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Scuba Diving in Cyprus
Dive Site: The Chapel
Location: 34°58'33.31"N; 34°04'31.57"E, Protarus, Cyprus
Description: Reef dive
Depth: 10 metres + (30 feet)
Visibility: 20 metres (65 feet)
This is actually a reasonable site though access, and particular egress from the water, is a real no no with rebreathers as we found to our cost! I was mortified to have to be helped up out of the water by a young swimmer because I couldn't get my feet to grip on the rocks at the waters edge! Anyway, dignity issues aside here's the griff!
There's no really easy way to describe how to find this site so I'd advise asking at one of the dive shops in Protarus to be absolutely sure. But if you do want to go it alone then drive out of Protarus towards Ayia Napa and once clear of hotels etc. look out for a sign post down to Capo Greco. This should be on your left. Drop down the road a short distance and you should be able to see a large hotel complex in front of you where you will turn right. After the hotel continue for a mile or so and eventually you will come to a hard right turn with a smaller road leading off to the left. This is a T junction of sorts, though the natural direction of the road makes the turn you need a left actually OFF the main road because the main road is more of a right hand bend and continuation. Now head left along the smaller track and down towards the headland. Part of the way down you pass the site of the strange "land bridge" which is a geological formation well worth a look (but I'd personally not wish to walk across it!!!).
Eventually you will come to a small chapel on the cliff above the water where you should park up. Proceed through the chapel's covered walkway and you will begin to descend the cliff on some steps cut into the rock finishing up at a cave open to the sea at the front. To your right youngsters dive into the sea from the top of the cliffs so be aware of this potential hazard when you are in the water. As with Cyclops Cave it's worth suiting up topside and carrying your gear down in two hits. Depending upon the state of the tide there can be a drop of as much as 2 feet to the water, hence climbing out with a twinset or rebreather is an extreme challenge and shore cover is, as always, pretty important!
Once in the water head out to sea until you come to an old net draped vertically over something which gives it a prominent appearance for some distance. Turn left here and continue along a small rock wall until you get bored then retrace your steps after ascending a little to meet the cliff face. Sounds easy but frankly the trick is to be sure you hit the net on the way back and then come up exactly the way you went in or you wind up in one of a multitude of small rocky inlets wondering if you have undershot or overshot the entry point! We were told the other way to proceed is to continue around the headland and come out in the next bay where there are more steps back up to the car park by the little chapel. Frankly I would advise most strongly that you use a compass and pilotage to navigate back to the net then turn inland until you are in about 10 metres or so and then do a vertical ascent, look for your shore cover and surface swim in. Trust me, it will save you a whole lot of hassle!
What's down there? Well... as with all the Cypriot shore dives we did, very little. Sadly the shoreline around Cyprus has to be some of the most barren in terms of life anywhere around the Med though you do see a few fish and the odd invertebrate. That said it was still the best of a bad lot.
Martin Frankcom, BSAC Advanced Instructor 370
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