This week guest blogger Alexandra Dimitriou takes us below the waves to her favorite wreck dives in Cyprus…
Wrecks are wonderful. A lust for rust is common among us divers and Cyprus is a real treat for those who prefer their boats below the waves.
Wreck dives to watch in Cyprus are:
Location: Larnaca, Cyprus // Description: Wreck // Length: 174 meters // Depth: 18 – 42 meters
This world class wreck is enormous. The Zenobia was a roll on-roll off (Ro-Ro ferry) that sank on her maiden voyage in 1980 and is unmissable. At depths between 18 – 42 meters and with a length of 174 meters. She has four lorry decks on four very distinct experience levels; this wreck is perfect for anyone from an Open Water Diver to the teck-iest among you.
The value of the wreck when she went down was huge. Carrying 104 eighteen-wheeler lorries and one car (the captain’s private blue Lada) the loss was estimated at 20 million Cypriot pounds for the vessel herself and then an astonishing 200 million Cypriot pounds for her cargo. This must have been a huge blow to the Swedish Company that made it, but the Zenobia wreck has proved to be one of the most lucrative tourist attractions on the island. The revenue that this metal giant provides to the dive industry is estimated to be over 25 million Euros per year! This shows you just how great she is, almost all certified divers will visit her at least once and, in my experience, will return year after year to explore another section of her.
The crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean make a Wreck Diver Specialty course ideal here – you can learn how to reel in and reel out without even penetrating the wreck to begin with, and then, under the watchful eye of your PADI Instructor, you can explore its interior to your heart’s content.
Location: Larnaca, Cyprus // Description: Wreck // Length: 35 meters // Depth: 30-40 meters
This wreck lives in the shadow of her neighbor the Zenobia. Located just 500 meters away from the Zen, she is hugely overlooked by many divers, but that’s all the more reason to make this one for you logbooks. The Alexandria, or the Alex for short, was an old fishing trawler that went down in 2006. She was on her way to Limassol to be decommissioned, but bad weather had another fate in store and she went down to lie on the sea bed in a perfect upright position. If you have your PADI Wreck Diver and Enriched Air Diver specialties, this wreck can be covered easily in just one dive; the perfect appetizer before moving on to her big sister, the Zenobia.
Location: North-East of Larnaca, Cyprus // Description: Wreck // Length: 35 meters // Depth: 33 meters
The HMS Cricket is a “Donald Duck” wreck dive, meaning she lies upside down on the seabed, with her hull pointing to the surface (like a duck’s beak). She can be quite a challenge because of her position in very silty conditions – which means that your buoyancy needs to be perfect before making this dive! If not for your own enjoyment, buoyancy and gentle frog/flutter kicks are vital because anyone who happens to be behind you will encounter very low visibility if you don’t. A combination of Wreck Diver, Peak Performance Buoyancy and Enriched Air Diver specialty courses would be ideal before this epic dive.
The Cricket was originally commissioned for the WWI and her final fate is veiled in mystery. A huge implosion hole is its only clue, and it makes for a great penetration point. You really have to turn this dive around in your mind to get a true vision of what she once was – an Aphis Class gunboat whose life was extended by WWII.