6+1 shipwrecks to dive in Crete
On March 22, 2021 the Greek Ministry of Culture announced the permision for recreational diving in 91 shipwrecks of ships and planes in Greece, dated from 1868 to 1971. For the region of #Crete 7 shipwrecks are released, consisting of a steamer sank during WWI, and the rest of them of the period of WWII (two steamers and a landing craft, and three aircraft). Taking into account the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Crete, these 6 wrecks are being significant underwater places to visit.
As described in the press release of the Ministry of Culture, these shipwrecks are:
1. Greek cargo steamer "KYRIAKI". She was sunk by the German air force on April 24, 1941, in Souda, Crete. Maximum depth 85 meters. 2. Beaufighter, Sitia. Maximum depth 35 meters. 3. Arado Ar 196. This German airplane was shot down by Allied aircraft near Chania (Crete) on August 3, 1943. Maximum depth 74 meters. 4. Australian landing craft A6 or A20, Balos. She sank during the battle of Crete, May 20, 1941. Depth 12 meters. 5. Italian supply ship "PIERRE LUIGI", Souda. She was sunk by English planes, during the battle of Crete, on May 20, 1941. Depth 33 meters. 6. German warplane in Gerani, Chania. It was shot down during the Battle of Crete, on May 20, 1941. Depth 8 meters. 7. Steamer "MINNEWASKA", Marathi Souda. She sank after a mine exploition on November 26, 1916.
We have to point out that only two of these shipwrecks could be ideal for recreational diving, since the rest of them are either too deep (deeper than the maximum depth limit for recreational diving, namely 40 meters /130 feet; not to mention that many scuba diving clubs limit their dive for tourists shallower than 18 metres / 60 feet), or they are in areas with possible restricted access. So diving attractions for the average diver would be the following two:
Australian landing craft A6 or A20, Balos. She sank during the battle of Crete, May 20, 1941 (Depth 12 meters). Given that is in one of the most popular beaches in Crete, can surely be a destination for diving, or even snorkeling.
German warplane in Gerani, Chania. It was shot down during the Battle of Crete, on May 20, 1941 (Depth 8 meters). The press release did not give any detail for the type of the aircraft; according to our research on the web, in the area a Bf-109 crashed by the beach near Platanias and Gerani (covered now largely by sand), while a Ju-52 crashed near the islet Theodorou, a mile or so offshore the same area that is already a destination for local businesses and possibly the release mentioned this one shipwreck.
The rest would be accessible only by a limited number of divers certified for deep dives with trimix for example, and possible would be granted with permission.
Important announcement: according to the Ministry of Culture any removal of parts of the shipwreck or objects is prohibited. Allowed recreational diving is a non-invasive activity that is limited to the water area that surrounds the monuments and does not interfere with them.
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