Diving Through Civilizations in Cyprus
The attraction of diving Cyprus, an island of historic significance that has been controlled at various times by the Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans, is the rich abundance of marine life. Thanks to its storied history, there are a plethora of wrecks to explore. You will find dives for every level, from basic dives for beginners to more epic, deep-water experiences sought by someone with experience.
This small island located south of Turkey, west of Syria, and north of Israel, has a long dive season from March through November. The blue waters of the Mediterranean offer great visibility and pleasant temperatures.
Wreck Dives and Archeological Discovery
While Cyprus offers dozens of dive options, two that best exemplify it are the MS Zenobia wreck and the Amphorae Caves, both suitable for all levels of diving experience.
The Zenobia Wreck – The Silver Lining of Misfortune
One of the most popular wrecks to dive is actually only 40 years old! The Zenobia is a dive I recommend for parent-child dive teams as it is sure to spark your kids’ imagination and create lots of conversation top-side.
The Zenobia famously capsized and sank on her maiden voyage in 1980. The 172-meter ferry lies on the sandy bottom on her port side. None of the trucks that she was transporting were salvaged so the dive includes a surprising display of vehicles still chained to the ferry, lying on the sea bed.
For the novice diver, the site offers an exciting wreck experience as it is encrusted with sponges and fans on the outside and serves as a host to a variety of creatures, such as grouper, barracuda, tuna, turtle, and triggerfish. For qualified divers, it provides a myriad of opportunities for wreck penetration, swim-throughs, and exploration.
The Amphorae Caves
The Amphorae Caves will awaken your inner marine archeologist! The site takes its name from the ancient pottery that encrusts the ceiling of one of the caves. According to American anthropologists who studied the site, the phenomenon is the result of over 2,000 years of ocean current on the seafloor. For those of us fascinated by history, this is an experience that should not be missed. The dive is at an easy depth of 12 meters, which means plenty of bottom time to explore the caves and also appreciate the sea life.
En route to the caves and caverns, you’ll swim through beautiful Poseidon seagrass meadows. As you cruise the current, keep alert for damselfish and sea bream, which use the underwater meadows for their nurseries.
Photo from https://www.cyprusalive.com/en/the-amphorae-caves
One of the Ten Most Poisonous Sea Fish
Alert divers will likely also see scorpionfish (rockfish or stonefish), which is one of the most poisonous ocean fish. It is covered with intimidating spines equipped with venom that is fatal for small fish and crustaceans as well as quite painful for humans. (A good reason to practice buoyancy control.)
Don’t miss Cyprus—it is a fascinating small island, bursting with history and dives that will satisfy your quest to fill a logbook with something a little different than a reef drift.