by B. N. Sullivan
Recently I posted a photo of our friend Joe taking a picture of Jerry on a shipwreck. That was a hint to our readers that we were preparing to tell another wreck diving story on The Right Blue -- something we haven't done in quite awhile.
We had been poring over our old logbooks, and sifting through our photos, looking for good stories to present to our readers. We came across a cache of photos from a certain trip to Cyprus, and we found the logbook entries and notes that went with the photos. We knew we had the story we wanted to tell next -- the story of our dives on the Zenobia, the largest shipwreck we've ever visited underwater.
The Zenobia was a modern Swedish ship, built in 1979. She was a huge vessel, more than 172 meters (560 feet) in length, with a beam of about 23 meters (75 feet). She sank in Larnaca Bay, Cyprus, on June 7, 1980.
The sinking of the Zenobia took hours, and this afforded time for the rescue of her crew. No one was killed when the Zenobia went under, but she did take all of her cargo with her. The cargo, it turns out, is almost as interesting to divers as the wreck itself.
The Zenobia was a "ro-ro" ferry -- "ro-ro" as in roll-on, roll-off. What rolled on and rolled off were large commercial vehicles. The Zenobia's mission was to transport them between various ports, so that they didn't have to be driven extremely long distances overland. When she went down, the Zenobia was laden with more than 100 articulated lorries -- that is, trucks with two trailers behind a single cab. Each of those was full of goods.
We got to explore the Zenobia in September of 1992, when we made seven dives on the wreck. In the next several posts we will recount this week-long adventure in Cyprus. I took photos on six of our seven dives on the Zenobia, so you will be able to see some of what we saw of the ship and her cargo, as well. We hope our readers will enjoy following along as we tell this tale.