The opening of MUSAN took place with an impressive ceremony last week at Pernera beach in Ayia Napa.
MUSAN is an aquatic treasure for Cyprus, since its uniqueness in combination with Ayia Napa’s marine environment create a special project, the like of which isn’t offered anywhere else.
The ceremony was opened by Ayia Napa’s Mayor, Christos Zannettou who stated: “I am very excited that this project is inaugurated during my time as mayor. It’s a legacy for future generations and contains many symbolisms about the alienation of humans from the environment, the relationship between different generations and climate change”.
The creation of MUSAN was a result of the joint effort of the Department of Fisheries and Marine Research, the Ayia Napa municipality and the Ministry of Tourism. In her speech, the director of the Department of Fisheries and Marine Research, Marina Argyrou, expressed her great satisfaction and excitement that a unique and innovative project that was envisioned with the Ayia Napa municipality is becoming a reality. “I firmly believe that Jason’s 93 artworks will be a haven for many sea creatures and will contribute to the development of biodiversity in the area. The underwater museum will be a living visual and ecological experience, with works of art interacting with nature and evolving over time and I’m certain it will bring people closer to the marine environment and the conservation and protection of our marine ecosystem”. The Minister of Transport, Communications, and Works and former Mayor of Ayia Napa, Yiannis Karousos also addressed the guests. “When asked what projects I am proud to have promoted or implemented during my seven-year term as Mayor of Ayia Napa, among the first I mention is the MUSAN Underwater Museum that we are inaugurating today”, said Mr. Karousos. “It’s a Mediterranean jewel created by the world-renowned artist Jason deCaires Taylor and offers visitors an unforgettable experience that demonstrates the relationship of humans with nature, the environment and the seabed.”
MUSAN is a landmark for the tourist product and the promotion of the marine environment of Cyprus, since it is an unmatched experience that combines the natural environment of the sea with art in a way that stands out. In his speech, the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Savvas Perdios, stated that “diving tourism is a priority in the National Tourism Strategy 2030″.
At the new Museum of Underwater Sculpture Ayia Napa, visitors can tour an underwater forest, a world’s first. There, they will view 93 works of art by Jason deCaires Taylor, inspired by nature and humans. At the same time, the museum is a work of art in itself, in which nature will be an artist and will make its own interventions, over time. The sculptures have been designed and made with materials that attract marine life, and are placed at different depths, thus creating a suitable substrate for marine life at all levels.
The sculptures are made of inert materials, with neutral pH, so as not to adversely affect the area. It’s a sandy area, 200 meters from the coastline of Ayia Napa and it is expected that over time the biodiversity of the area will be enriched, thanks to the museum.
Museum visitors can be divers, but also swimmers with mask and snorkels. The entire project is a water journey into the relationship between man and nature, as created by the renowned Jason deCaires Taylor. The artist uses his knowledge and skills as a sculptor, marine conservationist, underwater photographer and scuba instructor to create unique works of art, which respond to the place they are put and enhance marine life.
For more information visit the MUSAN website by clicking here.
Header Image: © MUSAN / Costas Constantinou
Amazing Alonissos – The all round dive vacation destination
In early summer we were given a wonderful opportunity to visit Alonissos in the Sporades Islands in the northern Aegean Sea. This green and forested island sits at the edge of the Alonissos National Marine Park, the largest marine protected area in Europe. Our main focus was to be scuba diving, but during our short stay we were especially impressed with all of the other activities and experiences available on Alonissos for the discerning vacationer.
The scuba diving was really outstanding. In contrast to some areas of the Mediterranean, the marine biodiversity here was impressively diverse and abundant. Our short stay meant we just had a small taste of the diving available, however our hosts at Alonissos Triton Dive Center treated us to some exceptional sites from their impressively long list. The variety of marine life we encountered was a delight: large Gorgonian sea fans, many species of nudibranchs, small pipefish to large groupers, octopus, and much more.
One of the most incredible experiences was the chance to dive the oldest accessible shipwreck in the world, the Ancient Shipwreck of Peristera underwater archeological site from 500 BC … an amazing dive site with a very unique automated underwater museum monitoring system in place to protect its archaeological heritage. It was a busy but hugely satisfying few days of diving and we could certainly spend much longer on this idyllic isle!
Greece has a huge number of beautiful islands to visit, so why choose Alonissos?
This island is one of the quieter Greek islands and as such has a very relaxed and welcoming feel, where you can find an authentic slice of the Aegean region. And, it is really easy to get there — so many airports in the UK offer flight connections directly to Skiathos (the hub of the Sporades) that you should not have to drive more than 100km in the UK to an airport.
