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DIVING IN NORTHERN MALTA

Madonna Statue
Location: Cirkewwa Point, Malta
Type: Shore Dive
Maximum depth: 25m
Minimum diver ability: Open Water Diver 
Shore dive that starts in a shallow lagoon then goes to a reef with a drop down of about 18 metres, in the cavern nearby – a statue of Madonna that has been placed there in 1987. One of the best places to dive in Malta.


Marfa Point Caves
Location: Cirkewwa point, Malta
Type: Shore dive
Maximum Depth: 28m
Minimum diver ability: Open Water Diver
This 18m depth dive is popular amongst marine wildlife enthusiasts due to the considerable amount of different species of fish and algae which can be observed in the underwater caves off Marfa. This area is also suitable for beginners due to the presence of a small pool with a depth of 6m in which new divers may practice before venturing further into this activity. A statue of the Virgin Mary may also be observed in one of these underwater caves after it was placed there in 1987 at a depth of 18m.


P29 Minesweeper
Location: Cirkewwa Point, Malta
Type: Shore dive
Maximum depth: 37m
Minimum diver ability: Advanced Open Water Diver
This East German Kondor-class minesweeper was scuttled off Cirkewwa in August 2007. This vessel was used by the Armed Forces of Malta and now sits a depth of 37m on the seabed, with its mast reaching a depth of 21m.Due to its small size, this wreck is seldom visited, partly due to the lack of marine life. However, the engine room remains a popular attraction.


Rozi Tugboat
Location: Cirkewwa Point, Malta
Type: Shore dive
Maximum depth: 34m
Minimum diver ability: Advanced Open Water Diver
A short distance away from the P29 lies another wreck, a tugboat known as Rozi. Despite its small size, this wreck remains a popular venue with local divers.Launched in Liverpool in 1958, this ship was originally known as Rossmore. In 1981, it was sold to a Maltese company operating in the Grand Harbour and re-christened as Rozi.This wreck is still intact, even though its engines and propeller are missing and lies at a depth of 34m. Its anchor is situated around 30m away from the wreck at a depth of 20m. It’s considered one of the best places to dive in Malta.


Ahrax Point
Location: Cirkewwa Pont, Malta
Type: Shore Dive
Maximum depth: 25m
Minimum diver ability: Open Water Diver
The dive site consists of a number of caves at the surface and several tunnels. The entry is a narrow inlet with depth ranging from 3 to 10 metres, following the reef to the right the area narrows into a small galley ending in a tunnel leading in a shallow inland sea that is offering all kinds of vegetation with all its hidden habitants.


Anchor Bay
Location: Mellieha, Malta
Type: Shore Dive.
Maximum depth: 17m
Minimum diver ability: Open Water Diver
This bay is widely recognizable due to the shooting of the film Popeye, starring Robin Williams. Anchor Bay derives its name from the anchor used as a mooring buoy for barges carrying material to construct Sweet Haven village, the set used in the film which can still be seen today.This area is particularly sought after due to a beautiful underwater cave, besides the gilthead local marine life.

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DIVING IN SOUTHERN MALTA

Reef and Caves, Wied iz-Zurrieq
Location: Wied iz Zurried, Blue Grotto, Malta
Type: Shore dive
Maximum depth: 45m
Minimum diver ability: Open Water Diver

This dive is particularly popular with divers due to the multitude of underwater caves. Most of these caves may be accessed at a maximum depth of 27m. Amongst these caves, one finds the ‘bell tower cave’ with three separate entrances, with room for 2 to 3 divers in the cave itself. This area is also well known for its marine wildlife, including Cardinal fish, damselfish, scorpion fish and sea horses. Other caves at varying depths may also be visited. One of the most famous places to dive in Malta.


Um El Faroud
Location: Wied iz-Zurrieq, Malta
Type: Shore dive
Maximum depth: 34m
Minimum diver ability: Advanced Open Water Diver
The Um El Faroud is a 110m, oil tanker that was built in Middlesbrough in 1969 and operated between Malta and Libya. During maintenance works in the Malta Drydocks on the 3rd of February 1995, an explosion occurred in one of the fuel tanks, tragically killing nine shipyard workers in one of the worst accidents to happen at the dry docks following the Second World War.The vessel suffered extensive structural damage and was deemed to be beyond repair. On September 2, 1998, the ship was scuttled and provided an artificial reef, which today is teeming with marine life. Quite often schools of barracudas can be seen around it.This wreck can be accessed following a 10-minute swim from the shore and can be covered in one dive if the breathing rate is kept low. However, a majority of divers who visit this wreck opt to make two dives in order to appreciate the wreck’s structures and marine environment.


