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The wreck of “M/V Vettor Pisani” (+1942) off Lepeda beach

The wreck of “M/V Vettor Pisani” (+1942) off Lepeda beach in Kefalonia
On 24 July 1942, the Italian motor  vessel “M/V Vettor Pisani” (built in 1939, tonnage 6,339, length 137.5m) departed from Taranto bound for Tobruk and sailing off Cape Gherogombo, the southwestern point of Kefalonia as part of a convoy, accompanied by torpedo boats “Antares” and “Calliope” and escort destroyer “Orsa”, was attacked by 6 British aircraft position 10 miles 240 degrees from said Cape 38 05N, 20 12E. See the history of the air raid here: http://aviationarchaeology.gr/?p=2249
There was an explosion, smoke and red flame.. the hit was at hold number 2 where fuel was transported in barrels and a violent fire broke out in the bow section. The severely damaged ship was towed by the “Orsa” connected by the stern, against the wind to prevent the fire from spreading to the stern section that had survived unscathed so far. Despite the efforts it was impossible to reach Argostoli harbor and in order to avoid sinking it ran aground in the shallows on the western shores of the Argostoli Gulf, specifically 1 km south of Lixouri town (pic. 1,2). It stayed ablaze until next day while a new airstrike with bombs and strafing caused even more damage. On 27 July its recovery and repair was deemed pointless and declared total loss.
Later that year, while the ship was stranded and in order to recover as much of the cargo as possible, dynamite was used to retrieve whatever could be salvaged. In photos taken from the land but also in aerial photographs of the year 1945 (Hellenic Geographical Service) the ship appears stranded (the aerial photograph also confirms the length of the ship), at a distance of approx. 300m from the coast (at the nearest point), with the bow facing southeast towards the entrance of the Gulf (pic. 3,4).
At this location the “M/V Vettor Pisani” remained until 1951 when it was refloated and towed to Italy where it was repaired to travel the seas again (fig. 5,6). Despite being destroyed by torpedoes, bombs, fire and dynamite and the long abandonment, the ship was modern enough and in relatively good condition to be left to rot, but also stranded in shallow water that could facilitate basic repairs to take it to the shipyard. Finally, after 20 years of service the ship retired in 1971 and was scraped.
The shipwreck today
What can be found today are scattered debris at a depth of only 10m, including a large number of metal barrels, batteries, parts of motorcycles, etc. all covered by sediment agglomerates. However, the most remarkable and perhaps useful for the confirmation of their destination and consequently of their origin, is a steel chain net composed of interconnected rings (pic. 7,8).
According to the “Net and boom defenses, Ordnance pamphlet 636A, 24 June 1944, U.S. Navy”, this configuration is typical for torpedo net (Type“T”net, Torpedo) (pic. 9), which were either installed in the port (suspended on floats, in a continuous barrier or partial barriers), or directly on a ship (suspended on horizontal booms, around the perimeter of the boat). The principle of operation is the following: The small cross section of a torpedo combined with its high speed exerts momentarily concentrated force on a single point, so each ring must be relatively small in diameter (about 40 cm) in order to intercept the object trying to penetrate but also attain a strong connection with the rest around it so the energy of the torpedo can be absorbed by a group of links (hence the lower end of the net was free to facilitate rotation around the horizontal axis and to diffuse the energy more efficiently). Another element of its particular usefulness was the anti-torpedo net’s ability to provide protection against aerial torpedoes, while the anti-submarine net only prevented the entry of such into an anchorage.
The above remarks make sense if we consider the destination of the ship that was Tobruk with its large natural harbour, which had just been occupied by Rommel (Deutsches Afrikakorps – DAK) a mere month ago. He was also already preparing a new offensive east into Egypt therefore this would serve him as an advanced resupply port but at the same time in close proximity to enemy naval and air forces. The Italians also had the recent traumatic experience from the raid on Taranto in November 1940, when the shortage of anti-torpedo nets (they were only 4 km installed instead of the 13 km required) led to severe damages to battleships from British aerial torpedoes.

