Diving or Snorkelling?
Cyprus is well-known as a great Mediterranean SCUBA diving location, with coral reefs, crystal-clear waters, teeming marine life, an assortment of shipwrecks, plus an underwater museum. There are dive centres in all the resorts catering for everyone from beginners to intermediate and advanced divers.
But equipped with only a mask and snorkel, you too can explore these underwater delights. And there’s no need to venture far… Our very own Pissouri Bay has plenty of treasures beneath the surface. You don’t even need to be a great swimmer. There is plenty of marine life in the shallow waters only a few metres from the beach.
Turtles are very much our number one favourite. Every year mature female loggerheads return to their ‘home’ beach to lay their eggs overnight. These turtles grow to an enormous size. They can be as much as a metre long. Hatchlings, in contrast, are typically a miniscule and vulnerable 5 cm.
The wrasse family stands out as being a particularly colourful and attractive species. Males and females of the same varieties have similar, but distinctively different, patterns of blue, green orange and yellow. We have seen beautiful male and female ornate wrasses close to the beach at the western end of Pissouri Bay.
Silvery Sea Bream
The predominant coastal fish species tends to be the sea bream. A silvery, sandy, almost translucent colour with a range of black markings, they tend to swim in groups. Look out for zebra-striped, two-banded, vertical-striped, lateral-striped, black, white and saddled versions.
Striped (Red) Mullet
The Striped Mullet – A Marine Chameleon
With its whiskery barbels, the striped mullet (also known as the red mullet) is perhaps not the most appealing looking of species, but if you spot one snuffling along the sea bed, try not to let it escape your gaze, because they have an interesting hidden talent. While they swim, to avoid detection by predators, the mullet may exhibit amazing chameleon-like colour-changing. They can disguise themselves quite dramatically – gaining or losing stripes, altering colours and patterns – all to blend with their surroundings.
Marine Life Guides
Below are some of the creatures you are likely to encounter when snorkelling or diving around Cyprus. In the villa handbook we have added a new page of ‘Bay Marine Life’ based on our personal underwater exploration. For guest reference, there is also a comprehensive laminated dive log card, to help identify 80 species found in Mediterranean waters.
MUSAN: Museum of Underwater Sculpture, Ayia Napa
Created by artist Jason deCaires Taylor in 2021, this innovative underwater museum features 93 tree and figure sculptures within 200 metres of the Ayia Napa shore. At depths of between 8 and 10 metres, the forest is designed to be easily explored by both divers and snorkellers.
Further details: MUSAN