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Diving in Istria

There has always been a mark interesting in a big deal of people to explore underneath the sea surface and to be amazed  with all the wonder the ocean depths can offer to those who dare paying a visit to this delightful place on our beautiful planet.

Many of the seacoast places around the globe have in their touristic and leisure menu a trip to the profundities of the sea and take a deep look of all the fauna and flora which can be found on the seabed and print it in the memory as one of the most amazing and breathtaking experiences a single person could have lived.

One of these attractive places on the Earth is located on the Croatian Adriatic where Scuba Diving has been a truly old tradition dated from as long as 1893, when sponge divers started going beyond the surface of the sea using soft scuba diving suits in the location of Krapenj, Dalmatia. Later on, by the year 1937, armature scuba diving took its first steps at the time two brothers Kuscer went into the profound with some suits designed by them. On the same location, to be more specific on the Vis Island, people could see the first scuba diving military team in 1943, just little time after the capitulation of the area during the Second World War.

After these initial movements, the first scuba diving centers started to pop up the area during the decade of the fifties and it started to spread out through decades to become one of the main attractions in the whole Adriatic Ocean; and nowadays all the scuba activities and centers are ruled by the Croatian Scuba Federation, the head organization that gives all the necessary permissions to perform any scuba diving performance.

This organization suggest that the best months to have optimal scuba diving experiences are May, June, July, August and September; it does not go against performing this activity during the months of April and October but extra care must be taken since the visibility is quite an issue those months as well as the temperature; due to this, it is advisable to wear a 7mm or thicker suit to deal with the 15 degrees Celsius at the surface of the sea.

Most of the scuba diving organizations in Croatia are internationally recognized with the approval of CMAS, SSI or PADI and they are provided with all the newest technological devices and novelties making them the best places in the whole world to learn how to scuba diving. According to the SSI categories, you can find different proficiency divers locations; ranging from Open Water Divers to Advanced Open Water Divers, most of these places present the greatest variety of instructors who will indicate you what rules you must follow and explain all the safety measures you have to take before you embark in one of the most exciting adventures down there on the seabed.

If you happen to be in Istria, take the chance to go to the closest scuba diving school and go deep into the ocean; but before you go to any of the places which are going to be mentioned ahead, you must take into consideration your safety first by diving with a close friend or a relative who can provide you some help in hard situations and also a good time. To have a memorable experience, never underestimate the power of the sea or get overconfident with your skills and physical capacities; be sure to mark the limits to have a safe dive.

Now, here you have some of the places which can be visited on the Croatian Adriatic area for a good diving session:

Krnica – Cape Crna Punta / Wall before Skvaranska Bay

As soon as you get away from the Krnica port, you just go ahead right to Koromacno, and a few mile away, just a couple to be exact, and you are going to find the Black Point Cape. There you are going to find several depths to practice diving; for those who are just beginning doing this activity, there is the 5 meter deep zone and for the more experienced divers the 50 meters profundities are waiting for them – even the nitrox option can be selected. Since the water is crystal clear, the visibility should be 30 meter deep; if you dive parallel to the shore, following the rock heading east you will find a nice spot where you can go down up to 20 meters (or a little less depending on the tide). Going further, around some 25 meters of distance, you will be amazed to find a tunnel with soft coral and cnidarians where you will see several lobsters and tube worms; turning after the rock you can go up to the shallow. A crevice can be found at three meters deep and it is the way to get to a beautiful pebble beach. If you want to make this excursion longer, in the case you are not travelling by boat, you will find a wall preferable for advanced divers since this wall reaches more than 50 meters in profoundness. An advice if you are going there by car, the parking space for your car is way up from the diving spot, you have to carry the gear on foot for a very long distance to the spot and back to the car. In order to enjoy this place, you have to start by jumping into the water and then go south diving along the crag; immediately, the crag rises above the diver vertically curving delicately generating underwater coves. The average depth of the zone goes around the 20m, but it can go down up to 50m in the rocky locations of the place. Lots of fish seem to be not disturbed by the presence of divers while they are moving through the algae covered wall and corals.


Heading southwest from Pula, you need to cover about 9 nautical miles to arrive to the wreck of an Austrian Torpedo boat, the Flamingo, built in 1888 and sank by hitting one of its own mines in the year 1914, just little time before the beginning of the First World War. It occupied an area of approximately 40 meters long and 5 meters wide. The wreck is visible when you reach the 15 meters downwards. The upper deck is placed at 41 meters depth and the bottom is located at 46 meters down. You have to be very careful since plenty of sediments can be found all over the sunken ship, so it is advisable to go around it where the visibility is not compromised by any sort of coverage. Sponges, algae and shells are part of the ornament which covers the wreck, creating a live artificial reef. You can see flocks of fish going around the wreckage; furthermore, a lobster has made the place its residential palace – just take a look under the ship’s bow. It is not unusual to be surprised by a grouper while diving on the upper deck; its movement is quite slow even at the presence of several divers. An underwater lamp is recommendable if this diving experience is going to be taken. This amazing journey to the sunken ship is going to bedazzle you as a rainbow of color will be showed by the effect of light under the sea. To enjoy this diving activity is advisable to be performed by experienced or nitrox divers; time and decompression have to be checked constantly and carefully.