Ghar Lapsi
Location: Siggiewi, Malta
Type: Shore Dive
Maximum depth: 12m
Minimum diver ability: Open Water Diver
This diving site is one of the most sought after sites in Malta due to the presence of large underwater caves, sandy bays and reefs. The area between the sand and the reef is covered by a variety of grass and algae. The underwater caverns also contain interesting sponges and sea life.



DIVING IN VALLETTA/FLORIANA AREA
  


HMS Maori
Location: St. Elmo Bay, Valletta, Malta
Type: Shore dive
Maximum depth: 12m
Minimum diver ability: Open Water Diver

The HMS Maori was the last Tribal-class destroyer to see service in the Mediterranean during the Second World War. Commissioned in 1939, this destroyer saw service in the Norwegian campaign in 1940 and took part in the hunt for the German flagship Bismarck. In February 1921, this destroyer was sunk after being hit by bombs during an air raid. The vessel was subsequently floated out of the Dockyard Creek and scuttled. Today, this wreck may be found 14m inside Marsamxetto Harbour and boasts a presence of various species of marine wildlife.


HMS Hellespont
Location:  Off coast of Valetta
Type: Boat dive
Maximum depth: 41m
Minimum diver ability: Advanced Open Water Diver
Paddle steamer Hellespont was launched in 1910 and until 1922 was based in Queenstown, Ireland. In 1922 she came to Malta and was subsequently damaged by Italian aircraft in 1940 and was never repaired. Lies at a depth of 41 metres off Grand Harbour.


Rozi Tugboat dive site, Malta

Rozi Tugboat dive site, Malta


DIVING IN NORTHEAST


Qawra point
Location: Qawra, Malta
Type: Shore dive
Maximum depth: 50m
Minimum diver ability: Open Water Diver

Located at the southern tip of St. Paul’s Bay, this dive gives way to a slope of 40m to reveal underwater caves and marine wildlife, amongst them various species of sponges. This dive is completed by a large C shaped caved, its bottom strewn with rocks formed after centuries of erosion. Other small caves compliment this dive at a maximum depth of 50m.


Imperial Eagle and Statue of Christ
Location: Qawra Point
Type: Boat dive
Maximum depth: 42m
Minimum diver ability: Advanced Open Water Diver
The Imperial Eagle was launched in Sunderland in 1938 and made its maiden voyage in Malta in a trip between Malta and Gozo in June 1958.Scuttled in July 1999, this ship lies in an upright position at a small distance away from the shore. This wreck is considered as being easy swim-through.On the way to the wreck, one may also visit the statue of Christ which was erected on the seabed in the latter part of the 20th Century. With a length of 45m, this wreck is also home to a number of different species of fish, amongst them barracuda. This location is one of the most fascinating places to dive in Malta.


WW2 Junkyard
Location: Qawra Point
Type: Boat dive
Maximum depth: 48m
Minimum diver ability: Open Water Diver
A “junkyard” of WW2 machinery. A very mysterious reef where parts of torpedo boats, aircrafts and other machinery can be found. In addition, you can find some tableware and other objects from that time.



DIVING IN SLIEMA/ST.JULIANS AREA

Bristol Beaufighter
Location: St. Julian’s Bay
Type: Boat Dive
Maximum depth: 37m
Minimum diver ability: Advanced Open Water Diver

In March 1943, a Bristol Beaufighter was abandoned by its crew following mechanical difficulties while it was en route on a military mission in the Mediterranean. This aeroplane consequently sunk around 1000 yards off Dragonara Point. This aircraft is still in good condition with the fine sand on the seabed providing an ideal resting place. One of its propellers is still intact with the partly buried engine, together with its winds and centre fuselage. This site may be accessed by boat at a depth of 37m.


Merkanti reef
Location: St. Julian’s
Type: Shore dive
Maximum depth: 18m
Minimum diver ability: Open Water Diver
Calm and shallow reef that is a perfect dive for beginners. The reef is swarming with different kinds of sea creatures, such as octopus, rockfish, nooks, crannies, bream and moray eel.


Tug 2
Location: St. Julian’s
Type: Shore dive
Maximum depth: 21m
Minimum diver ability: Open Water Diver
30-metre-long and 9.5-metre high vessel. Was scuttled in June 2013 for diving purposes.



