Duchess of York

Turkey, Mediterranean, Kalkan
Entry Map
Max Depth
98.4 ft

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving at Duchess of York

The dive site consists of a reef approximately 3 nautical miles south of cape Ince Burun, surrounded by deep water. The ridge of the reef rises up to 3-5 m. On the one side it slopes down to a plateau at 20-30 m, on the other side is a wall that changes into a steep slope somewhere between 30 and 40 m. Pieces of wreckage, mostly pipes and plating, are strewn all over the reef. In some places there are also amphoras. On the plateau lie the remains of a small, steam-powered ship. There is not much left of its structure, only the bottom with keel and ribs and some lumps of coal strewn over it. The best preserved part ist he stern where remains of the steering mechanism can be seen. There are also parts of at least one boiler. The much more interesting wreck (or part of it) lies on the other side of the reef. On the top of the reef is a deep crack running diagonally over it. It was obviously torn during a wreckage, some pieces of metal are still wedged into it. Follow the direction of the crack and use your compass to keep it. Don't go down to the ground but keep a depth of around 30 to 35 m. If you watch the ground carefully, you can see a trail of wreckage leading to the wreck itself, for example a big part of the hull plating complete with railings. Because of the usually excellent visibility (sometimes more than 40 m), the main part of the wreck can be seen from some distance. The highest point is at 43 m where the ship is broken, at the corner of the deck and the port side. It's the bow part of a big cargo ship, at least 40-50 m long, lying on the starboard side with the bow down at a depth of more than 80 m. The decks are standing vertically, with some machinery (winches) still fixed to it and several open cargo hatches. Rows of portholes are running along the hull. There is a lot of small fish and the wreck has a beautiful cover of sponges and soft corals. To penetrate the wreck safely you need trimix, but because of the great visibility you can see the whole of it from the highest point. If you return to the reef, watch out for amphoras on the reef wall. The densely overgrwon reef itself is very beautiful. Amongst the animals that can be seen are hermit crabs, octopuses, lots of small fish, small and big scorpionfish, morays, schools of barracudas and mackerels and sometimes turtles. The reef is not only the best dive in the area, but one of the best in Turkey. There is some confusion surrounding the identity of the wreckage. A bell with the inscription 'Duchess of York - Hull 1893' was found close to the bow piece, indicating that the stern part on the plateau and the deep-lying bow part belong to one ship. However, the documents concerning the Duchess of York show that the shallow wreckage is probably all that remains from her. She was a two-masted sailing ship with an auxiliary steam machine, a length of 101 feet and 51 tons. She was built at Hull (England) in 1893, sold to a Spanish owner in 1902, renamed "Carmen" and sold again in 1919. After this date she disappears from Lloyd's lists. It is clear that the deep wreckage comes from another ship because both parts together would give a hull with at least 250 feet and 1.000 tons, much bigger than the Duchess of York was. Maybe the bell was thrown over the ridge of the reef by a boiler explosion. The devastated state of the wreck indicates a end of that kind. There is also a local tradition about a ship blowing up on the reef and some bodies being washed ashore sometime at the beginning of the 20th century. However, the eyewitness remembered that this happened during the First World War when the battle of Gallipoli was fought - this was in 1915 and some years before the Duchess disappeared, There are not many clues to the identity of the other wreck - whose stern probably lies in greater depth - except construction details like the wooden deck or the riveted hull that indicate a high age (probably early 20th century) and the information that a Turkish ship called Sakarya was lost on the reef sometime around 1957 while carrying a cargo of coal and chrome ore. Maybe it's the bow part of the Sakarya - or of another, unknown ship. By boat from Kas or Kalkan with one of the local diving centers.
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