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Cyprus with a Difference

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October 2017 saw me on my travels to a destination not usually associated with UK travellers.

After meeting a lovely lady on our first visit to Cuba in 2013 we found ourselves on a flight to the Northern end of Cyprus which has for many years found itself under Turkish rule. The proximity of Larnaca became to tempting and with the help of Asim and his team at Amphora diving a visit to the MV Zenobia was quickly arranged.

The MV Zenobia was a challenger class Ro Ro ferry launched in 1979 and she was to sink close to Larnaca Harbour in June 1980. She now lies in 42 metres of water on her side and is considered one of the best wreck dives in the world.

Zenobia, Cyprus - Martin Balls

Picked up by a private minibus it took about 1 hour for the trip to Larnaca, don’t forget your passport as the trip requires a passage through the border checkpoint in to the Cypriot south of Island. That part of the trip was taken care of quickly and efficiently by our driver and we soon pitched up in the car park close to the harbour.

Interestingly as soon as we crossed the border our mobiles flashed into life. It quickly becomes apparent how popular this site is as the pier was busy with other divers from a plethora of dive companies. It was very much self help as we loaded our kit onto the large harbour ferry that was to take us out to the wreck site.

On the way we were carefully briefed by our guide it’s stressed that we would be diving twice, the first dive we were warned not to descent below 30 metres if we did it would jeopardise the second dive as we could be coming close to deco.

After a short boat trip we arrived at the site and kitted up, buddy check completed and with the warning of depth discipline ringing in our ears in we went off. The wreck is marked by a large cylindrical buoy and the down line is the buoy mooring chain. Try not to touch the chain that’s if you want to keep your fingers connected to your hands.

The wreck is genuinely huge and completely intact. The first dive we explored the forward part of the ship from midship into the bridge and bow area. You can enter the bridge area and canteen, where the vending machines are still there to see and the carpets are still present. Rub silt away and you can still see pattern.

Zenobia, Cyprus - Martin Balls

You need to be careful and take care avoiding the mess of wires and electrical panels. There is even a small air pocket above the bridge where if you brave enough you break the surface. It is advisable to keep your reg in as I am not sure how breathable they air is.

Keeping to our plan we turned the dive and made our way back to the chain slowly ascending to our safety stop, joining the many other divers waiting to exit the water. Every one stuck to the plan and so after a short interval and a cylinder swap we were ready to go again.

This time we headed after on to the car deck. The stern door is half open and we were able to swim up and onto the external vehicle deck. Lorries and trailers remain chained down to the deck and some still with there cargo intact.

Under one lorry you can find a large pile of bones, not human apparently one lorry was carrying frozen pork carcasses and the meat was quickly devoured by critters but the bones still remain.

The starboard prop lies at 40 metres and after a quick gas and deco check, down I went. Sitting on the huge prop was quite the experience and gave you an idea of the size of the wreck.

Soon it was time to go and with computers bleeping, off we went back to the chain and made the steady safe ascent back to the boat.

The day was excellent and well worth the early start. The outbid water experience was eye opening. Northern and Southern territories are worlds apart.

This trip and the dives were well worth the time and money and I would highly recommend!

Thanks to Asim and his team Ampohra divers for sorting it all out. Look them up if you ever visit as the hospitality is fantastic!

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About Author

A keen diver who has a love for all things under the sea. A passion for exploring and for travel mean that diving is the perfect mix. A family man with other keen diver family members, Martin is always on the look for the next cool dive.

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