Tilemachos Beriatos

CMAS 3 star Diver, PSS Technical Diver
Research 2012-2017

Pictures:

MV Vettor Pisani on flames

1. Vettor Pisani on flames (“Navi mercantili perdute”, Rolando Notarangelo e Gian Paolo Pagano, USMM)

Delfino in support of Vettor Pisani

2. The vessel Delfino in support of Vettor Pisani (Pietro Berti, naviearmatori.net)

Vettor Pisani grounded off the coast, Lixuri Kefalonia

3. Vettor Pisani grounded off the coast, Kefalonia (photograph Mike Georgatos)

Vettor Pisani grounded off the coast, Kefalonia aerial photograph

4. Vettor Pisani grounded off the coast, Kefalonia (aerial photographs 1945, Hellenic Geographical Service)

Vettor Pisani during repair in Monfalcone 1951

5. Vettor Pisani during repair in Monfalcone 1951 (Giorgio Parodi, naviearmatori.net)

Vettor Pisani after repair 1951

6. Vettor Pisani after repair 1951 (Ferruzzi-Venezia via Giuseppe Boato)

Metal barrels and wheels at Vettor Pisani debris field

7. Metal barrels and wheels (dive at the debris field 8-2010, Tilemachos Beriatos)

Metal torpedo net at Vettor Pisani debris field

8. Metal torpedo net (dive at the debris field 8-2010, Tilemachos Beriatos)

Rigging torpedo net (US Navy)

9. Rigging torpedo net (Bureau of Ordnance, US Navy)

The WWII heritage in the Seas of Kefalonia

It is well known and obvious for anyone looking at a map, that Kefalonia had a pivotal location and role on the marine traffic in antiquity, from early Greek to late Roman and Byzantine times. However, this same location of Kefalonia at the exit of Gulf of Corinth and in proximity with Patras created the setting of many less or well-known wartime tragedies during both World Wars, not only in land but also in the seas around the island. And whilst for stories like the Massacre of the Acqui Division there are books, documentaries and films, there are many maritime war tragedies yet to be told, and sea graves to be discovered. The material could already fill books and much more valuable information from surveys and archives fills gaps and expands our knowledge, and hopefully will find its way to the public soon. But for now, the focus will be on WWII wrecks that lay in depths accessible by divers.

WWII wrecks of Kefalonia

Two of them are closely related to the Massacre of the Acqui Division, also known as the Cephalonia Massacre. That was the mass execution of the men of the Italian 33rd Infantry Division Acqui by the Germans on the island of Kefalonia, Greece, in September 1943, following the Italian armistice with the Allies during WWII. More than 9000 Italian soldiers were killed in action, massacred or drowned when the commandeered ships taking the survivors to concentration camps were sunk. The story takes place in 1943.

Following the decision of the Italian government to negotiate a surrender to the Allies, the armistice went public on September 8, 1943 and there was a thin and fragile balance between peace and war on Kefalonia. The Acqui Division had been the Italian garrison of Kefalonia since May 1943 and consisted of 11,500 soldiers and 525 officersunder General Antonio Gadin. However German forces had a 2000 men strong presence on the island, mainly in Lixouri area under Lt Colonel Johannes Barge. In the days between 8-13 of September, Gadin had nothing but controversial orders and directions by his senior commander in Greece, General Vecchiarelli and the Italian government under General Badoglio on what to do, either surrendering to the German former allies or fighting back if attacked. To make things worse, on September 11, Colonel Barge handed Gandin an ultimatumto either fight alongside with the Germans, or hand over arms peacefully.

General Gadin was facing this dilemma until the early hours of September 13 when a German convoy including two landing crafts carrying vehicles, spare parts and fuel, attempted to enter the harbor of Lixouri. Italian artillery officers, on their own initiative, ordered the batteries on the hills around Argostoli to open fire, scoring direct hits on F494 “Tinos” and F495 “Naxos”, resulting the sinking of F495. F494 was apparently heavily damaged and almost sunk but salvaged and repaired.

In the incident five German soldiers were killed and General Gadin came under pressure to take a decision and presented his troops the options presented to him by Barge. Italian troops were in favour of resisting the German forces so on September 14, Gadin refused to surrender. As a result, in the morning of 15 September, the German Luftwaffe began bombarding the Italian positionsand the hostilities resulted in the Italian defeat. On September 22 the last Italians surrendered, and the events of the Massacre of Acqui Division followed.

So, hostilities of this chapter of WWII started with the sinking of F495 “Naxos” Landing Craft. Little was known about this until was discovered and identified by local divers in 2007. It is severely damaged and rests in shallow waters of 9-15 m. The seabed composition is sea grass and sand with wreck debris scattered over a huge area approximately 250 long and 40 m wide, with fuel barrels, jerry cans, few motorcycles, vehicle spare parts, antisubmarine nets, artillery parts, ammunition and other cargo.

