“Ishmail” sinks…

By on March 12th        0 Comments   /   show comments

The ancient petrified palm-trees in the fossil forest of the coast near Kavomalias (in southeastern Peloponnesus) filter the seawater and they make it fly high with the swell. I took several photos, and after having walked around for hours I finally sat down under the shade of a carob tree. I put on my dark glasses and stared at the open sea in front of me …

All seemed nice and tranquil…


Καβομαλιάς, Αγία Μαρίνα


But … there… in the blue waters near the shore, I saw something big and dark. I immediately became curious… What was that? … At that moment, a shepherd passed by beside my carob tree with his flock of sheep. “Well, hello my boy…” he shouts with a serious and intense voice.

“Hello to you too man,” I replied and I grabbed the chance to ask him: “And what is this ‘thing’ which blackens into the water?”
“Oh … it’s the ship… The Turkish one… “.

He sat in the shade next to me. His sheep were chewing the scant grass of the coast, looking innocently and naively at cape Kavomalias predominating in the background. The shepherd rolled a cigarette and started telling me the strange story of the sunken ship.

It is the motorship «Kaptan Ismail Hakki» which sank here, in these waters on the 30/1/1978. One villager – a cousin of the shepherd- saw the ship struggling with the waves that very night and lit a fire on the shore to guide the castaways. The shipwrecked sailors saw the light and rowed over there with their little boat.

Having survived they gave the little boat of «Kaptan Ismail Hakki» as a present to the good peasant. “I’ve sailed with this boat,” says my shepherd laughing.

Long after that day I researched and learned even more. Ishmael Hakki was the owner of the ship’s company Deval Shipping Group (founded by Hasan Deval in 1881).

Hakki in fact – when he took over the company in 1952 – brought a modern era in the Turkish merchant fleet converting old steam ships to diesel. They say that maybe the wrecked motorship in front of the petrified forest of Aghia Marina was the first Turkish diesel ship! When she sank she was carrying iron ore.

Καβομαλιάς, ναυάγιο, Αγία Μαρίνα

After a while the shepherd left. Curiosity was killing me… I had my diving gear in the car. Well, nothing could hold me ashore any longer …

Within half an hour I was jumping in the water in front of the petrified palm forest and started to swim towards the mysterious dark stain in the blue sea. The bottom of the sea was flat, clear and covered with shiny crystal sand.

I saw her from afar blackening. My soul tightens every time I see a shipwreck underwater… The 30 meter long ship is leaning left on the sandy bottom at 12 meters deep, while the shallower part is just 3-4 meters from the surface. It is one of the most photogenic wrecks (but I’ve left the underwater housing of the camera back at home! This picture is from a spearfishing trip there…). I dived many times next to the gunwale, the rounded stern with the propeller covered with seaweed, high in the antennae.

I pulled my head out of the water … In the distance a cargo ship whistled as she was passing by from the island of Kythira.


Where am I?

The coast of Aghia Marina is located south of Neapolis Laconia, before cape Kavomalias. The wreck is located about 200 meters from the coast towards the southwest.




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