Diving Zenobia in Cyprus
An unexpected, last minute decision to visit Cyprus! I took a few weeks of annual leave from work, got on my motorbike, and headed to France. On the second day into my motorbike trip I realised my tires needed replacing, so I headed back home. I arrived late on a Sunday night and decided to cancel my annual leave and go back to work on Monday morning. That afternoon, I decided I would keep the rest of the week’s annual leave and go off to Cyprus, to dive the famous Zenobia wreck!
Yes, I literally packed my bags and got on a flight the morning after. I took the Gibraltar flight to London Gatwick with a quick 2 hours wait to connect to a flight from London Gatwick to Larnaca, Cyprus. I arrived at Larnaca that evening.
The next morning, the dive centre sent a car to pick me up at 0715! I had to get there early to set up all my equipment, as I had decided to make the dives on the Zenobia using a technical diving configuration with mixed gases. Once everything was setup, I eagerly awaited for what would be my second Tec dive, after having completed the courses and training last year.
Our first dive was an orientation dive from the bow to the middle section of the wreck. We descended to 38 metres and slowly made our way up different levels, finally reaching the lifeboats and then back to the bow shot line. The second dive that day was much more interesting, down the stern line to the top and bottom propellers, followed by visiting the two large trucks lying side to side on the sand at around 42 meters. We then saw the famous truck that was carrying a cargo off eggs and of which some are still intact on the seabed! We then made our way up to the accommodation block and through the ferry’s restaurant. The red tartan patterned carpet still in place in the restaurant and coffee machine was the most impressive on this dive.
Each dive got more impressive. On the second day, our first dive was in the upper cargo hold. We entered through a small door on the bow of the wreck. Inside lies loads of trucks, piled on top of each other as the ferry now lies on her port side. All the trucks still had their cargo inside, almost in perfect condition, and in much better condition that the trucks I had seen on my previous dives, outside the wreck. Somewhere in the middle of all the trucks, lies a truck which appeared to have been carrying a cargo of pies! I couldn’t resist taking a selfie with the truck’s tarpaulin in the background with the words “PIE” printed on it! At the end of the upper cargo deck is a large opening into the blue. Here lies a truck covered in bones. It is still unknown whether these were from livestock or a refrigerated truck. We also went to see the hanging truck on the open deck which we weren’t able to see the day before, due to bad visibility. Now we turned back into the upper cargo deck but this time swimming close to the ceiling (which actually is one of the walls). Here we can see the lift shaft and ladders which go to the laundry room and the other cargo decks. On the “ceiling” we find hundreds of blue bottles with Arabic writing. It is believed to be some sort of liquid which weighs less than water and went straight up from one of the trucks. There is also intact light bulbs and safety notices still in place here and even a truck’s wheel that has come loose. We end the dive by coming out through the same entrance at the bow and up the shot line.
My fourth dive on the Zenobia was to the chain lockers followed by the captain and crews accommodation. We enter through the hole where the anchor hangs. Inside we find the lockers where the chain for the anchor was stored. There is also a locker still containing tubs of grease, which was used to lubricate the chains. Here we exit through a ladder that comes out through the other side. We then went back up to the accommodation block, this time the captains and crews. Inside we find a large mural belonging to the captain’s accommodation. A spooky looking landscape of autumn trees. Continuing forward, we come across the crews rooms. Here we see the bathrooms and rooms still containing carpet in almost perfect conditions. We exit the accommodation block and then go back in, this time through the upper part of the block. Finally we make one last visit to the restaurant and then head back up to the bow shot line.
Then my final day of diving arrives. We did my last two dives on the middle cargo deck. This deck is massive so it took us 2 dives to see everything! We descend down the middle shot line and enter the deck through a tight “L” shaped doorway. Here it is completed pitch black! Our first dive is towards the stern. Here we see the trucks in even better condition than what had already impressed me in the upper cargo deck! There lies what appear to be a fuel carrying truck and a folk lifter at the end of the deck (stern side). There is a small jumper on display close to the folk lifter. We then turned around and headed for the exit.
On my final dive on the Zenobia, we headed towards the bow, inside the middle cargo deck. Here we find the only car that was on the ferry, the captain’s car! On this side of the cargo deck there was clouds of what looked like white fumes. This was the diesel from the trucks still floating inside. On this side of the cargo deck we also come across a large cargo of sleeping bags, with one which has been un-wrapped and placed on display! A perfect photo opportunity.
Sadly we end this dive, and I am left with wanting to see more of the wreck. YES the wreck is so big there are many places I still hadn’t seen. I will definitely be going back in the nearer future, and hoping to do the lower cargo deck and engine rooms. Till then, I hope you enjoy the photos I have taken so far of this amazing wreck!