02 Aug 2007 09:28:01
Richard Williamson
Diving in Paphos, Cyprus (Sea Horse Dive Centre)

Hi all,
just thought I'd share a few experiences from a recent trip to Paphos.

I had booked a week in Paphos on the basis that it was cheap, the
water was warm and the diving was reasonable. I booked in at the
Cynthiana Bay Hotel, which is near many dive sites, and a short bus
trip from the tourist centre. The hotel was relatively quiet and right
by the sea; ideal for a bit of soaking up the sun, then snorkelling to
cool down.

I'd booked 10 dives with Sea Horse Dive Centre, which was a few
minutes from the hotel. I later decided to up this to 12 dives, and
also added a night dive. The centre itself is relatively small and
unassuming, but the staff are superb and go out of their way to meet
your needs. They run things to ensure good instructor/diver ratios. On
the majority of dives, I was the only other diver apart from the
instructor. The 2 dives of the day start at around 9.00, witht he aim
of getting you back to your hotel for around 1.00pm.

The local dive sites vary in terms of the amount of life and
topography they offer. What the area lacks in life, it generally makes
up for with stunning topography, with fantastic swimthroughs,
amphitheatres and some amazing lighting. The sites are generally mixed
rock and sandy bottom, with a lot of neptune grass. Animal life varies
from peacock worms to cuttlefish to cornet fish. Sea temperatures were
around 28 Celcius, but with some 'interesting' thermoclines. A 2.5mm
shortie was fine for this, although Gary the instructor insisted on
wearing a full wetsuit. Sea conditions were generally calm, although a
bit of a swell and surge picked up in the latter half of the week -
nothing to affect the diving, though. Air temperature was fairly warm
at around 42 Celcius.

Two of the dives were to the wreck of the Xenobia. This was about 90
minutes away, and was from a reasonably large (50ft ish) boat with a
good lunch provided. There were more species of fish here including,
for example, barracuda. The Xenobia is a great wreck if you're into
wrecks. I'm not generally a fan of wrecks, but I thought it'd be daft
to go to Cyprus and not try it. Not a decision I regretted.

The night dive didn't reveal a lot of life until we were returning to
the shore and came face to face with a cornet fish which didn't seemin
any hurry to leave.

All in all, a very enjoyable week's diving. Thanks go to Gary and
Louise from Sea Horse Dive Centre for their excellent and friendly