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Underwater Adventure: Scuba Diving off Crete, Greece

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Underwater Adventure: Scuba Diving off Crete, Greece

Written by
Sarah O'Neill
March 2017

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Ready for an adventure? Reef, wrecks and cave diving – Crete has it all. With a range of dive sites to suit all abilities, discover the world beneath the waves off Crete.

Ready for an adventure? Discover a whole new world beneath the waves. Reef, wrecks and cave diving – Crete has it all. From the curious novice to the Divemaster, Crete has dive sites to challenge and delight all levels of ability.

Scuba diving is an experience like no other, opening up a fascinating underwater world of vivid reefs, vibrant life, shimmering colours and abundant diversity. With excellent visibility (15-30 m) and temperate to warm waters ranging between 20oC and 27oC in season, Crete offers ideal diving conditions.

Here we introduce you to just five of the many dive options available to you on Crete, with diving sites suitable for beginners right through to specialised cavern, wreck, deep water and night divers:

  1. Dive Crete for Beginners
  2. Dive Crete for Families
  3. Cretan Reef and Beach Dives
  4. Cretan Wreck Dives
  5. Cretan Cave Dives

1. Dive Crete for Beginners

Crete is the perfect place to embark on the adventure of scuba diving for the first time. The temperate to warm waters of the Mediterranean offer some of the mildest sea conditions to be found in Europe. There is very little tidal movement here, and plenty of smooth, sandy beaches that offer you a gentle, sloping descent down beneath the waves.

Not only do the crystal clear seas around Crete offer you fantastic visibility, but there is also much to see at very shallow depths of 6 – 10 m. Perfect for beginners or newly certified divers who want to build their confidence.

Only 11 km from the Corissia Hotels & Resort in Georgioupolis, the Paradise Diving Center offers beginners and experienced divers alike the opportunity to discover the fascinating world beneath the waves off Crete.

Idyllically situated on the eastern end of the long, golden sandy beach of Georgioupolis, this diving centre is accredited by PADI, the world’s largest and most internationally recognised diver training organisation, and offers a safe, enjoyable introduction to scuba diving for beginners, run by professional divers.

Beginners can take a Discover Scuba Diving introductory course, where you learn how to use a snorkel and fins properly, before being introduced to scuba equipment in a safe pool environment. You then go for your first real dive in shallow open waters. With one instructor for every two guests, this is an excellent taster programme to introduce you to the marvels of underwater exploration in safe, comfortable surroundings.

The Scuba Diver and Open Water Diver courses offer further accreditation for beginners. These introductory courses will teach you how to use the scuba equipment and become comfortable with it in the swimming pool, as well as showing you useful skills, such as how to clear your mask underwater, how to control your buoyancy, and what steps to take in an emergency.

You then move to the warm, temperate waters of the Mediterranean, where you can put your newly learned skills into practice in a series of exciting and enjoyable dives, which will qualify you to dive around the world.

If you’re already certified to dive, you can explore further PADI training options at the Paradise Diving Center, from Rescue Diver to Divemaster. Visit the diving centre website for more information: http://diving-center.gr/lang/en/

2. Dive Crete for Families

Scuba diving is an incredible experience for the entire family, and a great way to share an adventure with your kids. Whilst little ones will adore pottering around the sandy beaches on Crete, building sandcastles and paddling along the shallow shoreline, older children can gain a whole new insight into the world under the waves, using a snorkel to glimpse an overview of underwater life, or learning to scuba dive and getting up close and personal with the aquatic life off Crete.

In order to scuba dive, children must usually be aged 12 or over, for some courses 10, and should be both comfortable and confident in the water. They should be able to swim 200 metres with no flotation device or fins, and tread water for 10 minutes, but they do not need to be an especially strong or technical swimmer. Being relaxed and confident is much more important in scuba diving.

Scuba divers rarely use their arms when swimming, and have a very simple, gentle swimming technique using fins to propel themselves through the water, which your instructor can show you. Your child should be able to pay attention to lessons and follow instructions. Snorkelling courses are a great first step to introduce your kids to basic equipment like fins and masks.

Crete has a notably family-orientated culture. Here, spending time together as a family is top priority, so if you have younger children who aren’t old enough to scuba dive, or maybe a family member who would rather just come along and watch, at the Paradise Diving Center you are more than welcome to come as an entire family, regardless of who dives and who doesn’t. They only ask a small accompaniment fee per non-diver for use of their pool area and the boat.

Scuba diving is a fantastic way to develop your child’s interest in marine life and the environment, and gives them a real working understanding of physical forces, such as how air compresses and expands under pressure. It adds the spirit of adventure to your family holiday that your teen craves, whilst giving them a fantastic experience to share with their friends when they get home.

Visit the website for more information on family packages: http://diving-center.gr/page/family/

3. Cretan Reef and Beach Dives

With plenty of smooth, sandy beaches sloping gently into calm, crystalline waters, Crete is ideal for certified divers who simply want to rent equipment and go exploring.

