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Tuesday, 20 February 2018

A Diving Trip to Limassol, Cyprus!

Every so often, we get the opportunity to travel down to Limassol and dive the wrecks that are located there. The trip is a fab day out, and one not to be missed!!

I've been very lucky the past couple of times as I have been the one that has made the journey down. I struck lucky for a third time, and I was able to take Alex and Michael down to Limassol.

It takes the whole day and has a similar layout to a Zenobia trip, however Limassol is a lot further. It takes roughly an hour and a half to drive down from our shop in Protaras, down to the Dive Centre in Limassol.

It is a lovely 6am start at the shop, which gives us time to analyse our gases and pack our equipment ready for the day. Once everything is packed and ready to go, final checks have been completed it is time to hit the road. Not forgetting the essential bakery stop on the way to stock up on tasty supplies for the journey!!

The journey down is beautiful with the surrounding crystal blue seas and the backdrop of the mountains, combined with great company, makes the journey very pleasant.

Once we get there, it is a case of unloading all of our equipment and setting up our kit ready for the dives ahead. It is time for a quick coffee break and then it's off to dive the first wreck of the day, the Costandis! The boat ride takes less than ten minutes. The scenery  from the boat is lovely there is the backdrop of the mountains with the coastline of the city just in front.

The two wrecks lie in a regulated no fishing zone. The wrecks have been purposefully sunk on a sandy bottom to create the best possible conditions for marine life to create their new homes in order to breed, and remain a permanent feature on the wrecks.

The first wreck sits at 24m, and is haven for fish life! it is home to large grouper, Amberjack, Nudibranc, octopus and shoals of mini fish to name a few. The vessel is an old bottom trawler, with plenty to explore. The engine rooms are very much intact. Very little has been stripped of the wreck itself, which makes it very interesting for us divers! The grouper in this area are particularly large, I remember one time, I was entering the engine room, and out the corner of my eye I saw two large bright eyes in the corner of the room, as I approached it, it was massive! it took up the whole doorway, in the "You shall not pass" stance! it was so cool!

After the first dive, it is a  trip back to the dive centre to refuel on snacks and plenty of coffee (which is ready and waiting upon our return!) and to swap tanks over whilst we have our surface interval.

The Lady Thetis is the second wreck of the day. She is a retired party boat that now rests at 18m.  The boat has three levels offering plenty of exploration, you can even sit at the tables on the upper deck. She like the Costandis, is great
for various types of Flora and Fauna which is great for photographers as well!

Both wrecks are very enjoyable, and the change of scenery makes for a very lovely day out! After we get back to shore, it is a case of loading all the equipment back onto the truck and making our way back home.

Of course there is a pit stop at McDonalds to break up the journey and to feed our hungry bellies; having done two dives it's safe to say I'm always starving afterwards!

Both the Costandis and the Lady Thetis have several points of interest including the engine rooms,bridges, Store rooms, a number of decks on different levels, doorways and hatches, stairwells, propellers and winches.

If you haven't dived the Limassol wrecks already, I would definitely recommend booking your spot for 2018!

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Go Scuba Diving- Do nothing! It is harder than it sounds.

Having a fair few years of Scuba Diving and Diver Training behind me, I am often asked what is the hardest part of Scuba Diving?

diver stops in mid water and does nothing but hang there
Besides putting on a wetsuit, which is usually the part that causes the most problems, I would have to say that the hardest thing to do when scuba diving.... is doing nothing at all!!

How hard can it be to do nothing at all?

Seriously, when you consider the number of divers there are in the world, there are very few that can just stop in the water and hold their position. Even dive professionals can struggle with this pretty basic, fundamental diving skill and you can often see divers swimming in circles on safety stops and resting on the bottom to take photographs.

There are a number of factors that will allow you to perfect this skill including correct weighting, but for the most part it is down to practice.

The more diving you do, the more calm, comfortable and competent you will be in the water. You will develop a relaxed breathing pattern and this is also exceedingly important to good buoyancy control.

GUE diver in good trim with good buoyancy control

You can also consider taking a training course that will help you to develop the Fundamental skills of diving such as the GUE Fundamentals diving course. This was one of the best training courses I have taken in my diving career and I already had 20+ years of diving experience at the time.

This fundamental diving skill, once developed, will help you in other areas of diving such as Technical Diving, Underwater Photography and of course, with problem solving. You can multi task while diving without having to worry about your buoyancy control because that is already "squared away" and you don't even have to really think about it anymore.

So, go Scuba Diving and do nothing!  Give it a try. Can you do it?

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Artificial Reefs in Protaras, Cyprus

An Artificial Reef is a man made underwater structure, typically built to promote marine life in areas with a generally featureless bottom in the hope of attracting tourism and enhancing the growth of marine life.

For years, governments around the world, have been purposely sinking outdated or damaged vessels such as ships, cars, tanks, and various other structures i.e nets, concrete blocks, boulders etc.

As part of an ongoing programme to promote dive tourism in Cyprus, the CTO (Cyprus tourist organisation)  and other authorities are purposefully sinking wrecks and artificial reefs which are available for us to dive on.

1.  Nemesis III

The engine blocks and pipes inside the Nemesis III wreck in Protaras, Cyprus
The Nemesis III, in its past life was a bottom trawler ( a fishing boat to you and me) which operated in the Mediterranean and Libyan seas.