F-495 Naxos

Whilst most of the surrendered Italians were executed, an estimated 2-3000 according to  some sources, were to embarke in ships and taken in concentration camps. Some of them made it to their destinations and others drowned when the ships were sunk in various locations in the Adriatic, by the Allies. But the tragedy of the prisoners onboard SS Ardena was to take place before the eyes of the locals.

SS Ardena (HMS Peony)

Originally built for British Royal Navy in 1915 as HMS Peony, the vessel was a sloop minesweeper of Azalea-class. After WW I was acquired by London & South West Railway and later by Southern Railway, renamed SS Ardena and used on the routes of Southampton and Cherbourg/Caen until sold to on 1934 to Toyias Shipping Company in Piraeus, Greece.

During the days of German invasion in Greece, on April 6, 1941, was sunk by Luftwaffe in Piraeus but later raised and used by the German Navy. The final act came on September 28, 1943, when SS Ardena was sailing from the island of Kefalonia to the mainland Greece with some 840 Italian prisoners. At the exit of the bay of Argostoli probably hit an unmarked sea-mine of the minefield Italians have laid earlier and sank with great loss of life.

The vessel was in the middle of the shipping lanes and in water shallow enough for the masts to reaching the surface. Although being a war grave, in the grim years after the war, the top deck parts and superstructure were salvaged and what remains today is the bottom part of the keel, still keeping its ship line, along with scattered debris around at the seafloor, and at a depth of 29 m. The visibility on the site is often limited by currents stirring the sediment. However, divers visiting the site with the outmost respect, can see personal items such as boots, shaving razors, tin plates and flasks and sometimes even human remains. Every year on the day of the sinking, a ceremony is held by Italian and Greek officials. On 2009, Italian Navy divers laid on the site a commemorative plaque to the memory of the souls lost.

Divers bringing the commemorative plaque at SS Ardena

Roughly at the same time another boat was lost to enemy action just off the coast of Poros. On May 23, 1943, Captain Miltiadis Houmas, agent of the Greek branch of MI9, arrived in Poros, Kefalonia, with orders by Major Michael W.Parish to help John Capes, the sole survivor of HMS Perseus to escape, after spending 18 months in Axis occupied Kefalonia, hidden by the heroic locals. The above information as well as the following abstract is by Kostas Thoctarides book, who discovered the submarine wreck in 1997:
“At 13:30 in the afternoon, five English planes and one American, flying low, almost at sea level, made their appearance. A caique had left Zakynthos. Strafed from above, the caique caught fire. The Italians immediately came on board our caique and asked us to head for the wreck in order to collect the shipwreck survivor”.

150mm shells at the WWII wreck

As indicated by the recent research, this same caique wreck lies off shore Kapros Cape in Skala at a depth of 40 m. Divers approaching the wreck encounter a pile of war supplies in the shape of a vessel that its wooden parts have long rotted away, in a dive into history for WWII enthusiasts. A worth-reading extensive article with all recent findings and historical research can be found here:

https://www.bluemantadiving.gr/the-extraordinary-wwii-shipwreck-of-cape-kapros-in-kefalonia/

As Kefalonia was occupied by Axis forces during WWII providing harbour for their ships, there is no surprise that there were many Allied air raids around the island. Many Allied airplanes have shot and crashed around Kefalonia, some laying in extremely  deep waters and some awaiting to be discovered. One of them is rumored to lay in the bottom of Argostoli bay but has not been found yet.

On the north of the island, near Fiskardo, there is a known airplane crash site. A SAAF Bristol Beaufighter raiding Fiskardo harbour was shot by German anti-aircraft defences and crashed at Kimilia bay, having its navigator killed and the pilot surviving to be captured. After the war the plane was towed closer to the shore and salvaged due to its precious metals and nowadays few pieces remain scattered on the seabed and can be seen by divers, along with a commemorative plaque, at a depth of 8-10m.

A Bristol Beaufighter

Very little, if at all, is known for the wreckage of a Luftwaffe Ju 88 at the southeastern tip of Ithaca on the crest of a sloping reef that shortly reaches the contour line of 100 meters.

