So, there we were on the boat, headed to our next destination after thoroughly exploring the wreck of the White Star. The White Star was a small, non-enterable wreck, but home to some interesting creatures and an excellent photo op by the cyrillic name on the stern. Amphora Caves promised to be even more interesting, as it consisted of a series of shallow swim throughs and an oddity of nature. You see, at some point in the very distant past, a number of amphorae has been lost there, become attached to the porous stone native to the area and through wave action, tectonic activity and probably a dash of divine intervention, become attached to the ceilings of several of the swim throughs.
Amphora Caves would set a new standard for shallow water dives in Cyprus for me. While still low on the marine life side of the show, it was breathtaking in the natural beauty of the location as we travelled from hole to hole over the shallow seabed. Great meadows of poseidon grass, clearings of white sand, tiny gulches and canyons with bottoms lined with well rounded stones. At a maximum depth of around 10m, I could have spent all day there if not for the constraints of tank diving. The swim throughs were fun, but are definitely not for the claustrophobic or panic prone. More than once I heard and felt the hard scraping of my tank against the ceiling, an unnerving sound if ever there was one. Despite that, I did every one of them, and even managed to get a few decent pictures of it to! Had I really been switched on, I would have used the movie function to to make a short video of the experience.
Loving the experience, I signed on to do a guided dive the next day, my last day of activities in Cyprus before the flight back to Canada. Our goal was Church Bay, a short drive up the coast from Paphos proper. There were three of us on this dive, and definite camera presence, so the dive was slow, fun and filled with great chances to get good pictures. Church Bay itself is amazing, and has a strange swirl effect in the rock face around it. It was also the location where I saw the most life and had a chance for some great macro shots. The swim throughs here were much larger and easier to negotiate, but checking before entering is a good idea as some are actually small caves. Whiel there I saw the notorious Fire Worm, Hermodice carunculata, another member of the “don’t touch” list of marine life.
Over all, Cyprus is a very good dive location. The atmosphere, people and food were excellent, and the Mediterranean sea is pleasant although very salty. There’s lots to do top side, lots in the water and can cater to a host of needs if you’re there with non-divers. The catch is that Cyprus, at least int he Paphos area, is very much a niche diving location. It won’t appeal to a large base of divers, but to those who like what it has to offer, it’s great. Abyss Dive Center and CyDive are both good organizations, and I recommend them both to people who may be in the area.