The beauty about the Cirkewwa dive site is that it encompasses a number of different types of dives all at one site and potentially within a single dive. Two wrecks, the tugboat Rozi and the patrol boat P29, lie nicely upright on the sand tens of metres apart. Cirkewwa, at the northest part of Malta, is the berthing place of the Gozo ferry, and attracts hundreds of local and foreign divers all year round. The sea life is incredible with barracudas, moray eels, octopus, squid, amberjacks and sea breams. When you dive the tugboat Rozi, if you are good on consumption, you can go through the Arch on the adjacent reef, as well as, visit the Madonna before returning to prepare for ascent. The P29 dive is a beautiful dive in its own right where divers can additionally visit the Coral Garden and enjoy the sea life like garnau fish, groupers, common stigrays, scorpion fish and weever fish hiding along the sand.
The MV Karwela is probably the most dived wreck around Gozo. More interesting than the MV Xlendi and closer to shore and larger than the MV Cominoland, she has some open passageways and swim throughs. The wreck is now fully populated with an overall coating of algae and marine invertebrates, and the sea firs along the rails are a popular feeding ground for nudibranchs. The largely calm deep water around the wreck also encourages the growth of some very large spiral tube worms (Spirographis spallanzani). Normally dived from the shore, she is a short swim strait out from the entry point. Her bows rest in 39 metres with the deck at 33 metres. Shortly after sinking, a VW car adorned with graffiti and pink carpet wheel arches was also sunk onto the wreck, but all that remains now is a collapsed chassis down on the starboard deck by the stern.
Two of Malta’s latest wrecks, Karwela and Comino Land, were scuttled very near us at at Ix-Xatt l-Ahmar, Gozo during August 2006. The ex ferry boats have provided new artificial reefs for divers. We have already made several trips to these wrecks with our diving boats, as they are already very popular with our clients, having had lots of publicity in diving magazines and forums. Air-filled buoyancy tanks, were used during the scuttling to ensure the ships remained upright at 35 metres below the sea. The photos which follow were taken by our Dutch clients, BJ and Nathalie t’ Jong. The VW Beetle is on the deck of the Karwela. Some people just have to park, right at the dive site!
Dive 8th December - Hellespont
The MV Imperial Eagle used to operate as a Gozo ferry, carrying around 70 passengers and 10 cars between Malta and Gozo from 1958 to 1968, following which it carried cargo between the two islands for another 20 years. In 1995 it was sold to the local Diving community and in 1999, it was scuttled in 42 metres of water to serve as an attraction for divers.
This dive site is found offshore from the Mgarr ix-Xini inlet along the south shore near Mgarr Harbour. Fessej Rock is a tall, circular and vertical column of rock which rises about 15 metres (50 feet) above the water and plunges vertically 50 metres (165 feet) to the seabed, amidst a number of huge boulders. The average depth of the dive is of 30 metres (100 feet), and one encounters large schools of fish, tube worms and squat lobsters, dentex and amberjacks. Barracuda, tuna and grouper, as well as octopus and other lobster can be found on this dive.
Le Polynesian, torpedoed by UC22 on 10 August, 1918, and resting in 65m. The descent starts as usual in perfectly slack water. Then the current builds to the point where it is ripping across the wreck for the last few metres.
The Lantern Point Dive in Comino is one of the most popular dive sites on this small Island. The dive starts along a wall with large boulders at the bottom and while descending you will find a large cave at 15m.
This cave is the highlight of the Lantern Point dive and the cave has a vertical chimney rising up to the plateau at 6m. The dive can also be started from the other way around, jumping in over the shallow 6m reef and diving down the chimney, looking up from the bottom of the wall with Moray eels, Scorpion Fish and Groupers at this part of the dive.
The Lantern Point in Comino is suitable for experienced divers since divers can choose to descend to the cave only or continue down to over 40m.
An early morning pleasure dive, to the Um El Faroud in Zurrieq.
The wreck sits upright on the sandy seabed southwest of Wied iz-Zurrieq near Qrendi. Um El Faroud weighs 10,000 tons and is 115 metres (377 ft)[contradiction] long. The depth to the top of the bridge is 18 metres (59 ft) and 25 metres (82 ft) to the main deck. Scuba divers might come across some squid and barracudas at the stern. The wreck can be entered fairly easily, but due to its size, this should be restricted only to divers with advanced wreck diving training.
The vessel measures 109.53 metres (359.4 ft)[contradiction] in length, and has a beam of 15.5 metres (51 ft); the height of the vessel from keel to funnel top is approximately 22 metres (72 ft). After a bad storm in winter 2005/6 the ship has now broken in two.
The Dive :
The most attractive course is keeping to the wall on the right hand side. The bottom drops of steeply once out of the creek and most of the dive should be in mid-water. Large fish are common and shoals of smaller fish tend to swim nearer the surface.
Just beyond the mouth of the valley and to the right is an interesting large dome-shaped cavern with a small air-lock. It is not recommended to surface in the cavern.