It was sunk in 2013. The vessel sits in 24 meters of water just off the Golden Coast, located in Protaras.

Since the boat sank, it has attracted lots of marine life and still continues to grow and develop four years down the line.

It is home to Amberjacks, nudibranchs, Damsels, various types of wrasse, sea bream and Grouper. Rays, Turtles and even Dolphins have been spotted in the vicinity of the wreck!

This is a fantastic wreck to dive, and is definitely one of our favourites here at Scuba Tech.

2. The Liberty 

Diver on the Liberty wreck in Cyprus
The Liberty wreck sits very very close to the Nemesis wreck. This means we can dive both wrecks in one dive depending on how good you are on air, as it takes roughly five minutes to swim between the two.

Like the Nemesis, the Liberty was also purposefully sunk but a few years earlier in 2009.

It is a small Russian Cargo ship and lies in 27 meters of water. The biodiversity on the Liberty has taken slightly longer to develop than the Nemesis, however it really is starting to boom! The wreck is now home to various species such as Anemones, Grouper, Sponges and Nudibranchs to name a few.

3. Artificial Reefs - Golden Coast

The Artificial Reefs in Protaras is the newest structure to promote the growth of fish species and to create a special diving reserve in the area. It comprises of nets, boulders, concrete blocks and piping in order to do so.

Since the reef's formation in 2015, the amount of marine life already in the area is staggering. It is a haven for fish life and hopefully it will continue to grow and develop!

Between each structure, a line has been put in place which makes it very easy to navigate around the site. The Reefs start at 25m and finishes up at 18m. The reefs are very close in proximity to the Nemesis and Liberty wrecks.
The kyrenia wreck in Agia Napa, Cyprus on her sandy bed
4. The Kyrenia - Ayia Napa. 

The Kyrenia is the most recent wreck to be sunk in the Ayia Napa area.

It used to be a motorised patrol boat which, before it sank, used to be equipped with a front mounted machine gun. However this was stripped and cleaned of its guns before the boat went down.

She sits in 24m of water.

5. Lady Thetis and The Costandis 

These two wrecks are located in Limassol, around an hour and a half drive away from Protaras. Nevertheless they are wicked wrecks.

Both lie in a regulated no fishing zone, 200m apart from one another.

The Costandis used to be an old fishing vessel and she sits in 25m of water. This wreck offers a large engine room which is still very much intact and easy to penetrate.

The wreck is home to huge Grouper, shoals of Fish, Amberjack amongst many others.

The Lady Thetis is a retired party boat and was sunk in 2014. She lies in 18m of water.

The boat has three levels offering plenty of exploration, you can even sit at the tables on the upper deck.

Both wrecks are home to lots of marine life and it is still continuing to grow!

What do you think?

Have you dived these artificial reefs that have been sunk by the Cyprus Government to promote scuba diving in the area? What did you think of them?

Do you like the idea of artificial reefs purposefully sunk or do you prefer your wrecks to have gone down naturally?

Join the chat and let us know

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Why do I dive a Twinset?

I first tried a twinset in my first year at Scuba Tech when I was a Divemaster Trainee. 

I did a discover twinset dive with my instructor, Peter Crane. I went on to complete my PADI Tec 40 and 45 in the last couple of years, both courses were conducted with a twinset. Since then I haven’t looked back!

Diver using DSMB while in twinset configuration

A twinset is two scuba tanks manifolded together, with an isolator in the middle of the two valves.
The misconception with twinsets is that they are only reserved for technical diving and exploration. This is wrong; anybody can use a twinset with the right training, whether you are recreationally or technically minded in diving.

The two main reasons for using a twinset are...

One, redundancy – having that extra peace of mind and security underwater as you have two tanks instead of one.

Two, to extend your bottom time. Having two tanks is a great way of increasing your gas supply.

My twinset, without a doubt, is my favourite way to dive. 

I love the balance underwater and the stability of two tanks on your back instead of one. When weighted correctly, this is a very comfortable way of diving as well as a simple, streamlined set-up. 

However, they are very heavy, and do take some getting used to at first.

Furthermore, I want to be self sufficient underwater, I know I will never dive solo and that I will always have a buddy there to help me. However, if it ever comes down to a situation when my gas supply is compromised, I want to be able to have control and to be able to rectify the issue.
Diving a twinset can help me do this, as I can manipulate the valves and breathe off independent regulators.

This is what is known as a shut down – a way to close the valves in order to save your back gas in the event of an emergency.

Image may contain: one or more people and outdoorIf you do not know how to work the twinset properly and be able to perform these skills and drills, the twinset will only give you false security. It is so important to learn how to dive a twinset properly in order to receive the benefits!

Once you make the decision to dive a twinset, you know you are committed to diving as it is an expensive investment; you now need two of everything! 

I feel it is an excellent transition in my diving career as I grow as a diver as well as a professional. It may be expensive in the short term but it is worth it in the long run! 

A twinset brings comfort, control and flexibility in your diving whether you are in the shallows one day, or conducting a tech dive another. 

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Zenobia- Technical Diving and Grouper

The Zenobia wreck in Cyprus is one of the best wrecks to dive in the world.

Sank in 1980, she is coming close to 37 years underwater, lying at a depth of 42m to the seabed.

This video is from Easter when we did a Technical Dive with Norbert. Unfortunately, our camera lady was diving recreationally but it did mean we got some great shots of the grouper that play around the outside.