Ray celebrates 95th with 40m wreck-dive
The world’s oldest scuba diver, as recognised by Guinness World Records (GWR), has celebrated his 95th birthday with a 40m dive on the famed Zenobia ferry wreck off Larnaca in Cyprus.
British diver Ray Woolley, who lives in Limassol, is hoping to hear that he succeeded in breaking his own record on 1 September, when members of his dive-club accompanied him on the 44-minute wreck-dive. He had turned 95 last Tuesday (28 August).
2 September 2018
The dive was reported to have been recorded in compliance with GWR requirements, a process becoming familiar to Woolley.
He claimed the record at 94 with a 38m dive on the Zenobia, but was already in the habit of carrying out special birthday dives through his early 90s – as reported each year on Divernet. Now he has to await official verification that his record has been updated.
“It was a wonderful experience diving on the Zenobia with so many divers,” Woolley told the Cyprus Sunday Mail afterwards. “I think there were around 35, but it was really difficult to count them, as there were three dive-boats. This was the highlight for me, and a dive I will remember for a long time.”
The dive was organised by Woolley’s long-time dive-buddy David Turner, Diving Officer of his club Western Sovereign Bases Area SAC at RAF Akrotiri. It was followed by a civic reception hosted by the Mayor of Larnaca. “If I can keep fit and my dive-buddies will still dive with me, I hope I’ll be able to repeat this again at 96 years of age,” said the record-holder.
Woolley was born in Cheshire in 1923, served in the Royal Navy during WW2 and later worked as a radio engineer. He joined Portland & Weymouth BSAC in 1960 and was first posted to Cyprus in 1964 while working for the Foreign Office, joining BSAC 107S on the island and becoming an advanced diving instructor.
He has worked and dived in various parts of the world but retired to Cyprus in 1999 and rejoined his former club. He says he keeps fit by swimming in his pool for two hours a day.
A documentary film about Woolley called Life Begins at 90, has been completed and is to be made commercially available soon, director Bejay Browne has told Divernet.