Title:
Provision of services for the design, selection and creation of eco-diving routes in Larnaca and Famagusta

Duration:
2 months (October-November 2023)

Funded by:
Larnaca & Famagusta Districts Development Agency (ANETEL)

Project Description:
Dive ecotourism blends environmental conservation with the excitement of exploration. It not only offers a unique window into the captivating underwater world but also plays a crucial role in fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of marine ecosystems. This approach has established itself as a powerful means of promoting responsible dive tourism, emphasizing respect for marine biodiversity.

Marine and Environmental Research Lab was entrusted with the critical task of evaluating and enhancing the environmental quality of new and existing diving routes in Larnaca and Famagusta. This ambitious project intertwined innovation with a deep respect for nature, redefining the diving tourism experience and reinforcing our commitment to preserving underwater ecosystems.

The project focused on five pivotal elements:

  1. Innovative sketches of diving routes: Our project successfully developed two new diving routes and refined four existing ones. We completed detailed mapping and sketching of these routes, revealing various underwater sites. The mapping involved carefully measuring and depicting the sea floor, including its features and bathymetry. We have selected and designed three new eco-routes in Famagusta, Cape Greco Caves (Ayia Napa), Cyclops Caves, The Chapel, and three in Larnaca in Zenobia wreck, reefs, and watchtower in Xylofagou.
  2. Biodiversity assessment: A major part of our work was assessing the variety of marine life in these areas. We aimed to enhance the awareness of divers about marine biodiversity. This was done by photographing and identifying marine species, and creating detailed documentation of species at each dive site. We complemented the biodiversity using existing data of MER from previous research projects.
  3. Underwater videography and photography: MER team captured awe-inspiring video footage and photographs allowing viewers to immerse themselves in the beauty of the underwater world. In capturing and documenting the underwater environment and marine life, specialized equipment and techniques were deployed.
  4. 360-degree content: We created 360-degree videos and photos. Specialized cameras equipped with multiple lenses were used in capturing a panoramic view of the environment, providing a full and immersive experience for interested divers.
  5. Points of interest: We identified and detailed significant underwater spots. These were chosen for their conservation value, unique seascape, or other important features. This helped in highlighting locations that are important for both divers and marine life conservation.