5 dive sites to tempt you east – Diving in Ukraine

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Sitting between Western Europe and Russian is the Ukraine, a country rich in history and maybe surprising to you, appearing at number 8 of most tourist visitors in Europe.    This history is reflected in a number of its top dive sites and like the Crimean peninsular are also top tourist destinations.

With thanks to PADI’s Russian Distribution center here are 5 dive sites to check out in the Ukraine:

 

Tarkhankut

Tarkhankut is a cape on the west of the Crimea. From April till October the sun is shining brightly, but dive season starts in May. The water temperature in July and August can reach 28°С. The water is clean and warm with visibility up to ten meters and extremely rich sea life. Divers will definitely meet rays, crabs, red fishes, bullheads, etc.

Cape Tarhankut may become a paradise for every diver from beginner to seasoned veteran. They can find different sets of depths along the whole coast and lots of interesting wrecks which are really worth seeing. Also divers will be amazed by the amount of anchors of different epochs which are lying on the sea’s floor at depth 8-25 meters.

First of all divers must visit the unique “Alley of the Leaders”. This underwater museum has tens of Soviet Union leader’s busts. Right now the collection is continuing to grow and they can also find other interesting sculpture figures. One of the most popular dive site in Tarhankut is “Cup of Love” which has 3 sections up to 14 meters in depth. It has an exit to deep sea, but it is also possible to swim to Neptune arch which is 3 meters above sea level and 4-5 meters in depth. Also divers must visit famous site “Monastery”. This cavern looks like church with two rooms. Each of them has an altar with huge flat rocks and cupola with lantern in it.

Divers will be amazed by the amount of wrecks: battleship “Saint Alexander”, submarine L-23, steamship “Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich”, landing barge F-592, carrier ships “Varna” and “Wolga-Don” and mine-laying destroyer “Bug” are lying there and waiting for divers to come and take photos of them.

  • Depth:  From surface to more than 50 meters.
  • Visibility: Usually 15-20 meters depending on area and time of year.
  • Water temperature: Ranges from 26-28 ºC during dive season.
  • Dive season: From May till October
  • Scuba gear: Most dive centers and resorts offer full equipment hire.
  • Language: Russian/Ukrainian/English
  • Location: Crimea/Ukraine

 

The Sokolovskiy Pit

The Sokolovskiy pit has a shape of a bowl of filled in with water by underground springs. The maximum depth here is 104 meters.

The pit had not been in operation for about 30 years, but the plant on which territory it existed is still processing stone both from stocks of those years and from the raw materials brought from other pits. In due course producing by explosive method became more and more problematic, and the pit was closed.

The pit has a shape of a bowl; the road for transportation of the produced rocks goes on a spiral counterclockwise. The height discontinuity between road levels is almost steep; the depth difference is from 20 to the 30 meters each step (depending on the location).

In winter the visibility is excellent and reaches 25 meters. In spring and in autumn the visibility is about 10-15 meters. In summer the visibility is getting worse due to the rains, and it can be less than 2 meters.

In winter water temperature keeps up at any depth and is equal to +2ºC – +4ºC. In summer the top layer (0-3 meters) warms up to +24ºC – +28ºC.

The pit is a wonderful site for Advanced Open Water and Deep Diver courses. But the pit has its main significance for technical divers. The depth range to 100 meters allows carrying out all technical courses.

  • Depth:  Maximum depth is 104 meter.
  • Visibility: Usually 10-15 meters.
  • Water temperature: Ranges from 24-28 ºC in summer, in winter is about +2 – +4ºC
  • Dive season: From May till October
  • Language: Russian/Ukrainian/English
  • Location: Zhitomir district/Ukraine

 

 

The Snake Island

The Snake Island is a Ukrainian island located in the Black Sea near the Danube Delta. The island has a cruciform shape; the area is about 20,5 hectares. The nearest settlement on the coast is Romanian city of Sulina. The nearest settlement in Ukraine is the city of Vilkovo.

In the waters adjacent to the island there are 49 species of fish and 6 species of crabs from which 3 and 4 types respectively are added to the Red List of Ukraine. Divers may find a large number of rapa whelks, mussels, blennies and pig fishes. One can meet a flounder, a turbot, a buckler skate and a dogfish. The rocky ridge is notable because on its stone steps nothing piles up: both amphoras and stone anchors lie aground as openly, as they did two thousand years ago when they got on the bottom.

