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Larnaka and the Zenobia

Cyprus > Larnaka and the Zenobia

Larnaka and the Zenobia

The massive wreck of the Zenobia is located some 15 minutes by boat from Larnaka harbour, lying at a depth of between 16 and 43 metres. Not only does it constitute one of three largest wrecks in the Mediterranean sea, it also ranks easily amongst the top 10 diveable wrecks worldwide. In June 1980, the Swedish RoRo-ferry began her maiden voyage, with cargo bays full, from Greece enroute to Syria and sank only 2 km from the Cyprus coast (see History of the Zenobia below). In the decades that followed, the sea has embraced this huge wreck and filled it with life. Today, an enthralling symbiosis between the artificial and natural has evolved. The two massive propellers on port side, each shovel dwarfing a diver easily, now double as the home of a big moray eel, which pokes its head out of a small opening at the uppermost propeller.

And the lorries - the Zenobias former cargo - are not merely vehicles that float in suspension in the cargo bays or litter the ocean floor around the gigantic wreck in an approximate depth of 42m, but have been turned into a crowded playground for countless fish. Schools of barracudas and curious brasses or big groupers may be seen at every dive. The vigilant diver may even be able to spot the loggerhead sea turtle within the debris, where it searches for food. Unrivalled visibility After only few minutes, the diving boat anchors directly above the Zenobia which lies on its portside. This gigantic wreck already lures the diver standing on the diving boat visible and inviting beneath. Due to the vast size of the wreck, at least two dives are necessary to fully appreciate this marvel of the ocean floor. A dive through the approximately 70 metres long cargo bays or the narrow and winding engine room deep inside of the wreck is only recommendable/possible with the aid of a professional diving guide. All dives start at the central descent line which is fixed to the Zenobia. Due to the excellent visibility, the well-preserved and seemingly endless wreck begins working its magic as soon as you enter the clear waters. An imposing spectacle The first dive leads towards the huge bow of the ship, along the railing, past the only remaining lifeboat and the mounting brackets of the missing ones to the easily accessible bridge and the spacious cafeteria. The never ending superstructures of the Zenobia accompany the diver during the whole dive. It is not advisable to linger for too long, since the massive anchor and imposing bow of the ship still await further on. A special surprise is to be enjoyed in the easily accessible cafeteria: Through countless windows and hatches sunlight streams into the sunken ship, creating a startling riot of shimmering ambient light.

The sheer size of this wreck, together with its many highlights and the multi-coloured maritime life combine to mesmerize divers. Thus it is not surprising that the Zenobia has started to attract an ever-growing group of regular visitors. Non-divers need not do without the experience of the Zenobia. Glass-bottom boats offer scheduled trips and a submersible regularly takes visitors to the wreck - presenting a unique look at this giant of the ocean.

Further diving tips Alexandria This 35-metre-long wreck lies only 200 metres beside the Zenobia. The more timid ocean dwellers have chosen this spot as their home, which is why the vessel is completely overgrown - eerie in the shadows.

HMS Cricket The wreck of the British gunboat HMS Cricket was involved in combat action during WW1. Today, the vessel lies at a depth of 65 metres, with its keel facing upwards. A perfect hiding place lor octopuses, moray eels, eels and groupers.

History of the Zenobia

The Swedish RoRo (roll-on-roll-off) - ferry, measuring 172 metres in length, was built in 1980 to facilitate traffic on the Greece-Syria Express Line. She began her maiden voyage in Sweden (Malmo), passed Gibraltar on 22 May 1980 und headed for Koper (now Slovenia). After a brief stop in Volos (Greece) the ship got under way, with brimming cargo bays, to Tartous (Syria). Today, the vessel lies - entirely intact - portside on a sandy plane in a depth of approximately 42 metres.

 
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