A recent video produced for the Municipality of Karpathos by ROV Services offers a rare glimpse at the six little-known 20th-century shipwrecks hidden in the Greek island’s waters.
The breathtaking video, filmed by Kostas and Agapi Oceanis Thoctarides, is part of the effort to create the first official record of the island’s underwater heritage.
“Beneath the deep blue waters of the island hides a wild beauty of special geological formations that, with their otherworldly image, compose a mysterious scenery which becomes a pole of attraction for every diver,” the video’s description explains.
The unusually large number of shipwrecks off Karpathos make for “an exciting sea bottom with impressive geological flare ups.”
Shipwrecks of Karpathos explained
Karpathos, the second largest island of the Dodecanese, is located on what was a busy route for warships and submarines during World War II. Thus, this explains the plethora of wrecks within its waters.
Most of these are in excellent condition and located at accessible depths of up to forty meters, the video’s description adds.
Some of the sunken ships are of special shipbuilding; they were built before the war and survived WWII to end up, years later, at the bottom of the sea off Karpathos.
The shipwrecks are located to the north and south of the island, thus enabling underwater visitors to enjoy diving around them regardless of weather conditions.
Because of its remote location, local people in Karpathos have preserved many traditions including unique customs, their own dialect of the Greek language, and distinctive clothing.
Wreck diving in Greece
Recently, the Greek state started to relax its long-standing restrictions related to recreational diving around historic wrecks in a bid to boost the potential of wreck diving tourism.
The first wreck that was opened to the public was the ancient shipwreck of Peristera off the Greek island of Alonissos in the summer of 2020.
In March 2021, the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports said it had begun a process to clear at least ninety-one wrecks of historic vessels and aircraft for recreational diving.
Eleven of these were declared accessible following the completion of documentation work by competent authorities.
According to a related regulatory framework, diving at the listed historic wrecks in the Greek seas is allowed only externally and around the perimeters of wrecks while diving within wrecks remains explicitly prohibited.
Interested divers must, in any case, write to the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities of the Ministry of Culture and Sports at firstname.lastname@example.org and provide mandatory information at least a day prior to the dive.