This is likely to be a disappointing post, Achilleas is the next wreck in my little Red Wreck book, the earlier wrecks from 1991-2000, and was one I completed whilst in Cyprus following Northern Ireland staying with Phill Talbot and his wife in Akrotiri. I say it will be disappointing and that means to me personally, I have spent quite some time trying to get some history on the Achilleas without success. I remember asking the guys at Cydive for some background at the time, and they had little too, which is odd considering this is a fairly young wreck going down outside the Paphos harbour in 1975 as a result of an explosion……. Achilleas was my 50th dive, an auspicious moment to all divers, the first 50 and then the 100 are special dives, but no one could give me much on this wreck, I think she is just one of those many ships lost to the Greek Merchant Insurance schemes as a result of poor management, a diminishing business for medium and smaller commercial transports, and greed……..
I wanted wrecks and there were wrecks to dive, so once again it was out with the Suzuki 125 trials bike and off to Cydive for the morning, this was to be my last wreck with Cydive. I was off to Larnaka the next day to dive with Ian Mc Murray at Octopus divers, but more of that in another post…….I knew this was going to be a nice easy dive as Achilleas sank shallow, as many 1970’s Greek wrecks seemed to do…..12m max as far as I was told beforehand, and again we would be in crystal clear Aegean waters on a wonderfully hot day, 07th December 1993, my buddy was to be Stan another UK diver getting a little winter sunshine in Cyprus! The boat ride out was fairly short as I remember it, no dramas and an easy kit-up before we dropped in to the warm embrace of the sea off Paphos, I could see the upturned stern of the Achilleas from the surface before we descended so finding her was not an issue!
My dive log speaks volumes about the wreck “Achilleas” A Greek vessel which sank “mysteriously” in 1975 off the harbour at Paphos (R.H. Side) 3 main areas of wreckage, all are inverted. Stern section is well sunk in and overgrown. Bronze prop still in place & portholes still about. A large Grouper lives in the bow section & shoals of smaller colourful fish abound. A great dig about in a well dispersed wreck ……..
I do hope there will be something more to add, better marking the passing of such a vessel in the ’70’s…… which just frustrates me to be honest, a ship “explodes” off a Western Hemisphere port, in the 20th century, and nobody bats an eyelid…..very odd! I’d love to add something about the history of Achilleas before her sinking, and a photo, but I have found nothing through the years, there will be someone out there that has something more, I truly hope they get in touch so I can edit this post and share more of the story, but until then this is pretty much all I have. I have asked Cydive and the local Cyprus press to help and we will see if anything comes up but until then…..on to the next wreck!