"My wife and I lived in Ankara, Turkey for several years while I was on an assignment for my company and while there I decided to get my diving certificate again. When I was young I had gotten my certification and then never dove again until I decided to approach Aqua Club a few years ago to see if they offered the training. Fortunately Aqua Club offered PADI courses.
In September of 2014 I started taking the Open Water course, and while taking this course Asutay told me that I just as well take 5 other certifications and get me Advanced Open Water certification. What made the training so pleasant is that Asutay and Gozde were so patient to make sure that I understood the material clearly and thoroughly. While diving they both ensured that the experience was fun, and more so, safe. Never, at any time, did I feel that my safety was being jeopardized. The dive trips were always well coordinated with plenty of staff to look after the needs of the divers and plenty of equipment for each diver as well.
One of the things I admired about Asutay is that he pushed me on to higher certifications than what I thought I was capable of achieving. By the time I had left Turkey I obtained my Dive Master certification and Asutay allowed me to start observing the training sessions that he conducted for those working towards Dive Instructor. This was very insightful and taught me more skills that I could some day use if I decide to take the instructor course.
While I was doing my training for the different levels my wife would accompany me on the dive trips and over the course of time she became confident and comfortable enough with Asutay and Gozde that she decided to try a Discovery Dive. Prior to me joining Aqua Club my wife was firm that she would never scuba dive; she would snorkel, but never dive. After she observed the professionalism and care that Asutay and Gozde gave to their students she decided to try diving. Fortunately enough for me she obtained her Advanced Open Water Diver certification and now we are able to dive together. The down side is that she is never as comfortable diving with me as what she was with Asutay and Gozde.
In summary, my experience with Aqua Club was one of the best trainings that I have ever had, be it work or non-work related. The manner in which Asutay and Gozde taught got me more deeply engrossed in the material than I think I have ever been in any other subject. My hat is off to this club for the great experience they offer to the public and created for me and my wife. I would recommend this dive shop to ANYONE looking to get their dive certification."
Mike & Sherry Johnson
"My name is Amr Rifai, I am a diplomat at the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I was working as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Egyptian Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, for 4 years, I just finished and returned back to Cairo last month.
I am please to have this opportunity to write this letter of recommendation for Mr. Asutay Akbayir the owner and director of Aqua Club for diving, through which I have started and enjoyed my first ever diving experience.
Mr. Akbayir is a very adorable professional diving instructor, he is very generous in teaching and sharing his wide knowledge and information about diving, marine life and aquatic world.
On the personal level, Mr. Akbayir's wonderful friendly spirit add a lot to the diving trip and make it unforgettable experience that I couldn't resist myself from repeating it again and again, so it ended up that I gladly joined almost all his diving trips since I started knowing him.
In fact, Not only that I feel very comfortable, safe and secure when I dive with him but also enjoy his own unique style of helping me to discover the underwater fabulous world.
Now As I finished my term in turkey and returned back to Egypt, I really miss Mr. Akbayir's diving trips the most, and I am waiting for his Sharm El-sheikh' trips so to start my diving adventures in Egypt.
To conclude, I highly recommend Mr. Akbayir for all my friends and everyone who want to start and enjoy the diving experience on the right and proper base."
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Of The Arab Republic Of Egypt
"I’m a Civil Engineer and holder of a M.S. in structures from Washington State University, with more than 23 years’ experience in Project and Company Management. I started scuba-diving since year 1999 and I’m a founding member of a diving association called ABYSSE PLONGEE in Tunisia. I’m a three starts CMAS diver and I divided in Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Zanzibar as well as Turkey.
I started diving with Aqua Club in May 2017 and I did 38 scuba dives with them in six different locations in Turkey.
I would like to testimony of the great organization of all the dive trips that I attended with Aqua Club especially the last dive trip in Kalkan on 15 and 16 September 2017.
We logged at the Pirate hotel which was 30 meters far from the port. It is a good hotel with an excellent view on Kalkan village, the port, the sea and the mountains. The room was good and the food was excellent. We had the opportunity to benefit from the three swimming pools of the hotel and the view from the terrace.
