Posted on: Apr 21, 2022 Posted by:

The underwater elephant cave in Crete

The underwater elephant cave in Crete was discovered by chance by a spearfisherman.

The Elephant Cave at Cape Drapano in Chania is an underwater sight of stunning beauty and unique heritage, both for professional and amateur divers.

At a distance of only 30 km from the center of Chania and north of Kokkino Chorio, lies this underwater cave, a chance discovery by a spearfisher a mere 21 years ago, in about 1999.

In 1999, the spearfisherman from Apokoronas, Chania, Manolis Efthymakis, accidentally discovered an underwater cave of impressive beauty.
The Elephant Cave, as it was named, is located 500 meters from Cape Drepano in the Prefecture of Chania. It took its name from the findings discovered inside.

They are mainly elephant bones and a small percentage of deer. From the measurements made the bones come from an unknown species of elephant, which was named "Elephas Chaniensis", ie elephant from the area of ​​Chania.

Today, "monachus-monachus" seals find refuge in the cave.

The length of the cave is 160 meters, while its entrance is about 10 meters below sea level.

Its bottom is completely covered with water, in some places shallower while in some places, deeper, reaching even four meters. At the entrance of the cave, there is a tunnel of about 40 meters and then the rest is 125 meters long and an average width of 25 meters which is the main room of the cave, which has been partially flooded.

The most important finding of the cave was the identification of palaeontological material. An initial study showed that it consists mostly of the bones of elephants and a very small percentage of deer bones (Cervidae). These findings were new for Crete are the unique coming from submarine caves.

In the cave, there are stalactites and stalagmites with reddish color which is due to the content of aluminum and iron. This fact as well as the study of sediments proves that the cave thousands of years ago was not covered by water and was dry.