Finally, the variety of non-diving activities is hard to beat. There are boating day trips into the National Marine Park, taking you to visit secluded beaches and giving you a chance to see some amazing wildlife (such as monk seals, Eleonora’s Falcon, and several species of dolphin to name a few). Both the main port town of Patitiri and the old village of Chora are full of interesting shops, charming alleyways, and restaurants with delicious meals. As an added bonus, the Alonissos cheese pie is a particularly moreish local specialty!
As a holiday destination, Alonissos really had everything one could ask for. Look for our full print article in an upcoming issue of Scubaverse’s own Dive Travel Adventures magazine!
The Municipality of Alonissos (https://alonissos.gr/en/)
Alonissos Triton Dive Center (https://bestdivingingreece.com)
Alonissos National Marine Park (https://alonissos.gr/en/marine-park/overview.html)
Paradise Hotel (https://paradise-hotel.gr/)
Albedo Travel (https://alonissosholidays.com/)
Diving With… Sporades Diving Group in Skopelos & Alonissos Islands, Greece
What is your name?
(Anastasios) Tasos Ktistis
What is the name of your business?
Sporades Diving: Skopelos Dive Center operates in Skopelos island and Ikion Diving that operates in Alonissos island, which is run by my business partner Kostas Danis.
What is your role within the business?
Master Scuba Diving Trainer PADI & Co-Owner of Skopelos Dive Center & Manager of Skopelos Island diving operations
How long has the business operated for?
How long have you dived for, and what qualification are you?
I have been diving since 2012. I am a Mechanical Engineer with a BA in Documentary Photography and since 2012 I am qualified as a Master Scuba Diving Trainer PADI, since 2021 Tec65 diver and since 2022 as a Tec40 Diving Instructor
What is your favorite type of diving?
If you could tell people one thing about your business (or maybe more!) to make them want to visit you what would it be?
We offer our clients a safe and relaxed type of diving in the exciting and crystal-clear waters of the Sporades islands in Greece. Christoforos and Peristera’s ancient wreck are two must dive destinations.
What is your favorite dive in your location and why?
My favorite dive location is the “Christophoros” shipwreck. A 83m long modern shipwreck that sank in 1983 in Panormos Bay in Skopelos island. As a wreck diving lover, I am so excited that as one of our dive locations I get to dive on this amazing site with our clients.
What types of diving are available in your location?
On our dive sites the rocky landscape is dominant with beautiful reefs, walls and caverns that I am sure everyone will enjoy. And of course wreck diving at the “Christophoros” shipwreck
What do you find most rewarding about your current role?
The satisfaction and the happiness on our clients’ faces after a dive.
What is your favorite underwater creature?
As a center what is the biggest problem you face at the moment?
I would say the fact that the Sporades islands have a short summer season (July-August) although the weather is ideal for diving from May till October.
Is your center involved in any environmental work?
Of course we are! First of all, we are all great advocates of the less plastic movement that has started in 2014, not only in Skopelos but also in Alonissos (Ikion Diving). We participate in underwater clean-ups as well as in projects for local management of plastic waste (#zeroplastic with iSea and Re-Shape plastic-funded by Beyond Plastic MED.)
Are there any exciting changes / developments coming up in the near future?
We currently aspire to get more involved in Scientific Diving projects by actively supporting the operations through our involvement in EU funded projects, while at the same time we are also exploring the possibilities of Technical Diving as me and my partner of the Alonissos base, Kostas Danis, are certified PADI Tec40 Instructors. We believe that in the future our business will be well known for not only its recreational diving services but also its involvement with the Scientific Diving community through its technical diving services and expertise.
How do you see the SCUBA / Freediving / snorkeling industry overall? What changes would you make?
I believe that SCUBA and in general alternative tourism becomes more inclusive and even more people are interested to get to engage in this type of activities that ultimately protect the environment by raising awareness of the public about the ecosystem of the sea and its significance to a viable future.
Finally, what would you say to our visitors to promote the diving you have to offer?
At Skopelos Dive Center and Ikion Diving Alonissos (Sporades Diving Group) you can create fantastic underwater experiences – including guided dives, PADI courses, and snorkeling tours combining the two islands. It is our goal to create a safe, comfortable experience for divers of all abilities.
Where can our visitors find out more about your business? (This is where you enter your contact details and any specific details on how our audience can reach you)
Skopelos Dive Center (Skopelos Island)
Ikion Diving Alonissos (Alonissos island)
+30 6940 448 004 (WhatsApp: +30 6984181598)