Now that the dust has settled after another fabulous week away With Herts Dive Club its time to share some of the highlights of the trip with a more detailed trip report…
…So here goes!
We’re on our way – destination Gozo, Mata
The journey started reasonably well with everyone hooking up at Gatwick’s North terminal and a reasonably stress free (by EasyJet’s standards anyway) checkin we all made our way through security and headed straight for the bar for some well earned Holiday starting drinks.
After a short an uneventful flight (with the exception of the rather hilarious head stewardess, specifically her perfectly crafted Essex biased ‘posh’ undertones) we arrived at Malta airport at around 10.45pm local time. Straight through passport control and onto the baggage reclaim to fin bags already on the belt and ready for collection…..This was going so smoothly, perhaps too smoothly?
In short – yes as our experience with the car hire representative soon showed us.
Everything started off well enough – he met us at arrivals with the relevant paperwork and of course car keys, and then he hit us with the ‘additional charges’ for full insurance, delivery charges, payment for the 1/4 tank of petrol they had delivered them with etc etc. As a group we decided that the €500 excess was not something we particularly wanted and so agreed to pay the additional charge to have no excess at all (it turns out that the combined value of our vehicles would have struggled to amount to €500!).
Nothing could of prepared us though for the condition of the vehicles which was apparent even in the dead of night – still we had a ferry to catch so we set off an eventually arrived at our resort, Xlendi Bay in Gozo.
It was finally time to get in the water for an easy shake down dive in Xlendi Bay and make sure all the kit survey the journey. The dive was the perfect start with 21 degrees and crystal clear vis set us up for a great week of diving.
Each dive site seemed to improve on the last with breathtaking geology, an abundance of marine life (which certainly restored my faith in diving the Mediterranean) and some great wrecks.
Of course getting to the dive sites was all part of the adventure with access to some of them which could only be accessed by utilising the hardiest of off road vehicles – which brings us neatly to our vehicles for the week, affectionately known as the ‘Vehicles of Doom’
The HDC 4 x 4 Adventure
As mentioned in a previous post, The 2 Maruti Gypsy jeeps we have hired could only have been available because no-one else wanted them. Never in our lives have we seen such a collection of worthless metal with an engines strapped to the front.
It has been a while since any of us need to use a manual choke on a car but we were about to have a crash course in driving minus power steering and, as it turns out, effective brakes!
Despite the obvious draw backs in the level of luxury the cars were perfect for the week. We could throw them about across the island on roads (I use that term loosely) and more importantly off road dirt tracks, most of which let to the numerous dive sites around the coast.
Whilst the majority of the group were settling into some nice relaxing dives, it is worth mentioning that one of HDC’s newest members successfully completed her PADI Open Water qualifying dives as well completing the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course – So congratulations and well done to Sophie!
Below is a selection of some of the images from the week in Gozo, be sure o see the whole album on our gallery page.