The small islet of Banjole off the coast of Istria, Croatia, is a beautiful sight to see on its own, but what’s even more interesting is what lies beneath it. A complex of 3 caves, all of which can be reached from the western side of the island, are ideal for divers of all levels of experience. Banjole is very popular among local divers, but also attracts a lot of tourist attention since it is close to Pula, which is one of the major tourist and property hotspot in Croatia. It’s recommended to hire a boat from a boat rental, and take a short 20 minute ride to reach the diving site. The maximum diving depth is 35 meters if you’re feeling adventurous, but most of the caves and many other features of the reef are located just 15 meters under the surface.
The entrance to the center one of the three caves is located on a depth of about 5 meters. The cave is dark and relatively shallow, with a bit of underwater life, most commonly conger eels and Lobsters. The upper part of the cave contains a chimney-like opening through which the sun shines and provides an excellent chance for underwater photography. The opening leads to the center of a lake located in the middle of the islet. The Left cave, located at a depth of about 15 meters, starts with a narrow and dark passageway, which leads to a bigger chamber inside the cave. The right semi-cave is especially rich with animal life, most prominently red starfish, cucumbers, and lobsters. This long, majestic cave is partially eroded from exposure to strong waves and sea currents. All of the caves have some beautiful examples of sponge life on their colorful walls.
After you’re done exploring the caves, take a moment to explore the surrounding area of the reef. It feels like a blissful stroll through a breathtaking place filled with rich plant and animal life. If that’s not enough for you there are numerous wreckages, sunken ships, reefs and other locations surrounding Banjol which are also worth your attention. If you rented a boat these sites can be reached in a matter of minutes.
We recommend OWD divers to dive through the easily passable caves, and explore the whole complex in about 45 minutes dive time.
AOWD divers can go to the maximum diving depth and stay there for about 10 or 15 minutes, after that start their ascent to about 13-15 meters of depth, and start to explore the cave system. This should also take about 45 minutes. If you’re an experienced diver, we recommend diving to the maximum depth, exploring the whole surrounding of the island, then slowly ascend, explore the caves, and surface on the lake in the middle of the islet. This should take about an hour of dive time.
The caves and reef underneath Banjol are also extremely suitable for diving during the night, because of their relative simplicity and excellent visibility. If you’re feeling uneasy about diving at nighttime, a diving light should be more than enough to ensure maximum visibility. So what are you waiting for? Call a boat rental in Croatia, rent your vessel, and set sail. You won’t regret it!