Aqua Club rented a very good boat from Kas since there was no proper boat in Kalkan able to carry all the divers who participated to Kalkan trip. The boat was waiting for us early morning in the port of Kalkan. It is a boat dedicated for scuba diving having an excellent settings enabling all divers to prepare them self and move freely inside the boat. As usual there was an excellent organization and each diver found his box with his name on it and all the equipment inside as well as hungers with names with the right diving suit size. The boat was equipped with an oxygen cylinder as well as an air compressor.
As usually, Asutay which is the Director of the dives briefed his Instructors and Master Divers about:
1. The close Hyper bar facility and communicated the Cost Gard phone number,
2. oxygen cylinder on the boat (tested),
3. the dives’ locations and dive sites,
4. the diving groups according to the level of divers,
5. the dives’ depths and expected overall dive time and clear instruction not to have decompression stops.
Once the briefing of the Instructor and Master Divers is finished, he starts briefing all divers, dispatching the groups and appointing buddies, giving comprehensive information about the dive site, reminding the safety instructions (like checking gears, buoyancy, informing about air consumption during the dive, ascents speed, safety stop etc).. The group and buddies dispatching as well as the estimate start time of the dives are posted in the boat.
I did only exploration dives, however I had the opportunity to follow from the boat some trainings and related explanations and I can ensure that Asutay and the instructors were extremely professional and very patient.
I highly recommend Aqua Club Ankara because of its punctuality, organization but above all; the strict implementation of safety rules and good diving practices. The dive’s Director, Asutay, as well as the instructors namely Gözde, Ömer and Ahmet whom are highly professional and have an acute sense of pedagogy."
"I am writing this email to express my gratitude to Asutay and Gozde Akbayir for their excellent organization of a trip to Fethiye, Turkey that I participated in on 1-4 September 2017.
Firstly, all of their communications ahead of the trip were comprehensive and clear. They provided a full itinerary and a fulsome breakdown of costs, which sought to keep costs down and was very accurate in terms of the final price. They advised us ahead of time as to the pick-ups along the way so that this did not come as a surprise. Also, they provided a suggested list of what to bring, which was very useful.
In terms of transportation, again they were very clear in terms of the length of the overnight bus trip and type of bus that would be used for the trip. While an overnight bus trip is never the first choice, they had warned us in advance – and the bus was very modern and comfortable.
On accommodation and food, again they were upfront in terms of what would and wouldn’t be provided. They made every effort to keep costs down, which was greatly appreciated – and also provided helpful suggestions for alternative dining options.
While I am not a diver, I was able to spend a day relaxing on the dive boat. The boat was very comfortable and there was access to affordable snacks/drinks. There was also snorkeling gear for those of us that did not dive. While non-divers were not the focus of the trip, Asutay made every effort to ensure we were included and had a good time. He also took photos of all of us – not just the divers.
Asutay was careful to explain everything throughout the trip in English and in Turkish, which was very accommodating of the non-Turks on the trip. Furthermore, he was extremely enthusiastic and willing to answer questions at all times. As such, I would wholeheartedly recommend him as a tour organizer, in terms of his professionalism, enthusiasm, and level of organization. While I cannot currently speak to the diving component, my experiences with him and Gozde have convinced me that I would like to learn how to dive with them in Ankara during my stay here. I hope to be able to do the introductory course later this fall, along with my partner and other colleagues at the Canadian Embassy."
Canadian Embassy in Turkey Second Secretary (Political)
"This is a letter of recommendation for Asutay Akbayir and his wife, Gözde, and their company, Aqua Club.
When I came to Turkey with the Canadian embassy, I was searching for a PADI dive center to learn how to dive. I came across Aqua Club on the internet, and heard several positive recommendations from others about the club. I have since completed the Open Water, Advanced Open Water, EFR, and Rescue Diver certificates. I have now started my internship for the Dive Master and intend on continuing on to train to become an instructor.
