Diving The Zenobia 2007

My second trip out to see the Zenobia was a little later in the year so this time it should be warmer.

When we arrived in Cyprus my buddy realised his dive computer was stuck in dive mode. He had been playing with it on the plane and as we descended the computer switched into dive mode. We had to take the batteries out to clear it. After dropping the kit off at the wet store we got checked into the hotel.

Got up bright and early on the first day and got the kit togeather ready for the checkout dive. Everything went without a hitch and after lunch we proceeded onto dive two. For me I was working through my TDI Decompression Procedures so I didn’t dive again with my buddy for the following four dives.

During my last training dive we were completing the deco stop and I spotted the submarine heading towards us. This sub has unguarded props so we moved away from the line we’d stopped at for the safety of the tethered deco trapeez. Fortunate really as the submarine ploughed through where we’d just moved away from.

Of the whole week the last three dives of the week are those I most remember.

The first was with Mick Lucy it involved a visit to the middle car deck.  Squeezing in through quite a tight series of hatches and once inside there was absolutely no light penetration from outside. If the torches had failed we would have been up a gum tree. I had dived earlier that day so had a max depth which meant I needed to stay against the starboard bulkhead (the roof). My buddy had been inside this car deck before and wanted to investigate further so he went deeper.

The first dive of the last day was a treat as we were escorted by big Chris on quite a journey through the wreck. This started with a major squeeze into the wreck traversing a horizontal ladder through an escape hatch which was covered with a cage. My torches clanked on the ladder as I pulled my way into the wreck. Once inside the middle car deck we moved through and back out of the hatch we had entered the previous afternoon. Next on the tour was a visit to the engine room moving right behind the engines themselves. I got narc’d and lost track of the route through and pushed my way behind some pipes. Paul my buddy was stopped from following me through by Chris and I joined them both just before we left the room. Next we took worked our way through the crew cabins and eventually exited through the front window of the restaurant. Whilst it had it’s moments that was an excellent dive. Also according to my dive computer I topped 45 metres which must have been went I went off the track.

For the last dive once we agreed to only penetrate the wreck into the upper car deck. We were given our leave to dive unescorted. We dropped over the stern down towards the prop and then drifted through the lorries on the sea bed towards the bone lorry. At the bone lorry we penetrated the wreck through the upper car deck worked our way through and out of the hatch forward. After a final goodbye we asended towards the trapeeze to complete the final safety stop at the end of the dive.

Unfortunately my camera decided it only wanted to take film so once I’ve cut the scenes together I’ll upload them for now these are the snaps I could take.

Diving the Zenobia 2006

My first diving trip abroad was the awesome wreck Zenobia. Which sank on it maiden voyage in 1980 just of the coast of Larnaca in Cyprus. The ship sank with more than 100 lorries on board and lies between 16 and 40 metres down on it’s port side. There are a number of dive operations based close to where this magnificent ship sank. My buddy and I used the services of Dive-In Larnaca after meeting up with “Big Chris” at the dive show in London.

We were collected from the airport and after dropping our kit off in the wet store we settled into the hotel.  Since the flight was a through the night we had arrived early in the morning so a hearty breakfast in Larnaca was next followed by an afternoon sleep.

Day one started out by preparing kit and then directly into a checkout dive. My dive configuration was almost identical to what I dived at home so putting my kit together was quite straight forward. My buddy was diving a twinset so we needed to get this built up.

The first dive of the day was a guided checkout dive with strict instructions on depth (staying above 30 metres) and NO deco ! We dropped down to the wreck

approximate depth 22 metres and after confirming all was okay proceeded for a guided tour around the outside of the wreck. As the water was so clear in the areas where we were swiming over 40 metre depths. It was necessary to run from the computer to gauge depth – a weird feeling. The dive went without hitches and after a 5 mins stop on the trapeeze we assended to the surface.

Dive two also guided had a maxmum depth of 25 metres. On this dive we entered the wreck through the “letter box” into the upper car deck. Exiting through the vehicle entry door with the “bone lorry” below us. We then proceeded through the wreck back through the lounge and back out at the bow. The assended to the trappeez for the 5 mins safety stop.

My plans whilst visiting the Zenoba was to get certified with my PADI Deep spec which would allow me to visit the lower parts of the wreck and still remain insured. So the next three dives for me were away from my buddy as I completed the training dives necessary to achieve this certification. It was after dive three that the instructor I was with mentioned that my using on a single 15 litre cylinder was limiting the dive time could spend at these depths. My buddy pointed out that I should twin up and see what all the fun is about.

For this reason I agreed to complete “TDI Advanced Nitrox” course which consisted of an exam and three training dives to teach me how to drive the twinset. I can say this is one of the most exciting courses I have completed parts that specifically stick in my mind are maintaining depth with eyes closed for 1 minute. Sounds easy but if you can imagine you are floating at 25 metres in 40 metres of water. You have not sense of depth or orientation and you have your eyes closed. Spooky!

The final dive was a fun dive with me sporting the twinset I had trained in. We took the camera and filmed the whole thing (I will upload the film once I have edited it).

Day six (day before we fly home) was a dry day – it is important to have at least 24 hours off gassing before the flight home.  We had spotted the submarine being advertised so we booked on to have a look at the wreck from a non-divers perspective.

An excellent and memorable week a big thanks to all at Dive In Larnaca:

Big Chris
Mick Lucy
Little Chris

(A quick note: the reason we only have pictures from the last dive is that I was training on all almost all the others … this will not happen next time).