So many places to discover, and I keep going back to Kas! Of course it is not among the best locations in the world for diving, but it is a very nice place to spend holidays. It is a pretty small town far enough from an airport not to be too touristy (at least in September). You don’t see the big hotels that spoil the coast from Antalya to Kemer, and most people come here here for a couple of days while visiting the antique sites around, or they are walking (Kas is along the Lycean Way, a long distance hiking trail), or, of course, they come there for diving. It is probably one of the best place in Turkey for diving and it has now a Reserve (no fishing allowed) so it the fauna should increase in future years.
September is a good month to go there. Besides the fact that there are not many tourists, the water is warm and the weather very good.
Like the previous time, I went for 10 days. That means that I could not take a charter flight to Antalya, but instead regular flights via Zurich. Once in Antalya, there is still a 3 hours drive to Kaş if you take a taxi (more you use public transportation). The road becomes very nice from Kumluca when it becomes more mountainous on the right side with a less domesticated coast on the left. Pretty as it was, I was still happy to finally arrive. This year, I stayed at the “White Pension”, a small and pretty pension in the eastern part of the town. The owner did not speak much English (hardly more than I know of Turkish) but they were very friendly and we did manage to communicate.
After settling in my (small) room, I went for a quick swim from one of the sea-side pension’s “platform” which definitely put me on holiday’s mode. Then I went to my dive center Archipel where the welcome was as usual very friendly. I spent a while chatting and then went back in town to see what had changed. My favourite restaurant had changed, but besides this, nothing new.
There are many diving centers in Kas. I have always been diving with Archipel. They exist since 2002 and are opened all year long. The diving team is not only very friendly but also very serious about security and the well being of divers. They are also very eco-conscious and hand out to every diver information on the Marine Reserve around Kas with the diving rules that all divers should follow aiming at diving having a minimum impact of the ecosystem of the area.
Of course, they know the dive sites very well and will adapt to both sea conditions and to the divers experience. Another thing that I like very much about his dive center is that their customers are usually a mixture of divers from different countries, including from Turkey which makes it an even more interesting experience. This is also where I did my PADI rescue training (see here).
They do 2 dives everyday, one in the morning (leaving the harbour at 10:00) and one in the afternoon (leaving at 03:00) except once a week when they go for the day (with a nice lunch organized on board). Their boat is big with plenty of space for both getting ready and resting or discussing.
I did 12 dives during my holidays. There was sometimes a bit of current, but nothing problematic, and the visibility was excellent. All the dives were guided and we had to be back on the boat with 50 bars. So we had to go back for the first person who would reach this limit, but we could stay around the mooring point until we got ourselves to 50 bars.
Funny looking guide, but very good at spotting small stuff, like seahorses
The guides were very good at spotting the local fauna and show you stuff most people would not see by themselves. I did put a lot of entries in my logbook during this week (for example: turtles, barracudas, parrotfish, groupers, flute fish, squirrel fish, octopus, squids, nudibranches, and seahorses).
Also as Kaş was a busy port during the Antiquity, you can still see lots of (protected) amphoras dating of this time at several dive sites.
But for me one asset of the diving there are the rock formation and I found that the diving can be spectacular. In fact, two of Kaş dive sites are among my very favourites: Canyon and Tunnel. We did the 2 of them during both this time, among the 12 dives of my holidays. In both of them, you go down between vertical walls (around 30 meters deep), and for Tunnel, you then swim through a short tunnel. There are very nice tricks of light and I found it very pleasant to glide through these special rock formations.
Looking back up Canyon
On topside, I did not do much… Between the 2 dives, I would go for a salad at Baba Noël, a café that also serves snacks and has a good view on the harbour. In the evening, I would update my blog in French (this one had to wait until I was back in France, me being too lazy to work on two blogs…) and then go back in town to go the dive center office and see if there was someone to chat with (i.e. if there was someone speaking English). Then dinner time and sleeping time. I did not, as I had planned to, do any other activity that are possible in Kaş. You can for example do a sea-kayak trip to the ancient city of Kekova (which I did on first holidays) or go hiking in the mountains, visit antiques sites, etc…
So even with a very quiet schedule (not to say a lazy one…), these holidays went very quickly, and too soon, it was time to go back home.