In this context, I have joined Aqua Club on several trips, including most recently on 16-17 September 2017 Kalkan trip. I have always found that the trips were very well organized and have always enjoyed my time. Everything from the transportation to the hotel to the boat for the diving trips were always clean and comfortable. Even the food on offer was great.
For the diving trips, I have always found Asutay to be very professional and conscientious about following the regulations of both PADI and those put in place by the Turkish Tourism Ministry.
In the water, Asutay and Gözde and their dive instructors always ensure the safety of their divers above all else. They give briefings that inform everyone about the plan, and are always on hand to ask questions and provide support to those who need it. They always assess a diver’s abilities as they are, and assist where needed. I have never encountered an issue while on a dive with them. In addition, I have always felt safe and in good hands with Asutay and his team.
I think you should know that Asutay is an asset to the PADI brand. I recommend him and his company very highly."
"This is a letter of recommendation for Aqua Club and its owner, Asutay Akbayir, in Ankara, Turkey. I would sincerely recommend those interested in diving in Turkey to contact Mr. Akbayir and join trips organized by him and Aqua Club.
I joined Aqua Club for a four-day trip to Fethiye in early September 2017. The trip was extremely fun and well-organized. Mr. Asutay and his wife, Gözde, were very lovely and always ready to answer questions and help those with requests. The transportation and hotel accommodations arranged for the trip were clean and comfortable.
Although I didn't dive, I joined the group for the two days on the boat and had a lot of fun. Mr. Akbayir and his wife were very professional and always took great care of the groups in the water. My husband dove with them, and I was always confident in his safety and security. Mr. Akbayir and his wife also made sure to inform those of us who were only snorkeling where it was safe to swim and snorkel.
Because of this trip, I am looking forward to learning how to dive with Mr. Akbayir. I thought you should know that Mr. Akbayir and Aqua Club are excellent representatives of PADI in Turkey."
Canadian Embassy in Turkey
"I'm writing to you in order to share my experience during the diving trip to Kalkan, 16-17 September 2017, organized by Aqua Club from Ankara.
Since one of the unfortunate sides of diving is a time gap if you want to fly to a location, the only option left for a weekend trip is road transport. Sitting on the bus for hours was inevitable, considering the geographical locations of Ankara and Kalkan, and, though that makes me unhappy as much as the next person, I have to say I was even able to sleep on the bus, since it was a big one for around 50 people. When it comes to the hotel that waited for us there, it was really a nice one, a bit like a compound with pool, dining terrace, and rooms that came with a special perk - the view was awesome.
For the diving part, although it was a bit hectic (which is normal, since it's only 2 days and I was doing my advanced course), I never felt unsafe and whenever I had problems with managing something on my own for whatever reason, I turned to instructors/candidates, who were very helpful and skillful, so I don’t get things wrong. Same goes for the boat crew. Boat was big enough to support us all and for everyone to have his/her own spot for cylinder/s and gear. The equipment’s state was standard for a rental one. Everything was functioning normally.
In a nutshell – would I do it all over again, with the same people? Definitely yes."
"I participated in Kalkan Diving Tour organized by Aqua Club on 16-17 September 2017. We travelled by a comfortable bus that was appropriate for the inter-city trip. When we got off in Kalkan we immediately settled in our rooms at Pirat Hotel without waiting for the usual check-in time. Pirat Hotel is one of the best hotels in Kalkan. The choice of the hotel was very convenient for its breakfast, the comfort of its rooms and location in walking distance to the pier. Our dive boat Anemon was very convenient for diving and was very comfortable with its two decks. The dive equipment on the boat was new and of high quality. The boat staff was helpful and smiling. The reason why I prefer Aqua Club is the importance that Asutay and Gözde Akbayır give to their work, their love for diving, their respect for the underwater world, and the pleasure of diving in a pleasant and risk-free way. Actually, the dives were conducted in small groups for the sake of safety and pleasure.
I wanted to share with you my satisfaction."