Banjole – Bumbiste

Few miles away from the Pula, it is the interesting village of Banjole, placed close to the sea in cape of Bumbiste; a place famous for its watery marks easily detected on the north side of the place. This adorable location is characterized by having a very long wall with more than 220 meters in length, going all the way the coastline from Fraskeric going all the way to the end of the area in Banjole. At the end of the wall in the town of Banjole, a division occurs generating two places or interest for divers; one it is a shallow spot in Banjole and the other one is little bit deeper placed at the Monte Cope peninsula. The shallow place in Banjole is the most beautiful one in the area with 20m or more in depth; to reach this zone, you can go by car from any town close to it. But if you want to get a more memorable experience, you can take a boat and go all the way to the cape. Just go to the middle of the cape in order to begin with the diving experience in the area; it is precisely there where the wall starts to be noticed. At 18 meters in depth, the wall forms a kind of vault, pretty flat one indeed, with lots of sponges and algae covering it. At a 30m distance this vault turns into the real wall, and right there you can find a passage that goes from 5 to closely 12 meters; extreme precaution has to be taken in this area since this gap is barely suitable for one single diver. This place is attractive for either beginners or experienced divers. First time divers can get plenty of experienced at the shallow while those with more time in diving can go deeper following the wall. Ask for Istradiving to get a better scuba diving experience.

Fraskeric – Pula

Just outside of the Veruda port, you can the small islet of Fraskeric. The place is inhabited exclusively by seagulls; and during summer, some visitors arrived at the location to enjoy a good swimming work out in the pool or swim at the beach. The most interesting spot for scuba diving lovers is on the other site of the island just in direction of the open sea. Fraskeric is packed with full underwater passages, crevices, half caves marked by the beauty of the world under the sea. To enjoy an unforgettable experience is advisable to accept that the best position for anchoring is going through the canal, neighboring the shore, within a 6m reaching area. From the very beginning of the cape down to the plateau and beyond the rocks, an 11 meter of depth hole can be found there; this hole communicates one side to the other by going through it, and after crossing it you will find diving in a zone at 18 meters deep. Just right at that point, you are going to find two enormous rocks and if you take a careful and deep look you encounter a conger. Move to the left and you will feel that the rocky bottom gets deeper and deeper, reaching the 25m in depth; the inhabitants of this place are the most spectacular and peculiar animals of the deep: amberjacks with stone bass and hauls of other fish. Closely to the first passage, you can find another one with an entrance to a cave which heads to 30 meter deep spot. If you decide to follow this road, going all the way through it you will return to the place where you left the boat in the shallows.

Baron Gautsch

In the year 1914, there was a fatal accident which involved all people who were travelling in the Austrian Lloyd’s ship. The vessel went under the sea when an underwater mine made contact with the boat and it caused what is known as the greatest sea disaster for all the Austro-Hungarian trade navy in the whole history of this organization. The remains of the ship are covered by the sediment bottom of the sea at around 6 nautical miles southwest of the St. John beacon, laying at 40 meters down the surface. You can meet the upper deck at 28m once you start diving; the lower one is located at a distance of 36 meters. The wreckage covers an extension of 85 meters long and a width of 12 meters. There are some limits for diving inside the sunken ship, only experienced divers with the right license or a special one and they have to carry the adequate gear to enjoy this excursion. And you can also enjoy the colorful decoration of the wreck form by different sponges and algae. Inside the sunken vessel, it has turned into the home of some pickerels and congers; these last ones, especially the bigger ones, have become the greatest attraction for divers to the ship providing some food to this sort of fish. To take part of this tour you have to have a special permit which it is restricted to some diving schools of the area and, for security reasons, the diving of the wreck is limited to the first two decks. To get the best enjoyment of this adventure, it is advisable to get in touch with Dive Rubin in the town.

Banjole Island

Located besides the Banjole village near Pula, the Banjole Island is one of the most attractive places to perform some diving excursions right in front of Rovinj where the great amount of several species of underwater life forms and its accessibility are the two most important features of this area. For instance, several colorful sponges, ranging from yellow sulfur sponge to red Spirastrellae, passing through pale blue ones, can be found abundantly on the seabed around the islet. Furthermore, the place is home for the scarlet and brown anemones that can be found on the rocks along with some other species providing a huge variety of lifeforms populated this area and turning it into a very interesting and attractive place. The interaction of the flora and fauna with the sunlight is one of the most amazing features of the zone, reaching a level of beauty only available in the greatest works of art. Travelling to the middle of the island, you are going to find a cave at 5 meters under the surface. Once you get into that cavity, you go through the main hall greatly illuminated from the top thanks to the soft intromission of the sun. Additionally to the existence of the red starfish in the island, shoals of seaperches can be found right there. When you are leaving the cave, you have to take your left to continue exploring the place as two other small caves which are complete secure to be explored. Once there, be ready to meet some shoals of seabreams and smaller blue fish. With an 18 meter depth, it turns the diving area one of the safest area for the newly initiated

Besides those highlighted places mentioned above, you can find several other diving places in the region of Istria which can catch your attention once you hear of them. For instance, there are 23 different sunken ships that can be visited, plus other 40 diving locations with different characteristics and formation. Visiting Istria, it is going to be an experience you will never forget since there are plenty of diverse and well preserved floras and fauna along with lots of walls and reefs, joining the shipwrecks of the area, turns the Istria seabed into a spectacle that would leave divers speechless. Courses are provided almost on a daily basis by the different scuba diving centers; so you are opened to experience a new and fantastic new world.

Added to the spectacular views, you can go around the area and find several places specialized in renting high quality outfits and safe gear or, if you can afford it, buy them on those specific stores. Also, referring to safety, there is the presence of a hyperbaric chamber in the locations of Pula and Rijeka just in case of emergency.