x0x WONDERS OF THE WATER WORLD
- x0x WONDERS OF THE WATER WORLD
By S. Ayhan Tunel
I see the deep tranquil blue stretching into the distance beneath my
feet and the sky above my head delicately touch on the horizon. On
days when the horizon line is invisible they merge into a single blue
The first time I abandoned myself into the arms of that deep blue I
felt an indescribable happiness. My first dive was at a sheer cliff
that plunged into the sea. Seeing all the diverse living creatures of
the sea at close quarters was an intoxicating experience. When I rose
to the surface and climbed into the boat the meaning of blue had
changed for me. It had become something to be cherished and treasured.
Surrounded by seas on three sides, Turkey offers endless possibilities
for those who love the blue deep.
The Mediterranean, Aegean, Marmara and Black Seas are each quite
different in character, both geographically and climatically. With its
warm weather and sea temperatures, the Mediterranean naturally comes
first for divers, particularly at Ka$, where the sea is crystal clear
and there are spectacular underwater sights. Caves, wrecks, reefs,
canyons and walls are all to be found here, as well as ideal spots
where the bottom is safe for learners.
Diving school boats go out for morning and afternoon sessions every
day, and sometimes for night diving expeditions. Every time of day and
each individual dive has its unique beauty.
When you dive in the early morning light you are welcomed by even
earlier risers than yourself: such fish as laos (Epinephelus aeneas),
sar (Diplodus sargus), gobies (Gobius spp.) of two species known as
kayasokar and papazbalIGI in Turkish, and the liche (Lichia amia).
Depending on their level of skill and experience divers can explore
wrecks of boats, ships and planes, caves, canyons and rock walls. At
night the deep blue turns to black, and the divers' torches flicker
like fireflies in the darkness. Many sea creatures sleep by night, so
it is possible to get a closeup view of elusive fish that by day would
be off in a flash at the approach of an intruder.
Whether by day or night, divers must faithfully follow safety rules
and take equal care to preserve the underwater world. A careless kick
from a flipper or knock from an air cylinder or other piece of
equipment can damage coral that took 350-400 years to form.
After years of diving around Ka$, I know the underwater landscape here
like the back of my hand; each cave, each hollow, each wreck, each
spot where ancient amphoras lie on the seabed, and even the hiding
places of each grouper. At the diving point of Fener I can watch the
grouper we call Suleyman swimming with his relatives, or swim with a
shoal of barracudas, fearsome in appearance but at the same time
fascinating. In Hidayet Bay we visit the shy but quick tempered moray
eels. We swim with the aloof but charming loggerhead turtles. In this
beautiful alternative world, colours, movements and perspectives are
endlessly enchanting and unforgettable.
* S. Ayhan Tunel is a photographer