Scuba Diving is one of the most extreme kinds of activity in the world. Discover the magical world of oceans, seas, tropical reefs, shipwrecks, canyons and cave systems is an unforgettable experience, which is possible only by scuba diving. In the world, there are famous places where you can dive into deep water and feel marine life, swim with sharks, different fish and found sunken ships.
The Caucasus region is famous for its culture, people's history, culinary and nature, but not that famous for scuba diving, however, the region is so multi-diverse you can found an interesting place to dive in Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan.
The best diving places in the Caucasus
1. Batumi and surroundings
Diving is quite popular and developed in Georgia. There is a diving or underwater swimming community to help you explore the seabed. The deeper you go, the more interesting the sea and the more adrenaline is released.
Batumi is a famous Georgian Black sea resort, where you can find modern architecture, cozy restaurants, beautiful mountains, fish markets, and local traditional houses and also explore sea life. If you decide to explore the Black Sea world, four sunken ships and three planes, you should definitely take a course with the diving community, after which you will receive a certificate.
The diving community founded in 2007 and since then offers swimming in Sarpi, Kvariati, Tsikhisdziri, Martvili Canyon, Prometheus Cave, and Paliastom Lake.
There are special places around Batumi called Gonio-Kvariati where you can found a ship named «Vladimir Pachulia» it was sunk, with the aim of creating an artificial reef to increase the population of underwater flora and fauna. After reaching a depth of 20 meters, the difficulties gradually subside and the deeper you go, the harder it is because your eyesight is poor and there are natural caves. There are also three planes which were also sunk to creating the legend and attract more visitors.
Riding from 7 to 15 meters underwater costs 70 GEL for 20 minutes. and 150 GEL for one hour.
2. Martvili Canyon
The Martvili Canyon is a picturesque landmark of water and rocks, located 50 km west of Kutaisi. It is 5 km from the town of Martvili, and 2 km from the village of Gachedili (which gave the canyon its other name, Gachedili Canyon). In 2016, the canyon’s tourist infrastructure was improved: new paths and bridges were built, and the boats that take tourists down the river were upgraded. The natural monument is under protects of the Georgian agency of protected areas.
Martvili, located in the Samegrelo region, has been named as one of the best scuba-diving locations in Europe in 2017 based on the views of eight underwater photographers. Diving in the canyon costs 57.50 GEL (around 17 Euro) and is possible from May to September. The canyon is 2,400 m long, 20-30 meters deep and 5-10 meters wide.
In addition, small waterfalls of 12-15 meters in height are formed in the middle of the canyon. There is a special place known as the «Dadiani Bath». To get here, the trail will lead to a staircase built of large limestone blocks. According to the historical documents, Giorgi Chkondideli and Davit Agmashenebeli used to go up these stairs ad swim in the bath.
The length of the route the boats take along the river is about 1 km, and the trip takes about 30 minutes (including photo stops). Children under 5 years old are not allowed on the boats.
«Here, there are caves and canyons so impregnable that not even a satellite can see inside, this place was like an illustration from one of Tolkien’s books, a place where elves dwell. It features clear waterfalls that fall from steep, fern-covered cliffs draped with hanging ivy branches that resemble festive lights. Everything is insanely beautiful», the underwater photographer says about Martvili Canyon.
3. Lake Sevan
Lake Sevan is one of the largest fresh-water high-altitude lakes in the world. A wonderful mountainous lake is located on the territory of modern Armenia, in the Caucasus. The shores of the lake in the deep parts, the so-called Small Sevan, are indented and very picturesque. There are approximately 250 types of plants under the water, and fish types endemic to Sevan only, so dive in to see what can’t be seen anywhere else.
As Lake Sevan is situated in the mountains, you will be surrounded by underwater natural reefs. Besides, there are also several artificial reefs to surprise you. The accessibility of the lake is determined by the proximity to the capital (about an hour drive, or 60 km far from Yerevan) and the possibility of staying in hotels and camping sites on the shore.
Prices for diving in Lake Sevan different and depends on status and knowledge of diving. It starts from 30 to 200 Euro.
4. The Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is among the most enigmatic lakes in the world. Here the mysteries of history are intertwined with secrets of nature that scientists and enthusiasts of underwater archeology have been trying to puzzle out for decades. The water level in the Caspian has changed many times over the centuries, which is reflected not only in the shape of the coastline but also in the lake’s content. There are as many legends as historical accounts about flooded cities, villages and fortresses consumed by the seawater.
As a part of the ancient Northern Route of the Great Silk Road, the Caspian Sea hides as well a myriad of sunken ships and other potential treasures including old ceramic pottery, weapons and ancient coins. Among them is the «mysterious ship» lying to the south of the island of Zhiloy at a depth of approximately 30-35 meters. To get there it takes about 45 minutes of travel by boat along the eastern tip of Absheron. For a comprehensive examination of the artifact, which by the way hasn’t seen sunlight for centuries, it is best to stay for a couple of days at the diving center on the island.
In the same place, you can collect all the necessary equipment, fill oxygen tanks and rent a special diving boat.