As an ocean lover and scuba-diving fanatic, I always jump at the chance to go on a dive when I travel to somewhere in the world. In the last few years I have visited Greece on two separate occasions. These visits were to the islands of: Kefallonia and Crete.
I chose to spend the majority of these beach holidays in/on the sea either swimming, simply soaking up the rays, snorkelling or scuba diving. But sadly, due to overfishing, I discovered the Mediterranean sea surrounding these islands has been left more of a dead sea if anything.
Prior to my visit to Kefallonia, I scoured the classic sites such as Lonely Planet and the like to read up on favourite dive spots. Of course, this heightened my excitement as they spoke of historic and ancient attractions, as well as the bright blue waters that hosted them. What I later discovered however, was their successful concealment of what was considerably lacking.
For the first dive, my group and me were under a small island that hosted an old Zeus temple. I dove to around 18 metres. Visibility was better than I was usually used to in Madagascar at about 20 metres which was pleasant. Under the island were big wall drops that you could swim down and around, but not really much, if any, life around or on them!
The second dive was to see a sunken WW2 German landing craft. The dive was very shallow at around 10 metres. Visibility wasn’t as great at about 8 metres, but that was because the waters had become very choppy due to an incoming storm. I was really excited for this dive because I am a historian at heart (having studied it at university) and am interested in marine archaeology, but sadly previous scuba divers had taken cool memorabilia like remnants of bullets and so on. As a consequence, much of the fascinating history had been stripped from this site….
When I went to Crete, Agios Nikolaos I also did two dives
The first dive site was named Camini. For this dive I was told I was going on a deep dive to see the amazing grouper!! Reflecting on this dive, after taking part in 100’s of dives around Thailand and the Philippines (where they are in abundance in comparison), it seems rather sad that we had to dive so deep just to see one big grouper who was disconcertingly friendly (a result, I’m sure, of all the dive shops taking their clients to see him).
The second dive was to a motor boat called ‘JD’ that had set on fire and sunk. This was my first ever wreck dive so was exciting! But again, the boat was the centrepiece of a rather bare setting.
Here you can find a link to a very short but interesting article on the latest issue and effect of overfishing in the Mediterranean Sea, which puts things into context.
So why did I share my rather depressing story?
As an ocean lover and scuba-diving fanatic, I would hope that I’m part of a community that really cares about the health of the ocean. I would also hope that I’m part of a community, which understands the amazing privilege we have to live in a time when floating ‘down under’ is an attainable opportunity. Because of this, I think it’s important to share these honest truths so people understand that human error is having a devastating effect on these privileges we are so lucky to have…
* Please comment & share with me your sad truths about scuba-diving in Greece or anywhere around the world! It’s important to get the message out there so people understand that the way humans treat our beautiful ocean is unsustainable *