Ju 88 tail part

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 of depth and the tail sits at 36m much further away. Probably parts of fuselage have rolled deep down the slope, off limits for recreational divers but pieces of the wings are found and positively identified around the top of the reef.

Luftwaffe Ju88 engine

Beyond any doubt, the most known WWII wreck in Kefalonia and probably among the most known in the world is the British Overseas Patrol submarine HMS/M Perseus, (N36) that lies virtually intact on the sandy bottom, at 52 meters depth, about a mile off the south coast of Kefalonia. HMS Perseus was a Parthian class submarine built by Vickers-Armstrongs at Barrow in Furness in 1929.

HMS Perseus (N36)

Perseus submarine is perhaps the the top WW II wreck dive in Mediterraneanand probably the best submarine dive in the world but beyond being among the most impressive wreck dives a diver can experience, also 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. In fact, during the whole of the war there were only four escapes from stricken British submarines. Capes 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 the team of Greek diver and u/w explorer Kostas Thoctarides 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, as well as the damage caused by the sea mine. The anchor of the mine still can be seen few meters from the aft of the submarine. Much is said about this magnificent wreck and its tragic story and more details on the story of John Capes can be found here:

https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-15959067

These wrecks are just the few that lay in depths that can be accessed by divers and can fill many WWII history pages. But as monuments of wartime tragedies and war graves, should be treated with outmost respect. Just like the many more around Kefalonia, from both World Wars that lay in deep waters or still waiting to be discovered.

 

This article couldn’t be written without the research of

Kostas Thoctarides, Tilemanchos Beriatos and Steve Worthington

 

 

The extraordinary WWII shipwreck of Cape Kapros in Kefalonia!

An unnoticed episode in the story of HMS Perseus British submarine

25 December 1997, Christmas Day. Under dusk, a boat silhouette begins to appear on the screen with the shape, length and volume of the boat that the team was looking for four three weeks in the heart of winter. The search of the seabed with a geophysical survey sounding system (SONAR) and an underwater camera had yielded the much expected results. The next day, the Greek explorer of the seas and experienced diver Kostas Thoctarides makes the first dive in the British submarine lost in World War II, forgotten for 56 years. The Royal Navy “HMS Perseus” was launched in 1929 and initially served in the Far East, but as Italy declared war in 1940, the submarine was transferred to Alexandria, Egypt, to reinforce the British fleet in the Mediterranean. After several patrols in the eastern Mediterranean, in November 1941 it left Malta for an offensive patrol in the Ionian Sea and on December 6 it crashed into a naval mine and sank just 2.5 nautical miles off the coast of Kefalonia. The story is well known from now on thanks to the team that located and identified the shipwreck and conducted an excellent historical research.

HMS Perseus (N36) conning tower

However, a small episode in the history of Perseus has gone unnoticed.

According to the historical information gathered by the team of Kostas Thoctarides, on Sunday 23 May 1943 at noon, the small fishing vessel “Evangelistria” with Captain Houmas from Samos island, member of the British organization MI9 operating in occupied Greece, Giannis Katsoulakis mechanic, Nikos Anagnostou sailor and Antonis Evangelatos liaison with the local resistance, arrives in Poros, Kefalonia, in order to evacuatethe only survivor of HMS Perseus submarine, John Capes. After a trip of about 450 nautical miles (800 Km) from Chios island, Captain Houmas records in his diary that about an hour and a half after their arrival, six allied warplanes strafed a boat that had departed from Zakynthos carrying oil and gasoline, which caught fire. The Italians ordered “Evangelistria” (which for this mission had been renamed “St. Nicholas”) to take them to the site, but after a deliberate delay a passing tug picked up the shipwrecked crew. And here begins the story of the findings of another shipwreck of World War II, which is probably the boat whose sinking is narrated by Captain Houmas and is so tragically connected to the “Perseus” as the two boats found their way to the seabed at the same turbulent period of history in the sea area southeast of Kefalonia.

 The shipwreck of a small boat off  Cape Kapros, near Skala town

At a distance of about 2 nautical miles south of Poros port on the route to Zakynthos, lies the wreck that has been known to local fishermen for years, but until now has not been identified and researched in detail (although included as a monument in the list compiled for the Ionian Aquarium-Museum set up in Kefalonia during the INTERREG IV Greece-Italy Program, 2007-2013).

Today, the timber hull parts with a complete lack of metal parts found at the site, suggests that it had been a small boat with wooden hull with a length of about 15 m and a width of about 4 m (since only).