PADI Rescue Diver
"I joined the underwater world after I was 40 years old. Since I barely escaped drowning when I was a child, I had a phobia of sea. In order to conquer this phobia, I decided to join the underwater world. The most important criteria to achieve it is to dive safely, thus, I met Aqua Club. I dived in most of the places of the world, after every dive session, I think that I’m luckily a member of Aqua Club. Now, I’m having “dive master” training. Thanks to Asutay Akbayır and Gözde Akbayır, I appreciate their great efforts which is the main reason for me to conquer my phobia and achieve my dream.
Finally, I joined the dive session in Kalkan on September 16th-17th 2017. I’m not surprised to stay at the best hotel and dive with the best boat of the region. Besides, the boat was brought for us specifically from Kaş. It’s an important comfort for us to have the specially pre-prepared diving equipment in the boat. It’s really a great pleasure to have safe-diving sessions with special groups.
Once again, in the presence of you, I would like to thank both Asutay Akbayır and Gözde Akbayır not only to train me diving but also to have safe-diving."
"I want to share my impressions about my diving tour September 16-17 in Kalkan with Asutay Akbayır.
Overall opinion - very good organization of the whole trip.
1. Transfer (Ankara – Kalkan – Ankara) - comfortable transportation, convenient topically and time of departure and arrival.
2. Hotel - seafront, comfortable rooms. Help the organizer of tours for individual queries.
3. The boat is big, which allowed to comfortably accommodate all the participants of the tour (I even slept in the afternoon????).
4. Equipment – pre-prepared individual set.
5. High level of organization of the dives:
- the distribution of participants into groups according to their experience;
- constant attention and supervision by the instructors to each participant;
- interesting diving sites.
Trip very much, as all the previous ones. Organization of visit, quality of services and professionalism of the diving instructors, especially Asutay Akbayır, require no comment. As always 5 stars! A fun and friendly team due Asutay Akbayır!
If You have any questions, I'll be glad to answer You.
P. S. I wanted to emphasize, I bad speak English and do not speak Turkish, but trips did not experience discomfort and have always received a proper understanding."
"I am Ozgur VATAN (CMAS 3 Stars Scuba Diver). I live in Ankara and I want to share my opinions about my first diving tour that has made me so happy.
Firstly, as I am a picky guy, I searched Diving Schools a lot in Ankara. I do not want to denigrate somebody or some schools, but they could not make me feel sure.
During my search I have found Aqua Club and I have read some info in their web site that has impressed me too much especially Mr AKBAYIR’s letter about principles of diving raising emphasize the respect Sea Life in which “We are just a GUEST”.
Secondly, Ankara as a Capital City has no open water. You may think we are unlucky, but indeed we are. Let me explain:
After I decided to dive with Aqua Club (Mrs AKBAYIR is also so kind), I enrolled the Kalkan Dive (16-17th September 2017). We met in centrum and took on a bus. I was surprised cause I had never seen about 40 guests in one bus. (I was expecting 10-15 people in a van).
We arrived at Kalkan in early morning and had a change to sleep before diving. We took on huge diving boat at 9.30 am on time. I asked Mr. AKBAYIR that how many different levels-divers there were in that boat. He replied; 4 instructors, 7 Dive Masters, 21 fun divers and 11 student divers in 6 different groups.
I was in the expert group. We had one leader ad one dive master at the end that controlled us too often (very well).
Moreover, I should tell you that Mr. AKBAYIR was doing something unusual that I could not understand before diving. I observed well, could not get it, so asked the Captain. He replied that “Mr. AKBAYIR does not believe in luck, but believes in experince, observation and precaution.“
I was still wondering what Mr. AKBAYIR was doing underwater. I have learnt soon after that he was diving to point diving routes with some signs, ropes etc, securing boat anchor and decent rope, replacing buoy properly by himself. Then I got it : SAFETY FIRST making me really happy.
At the end of day after 4 dives, I observed different level students in different groups were organized well secured with dive masters. The boat was clean, comfortable, everybody had a place to wear on equipments, there were name stickers on seats and suits hangers all in order, the lunch is tasteful, enough to be full, I asked for second plate and ate that, equipments were clean and had good quality to dive, we had time to sunbath on the roof, in addition to that the hotel that located in the heart of Kalkan was clean, there were a security guy in front of the door, lobby stuff were helpful and smiling, mattresses were comfortable and there was high quality brand Daikin air conditioner in my room helped me to rest/sleep well (outside 20 C degree at night).
