Malta and Gozo
Malta, which is a member of the EC, is made up of four islands, Malta which is the southernmost and Gozo, the northernmost. Squeezed in between the two is the tiny island of Comino and even tinyier island of Cominetto. Here's the map.
The islands are English speaking and driving is on the left. The Maltese love their fireworks and you will hear and see these day and night, especially if you staying in the Sliema and Valetta area.
The diving is mainly wreck diving, but with some good cave diving. Numerous wrecks are artificial, but make interesting diving. There are also some WW2 wrecks, such as HMS Maori in Valetta harbour. One of the feature dives is the Beaufort Bomber, which is at 40 metres and slightly deeper is the submarine, HMS Stubborn which is located at nearly 60 metres.
In recent years, various other boats have been sunk to give more options for divers, such as the P29 minesweeper patrol boat, which is 52 meters long and at a depth of 37 metres. Two of Malta's latest wrecks, Karwela and Comino Land were sunk in 2006 and were once ferry boats. See the YouTube video of the sinking of the Karwela.
Certainly worth mentioning are the dives at Dwejra (Gozo), The Blue Hole and The Inland Sea. The Blue Hole is a difficult walk over rocks with all your kit, but once reached is well worth it. Steps have been carved into the rocks leading down to the Blue Hole. This is a natural rock formation carved out over the centuries by wind and waves which goes down to a depth of 26 metres. The hole is about one metre above sea level and no more than 10 metres wide and 5 metres across. However, a few metres down, this gives way to unlimited access to the sea when divers exit through a huge archway. A large cave can be found at the bottom of the hole - take a torch!
The Inland Sea is a semi-circular bay cut off from the sea by a high cliff with a narrow cave at the centre. Going in the water it is generally very shallow and covered with pebbles and small rocks. Going through the tunnel, you will eventually reach the blue open sea and from this point the sea bed drops down to around 50 metres. These waters are usually home to large fish. Jacques Cousteau said the the Inland Sea was among his top ten dives.
- The Blue Hole & Inland Sea at Dwerja (Gozo). Treated as first and second dives.
- Santa Maria caves - there are about ten different caves in this one area alone. Some are dead ends whilst others offer breathtaking swim throughs. A large cave, extending horizontally to over 30 m (100ft) connects to another cave. At the junction, there is a shaft open to the sky, which makes this site a remarkable photographic opportunity. This is an incredible site for sighting large quantities of huge sea bream which are used be being fed by divers so take some bread with you! This is only a boat dive.
- Choose your wreck, there are lots of them at varying depths, dependant upon your certification.
- Lots of cave diving and wrecks mean that a torch is essential!
|Diving season:||12 months|
|Water temperature:||15C (January) - 26C (August)|
|Air Temperature||16C (January) - 32C (August)|