around the reef fragments of ancient clay jars (“amphoras”) can be spotted, however the highlight of the site are the 12 enormous, probably Byzantine era anchors, presumably ditched by a ship struggling to escape crashing on the reef.

The average depth of the dive is 7 m, while the max is 12 m, suitable for divers of all levels.

The usual visibility is 25 m and temperature ranges between 22-27 °C in summer months. Occasionally a moderate surface current may be encountered. Boat ride duration 5′.

 

Luftwaffe Junkers 88 Wreck

At the eastern, most tip of Ithaca, on the crest of a sloping reef that shortly reaches the contour line of 100 meters, lies the aircraft wreck of a Luftwaffe Ju88 twin-engine bomber. The aircraft met its fate as it ditched a short distance offshore reportedly hit by allied fire. It is shocking to imagine the force of the crash as the two engines can be found far apart at 22 and 28 meters and the tail sits at 36m further away. The fuselage and the wings have rolled deep down the slope, off limits to recreational divers. Apart from the remains of the plane, divers have the chance to explore the magnificent reef where dolphins or large predators such as amberjacks, tunas and snappers often feed on the clouds of sardines and damselfish, while on the sides of the reef groupers ambush prey.

Quite often divers can catch the currents into a drift dive. Boat ride duration 35′.

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Ai Giannis’ Wall

 

Off the cliff at Ithaca’s southeastern cape, a breathtaking wall rises from the depth of 80 meters. Experienced and daring divers can explore the holes and crevices to discover and photograph amazing colorful sponges and corals, tiny crustaceans and nudibranchs, rare grouper species, moray eels and lobsters. Often amberjacks and red snappers appear from the deep to intercept the intruders of their territory. The dive concludes on the shallower part of the wall, where impressive rock formations can be observed. The Ai Giannis’ wall is an all-time favorite site to free divers who can readily plunge into the deep blue.

The average depth of the dive is 20 m, while the max is 30 m, appropriate for advanced level divers. The visibility is usually greater than 30 m and temperature ranges between 17-25 °C in summer months, depending on depth. Occasionally a weak surface current may be encountered. Boat ride duration 35′.

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Dias Rock

 

Dias is a rocky islet once home to a monastery and in earlier times a temple dedicated to Greek God of Gods, Zeus. This is the dominant landmark of an area of swallow reefs and some of the richest fishing fields around Kefalonia.

It takes more than one dive around the rock to explore the cavelets and passages that hold numerous species of fish, crustaceans and cephalopods, while Loggerhead turtles are common visitors. Among the stars are slipper lobsters and triton’s trumpets. Along the route pottery and ceramics from the ancient and the Christian temples can be spotted.

The average depth of the dive is 12 m, while the max is 22 m, appropriate for divers of all levels.

The usual visibility is 25 m and temperature ranges between 23-25 °C in summer months. Occasionally a weak surface current may be encountered. Boat ride duration 35′.

 

Karavomilos Lake-Cave

 

As divers enter the idyllic fresh water lake they come across impressive kelp-like sea grass and schools of sea bass and grey mullets. Karavomilos is the estuary of the famous Melissani Lake and the doorstep to an amazing world. The cave sets breathtaking scenery of stalactites and stalagmites to the experienced divers. As soon as technical cave divers enter the second chamber, light gives room to a silent dark world.

The average depth of the dive is 9 m, while the max is 17 m, however due to the cavern-cave characteristics, Karavomilos is reserved for advanced divers and further penetration is permitted by technical cave divers only. The visibility reaches an amazing 40+ m and temperature is constantly 14 °C. No currents are present. Car ride duration 45′.

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