Kefalonia – a press trip to remember

As you may have read in our previous blog about this trip, we were not blessed with the best weather. Our original itinerary was to see us dive four of the World War II wrecks that can be found in the waters around Kefalonia: HMS Persius, F495 Landing Craft, Junkers 88 & SS Ardena. The Persius was, in our opinion, going to be the highlight – a British submarine lost in 1941 that has the incredible story of a single survivor who made the 50m ascent and 5 mile swim to shore. The SS Ardena tells another terrible story; she sank after hitting a mine with over 700 Italian prisoners of war on board, all were lost, along with the crew. The Junkers 88 Luftwaffe bomber plane broke up in the crash leaving only the engines and tail at a depth suitable for the recreational diver.

Alas, die to high winds, we only got to dive one of these four amazing wrecks and that was the German F495 landing craft that sank close to shore in shallow waters. The waves had already stirred up the sandy bottom and so the visibility was down to less than 5 meters when we got in. However, this vessel was carrying a huge array of supplies and so exploring the seabed trying to identify the objects that you find makes this a good dive in all conditions. There were a huge number of depth charges on board when she was sunk and these litter the seabed. Look more closely and you can find large anti-submarine nets, jerry cans, wheels from vehicles, ammunition and we are sure a keen eye and good knowledge would lead to even more discoveries.

Our only other dives were to be in caverns. Our fresh water experience you can read all about here in our previous blog. We did manage a sea cavern too, which offered shelter, but the highlight of this dive was actually the surrounding area, where ancient amphoras and ship ballast could be found amongst the sea grass.

Our hosts were keen to make sure that we also experienced some of the culture that Kefalonia has to offer and so we were treated to huge and excellent meals at every opportunity. Sometimes it seems impossible, whilst still eating lunch at 4pm, that we would have to do this all again in just a few short hours! But with amazing fresh food and great local wine, beer and spirits, this was a real treat. As our diving was cut short, we toured the island, visiting a vineyard and also touring a fresh water cavern, similar to the one we had dived the day before.

In peak season, flights from the UK go direct to Kefalonia, however we went just as the season ended and so had to travel via Athens. This, however, gave us a wonderful opportunity to take in the sights and sounds of this historic capital city.

Kefalonlia is only a short hop away from the UK and, whilst we did not see the best of it underwater, it is clear that there are fantastic scuba diving opportunities here. We hope we can return next summer to dive the WWII wrecks, re-visit the fresh water caves and take in some of the many other dives this beautiful island has to offer. It is also time to dust off our copy of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin…

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This article was originally published by Scubaverse