Finally, I have felt that I should share my opinion about this 5 Stars PADI Dive Center with you. I strongly advice every PADI or CMAS diver to dive with Aqua Club and Mr. AKBAYIR. I insist on that it is not so easy to find a Dive Centre is being conducted under a huge experince and a fund of knowledge as Mr AKBAYIR’s in my country. I have experienced and searched a lot. I have seen that recently."
"I am an advanced open water diver. I have received my diving license from Aqua Club Dive Center.
I was on the diving tour to Kalkan on September 16-17 with the group of Aqua Club. I would like to notice that everything including the transportation, accommodation, diving boat, diving equipment, food was perfect. Especially the boat (Anemon) was the biggest and best-equipped boat around that region. It was coming from Kaş only for our group.
We arrived Kalkan around 06:00 in the morning and all the rooms were ready, so we could take a rest before diving on Saturday. The hotel (Pırat) is the best hotel in Kalkan. It has an amazing view, which is beside the sea and moreover surrounded with flowers.
After breakfast with 1-2 minutes walk, we reached the diving boat, on which the diving equipment was ready in boxes with our names written on every box.
The diving groups were arranged well and were not crowded. 4 to 6 people per diving instructor with at least one dive master.
What I love the most about Aqua Club is that I feel my self as safe as I am outside of water. Asutay and his team care a lot about the safety and comfort of their divers.
I am sure that they are the most professional dive Club in Ankara and probably in Turkey."
"I am an Advanced Open Water Diver and have more than 40 diving experiences (all of them are at Aqua Club Dive Centre). I took all my "open water diver” courses and also “advanced open water diver courses” at Aqua Club Dive Centre. First of all, I want to underline that those courses are some of the “richest” academic courses in my whole academic life.
I and my wife Hülya Budunoğlu (also an Advanced Open Water Diver) attended the diving organization of Aqua Club at 16-17 September 2017 in Kalkan. It was again a dreamy experience as usual. At first, the transportation was on time and comfortable. Our accommodation was in Pırat Hotel which is the best hotel in Kalkan. It has a perfect view and comfortable rooms. For two days we sailed with Anemon which is the biggest and by far the most comfortable diving boat in Turkey. We all dived in small groups (4 people average) with experienced Diving Instructors and assistants (Dive Masters). Everyone who attends the diving organizations of Aqua Club knows that safety is the most important issue for Aqua Club. I did not experience any accident, near miss event or even panicked diver in any organization of Aqua Club.
I strongly recommend Aqua Club to everyone to start diving or dive for fun. I never dived with another club, and even I do not plan."
"We went to dive Kalkan Kaş Antalya last week with Aquaclub diving school. It was nice and safe that groups were about 6 people. Our trip bus and hotel were comfortable. Our boat was the biggest one Of Kaş harbor. I can say our instructors Mr. Asutay Akbayir and Mrs. Gözde Akbayir are theThé most careful ones all over the world. They have full attention and they always teach us to dive safely. We got enjoyable and safe dives during those 2 days. I like diving with them and feel safe while underwater."
"My name is Jason Lockie and I am a Canadian diplomat working in Turkey. Recently I participated in a long-desired experience, finally qualifying for my PADI Basic Open Water certification. I would like to explain to you my experience.
Step one of this journey was a weekend of training at a private pool (our ambassador’s private pool, to be exact ). When I first met my two instructors, Asutay Akbayir and his wife Gozde, I was immediately pleased with their happy nature and professional approach to the task. Asutay’s English is very good, though not perfect, but even when he struggled with the few words he did not know, he always did it with a large smile. The class theory was interesting, and while Asutay and Gozde could quite easily coach us through the answers, they encouraged us to listen and to think. Asutay was fond of reminding us of the PADI adage to Stop, Think and Act. This would soon serve me well.