In 1917, during the First World War German cruiser “Breslau” had cannonaded the island, having had  destroyed all the constructions and laid out minefields that later caused the destruction of Russian torpedo boat “Lieutenant Zatsarenny”. The violent explosion had broken the destroyer’s body. The forebody had drowned almost immediately, but the afterbody had been dragged to the coast, where it also sank. Now it lies at a depth of 28 meters near the island. On the vessel the torpedo and artillery arms remained, and nearby there is a machine gun “Maxim” nearby.

The World War II also left the trace at the island coast: a Soviet submarine “Pike” lies at a depth of 35 meters. Above all an unidentified big ship is based still at the bottom, it had sunk in 1907. In 2004 a sailing vessel of the XVII-XVIII century was found at a depth of 33 meters.

If you plan diving, photo or video filming in the waters of the Snake Island, you have to know that the main wrecks are located at a depth of 28-35 meters. Usually temperature below the thermocline is +5 – +8°C (rarely +12 °C) therefore a dry suit won’t be out of place.

  • Depth:  Main wrecks are located at a depth of 28-35 meters.
  • Visibility: Usually 8-10 meters.
  • Water temperature: Temperature below the thermocline is +5 – +8°C (rarely +12 °C)
  • Dive season: From May till October
  • Language: Russian/Ukrainian/English
  • Location: Odessa district/Ukraine

 

Balaklava Bay

The Balaklava Bay is one of the bays located within the administrative territory of the city of Sevastopol. The ancient city being nowadays the district of Sevastopol – Balaklava – is located on the coast of the bay.

The width is 200-400 meters (in the narrow point – 45 meters), the depth is 5-10 meters in the headwater, and it is up to 25 meters at the beach and up to 35 meters in the bottle-neck. The peculiarity of the Balaklava Bay is its semi-isolation and limited connection to the open part of the Black Sea.

The coast and bottom relief is one of the most beautiful one in the Crimea. Rocky formations make up unique underwater grottoes and caves with a diameter up to 10 meters. The beauty of these places will linger on in your memory because of the fast change of the landscape ashore and under water.

The singularity of the bay is in year-round navigation. It means that it is possible to put out to the sea and dive at any time of the year when the weather is good. Being a crowded trade area and having a poor visibility the bay is not fitted for dives. But a lot of the most interesting dive-tours start here and stretch along the extended coast from the cape Aya in the east to the cape Fiolent in the west. Divers’ imagination may be caught by mysterious ship-wrecks, huge rocky massifs and canyons, grottoes, labyrinths, the purest waters with reach underwater life. They will definitely meet rare fishes and pads of dolphins.

Vertical wall on the cape Aya is a wonderful dive site. The steep wall reaches 300 meters above the sea level, and underwater part with a ledge – about 70 meters. This site is recommended to skilled divers.

  • Depth:  From 5 to more than 35 meters.
  • Visibility: The visibility can reach 15-20 meters.
  • Water temperature: Ranges from 26-28 ºC during dive season.
  • Dive season: From May till October
  • Language: Russian/Ukrainian/English
  • Location: Sevastopol/Ukraine

 

 

Odessa

Diving in Black Sea near wonderful Ukrainian city Odessa can be amazing during dive season which starts in May and continues till September. The marine life is quite interesting: divers can meet rays, comb tooth blennies, gobies and etc.

Mostly divers are attracted to Odessa by divine wrecks which are located not very far from the city. The major wreck here is Romanian dry-cargo ship “Sulina”. It is located in 6 miles from Port of Odessa and ran aground 1942. It is 120 meters in length and its width is approximately 18-20 meters. “Sulina” remains in a very good condition and there is an access to some rooms. This ship belonged to Romanian royal family and lots of interesting things with royal arms were found.

Besides wreck “Sulina” divers are free to explore freight steamer “Bryansk”, English steamer “Patagonia”, paddle-boat “Durenstain”. The floor is teemed with wreckages and buckshots.

  • Depth:  4-30 meters
  • Visibility: 15-20 meters
  • Water temperature: Ranges from 25-28 during dive season
  • Dive season: From May till September
  • Language: Russian/Ukrainian/English
  • Location: Odessa district/Ukraine

 

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