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Scuba Diving in Ermionida

Explore the magic in the depths of the Argolic Gulf and marvel at the transparent waters, incredible nature and precious historic treasures. Diving has always been veiled with mystery, at times even fear. Yet it remains utterly mesmerising, as it introduces us to the world underwater and the strongly diverse morphology of the sea bed, which is now open to exploration. It is this unique combination that makes diving a favourite hobby for thousands of people. In fact, many diving aficionados, travel around the world in order to explore different places and enrich their knowledge of all things underwater in each area. Diving tourism in Greece started only five years ago, largely because diving was prohibited in several areas before. Luckily, things have changed and now diving is allowed almost everywhere. The unique water transparency of the Argolic Gulf guarantees excellent visibility and diving becomes an unforgettable journey to the natural world hidden underwater and an exploration of the treasures left behind by ancient civilisations.

The crystal clear view to the sea bed is astonishing and there is high visibility even at 30 metres depths Large pelagics are rare but there are various kinds of sea anemones, sponges and pen shells which are rarely found in other areas. Thinking of underwater explorations, the Argolic Gulf is a truly intriguing region: A team of Swiss scientists hope to discover the ruins of the oldest European village in their excavation site at the submerged settlement next to Frahthi, one of the most significant caves in Europe occupied for circa 35,000 years from the Paleolithic until the Neolithic Era. In Ermionida, diving is allowed everywhere, except for a spot near the island of Dokos where underwater research has brought to light archaeological findings from the oldest shipwreck in the world. The archaeological research in Dokos (1989 – 1992) was recorded as the first systematic research on an ancient shipwreck in Greece. In fact, some of the latest technological equipment of the time was used. The findings of Dokos constitute vital and tangible proof of navigation, sea routes of commercial exchange, technical competence and financial activity in the Aegean Sea during the late 3rd millennium B.C. The findings include a plethora of pottery vessels of everyday use in a large variety of shapes, also found in the excavations at the major coastal settlements of Lerna and Tirynth as well as smaller settlements in the wider region.

Further south, in the area of Porto Heli, lie the ruins of the ancient Acropolis of Halieis whereas in the sea nearby lie ruins of the walls of the ancient harbour and the temple of Apollo, both of which can be accessed by boat, although diving is prohibited. In 1962, Nikos Tsouhlos discovered at Cape Iria on the southern coast of Argolida and a mere 15 metres off the rocky shore, the wreck of a cargo ship carrying pottery ware. A large one-piece earthenware jar, which later disappeared, caught his attention as well as several pots and potsherds half-buried in sand. The pottery ware found in Iria is valuable tangible proof of the sea transit trade carried out in the Eastern Mediterranean near the end of the 13th c. BC. The vital importance of the wreck for the study of commercial relations between Cyprus and the Aegean forced scientists to complete their study and proceed with the conservation of the archaeological findings in only four years after the end of the underwater research. The ship’s cargo is permanently on display at the Museum of Spetses. Specialised diving centres with qualified diving instructors can be found all over Ermionida. Equipment is available along with boat rental ideal for visiting some truly intriguing spots.

For more information visit: Porto Heli Scuba Club, www.greekdiving.com Kallianos Diving Center, www.kallianosdivingcenter.gr
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