DIVING IN SOUTHEAST

 

Two Tugboats: St Michael and № 10.
Location: Zonqor Point, Malta
Type: Shore dive
Maximum depth: 21m
Minimum diver ability: Open Water Diver

The St. Michael and No. 10 wreck may be accessed off Zonqor Point following a 5 minute swim from the shore. Both were launched in 1994 and scuttled together in 1998. At 20m, the St Michael is the longer of the two vessels, with No. 10 being slightly shorter at 16m.
The visibility is normally good enough to enable divers to locate the two wrecks easily. A rope has recently been installed linking these two wrecks together to make it easier for divers to visit both wrecks.


Blenheim Bomber
Location: Xorb il-Ghagin
Type: boat dive
Maximum depth: 42m
Minimum diver ability: Advanced Open Water Diver

Bristol Blenheim entered Royal Air forces in 1937, replacing the Hawker Hind biplane. However, the Blenheim itself quickly became obsolete, being unable to outpace the fast enemy fighters. Blenheim crews carried out many daylight attacks on shipping and land targets but suffered very heavy losses.The Blenheim was a light World War II bomber in the English air force, now lying in the waters of Xorb il-Ghagin.


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DIVING IN GOZO

Karwela and Cominoland
Location: Xatt l-Ahmar, Gozo
Type: Shore dive
Maximum depth: 35m
Minimum diver ability: Advanced Open Water Diver

The MV Karwela was sunk in August 2006 and is accessible from the shore. However, this may be problematic due to the rocky shoreline which dots the shore near this wreck. The MV Karwela was first launched in 1957 and arrived in Malta to serve as a passenger ferry on 1986. Due to its large structure, the MV Karwela can be easily accessed from various parts. Many divers also visit this wreck to see a vintage Volkswagen Beetle which mysteriously appeared on the wreck following its scuttling. It is widely believed that this was the result of a prank by local divers. Unfortunately, now the Beetle has been washed away by the currents.


Blue Hole
Location: Gozo, Dwejra
Type: Shore Dive
Maximum depth: 50m
Minimum diver ability: Open Water Diver
The Blue Hole is the result of thousands of years of erosion of the rock by the wind and waves on the Gozitan cliff side. At a maximum depth of 50m, this dive site is particularly popular due to the wide variety of marine life, besides the unusual formation of rocks forming this site, rendering this dive interesting to marine photographers and marine wildlife enthusiasts alike.


Coral Cave
Location: Gozo
Type: Shore Dive
Maximum depth: 28m
Minimum diver ability: Open Water Diver
Located at the opposite side of the Blue Hole, huge semicircular cave under the cliffs of west part of Gozo. The top of the cave is coral and bottom of it is sandy.


Inland Sea
Location: Gozo, Dwejra
Type: Shore dive
Maximum depth: from 15m to 55m
Minimum diver ability: Open Water Diver
The inland bay surrounding the Blue hole is 60m wide and 28m deep at most, making it possible to surface at all times from the dive. The bay is surrounded by cliffs, adding to the aesthetic value of the dive.


Billinghurst Cave
Location: Gozo
Type: Shore dive
Maximum depth: 30m
Minimum diver ability: Open Water Diver
One of the longest cave dives in Gozo. It is about 50m long with the entrance at 3m under the surface. It is a very picturesque place because of its lighting. Sides of the tunnel are covered by lace coral and red sponges with all kinds of colorful fish swimming around. The Bilinghurst cave is leading to another cave, called Railway Tunnel.


Mgarr ix-Xini
Location: Gozo
Type: Shore dive
Maximum depth: 20m
Minimum diver ability: Open Water Diver
Mġarr Ix-Xini was apparently an occasional hiding place for the Knights galleys and was also used by the invading Turks to load captive Gozitans onto their ships in the worst-ever raid on the island in 1551.A tiny pebbly beach where you can dive inside some shallow caves leading into deep water. A shallow dive that is perfect for afternoon/night dive. Known for big variety of fish species and other marine life. Due to its location considered to be one of the quitter dives in Gozo.


Xlendi Bay
Location: Gozo
Type: Shore dive
Maximum depth: 12m
Minimum diver ability: Open Water Diver
A good diving location for those new to cave diving. The cave is a large tunnel, joining both sides of the rocky promontory that joins both sides of northern area of Xlendi bay.  The area is rich in such marine life as octopuses, groupers, amberjacks, groupers. In addition, you can find goatfish, damselfish, cardinal fish and even small barracudas at the entrance.


