“Divers have more fun than regular people, FACT!”
Just outside Larnaca harbour in Cyprus, at a depth of 42m, lies the wreck of the MS Zenobia. Launched in 1979, she was a roll-on, roll-off ferry on her maiden voyage from Sweden, where she was built, bound for Syria, and carrying some £200million worth of cargo. A problem with her ballast tanks had caused her to start listing to port, and after being towed out of the harbor, she took three days to sink. Fortunately, there was no loss of human life, but most of her cargo sank with her, and now sits at the bottom of the sea, providing one of the most famous dive sites in the world.
The top of the wreck lies in around 16m of water, which makes it a suitable site for divers with all skill levels; from the newly qualified, to deep wreck technical divers, and everyone in between. After more than 30 years on the bottom of the sea, it is an eerie experience to see the tartan carpet of the restaurant still in place, and to swim between the trucks still suspended in the car deck. The scale of the ship is impressive, 180 metres long, with each blade of the propellers around 2 metres of solid brass. Many of the switches and dials on the car deck control panels can still be moved. If you are familiar with travelling on car ferries, prepare for a creepy experience.
As for wildlife, there are plenty of fish about; groupers, barracuda, amberjacks, sea bream and millions of damsel fish swarm around the divers, begging to be fed. Turtles have also been spotted from time to time, although their irregular appearance gives rise to great excitement when they do turn up. Living on the wreck are several moray eels, who emerge from their holes when they think no one is looking, and of course a selection of brightly coloured nudibranchs for those who like to search for critters.
The Zenobia is an excellent dive site, and with the skills and knowledge of Alpha Divers to show us the way around, in and through the wreck, an unforgettable experience. Thanks guys!