I’m not sure if it was my eagerness or the instructor’s handling of the training, but I found pool training to be quite fun. I was a snorkeler for about 20 years, so finally being able to stay down for more than 30 seconds was a dream come true for me. And even when one of our fellow trainees proved to be a challenge to train, Asutay never faltered, never lost that winning smile, and never gave up on her.
So, one week later, we traveled to beautiful Kalkan, Turkey. It was a quiet little town set into the side of a small mountain, with a large harbor full of fishing boats. I could tell this was a poor town and was quite happy that I was here, helping a small community such as this sustain their way of life. The hotel was of poor quality, but reflective of the community as a whole. This was not a resort town, there was no beach. Also, given the amazing trip price Asutay provided us, I didn’t really expect a 5-star all inclusive. And I wasn’t there for the hotel.
Not long after we arrived it was on to the boat. A large boat crammed with equipment greeted me. But the top deck was open to the beautiful sun, and the 20+ passengers all got down to enjoying it. We cruised out a short distance and the boat began searching for the first dive spot, a wreck. Both anchors dropped, and the boat became a bustle of activity as the other divers prepared for their first dive (this location was below 20 meters, so this would be an advanced-only dive). I settled down on the top deck, trying to quell my anticipation of my first real dive.
Not long after the advanced divers were in the water (and some already descending), the boat started taking small but noticeable waves. Unfortunately, the waves were broadsiding us, causing quite a bit of rocking that soon had some of our new trainees wishing they hadn’t eaten breakfast. I didn’t have a problem, likely because I countered the waves by standing in the middle and shifting my weight to counter the waves. While many of us on the top deck were asking why they didn’t have the boat turned into the waves to minimize the effect, my feeling that to pull all the divers out of the water, pull an anchor, and re-adjust would burn through quite a bit of time. As the last dive of the day was near sunset, if we had of moved the boat in the morning I can see us having missed that last dive. Asutay also provided medication to help settle the stomachs of our troubled patients.
Finally, it’s time for my dive. We had moved to a shallower location (and no waves!) for our work. Always reminding us of our drills, we entered the water. Asutay worked us on our drills and most went without incident. Until I got stupid.
It was time for the “remove the mask and replace it drill.” I knew the drill. I had run the process thru my head a hundred times. I was confident. And then, right after taking my mask off, I, like an idiot, decided to try to inhale water thru my nose. Asutay had told us in training that some people would inevitably do that, at which point I had laughed. And then, at the critical moment…..I did it. I think I was more shocked at my own stupidity than anything else. However, Asutay’s calming voice came into my head and repeated: “stop, think, and act.” I reminded myself that yes, you can still breath (thru your mouth you moron!), and so rather than lose my cool, I closed my eyes and began my recovery process. Clearing my nose, then eventually replacing and clearing my mask. The rest of the day went much better for me.
The second day went even better than the first, particularly since we were at much more interesting locations. While Asutay continued his polite battle with his problem trainee, I had plenty of time to just float and admire the wonderful new world I had entered. After that, we went on our last dive, cruising along a large cliff wall with ancient pottery, sea urchins, and (sadly) garbage. It was the reason I had started this journey, and I was thoroughly pleased. It was a great weekend.
I know there was some grumbling from some of my fellow divers. Some seasickness (again, rectifying that problem would have likely cost us the last dive of the day), some slow transitions into the water, some complaints about the food. Even some of them came from me. First, I think what some have forgotten is that the cost for this entire adventure was incredibly low, and asking for better food is perhaps asking for more than was given. As for slow transitions, I’m a rookie, so I can’t compare to how it has happened to others in the past. Yes, we had to wait to get into the water. There were 20+ divers on the boat (that number might have been closer to 30, I can’t be certain). With the Turkish law requiring instructors with each dive group, that will undoubtedly slow things down. And I see no solution to that problem. However, I believe at the end of it all, the instructors did their best to try to make this a great experience for all.
I can only really speak for myself and my experiences. And I had an excellent time."