PADI DIVING SOCIETY NEWS
Simon Chance talks about the delights of diving Turkey and lists the latest MSDS, plus the latest news from Project AWARE.
Turkey has received a fair amount of coverage recently, and not always for the right reasons. As divers, we are used to looking beneath the surface in more ways than one, however, and in doing so we also see - possibly to a greater degree than many others - just how much this fascinating country has to offer everyone from the casual tourist to the extreme explorer. There’s the submerged shipwrecks at Saros, Gokceada and Bozcaada, in the Sea of Marmara; the teeming tourist traps around Kemer and Kas; and even the bizarrely-named Big Bango near Bodrum (it’s actually an hour or two away by boat, but the alliteration was too tempting to miss!) Caverns and caves, sharks and rays, seals and cetaceans, Turkey truly has so much going on that it’s a natural choice for around 30-40 million annually, putting it squarely in the global tourism top ten. Further, besides the varied natural dive sites to be sampled, the Turkish authorities have spent millions of Lire in recent years to extend the ever-popular artificial wreck menu. Starting modestly with ten old trolley-bus bodies back in 1989, the programme has become way more ambitious of late, with a number of small aeroplanes, then two decommissioned warships near Bodrum - one of which, the 37m Pinar 1, served the Turkish Navy for 80 years! - and, most recently, an almost intact Airbus A300 (wings and all), which has been ‘sent below’ to provide a new divers’ playground off Kuşadası. It is also probably true to say that co-operation between the Turkish Underwater Sports Federation - the Türkiye Sualtı Sporları Federasyonu, or TSSF - and PADI has never been greater than right now, with a June announcement confirming that PADI Instructors now no longer have to hold both a TSSF-CMAS certification, as well as their PADI credentials, to teach PADI courses legally in Turkey. For PADI divers, the practical upshot of this significant milestone should be an even wider coverage of PADI centres in Turkey, and a correspondingly wider availability of PADI courses to be enjoyed in Turkey’s warm, welcoming waters. Turkish Underwater Sports Federation President, Sahin Ozen, Vice President, Samil Aktas and the TSSF Board of Directors all made significant contributions in making this protocol possible, assisted by PADI Course Director and Administrative Representative, Asutay Akbayir, who conducted key negotiations with TSSF-CMAS in coordination with the PADI Office here in Bristol. Go on - gobble up a slice of Turkey!