More importantly, the vessel carried several dozen 0.70m long artillery projectiles caliber 150mm, one that according to available information, was appropriate only to the 3 (according to other sources 4) German coastal defense guns (in concrete cast emplacements along with underground tunnels for storage and barracks). These had been set up by the German command at Cape Dhafnoudhi in Erissos peninsula (northern Kefalonia), after the armistice of Italy and the local dominance over the Italian forces in Kefalonia in September 1943. It is noted that this coastal artillery position was covering the strait between Kefalonia and Lefkas islands (the coastal battery at Cape Munda covered the strait of Kefalonia-Zakynthos likewise).

The position of one of the guns in Dhafnoudhi-photo Tilemachos Beriatos

Model of a 150mm gun in miniature

One of the coastal guns emplacements in Dhafnoudhi (photo 1950-55)

Regarding the identification of the wreck, although a time mismatch is observed as the installation of the 150mm guns (it took place between September and October 1943) post-dates the sinking of the ship reported by Captain Houmas (May 1943), it is possible and very likely for the German command to have foreseen the collapse of the Italian ally and thus to provide for the transfer of the necessary materials, components and ammunition so that it is ready to take over the defense of the areas at both Capes (and other positions on the island) previously held by the Italians, without significant interruption. After all these bigger guns were simply an upgrade of the Italian 105 and 75 mm ones that were previously installed and perhaps this was a long-planned move to improve the island’s defenses.

The extraordinary boat’s cargo now lying on the seabed

It is established that many large or small vessels belonging to the local population were temporarily (or in other cases throughout the war) commandeered by the occupying forces to carry out various secondary missions, mainly in supporting roles (due to their insufficient capacity for warfarefront roles). One of these missions was to transport military supplies and troops. It is clear that the particular ship that sank off Cape Kapros was such a small boat that carried German-made ammunition and some medical supplies.

Apart from artillery projectiles, other components to this day lying on the seabed, although covered with marine growth, are artillery projectile fuses, mechanisms with a timer for controlled firing of explosive missiles either above the target or after penetrating inside the target ship.

150mm artillery shells at Kapros German WWII Wreck- photo Tilemachos Beriatos

Artillery projectile fuse WWII found in south Kefalonia- photo Tilemachos Beriatos

As for portable firearms, there are 7.92 mm cartridges (known as the “8mm Mauser training round”) used for MG34 or MG42 machine guns, since cycling the weapon required a specific minimum gas compression inside the barrel). Another possible use was launching rifle-grenades. Interestingly, their use against humans was prohibited by the Geneva Convention as it would lead to the penetration of wood fragments into the body.

8mm Mauser Training rounds -photo Tilemachos Beriatos

A very interesting finding is a small tube that according to the inscription “Körper-schuß-salbe” (in the Old High German language), which were quite difficult to read after decades of staying on the bottom of the sea, it contained a wound treatment ointment, possibly sulfanamide, which was used extensively until the middle of the Second World War, being the first effective antibiotic before penicillin which was used at the end of the war. Thanks to the rest of the inscription “Wehrkreissanitätspack VII” we know from what military district (support command) during the war, the specific object was distributed, with the one being “number 7” based in Munich.

German WWII sulfanamide tube-photo Tilemachos Beriatos

Military District n.7 based in Munich

Another finding is a small bakelite box containing 10 “Losantin” tablets (active ingredient Calcium Dihypochlorite) for skin disinfection to protect against mustard gas poisoning (after the experience of using gases in the First World War). Soldiers were instructed to keep these tablets (4 boxes) in their pockets at chest height, apparently to accommodate immediate access.

This particular shipwreck is very interesting, since it is probably connected with the escape story of the only survivor of submarine “HMS Perseus”, but also due to almost certainly being connected with the coastal defense battery installed on the island to defend not only the island itself but also the marine passages towards the mainland. Perhaps even more important is the fact that it highlights the coexistence of inhumane weapons of destruction, with humanitarian tools to care for the wounded, at the same historic site where now lies a small undisturbed time capsule, another monument to the greatest war Humanity ever witnessed. The same human hands that operated the guns that were taking lives, at the same time applied the medicines that saved them, much like two opposite views that are expressed in the same common dialogue of human history.

