A Deep Dive into the Scuba Sites of Cyprus: We Interviewed 3 Divers

by | Jul 29, 2023

A Shipwreck, Turtles and Sea Caves

The waters are warm and clear, predators are few, and the currents are generally benign. And with no less than five shipwrecks and an abundance of marine life, Cyprus offers a wealth of scuba diving experiences for novices and veteran divers alike.

Most dive sites are situated along the southeast coast near the towns of Protaras, Agia Napa, Larnaca, and Limassol. In the west of the island, divers head for Paphos, Agios Georgios, and the Akamas peninsula.

The plentiful shore dives are fun and suitable for beginners while also offering challenges for experienced divers. For those who prefer deeper waters, numerous boat dives are offered by companies operating out of Larnaca, Limassol, and Latchi.

With so many options available, how does a dive devotee make a choice?

We asked three experienced divers to name their top diving spots in Cyprus to get a sense of what is available and see how tastes differ.

Unsurprisingly, all three listed the Zenobia wreck, one of the top 10 dive sites in the world, as their favourite.

The Swedish-built MS Zenobia was a RO-RO ferry that capsized and sank close to Larnaca in June 1980 on her maiden voyage, loaded with 104 tractor-trailers destined for Syria. The cargo was never recovered and remains the main attraction for divers.

Julie Clayton, a qualified Dive Leader and Rescue Diver, explains why the Zenobia wreck is so alluring.

“When you approach on a boat all you see are marker buoys. If the water is clear, you can see the outline down below but when you dive in it takes your breath away,” Julie tells Headliner Cyprus.

“It is so big and difficult to take in. It is scary at first as it looks so black and foreboding, but once you have done a few dives you start to notice things like the lifeboats and the lorries staring up at you with their headlights pointing to the sun above.

“You can swim around the propellers and even manage to swim inside the structure to look at what was left behind when it sank.”

The second site on Julie’s list is Green Bay in the Cape Greko area.

“I’ve been so lucky to go there and see turtles nearly every dive. It has been the highlight of my diving career.  Such beautiful creatures, I cannot describe my feelings when I see one.  There are so many fish of all varieties, including the pipe fish, which is long and graceful and inquisitive. “

Third on Julie’s list is the Sea Caves site in Cape Greko.

“They are not really caves but swim-throughs with amazing rock formations and wonderful fish that just hang out in the caves.

“If you are lucky, you might spot an eel peeping out of a rock and if you are very lucky, you might spot an octopus. Such fascinating creatures!

“And the colours are spectacular down there.”

Diving in Cyprus

Photo Credit: Picture by Chris Clayton 

Julie Clayton

Photo Credit: Picture by Chris Clayton

Janine Haidar, a qualified Dive Master, also enthuses about the Zenobia wreck.

“It is a good site for divers to gain certifications for ‘Deep’, ‘Wreck’ and ‘Technical diving’,” she says.

“It is also great for those who just want to experience a wreck dive, as the ship rests on its port side at a maximum depth of 42m (45m inside) and its starboard side sits at 16m at its shallowest. You can say hello to the resident Grouper fish too!!”

Like Julie, Janine also favours the Sea Caves.

“It’s a beautiful dive for all levels of divers, with a maximum depth of 12 meters,” she says.

“You start by walking from the car park through a wheat field and then down a slightly rocky path to a spot where you can jump into six metres of water.  As you descend, you fin past beautiful boulders and suddenly you are greeted by a large sandy basin. If you are lucky, you can spot sea horses holding onto fronds of seaweed.

“Once past the basin, you fin over rocky patches and finally reach the caves, which are interconnected and are illuminated by shafts of light piercing through gaps in the roofs and walls. “

Another site Janine loves is the Chapel, in the bay of Konnos, also in the Cape Greko area.

“You park close to a small white Greek Orthodox church. Once kitted-up, you walk down to the dive site and jump into waters some eight meters deep with a beautiful wall to one side covered in critters and green seaweed – and if in luck, a trident shell.

“After that, the dive site opens to reveal the stunning array of the Mediterranean’s marine life, including, if you are lucky, turtles, common rays, tuna, seabream, moray, mullet fish, grouper, trumpet fish, octopus, Cardinal fish, and numerous other species.

Diving in Cyprus

Photo Credit: Picture by Janine Haidar 

Diving in Cyprus

Photo Credit: Picture by Janine Haidar

And the top pick for our third diver, Nikolai Orekhov? You guessed it: the Zenobia wreck.

The ultimate diving place in Cyprus is of course the Zenobia,” says Nikolai, an experienced Rescue Diver

“The best thing is that it’s very accessible. There are lots of club boats going there almost every day and a couple of taxi boats (you just pay for the passage).

“Even if you’re a beginner open water diver, you can visit the captain’s bridge. Advanced divers can go to the cafeteria, where it looks like you are inside, but it doesn’t really count as “overhead” because there are lots of holes every five meters or so.

Going deeper requires more training and equipment.”

Another spot Nikolai recommends, especially for beginners, is Green Bay near Protaras, which is suitable for all levels of scuba divers.

With a calm, sheltered area of shallow water, Green Bay is a perfect site for diver training. For more experienced divers, it offers interesting rock formations, sculptures, sea grass, and many, many marine creatures, especially turtles.

“It’s fun and easy but there are always lots of people around,” says Nikolai.

In the Akamas Peninsula, he made a dive at St George Island.

“It’s a nice place with a huge stone wall and plenty of seaweed. I recommend it.”

Diving in Cyprus

Photo Credit: Picture by Nikolai Orekhov

Diving in Cyprus

Photo Credit: Picture by Nikolai Orekhov 

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