We had the privilege to be in attendance of a presentation by Enalia Physis on Fri 29 March, the topic – ‘Assessing and Protecting Marine Biodiversity (Jubilee Shoals, SBAA Akrotiri, Cyprus)
Over the past year we, Pissouri Bay Divers, have been utilised by Enalia Physis to provide boat charters enabling a team of scientists to conduct data collection, research and analysis of the largest natural reef system in Cyprus, Jubilee Shoals. Our bespoke dive boat ‘Barbossa’ is the perfect platform for SCUBA with full safety equipment including Cylinder Rack, Dive Ladder, 100% O2, Comprehensive First Aid Kit, Life Saving Equipment, Flares, Ship to Shore Radio, Sun Shade and Fresh Water.


The primary areas of interest over the 2023 visits have been the Eastern Pinnacle which comprises of a plateau at a depth of 16m covered with Poseidonia fields interspersed with rocky outcrops, the most distinctive of these being Elephant Rock. Bordering the Southern edge of the plateau is a shear wall descending to 50m, this wall is encrusted with sponges and coralligenous assemblages. At the foot of the wall 30m West of Elephant Rock is the entrance to a Cavern at a depth of 38m, this cavern dissects the Eastern Pinnacle exiting 40m east of Elephant Rock at a depth of 43m. The Cavern System has numerous caves situated on the Northern Side, some are blind whilst one exits further East along the wall.

We regularly see good numbers of Green and Loggerhead Turtles occupying the Plateau, some of the biggest Turtles seen in Cyprus waters, other regular inhabitants and visitors include Lionfish, huge Grouper, Moray, Damselfish, Saddled and Striped Bream, huge schools of Amberjack, the occasional and very rare Bull Ray, along with lots of Macro life. We also regularly enjoy the company of Venus Girdle occupying the Mid to Shallow depths. We have, on occasion, been graced with the presence of Dolphins seen from the boat, but have unfortunately remained elusive whilst diving.

Jubilee Shoals continues for a further 1.2km West, primarily comprising of a steep Southern facing wall with undulating Plateaus and Pinnacles along the way, 350m West of Elephant Rock we find Jubilee Arch, this is a very pretty swim through with the entrance at a depth of 33m, exiting at 27m onto another plateau. Further West lies the remains of a RAF Canberra Jet Wing firmly lodged in the wall face at 37m. There are numerous overhangs, ravines, re-entrants, caverns and stunning pinnacles which are still to be explored in detail, the last swim through we have explored is located just before the Western tip, the entrance being from the plateau at 32m, exiting the wall face at 43m.

The whole reef is adorned with discarded fishing gear, nets, lines and buoys, there are literally hundreds of metres of fishing nets along the reef, the majority of which have now, firmly, become a part of the eco system. We have heard reports of large trawlers losing their nets along here, some saying a very big net was lost in 1983.

Part of the upcoming studies along Jubilee Shoals will include detailed discarded fishing gear research and what impact both negative and positive they have on the environment and the ecosystem.

Jubilee Shoals is located 5km off the Southern coast of Cyprus, located in the most nutrient rich waters to be found anywhere around the Island as well as the coldest. Temperatures do vary between 17-30 Celsius. This huge Reef is an absolute wonder of nature, the porous limestone feature amazes geologists who can’t understand why it stands alone in the vast featureless sea bed.
We eagerly await the detailed findings of the previous 12 months of research. We are fully aware that sea temperatures are rising, but the past 2 years have surpassed all predictions, last year (2023) saw sea temperatures at a level that were predicted for 2040.

Whether the cause of this is human impact or natural is a cause for debate. However, what we do know is that these temperature changes are having a huge impact on the environment.
We are proud to be a part of the ongoing research of Jubilee Shoals, honoured to be associated with Emalia Physis, the Darwin Project and Akrotiri Environmental Education Centre (AEEC)

The big take away so far is that: THE FUTURE IS NOW