Cyprus long weekend trip
April 22nd, 2023
Nature dive – 9.0 m max depth – 18°C – 15-20 m vis – shore dive
Green bay is also called turtle bay because with some luck turtles can be seen amongst the bottle-green seagrasses. They did not show themselves for us but there was still plenty to see and this was one of my favourite dives.
Heading out from shore we encountered eroded rocky formations called the table, as though you could have a tea party with the fishes. To the right was a vast open grassy plain where the abundance of life seemed to be and to the left were craggy rocks full of dark black anemones and tubefish as long as your arm. Directly ahead was apparently a sculpture garden, though me and my buddies somehow managed to miss all of them.
We spent most of our time out over the seagrasses where pink jellyfish undulated dreamily through the water – and left me with an itchy sting on my leg. Swimming around in a loop and then back to the shore was a nice warm-up and one I would return to to perhaps meet the local underwater reptiles.
Museum dive – 11.1 m max depth – 18°C – 15-20 m vis – shore dive
MUSAN is an underwater sculpture garden located approximately 15 minute swim out from the shore. The rocky landscape opened out through a valley onto a white sandy plain full of sculptures that emerged from the milky blue.
Swimming through the humanoids we observed them slowly transforming progressively into trees and weeping over their loved ones. Interesting though it was, we didn’t have much time to consider the meaning as a seal had been following us out of curiosity and we quickly spun around to greet it.
It kept a wary distance and swam away but its presence was definitely a highlight of the dive. On the swim back to shore, we noticed hidden flatfish buried in the sand although you have to look very closely to see them at all.
Wreck dive – 21.7 m max depth – 19°C – 15-20 m vis – boat dive
The first of many dives on the Zenobia was over the top and around the end, swimming along the side of what used to be the deck. The wildlife featured many of the notorious lionfish which floated around unassumingly and barracuda that could be seen out in the open waters.
The metal framework of the ship was peppered with odd jet black worms of various sizes which stood out in stark contrast to the pale green of the ship’s hull. The dive was something of a starter warm-up for the deeper dives as we then moved on to the Elpida.
Wreck dive – 20.8 m max depth – 19°C – 15-20 m vis – boat dive
The Elpida is an intentionally-sunk wreck about 40 minutes steam from the Zenobia. Visually it’s more immediately interesting as it’s upright compared to the Zen which is on its side. Swimming over the deck lead us to an open void where a lift would have presumably been.
Up and around the cockpit area I could see some of the lower decks where passengers would have lounged around, now inhabited instead by schools of lionfish and black worms. The cockpit was small and the steering wheel had been replaced so curious divers can swim through and have a spin while looking out into the sea bed.
It was probably the most accessible wreck I’ve dived so far without needing anything special or any sort of deeper dive or leaps of imagination.
Wreck dive – 19.5 m max depth – 18°C – 1-5 m vis – boat dive
The night dive on the Zenobia was a spur of the moment decision which I am glad we followed up on. Watching the video footage I have is similar to Blair Witch – pitch blackness punctuated by beams of light and a massive ghostly green shipwreck emerging out of the abyss to menace us. If we looked very closely, bizarre tiny bioluminescent creatures could be seen floating everywhere – though subtle things – such I realised the sea at night is just as teeming with life as it is during the day.
Swimming up the side and back down again was confusing even though it is a simple line because nothing looked like it did during the day; we sometimes got a flash of a servant’s port or staircase that was recognisable but navigation was best left in the hands of the circling instructors. We looped around and got a full visual of a marching line of torches and the occasional flash of a fin but no divers, their shapes were mostly lost to the blackness.
While swimming back over the scattered remains of life-saving equipment ironically placed on our path, the nerves of the divers started to become apparent. We made it back to our safety stop without incident albeit with several of us on the instructor’s regulators. For me and my buddy, we were asked to swim over to the drop tank at 50 bar which was as exhilarating as it was unpleasant. All of our safety training was put to use and the overall dive was extremely successful and memorable – I would encourage anyone to take the opportunity if they get it.
Zenobia - Final Day
Penetration dives – 21.4 m max depth – 19°C – 10-15 m vis – boat dive
The final day on the Zenobia had us doing two penetration dives. One was though the “letterbox” – a small door on the side – and out through the open decks on the other side and the other was the same but in reverse. As we swam through the quiet corroded decking we could see down below at 40 m a collection of decaying vehicles and above us bottles which are apparently still filled (as they are floating!) of ethanol at the top. Slowly but surely the darkness of the interior gave way to a single beam of blue light at the other end as we approached the exit. Swimming out through the glow and back up into the sun’s radiance at the safety stop marked the end of the dives of the Cyprus trip of 2023 and I can’t recommend it enough no matter your experience or interest.