In case some of our club members are not aware, Herts Dive Club is very fortunate to have two of its senior members living on Gozo (affectionally known to us as the Malta branch). They also work out of a local dive centre teaching and guiding dives so why not pay them a visit.
What can you expect from Diving in the Malta Archipelago?
The Maltese Islands’ clear blue Mediterranean sea is ideal for scuba diving. All three Islands offer some unique diving experiences with an abundance of reefs, caves and wrecks that make diving here some of the most interesting in the Mediterranean. The calmness and clarity of the sea makes for excellent visibility whilst the risk of encountering dangerous fish is extremely low, creating the ultimate conditions for first time divers and beginners. For the more experienced divers, there are plenty of challenging dives to choose from.
The depths of the dives vary, from the very shallow 12-metre Għar Lapsi dive to Lantern Point, with its underwater tunnel leading down to well over 50 metres.
The Mediterranean island archipelago of Malta and Gozo, and their tiny sibling Comino in between, is an arid, rocky country dotted with low-lying trees and scrub, several world-class sandy beaches, and more history than you can shake a stick at. From Neolithic remains to glorious cathedrals and even film sets, these little islands boast more tourist attractions than places many, many times their size – and that’s before you venture beneath the surface of the surrounding sea.
Malta is renowned for its wreck diving, which is a sublime blend of genuine shipwrecks from wartime action or maritime mishaps and a plethora of artificial reefs. In fact, this veritable fleet of diver-friendly attractions puts Malta light years ahead of other European countries when it comes to seeing the value of purpose-sunk vessels.
The flagship of this sunken armada is the Um El Faroud. This 360-feet-long tanker became Malta’s largest artificial reef when it was sunk on 2 September 1998. She listed severely to starboard during the sinking, but eventually settled on the seabed in 115 feet. Over the years, the Um El Faroud has taken on the appearance of a “proper” wreck, especially after the vessel broke in two. The superstructure is split in front of the bridge, but both sections lie close to each other, with the shallowest point 65 feet. Its huge holds can be explored, and other points not to miss are the imposing bow and the impressive rudder and prop, which makes a great spot for a photograph. Three years before the Um El Faroud was sunk, an explosion killed nine dockyard workers in Valetta and there is a brass plaque in their memory.