I am sure that you would have seen umpteen number of screensavers with lots of fishes and few divers swimming around? Well, what if the same scenes/screens were enacted out in real life? This was how it was, when we went on a submarine trip to see the sunken wreck of the ship Zenobia.
Zenobia or Xenobia is also referred to as the “Titianic of the Mediterranean” because of the fact that Zenobia, like the Titanic, sunk on her maiden voyage. In 1980, when the ship was on her way from Piraeus in Greece to Syria, it started to list heavily on one side. So, it was decided to bring the ship to the Larnaca harbour for repairs. On the way, the tilt became so much, that the authorities decided to tow the ship away from the harbour in order to avoid potential collisions within the harbour. Finally, at a distance of 2 kms from land, Zenobia sunk to the bottom of the sea. The topside of the wreck is at a depth of 16 metres and the bottom lies on the seabed at a depth of 42 metres. Click on the pictures below for bigger versions
We were taken on a boat two kilometres out to sea and then transferred to the submarine. The submarine, christened SADKO, is one of about 20 tourist submarines in the world and supposedly the only one which takes tourist to an actual shipwreck. Though the submarine looks like a toy, compared to the submarines shown in movies, it looks cool from the inside with around 20 windows on its sides. The sub is actually around 30 metres in length i.e the body of the sub underwater. The sub accomodates 40 people and hence, all the people in the sub get uninterrupted views of the underwater world (a window for a couple!). There are two guides within the sub, one speaking in english and the other providing a rough translation of the same in Greek.
The shipwreck, the first one I am seeing, had an eerie appearance and the work of nature on it for 20 years was clearly visible. The shipwreck though, was not the best part of the trip. Seeing the divers along with zillions of fish, even some big ones, was like watching a show on national geographic! Even though the divers must have got used to the frequent trips made by the sub to the wreck, they were friendly enough to swim past the windows and even wave to us. The only thing which would have made this trip even better was for the sub-company to have some divers of its own in the sea and take photographs of us looking through the windows of the sub. It would have looked cool !
After making sure that people on either side of the sub had good views of the wreck, the sub proceeded to dive to the sea-bed, a depth of 40m. There was nothing spectacular about the seabed. This was pretty well known, as this part of Cyprus is devoid of reefs and is not known for its underwater beauty, with the shipwreck being the only saving grace. We were also given the opportunity to have a look (Vidhya even had a seat!) at the Captain’s cabin where there was a very good frontal view of the sub making a “landing” on the sea-bed! Below are some photos of/taken by the friends we went along with.
This was definitely an unique experience and lot of fun too. The price was a bit on the higher side, at around 37 cyprus pounds a person, but how often do you get to go in a submarine! Just go over to the main pier on the Larnaca Marine and you will see advertisement boards for the trip. This is not open during winter.