This autumn we were able to take in some remarkable diving at Karystos. Since people are asking where exactly...I am posting a map. The nine sites I show here were first discovered by the Dikelas dive team and all are really fantastic. Since no site is protected (despite some being in a Natura 2000 area), please use the information below with great caution. I believe more diving means more knowledge and awareness so I think people should see these places. I think when they see them, they'll want to protect them. So here goes a quick description:
Arapis Islet. At the peak of the Cavo D'Oro cape itself. A small white limestone rock - haunt of Med Monk Seals during the day, and allegedly sharks at night. We went off the easily sloping shore down to 30 or so meters - happy to see the beautiful deep-living basslets known as Anthias anthias down there just past the thermocline - it was cold! Despite the legends of BIG fish down there - we say nothing big....(overfishing...).
Archampolis Wreck. A ship wreck of an old steal ship (about 15 m. long or longer) at 15 m. depth. The ship holds some really larger fish (that spear-fishers know well - but its usually hard to get here with winds etc). We saw large Sciaena umbra. Nest to the wreck is a really amazing shallow cave - amazinly decorated in colourful corraline algae.
Mirmigia - Kastri. Nearby is the ancient classical Greek site of Ancient Geraistos. Site of beautiful reefs and "canyon" like gulleys - no big fish seen. Typical cavers, grottos, colourful. But it had an erie wildness here.
Mantili. A reef here of cipollino marble - jutting up to near the surface like a sea-mount is called "Galani". Easily you go down to about 34 m. at the base of the rock wall and under the old bunker bed (fallen from a passing ship...) are a couple of large groupers. The tunnel like cave at 27 m. leads you up to 18 m. We've dove here twice. The current was strong the second time. Large shoals of large-bodied sparids seen in first dive. I could imagin a Great White here...
Pelaitisa Islet. Across from Karystos Harbour - a picturesque place. We dove on the south side that is deeper with talus-like rocks and hollows. Green due to eutrophication due to a sewage-water outfall nearby (yuk!). However, it is a really neat dive - we dove it near dusk -gloomy, fish-rich - reminded me of Canada or something - Atlantic....
Mnima. A promontory with a rather low sloping shore with Posidonia beds and a shallow rocky shore. Lots of fish and clear water (even when the wind was blowing from the south). Anyway, typical stuff.
Kalamitsi. Beach dive. Takes a lot of paddling to get out to a 25 m. drop-off but it is a wonderful travel experiance. Huge rocks loom above. Big fish- many groupers seen on the second dive we did at this place. Fish rich: in one 100 minute or so dive our team counted 50 fish species! Really special.
Petalioi (pronounced Petalii). An archipelago of 11 islands. The site we did is between the two larger ones - it is called "gefyra", meaning bridge. I think its artificial - yes a "'bridge-like causeway" at about 4 m depth spanning for a few hundred meters and "uniting the two major islands"'. Drops to about 8 m max. Lots of fish and a very strong current.
Founti. Again one of the outer Petalii Islets - also a seabird breeding islet. Typical and beautiful drop-offs reminiscent of Kalamitsi. Typica small caverns and shallow grottos. Resident Bottle-nosed Dolphins often shot by local fishermen - but are still there - and very shy.
|Family trip out of Karystos Port. Strategically placed in the wide open bay; within minutes you can go all around by Zodiac. On a clear day Arapis Islet is just two hours away....|
|In the Galani Cave at 23 m. depth at Mandili Islet. How many people have been here?|
|Part of the wall like fringe of the "Bridge" at Petallii. The sandy area on the left is at about 7 m. depth.|
|The most colourful places are in the nooks and crannies. Sponges abound and this is the place to see Cardinal Fish. This is at Founti Island.|
|At Mnima the Posidonia in autumn with Spicara maena, Spicara smaris and Damsel fishes.|
|Cardinal with Damsels, posidonia and grotto colours.|
|This is the Med''s most pretty tiny grouper - Serranus scriba. Actually just a "'perch".|
|One of the corals seen at Mirmigia-Kastri.|
|In the eutrophic waters on the south side of Pelaitisa Islet near Karystos - a treated water sewage outfall is nearby.|
|Thalassoma pavo - aka Peacock Wrasses at Mnima. A tropical note in the Med. They probably originated from west African - Eastern Atlantic coral reefs and somehow entered the Med ages ago.|
|Rabbit fish - Siganus luridus - a recent invader from the Red Sea. We didn't see too many of these this autumn.|
|South side of Pelaitisa islet. Dark, slightly turbid, lots of birds on the islet roosting. Lots of fish in the waters.|
|Couple of really large Moray Eels at Mirmigia - Kastri. They'll snap at you if you get close - the really big one was shyer hid away real quick.|
|Parrot-Fish - Sparisoma cretense- read the bit I wrote about the Peacock Wrasse. These are tropical too.|
|Damsel Fish showls at Mandel. Also tropical. Nice match with the deep blue depths.|
|This picture I add to show that the macro really does work on Kyriako's camera. Sponges are great!|
|At 34 m. depth at the Galani Reef Mandili Islet. Yes I always dreamt of going down here when I was a kid - when line-fishing with dad above.|
|Galani Cave, Mandili Islet. Its very safe, very easy tunnel-like and very open above. One of our highlights even in this low-risk situation...|
|A Moray Eel acting like a black sponge. This cannot be a coincidence. Galani Reef, Mandili Islet.|
|Cave art at Galani Reef, Mandili Islet. I have lots of photos like this.|
|Spicara maena, Symphodus mediterraneus, Coris julis and Posidonia. Its all very Greek-sounding down at Mnima.|
|Karystos Bay and the Mnima Peninsula where we have dived in the distance. This photo taken by Denise Birraux on a recent trip to Karystos.|
|Petalii posidonia sea grass (dark) and white-sand patterns - typically Med! (This photo from a trip to Petalii a few years back while filming with Vaggelis Euthymiou and HCMR team)|