Cathedral cave (Blue Dome)
Location: Gozo
Type: Shore dive
Maximum depth: 30m
Minimum diver ability: Open Water Diver
One of the famous dives in Gozo. It is named Blue Dome due to the blue lighting of it that is coming from its entrance that looks like an arch. The entrance is 6 meters under the surface. The depth of the cave is 12-30m and it is a perfect dive for all levels.



DIVING IN COMINO

 

Patrol Boat P 31
Location: Comino
Type: Boat Dive
Maximum depth: 15m
Minimum diver ability: Open Water Diver

The P31 Patrol Boat was a military vessel that was scuttled as part of a project by local authorities to improve the diving industry. This wreck is ideal for newly certified open water divers.


Santa Maria Caves (Comino caves)
Location: Comino
Type: Boat Dive.
Maximum depth: 20m
Minimum diver ability: Open Water Diver
The Santa Maria Caves in Comino appeal to most divers that visit the Maltese islands. This site is popular with beginners and experienced divers alike. These caves are also a popular side for fish feeding, with large amounts of different species of fish present all year round, making this site a popular attraction for underwater photographers. These caves are found at a maximum depth of 20m and are accessible by boat.


Lantern Point
Location: Comino
Type: Boat dive
Maximum depth: 50m
Minimum diver ability: Open Water Diver
Located in Comino and accessible by boat, Lantern Point is a popular attraction to divers due to its vertical tunnel which is 16m long and wide enough for a diver to pass through unhindered. Outside the tunnel, the divers can enjoy a multitude of swim troughs where marine species such as starfish may be observed. Other rock formations in the area are also home to a variety of fish, including large groupers and dentex. These rock formations descend to a maximum of 50m.



PLACES TO DIVE IN MALTA: THE TECHNICAL SITES

 

Schnellboot S31
Location: 1 mile off shore from Grand harbour “Schnellboat S31”
Type: TEC dive
Maximum depth: 73m
Minimum diver ability: Normox Trimix Diver

The Schnellboot S31 sunk in 1942 after hitting a mine one nautical mile away from the Grand Harbour. It may be found at a depth of 66m fully intact with its original weaponry including torpedoes ready for launching in the torpedo tubes. However, divers are advised that the areas are prone to strong underwater currents.


HMS Southwold
Type: TEC dive
Maximum depth: 65m-70m
Minimum diver ability: Trimix Diver
The HMS Southwold was a Hunt Class destroyer launched in 1941. It had a net tonnage of 1,050 tons and was 86m long. This ship sunk in 1942 after being hit by a mine and broke into two parts following an explosion in the engine room. The bow section may be found at a depth of 65 m on its starboard side while the stern section may be found at a distance of 300m away from the bow section at a depth of 72m.


SS Polynesien
Location: Type: Boat dive
Maximum depth: 65m
Minimum diver ability: Normoxic Trimix Diver
The Polynesien was commissioned towards the end of the 19th Century and had a length of 152m and a gross tonnage of 6,659 tons. In August 1918, The Polynesian arrived in Malta and was subsequently torpedoed by a U-boat and sunk. Today it lies at the bottom of a sandy bay at a maximum depth of 63m, accessible by boat.


HM Drifter Eddy
Location: Cirkewwa Point, Malta
Type: TEC
Maximum depth: 56m
Minimum diver ability: Normoxic Trimix Diver
27 meters long and 6 meters wide drifter Eddy was launched in 1918, sunk after hitting a mine in 1942. Was discovered by divers in 1995 at the depth of 56 meters. Carried port duties in UK. Prior to the commencement of WW2 she sailed to Malta to carry port duties in Grand Harbour for the Royal Navy.After the beginning of WW2 was rigged to sweep for mines. Shortly after sunk.


HMS Stubborn P238
Location: 4km off Qawra Point
Type: Boat dive
Maximum depth: 56m
Minimum diver ability: Normoxic Trimix Diver
Launched on the 11th of November 1942, the HMS Stubborn was a 66m long submarine hosting a crew of 44 sailors. Armed with 13 torpedoes that could be launched from any of its six 21 inch or single stern tube, the submarine was also fitted with a 3 inch gun and a 20, Oerlikon machine gun mounted at the stern.This submarine was scuttled in the final months of the Second World War after it was hit by a depth charge which destroyed its tail fin. The HMS Stubborn was subsequently used for target practice by the Royal Navy. Today, this beautifully preserved wreck lies at a depth of 56m and lies on the seabed with a tilt of 10 degrees towards starboard.This wreck is easily accessible by boat and the use of mixed gas is advisable.