The history of civilisation is recorded in the ocean depths off Turkey. The seabed is littered with relics from the past, as evidenced by the bronze age shipwreck (circa 2500 BC) that is now on display at the Bodrum Castle. In order to preserve the ancient artefacts that remain on the seabed all divers today must be accompanied by a registered dive guide, and certain areas are off limits.
The waters around Bodrum have provided a source of food, transport and wealth for thousands of years. A generation ago sponge divers were common in Bodrum, and many locals can tell a tale or two about the risks that these hardy men took.
Along the harbour front is a statue of a diver that pays tribute to Bodrum's diving history. Indeed it was a local sponge diver, Kemal Aras, who first helped the American Peter Throckmorton with his queries about the abundance of whole ancient amphora that he saw decorating Bodrum homes and gardens. From those enquiries an alliance was born between Turkey and the United States in the interests of marine archaeology, the fruits of which are displayed in the internationally acclaimed museum at the Bodrum Castle.
Today divers from all over the world enjoy exploring the waters around Bodrum. There are a variety of dives only 30 minutes away, in sheltered seas and with visibility averaging 20 metres. Water temperatures range from 17 - 22°C during the season which extends from mid April to late October. There are many dive companies offering internationally accredited courses and who act as dive guides.
Prices are competitive and equipment is available for hire. Instructors speak English, French, German and of course Turkish. Bodrum has something for both beginner and advanced divers.
There are two main reefs off the coast with depths of between 6 and 32 metres. Black Island (Karada) is a large and undeveloped island opposite Bodrum that has 8 dive sites of note with names like 'Smugglers' and 'Bubble Cave'. This is the place to experience caverns, half-caves, funnels, walls, and even a meteorite hole, giving plenty to keep the advanced diver happy.
The island's anchorages are sheltered and easily accessible by boat. Grouper, moray eel, rays, barracuda, bream, octopus, plus a colourful variety of small fish inhabit the area.
Plans are currently underway by the Ministries of Culture and Tourism and underwater associations to establish a Marine Park off Turgutreis, on the Bodrum peninsular. In these waters can be found 5 shipwrecks ranging from the 6th century AD to 1995. This area is currently out of bounds to divers.
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