The magnificent marine life you may encounter include octopus, groupers, starfish and moray eels. Explore Cretan reefs with sea anemones, little corals and sponges in a myriad of colours. You may even be lucky enough to spot dolphins, barracudas, stingrays and sea horses – or a green sea turtle come to lay its eggs in the summer.

Rethymno Town Beach, Platanias Beach, 11 km west of Chania, and Georgioupolis Beach are all great destinations for slipping into the water with scuba gear or a snorkel. All three destinations have local dive shops, where rental equipment and guided dives are available.

Another great shore dive is from Mononaftis Bay, near Agia Pelagia. There is an abundance of marine life here, including groupers, moray eels, octopus, scorpion fish and breams. You might spot a barracuda or stingray, if you’re lucky. Whilst open water divers can stay at their certified depth, advanced divers will find interesting rock formations, canyons and caves at a maximum depth of 35 m. The Diver’s Club Crete operates out of Agia Pelagia and can offer guided trips to this dive site.

Remember you must be a certified diver to go scuba diving without an instructor. Never dive alone. Always dive within your limits and with a dive buddy. Be sure to ask for a dive orientation at the local dive shop or dive club before diving somewhere new.

4. Cretan Wreck Dives

Home to one of the world’s oldest sea-faring civilisations and as the site of the hard-fought Battle of Crete, the island has seen its fair share of shipwreck and tragedy. As a result, there are several wrecks and fascinating underwater remains to explore just offshore.

Scorpios Wreck

The Paradise Diving Center near Georgioupolis offers a unique, clear-water boat dive to the wreck of Scorpios, a cruising boat which sank in 2005 when it was on its way from Rethymno to Georgioupolis for repairs. Now she lies just a 5-minute boat ride from the diving centre. Many different sea creatures have made their home in her 18 m hull, which is still fully intact.

On a still day, the high visibility (15-30 m) in these clear waters means that you can sometimes even see the wreck from the surface. This is an excellent dive for pristine photo opportunities. Lying 25 m below the surface, the Scorpios wreck dive is suitable for divers certified to depths of 30 m, but the dive centre can also offer this trip as a training dive to certify you for deep water or wreck dives.

Messerschmitt Wreck

800 meters offshore lies one of Crete’s most famous wrecks: the remains of a German WWII Messerschmitt 109 fighter jet. Although scattered into several pieces, the wings and fuselage are still intact, and divers can see inside the cockpit and inspect one of the machine guns, complete with ammunition belts.

The wreck has long since become a permanent feature of the seabed, and plays host to a multitude of aquatic life, including large groupers and moray eels. There is also a small reef to explore about 20 m away.

Lying at a depth of 24 – 30 m in open waters, this dive is recommended for experienced divers only, preferably with appropriate training in deep water and wreck dives.

5. Cretan Cave Dives

Those with a real sense of adventure won’t be able to resist these Cretan cave dives, offering mystery and exploration, as well as breathtaking moments under the waves.

Elephant Cave Dive

From near Georgioupolis, the Paradise Diving Center operates trips to Elephant Cave at Drapano Cape in Souda Bay. The cave is estimated to be 150 thousand years old, but was only discovered as recently as 2000. It is originally thought to have been on land, but shifted gradually into the sea over the millennia, with the result that the remains of many ancient animals became fossilised in the rock.

It is from one set of remains in particular that the cave draws its name – here in this cave, reaching 165 metres into the mountain, the fossilised remains have been found of an ancient, Cretan elephant!

Today, you can still discover some of these fossilised remains, along with many living sea creatures and atmospheric cave formations. At only 9 – 14 m in depth, it is a fantastic training field for certified divers on their first cave dive, but experienced cave divers will also appreciate this unique and fascinating underwater location.

El Greco

For advanced divers only, certified to a depth of 30 m, this cave dive offers fascinating marine flora and fauna in an incredible variety of colours. Here, too, you can swim past stalagmites and stalactites, and watch how the fresh water dripping down from the ceiling forms a visible layer above the salt water of the sea, creating an effect known as halocline.

At the back of the cave you can even ascend via a rope into an air-filled chamber. The Diver’s Club Crete runs boat trips to this dive site and requires divers to have advanced certification with at least 60 logged dives and a night diver speciality, or 6 logged night dives, in order to attempt this cave dive with them.

Useful Links:

PADI Introductory Courses or Further Dive Training in Crete, Greece

A Map of Dive Centres in Crete, Greece

Diver’s Club Crete Diving Sites for Certified Scuba Divers

Written by Sarah O'Neill

A passionate traveller, linguist and writer, Sarah has visited over 20 countries around the globe. She loves immersing herself in new cultures, learning the language, and getting to know the local people.

Would you like to be an author at Moments of Inspiration?
Do you have an original idea for a guest blog post or interest to write regularly as an author for us? Send us your article or simply contact us at:

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