The Wreck Of The Zenobia: Disneyland For Divers
Diver|January 2018

The Zenobia is one of those wrecks most divers have heard of, even if they haven’t dived it, but what is that makes some return to Cyprus year after year to revisit the site? DAVID BAKER, Chairman of Richmond Sub Aqua Club, has been asking around

David Baker

AS I SAT WAITING for the plane to take off from Heathrow, bound for Larnaca in Cyprus, I wondered what it was that caused the members of Richmond Sub Aqua Club to return year after year to dive one particular wreck.

This was my eighth visit in nine years to dive the “Mighty Zen”, but I was still considered by some on the trip to be a Zenobia novice. Members of RSAC have dived the wreck every year for the past 25 years, and at least two of the 18 of us on that flight in October had been present a quarter of a century ago.

I decided to try to pin down what it is about the Zenobia that maintained this attraction. “It’s like Disneyland for divers,” was the initial comment from Martin Pipe, one of those two original visiting divers. He has been back every year since. “It’s constantly changing and there’s always something new to discover,” added Niall Elder, another Zenobia veteran.

The roll-on, roll-off ferry sank on her maiden voyagein 1980, without loss of life. She was on her way from Sweden to Syria, loaded with 104 trailers of cargo.

Problems with the computerised ballast-control system caused the Zenobia to list to port and eventually sink in 42m of water, close to the port of Larnaca. Initially diving on the wreck was forbidden by the Cypriot government, but today it is ranked as one of the top recreational dive-sites in the world.

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