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Dive Review of Dive-in scuba/Larco hotel in

Dive-in scuba/Larco hotel: "Diving the wreck of the Zenobia, Cyprus", Jul, 2019,

by Andrew Falconer , Bunbury, AU (Top Contributor Top Contributor 51 reports with 26 Helpful votes). Report 10973 has 2 Helpful votes.

Photos Submitted with this Report

Click on an image to see an enlarged version and captions

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 2 stars Food N/A
Service and Attitude N/A Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 4 stars

I first heard about the Zenobia, while diving the many wrecks in Malta. Subsequently, then on the way to Crete, I decided to book return flights from Crete to Cyprus, and spend a week diving the wreck off Larnaca with Dive-in scuba and staying at the nearby Larco hotel
In some ways the Zenobia can be compared to one of my favourite wrecks, the SS President Coolidge, in Vanuatu: it is similar in size (only 20m shorter and 2m narrower, and also rests on its port side). Unlike the Coolidge (20m to 80m) the depth is constant 22m to 42m from bow to stern, and the propulsion screws remain intact together with all the structure. The Zenobia has also been underwater approximately half as long as the Coolidge.

The Zenobia listing heavily to port prior to capsizing 8th June 1980
The Zenobia was a 12,000 tonne roll on / roll off ferry, built in Sweden and was on its maiden voyage, fully loaded when it capsized 1.5km off Larnaca on 8th June 1980, while en route to Syria. The vessel had trouble with its automatic ballasting system, causing it to list, which was corrected in Athens, but subsequently reoccurred near Cyprus, causing it to pull in to the port of Larnaca. The listing became worse and the captain was ordered to get out of the port as it was feared that it might sink and block the harbour. Sink it did, the next day as the crew abandoned ship approximately 1.5km offshore.
The wreck was declared protected by the Cyprus government and as such has not been salvaged, and is completely intact, including its cargo of approximately 100 loaded semi trailer trucks. In the nearly 40 years since the ship went down, some marine life has made it their home, noticeably a significant number of groupers. The external hull and decks are covered with a thin layer of slimy marine growth, while inside most of the trucks fell over at various angles with the capsize, although at least one is still chained to the floor(now a vertical wall). Most of the trucks still contain their cargos, although some has spilled and in a few cases risen up to be trapped by the ships structure.

One of the lifeboats on the starboard side. The impressive starboard screw

I did ten dives (two per day) in total over five days. I had left my dive gear behind in Germany, so I had to hire everything, although the quality of the rental gear was very good. The water temperature was several degrees warmer than Malta (19 to 20 degrees) and I never felt cold with a full/shorty wetsuit combination. Also I was unable to take any photos, with the underwater shots in this article being sourced from the internet. However, I physically saw all the objects shown in the photos. The dive boat was a rib capable of carrying up to 18 divers, although fortunately this was never the case, and was powered by twin 300hp outboards, making the trip from the small boat harbour to the wreck site very quickly in about 3 minutes. Divers were in small groups, in my case only me and a guide/instructor, while some others were tech divers with all the gear. I dived initially on air with a 12l tank, then on nitrox with a 12l and finally nitrox with a 15l tank.
The first day we stayed outside, covering the ship from bow to stern, including the impressive starboard propeller, rudder and external decks.
The second day we penetrated the upper deck and the accommodation area where there was partial light entering from windows. Access was via a forward door, and exit amidships. Much of the accommodation area had collapsed since the walls were not steel, with loose floor coverings and a “no admittance” among other items seen. On the cargo there were many semi trailers, with cabs and different cargos, including 200litre drums, electrical panels and a mass of soft blue plastic bottles containing ethanol.

Soft plastic bottles trapped on the roof Electrical control panels still on a truck
On the third day we penetrated the middle deck, via a doorway on the side of the hull, where it was pitch dark, except for our torches. This was the first time that I have ever dived in complete darkness with the only exit where we came in, quite some distance away, a situation not for everyone. There were also many trucks at various angles with with varying cargoes, as well as a forklift and a blue car (supposedly the captains).
The forklift and the “captains” car inside the darkness of the middle deck
On the fourth day, I did not have my personal guide, and had to repeat the dives of the second day, in the company of two other divers. This was a Saturday and there were considerably more divers from other boats on the wreck.
On the fifth and final day I got my personal guide back again, and we did two deeper (40m) dives namely the engine room and the chain locker/bridge, both excellent dives, which were just into deco limits.
The bridge and one of the cylinder heads in the engine room
In summary, in my opinion the Zenobia rates very highly, different but in many ways the equal of the Coolidge.
Costs were euros 640 (ten dives including hire of all equipment), euros 220 (seven nights accommodation), euros 140 (meals and drinks), total euros 1000 (excluding flights to/from Crete.
June 2019
Websites Dive-in scuba   Larco hotel

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vanuatu, South Africa, Iceland, Scotland, Norway, Cuba, Maldives, Chuuk, Galapagos, Phillipines, Sri Lanka, France, Colombia
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas
Water Temp 19-20°C / 66-68°F Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 10-20 M / 33-66 Ft

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish N/A
Small Critters N/A Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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