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WRECK DIVING IN MALTA By Andrew Falconer

 

As part of a wider trip to Europe, I spent a week on the island of Malta in the Mediterranean, mainly to dive the shipwrecks there. I stayed at Buccaneer’s guesthouse https://www.buccaneers.com.mt/  and dived with New Dimension Scuba http://www.nds-malta.com/, both located at St Paul’s Bay on the main island. The latter choice was based on a readers report in https://www.undercurrent.org/ and the former by NDS. Both turned out to be good choices.

 

Malta lies below Sicily in the Mediterranean     

The Maltese islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino

 

Over six days I did a total of 12 dives (two per day), which included eight different shipwrecks, one aircraft and two cave dives. Of the 12 dives, eight were shore entry, 4 boat entry, eight off Malta,

 

The tugs Saint Michael and Number 10 lie close together

The cave at Ghar Lapsi

 

 

two off Comino, and two off Gozo. The shore dives often involved a bit of a hike to get in and out of the water. Also since my last diving was in Indonesia, it took a bit of getting used to early summer sea temperatures at depth of 16 degrees. On top of my usual Indonesian diving apparel, I hired 5mm wetsuit, and after the first day a 5mm short wetsuit as well. It was noticeable that almost all the

 

The wrecks of the patrol boat P29 and Rozi tug boat lie close to each other at Cirkewwa

 

other divers had dry suits. Later in summer the water on the surface at least is supposed to get warmer.
All the wrecks that I dived had been sunk deliberately, rather than being actual casualties of World War 2 for which Malta is famous. The wrecks are relatively deep, mostly 30m to 40m, and nitrox was used on all my dives. Diving is a major industry in Malta with no less than 52 dive operations!

 

The most impressive wreck was the Libyan oil tanker El Farouk off Wied iz-Zuriek

 

On the second days diving at Cirkewwa, I was horrified at the huge number of divers milling around
 at the car park, but strangely we were the only ones on the wrecks! Maybe they were doing open
 water courses or just talking about the weather? I can’t imagine what it is like in the peak season  (July / August) for crowds. The dives were strictly controlled.

 

The patrol boat P19 off Comino

The Neptune aircraft remains.

The bow of the imperial Eagle

 

Most of the dives I did were either only with a dive master or a couple of other divers. The
exception was when we dived the Neptune and the Imperial Eagle and also the Gozo dives, where I was with a group of “tech” divers, complete with rebreathers and all the expensive tech gear.

 

The staircase inside the Karwela

The bow of the Karwela.

Alongside the Cominoland

 

 

In conclusion, diving on Malta was certainly interesting and worthwhile. The total cost for the week amounted to about  $AUD1800. There are flights to Malta from many European destinations and also from Dubai and Doha.
May/June 2019