How to find diving trips?
Fethiye is one of many places on the Mediterranean coast appreciated by divers – both professional and amateur. We belonged to the latter group and did our first dives in life (and definitely not the last!) in lovely turquoise Fethiye waters. But, to start from the beginning:
There are a lot of companies offering diving trips, and the prices start from TL70-80 and go up to TL120. We were looking around for scuba diving on Calis Beach Promenade, and most of the companies there offered cheap full day excursions of about TL70 – TL90. Having checked Lonely Planet travel guide, we also went to Fethiye marina looking for a specific company recommended by LP called Elite Diving Centre.
Elite Diving Centre – review
Elite Diving Centre is run by a lovely English woman Kerry and having spoken to her we looked no further. Elite’s employees hold PADI certificates, and to those of you who don’t know, PADI is a diving qualification renowned and respected all over the world. Many companies offering diving trips around Fethiye, and probably in Turkey all together, have instructors holding diving qualifications respected in Turkey only meaning they can offer cheaper scuba diving trips, as they lack this extra prestige and high-level professionalism as PADI accreditation brings. This is why they basically offer cheaper diving trips – they don’t have to invest so much more money in getting more expensive PADI accreditation. At the same time, a lot of them will be displaying PADI logos, but, since copyright is somehow freely interpreted in Turkey, infringement is not prosecuted.
We decided to go for Elite Diving Centre just because we felt we could trust them and feel somehow secure. We went for the very basic trial dive up to 5m costing TL120 pp, and the trip included two dives, equipment and very basic lunch (fish, rice and salad). The day started at 8 or 9 am when we were picked up and drove to Fethiye marina, where the trip begun. The day finished about 5 pm, where were conveniently (and contrary to the Oludeniz boat trip experience) drove back to the hotel.
Diving trip – review
There weren’t many divers on the boat – about 10-15 people in total – and pretty much all of them already held open water diving qualifications (meaning only us two and one more Englishman were the only people who were learning to dive!) The way the day was organized was the following: firstly, on the way to diving spots we were instructed on the very basics of diving: what happens with your body when you go underwater, how to use equipment and other essential information. Then we arrived at two bays where more experienced divers had their time to dive, and the third bay was ours – we had our first dive!
It was terrifying at first, this completely unknown, bizarre feeling of getting used to breathe underwater with your mouth only (you get used to it very quickly, though), not being able to move your arms rapidly, seeing fish swimming above your head and sunrays cutting through the water surface. It was magical. The two of us had one instructor, which made me feel very safe, and he took bread underwater to feed the fish – and suddenly dozens of colourful fish swum around us, eating the bread from our hands as we were holding it so that it didn’t float away. This was even more magical.
After our dive we had lunch and sailed off to other bays where other groups of divers had their dives, and we had our 2nd dive as well. This time it did not feel as terrifying as the first time, however, it was still difficult to overcome the earache that the change in pressure was causing.
In between the dives we had plenty of time to sunbathe on sun mattresses on top of the deck, swim or snorkel in beautiful and quiet locations, with no other tourists or boats nearby. It was idyllic – this is how I imagined my holidays in Turkey before they begun. I thought the excitement of diving would drain me but in fact the whole trip was far more relaxing, tranquil and just better than the Oludeniz boat trip the previous day. Paying a bit more money for the trip meant being better looked after, but also having a more peaceful and intimate atmosphere without loud music or too many people. And having one instructor who looked after both of us underwater was unbeatable!
Scuba diving in Fethiye – summary
In summary, Fethiye has some good diving spots and is popular amongst divers. I heard opinions that more experienced ones choose areas near Kas or Kalkan, as they offer richer underwater experiences (e.g ruins of sunken places, ship wrecks etc) but for amateur divers Fethiye is perfect!
If you want to scuba dive, mind the points below:
– There are a lot of companies offering scuba diving trips, and you can find them in Fethiye marina and Calis Beach promenade
– Prices vary between TL70 to TL120, depending on how professional the company is
– I imagine cheaper trips are busier so before signing up for one, check how many people are per one diving instructor
– Check what’s included in the price – the trip we went to had pick up and drop off included, lunch, all equipment, brief theoretical diving course and took us to quiet bays and locations where the only diving people were divers from our boat
– It’s good to check if the boat has a shower – Turkish Mediterranean sea is very salty and it’s good to rinse your skin before exposing it to the sun
– Leave at least 12-24hrs before catching a plane – this is due to air pressure issues (more explanation here)
– If you’re looking for peace of mind, go with Elite Diving Centre!
Diving courses explained:
First time divers can choose from the following options:
Trial Dive – very basic dive up to 5m where everything is done for you by the instructor (e.g. changing the pressure on your diving suit so you can descend underwater) and you learn no real skills that allow you to dive on your own
Discover Scuba Diving – where you dive up to 12m and learn diving skills underwater (for example how to clean your mouthpiece underwater, how to change pressure in your diving suit etc); Scuba diving course is also foundation for Open Water course which takes 3 days (or 2 days if you’ve already completed one day of Discover Scuba Diving course) and gives you professional diving qualification; with Open Water accreditation from PADI you can dive anywhere in the world accompanied by an instructor, and can take your diving experience further with higher level diving qualifications.