To this day, the monuments of this turbulent period of the war around our islands, are submerged in the deep waters of the Ionian Sea, keeping alive historical memory. They act as artificial reefs on the seabed – small cradles of life for marine species, but also exhibits of the unexplored vast museum of the ocean, the last great unknown on our planet.

Tilemachos Beriatos

CMAS 3-star diver

PSS Technical Diver

 

Fan Mussel and its hidden Guardian

Fan Mussel and its hidden Guardian!

Commonly known as Fan Mussel or “Pinna” in Greek (scientific name: “Pinna nobilis”), this is a large shellfish that looks like a big mussel but it has a more impressive and fragile shell that can reach 1 meter in length. This species is endemic to the Mediterranean Sea, and is usually located on sandy seabed in seagrass meadows (in fact “Posidonia oceanica” is rather a plant rather than an alga), down to maximum depth of 60 meters below the surface. It feeds on plankton by filtering the water around it.

Unexpected Surprise

If one is careful enough and approaches the open shell without being perceived, can sometimes spot a small shrimp (3-7 cm) (“Pontonia pinnophylax”) living inside the Pinna. This is a mutually beneficial cohabitation: as long as Pinna offers shelter, the small tenant warns her of possible dangers by stinging and the shell closes hermetically! The role of the small shrimp is also evident in its scientific name “pinnophylax”, which is interpreted as the “Guardian of Pinna”. Sometimes the tenant is not welcome, but a parasitic organism, called the Pea Crab due to his size, and its scientific name is interpreted as “Pinna hunter” (“Pinnotheres pisum”)!

Silk from the Sea

Pinna was a valuable raw material for the textile industry. Traditionally, some coastal populations, mainly in Sicily and Southern Italy, produced a cloth off the muscle fibers that this shell uses to anchor to the bottom substrate. The fabric is known as “marine silk”.

Threats and Protection Status

This humble but special species of our seas is threatened by overfishing, bottom trawling and anchoring that disturb and deplete the benthic habitat, as well as from chemical and biological contamination. Pinna is protected by the “Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC”, which includes this species of EU interest among those that require strict protection. Removing or fishing Pinna is strictly forbidden!

The images come from dives in the waters of the Ionian Sea and more specifically around Kefalonia and Ithaca Islands. They depict species that inhabit and enrich our seas, the very same that host inhabitants and visitors of our islands alike, in the winter or summertime. The hidden wealth of the sea is its own amazing biodiversity. And it is hidden not because it has not been discovered but because it remains unknown to most, so that in general it is considered a vast area empty of any interest, as well as the place for rejecting our waste. The sea is a cradle for life, a nursery for man and a lung for the planet. And in order to protect it we have to know it first.

Tilemachos Beriatos

CMAS 3* diver

 

 

 

Carinthia V wreck

On a stormy night on November 1, 1971 iconic superyacht  Carinthia V on its maiden cruise, ran aground at the Kavava Shoals just off Skala at the southwest coast of Kefalonia, and sunk roughly one  mile further. Carinthia V was owned by Austrian billionaire Helmut Horten, designed by the famous naval architect Jon Bannenberg and built by Lurssen Bremen shipyard. The origins of the boat are to the fast patrol boats the shipyard was building at the time. It is considered to be the first concept of a true superyacht, the first ever designed to the last detail by a single designer rather than a shipyard and influenced yacht designs ever since. As short lived, the glory of the most influential and most beautiful superyacht of all times belongs to its identical sibling launched on 1973, Carinthia VI. But in reality the first and most beautiful superyacht ever rests in the sea of Kefalonia.

Divers approaching the 68 m long wreck can see the sleek lines of the vessel’s hull as it lies upside down. The elegant superstructure has been crushed under the weight of the hull but much of it can be seen on the right side, with the typical “grille” of the front lounge visible. Same thing for the speedboat that was nested on the upper aft deck. The rudders of the boat and the propellers bare the signs of impact to the reef and evidence of the devastating blow that caused the sinking can be seen along the “sharp” hull. The superyacht wreck is in an excellent condition considering it spent nearly 50 years at the bottom of the sea. Towards the stem that descents at a sharp angle to the bottom, the bow thrusters are visible.

The vessel has formed an artificial reef and big fish and aquatic creatures find shelter around it making wreck diving there a great opportunity to observe large pelagic species.

The average depth or the dive is 50 m, while the max is 64, reserving the wreck for experienced 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 currents close to the surface. Boat ride duration to the dive site 10′.