This article was written for Fethiye Times by Sian Midgley. Photographs by Önder Diktaş.

When I’m out and about (during permitted hours and with a mask on of course) I get to meet some interesting people.

One such person is the lovely, rather tall, 36-year-old Önder. Fethiye born and bred he likes to spend his time doing two things – diving and photography – and, along with a group of friends, he has managed to combine the two.

A Bit About Önder

But let’s go back to the beginning. Önder only discovered diving by chance ten years ago. He went along with some clients and impressed the dive crew so much with his natural skill that when a vacancy came up on their dive boat, he joked he could do the job so they actually offered it to him. He jacked in his current role as a white goods repairman and the rest, as they say, is history.

Meet A Local

Since then he has dived multiple times off the Turkish coast but dreams of diving in Egypt, Thailand and the Maldives when the world fully opens up again.

Captured On Camera

As for photography, Önder and his friends have built up a good reputation for producing stunning underwater photographs. Although his favourite subjects to get on film are the local turtles he likes to do something a little different occasionally so his portfolio now contains unusual photos of underwater cyclists, underwater camping, underwater office workers and many other shots that feature the Turkish flag. Some of the photos he takes, some he features in.

It isn’t just photos either, sometimes the group indulge in creating videos. The most unusual request so far, from a trainee diver, was to film his underwater wedding – I bet that went swimmingly (sorry, couldn’t resist).

Keeping The Seabed Clean

Önder doesn’t let his diving skills go to waste either and, along with his friends, will spend many an hour collecting rubbish from the seabed. When I asked what was the most common type of rubbish they found I fully expected the answer to be plastic bags and water bottles but, no, apparantly it is cutlery and crockery that has most likely slid off a tour boat unnoticed. They have also found jewellery, a few mobile phones and even an iPad – which doesn’t still work I hasten to add.

An Experience Not To Be Missed

Önder’s passion for diving means he thinks everyone should try it at least once. In his own words he says ‘people visit Fethiye and go on the jeep safaris or paragliding off Babadağ but diving these waters can be just as exciting and memorable.’

This year’s dive season has already started so if you live here or are due to visit later in the year and fancy giving it a go you can contact Önder via his website:

Meet A Local

You don’t need to have your own equipment, you don’t even have to be able to swim, and if you fancy diving but your loved one or your travel buddy doesn’t then they can come along and enjoy the sun, the food and a bit of swimming for a reduced price.

Although I’m nervous about the thought of diving, and can’t swim particularly well, I’ve signed up to have a go at the end of this month. If I can do it, anyone can.