dive site type: caves & caverns / nature
depth range: 0-20 m
distance from the diving center: 4 nm
short characteristic: the best of Croatia in one place: huge rocks to swim between them, a colourful wall with yellow sea fans, numerous nudibranches and various crustaceans plus a 25-meters long tunnel
The peninsula of Kabal is the northernmost part of the island of Hvar. Around 6 km long it is just 500 m wide in the narrowest part, situated at the base of the peninsula. Its shape resembles an open hand with more or less 20 fingers (small capes and headlands). With an area of about 8.5 km2 the peninsula of Kabal is a popular place for long walks and bicycle trips. Despite the fact that this terrain, originally intended for pasture and today used as a hunting area due to its rich fauna, can be explored from the inland part, several coves are accessible by boat only. A stony road runs through the whole peninsula, but in some places slopes are so high that climbing is the only method of moving. The peninsula determinates the border of Stari Grad Bay. The entrance to the gulf is located close to the cape of Kabal (Rt Kabal), where a lighthouse is located. As the port of Stari Grad is situated in the long (over 4 nm) bay, it is one of the safest harbours of the Adriatic Sea due to its natural protection. Nevertheless in the XX century and war times there were bunkers located on the cape of Kabal.
Although the emerged part of the peninsula is very interesting, Kabal hides its best under the water. Diving close to the cape can be organized in a several different ways, but usually it is a drift dive starting outside of and ending in the Stari Grad Bay. In the beginning the divers swim across a rocky field with a giant stones lying on the bottom at a depth of about 12 m. It is worth to look under the stones to find for example hiding forkbeards. After a dozen or so minutes of diving the relief changes and the divers reach a wall. This vertical stone structure has its base at a depth of about 18 m and above the sea level it goes up to more or less 50 m (in the neighbourhood there is located the highest peak of the Kabal peninsula – Bila glava with a height of 109 m).
Underwater part of the wall is covered by yellow sea fans and red sponges. The north-west exposition of the wall causes high biodiversity of organisms characteristic for deeper waters and nocturnal animals. On the sea fans it is quite common to see various nudibranches and rare eggs of catsharks. In numerous holes, in turn, there are hiding different crustaceans, like squat lobsters. Although the wall is really eye-catching, it is good from time to time to take a look into the blue, where sometimes common eagle rays might be spotted. Still, it is not yet the best part of this dive site. After around 30 minutes of swimming divers reach the tunnel with the entrance at a depth of about 16 m. The tunnel consists of two parts. The first one is a chamber about 15 m long, 5 m high and 5 m wide. The second one is much narrower and it is a steep slope going up to more or less 9 m. After passing the tunnel the divers continue swimming inside the Stari Grad Bay. The beginners and people afraid of closed spacer can swim around the cape, what takes no more than 5 minutes longer than going through the tunnel. No matter which way the divers choose, they finish the drift dive in the lighter side looking for numerous octopuses during safety stops.