Tuesday 17 September saw 7 BUDC members (Paul, Julian, Steve B, Jenny J-C, George, Andrew & Jenny H) arrive early at Gatwick airport to travel to Cyprus for a week of diving. We were met at Paphos by Norman (who had arranged the trip) and Hilary who piled us into Norm’s truck and a hire car and took us to the hotel.
Started just like any other BUDC trip when we turned up at the hotel and found that despite having a confirmed and paid-for booking they had no rooms. Apparently it is common policy to double book! So a 10 minute drive to another hotel and we were settled in. In fact some of us got family rooms with a lounge area, and breakfast was included so maybe we got a better deal although not right next to the dive centre as had been planned.
Met Kevin at the Dive centre to collect weights/cylinders and then off to Pistol bay for a couple of warm up dives. Interesting shore entry but easy dives over boulders and sandy areas with a couple of swim throughs.
Drive over to Latchi with Kevin & Ray and two dives around St George’s island from a boat. Down wall, and then zig-zag ascent back up. Small cave which could be entered. Second dive circled the island at a shallower depth.
Both days diving were nice and easy but not a lot of marine life. Saw some small puffer fish and lion fish which have both appeared in the Mediterranean Sea over the past few years. Probably due to the warming waters.
Enjoyed a BBQ up at Norman’s house on Day 2.
Today we transferred to Larnaca stopping at Limassol for a couple of dives on the way. Dive 1 was on the Constandis: a 23m Russian bottom trawler, and dive 2 was the Lady Tethis: a recreational cruise vessel. Both wrecks had been sunk as part of an artificial reef programme.
Settled into our hotel in Larnaca and were joined by Stuart and Bryan who flew out for a long weekend. The attraction – the Zenobia!
Rated one of the top ten wreck dives in the world, the Zenobia lies on her port side with 104 articulated lorries which can still be seen alongside the wreck. MS Zenobia was a Swedish built Challenger-class RO-RO ferry launched in 1979 that capsized and sank close to Larnaca in June 1980 on her maiden voyage.
The seabed is at 42m and the highest point is at 16m with visibility reaching 40m. Whilst diving around the outside of the Zenobia you can see a wide variety of fish life from large Groupers to barracudas and tiny nudibranchs that make the Zenobia their home. The cargo of trucks and their contents have never been salvaged and so are there to be seen lying on the seabed and chained to the decks.
Day 4 – 3 dives – overview of the layout of the wreck
Day 5 – 3 dives – split into 2 groups dependent on depth and amount of penetration preferred
Day 6 – 2 dives – split into 2 groups again
The Zenobia is an amazing wreck with lots of opportunities to see both inside the holds and explore the superstructure outside. Much more marine life here, even saw a turtle on one dive, with large groupers and shoals of fish. A number of fixed shot lines give the option to descend onto different areas of the wreck.
Between dives we enjoyed Michael’s amazing bacon and egg baps for a late breakfast, and tried out the tavernas for evening meals.
Many thanks to Ray and Kevin of Dive Point who provided all the tanks and arranged all the dives and transport, and Norman whose idea the trip was and liaised with Ray over the past few months, persuading him that it would be a good idea for a club trip!!