Maltese Islands Trip 2006

Maltese Islands 2006

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We have been increasing our local diving knowledge for the Maltese Islands over the last few years. Trying different arrangements each year has allowed us to see what works best and proves the most popular with our guests. Previously we have used a couple of different hotels on Malta, so decided this year to base ourselves in self-catering appartments adjacent to the Dive Centre that we were using in Gozo.
Generally, this worked very well, although there is still some room for refinement with the knowledge gained from this trip.

The Morning Briefing! We had a mix of twelve divers of differing experience and five non-divers making our compliment of seventeen in all. We were able to accommodate the needs of technical divers using closed circuit rebreathers through to students making their PADI Advanced Open Water Course dives.
I am indebted to Gozo Aqua Sports for their assistance and support.


We spent the first day on a couple of easy checkout and underwater photography dives to get everybody comfortable with their diving and the local environment.
 Cuttlefish at Mgarr Ix Xini  Camera Shy Octopus at Mgarr Ix Xini

I also discovered that dive truck rental on Gozo is more fraught than on Malta: which I had previously believed impossible!
The brochure said "6 Seat Toyota Crew Cab Pick Up with Air Conditioning"
The rental company said "But this is Gozo!"
The dive truck said "Wha, Wha, Wha ......!"
Fortunately your intrepid Instructor and trusty Leatherman proved to be equal to the task and we were mobile again.
In all seriousness our experiences indicate that both accommodation and car hire are very much a lottery, irrespective of whether you pay a premium for upgrades or not.



Steve, Colin, Jessica, Andy and Julie enjoy their meal Stairway to Heaven at the Happy Hour Bar

We were delighted to find Marsalforn to be an enchanting little town with a good selection of seafront restaurants selling good food at good prices. The seafront is an easy walk from the appartments with a bar where "Every hour is happy hour!" situated halfway, for anybody that couldn't make the trek in one go!



I had arranged to start the second day with the Advanced Open Water Deep dive at the site of the Xlendi car ferry wreck. Scuttled several years ago for the use of divers it sits a little deep for most recreational dives. I planned to find a suitable shelf on the reef to run through the skills with my students, leaving the technical guys to go exploring deeper on the wreck.
After an interesting drive to the dive site, we discovered a fair amount of swell and a tricky entry point. After some discussion we agreed to "go for it" with giant stride entries. There was a casualty when one of the girls failed to completely clear the rocks and hurt her knees but bravely decided to continue with the dive.
We suffered the effects of surge through a good deal of the dive and struggled to find a suitable location for the skills. This turned out to be the worst dive of the week with a surface swim against the current back to a difficult exit in the prevailing conditions.

Lunchtime at the Blue Lagoon Comino Caves Divesite aka Jellyfish Bay!


In contrast the third day was spent on a dayboat trip to dive sites around Comino. This proved very popular with all but Jessica, who valiently hung on to her breakfast, whilst kitting up for the first dive at Lantern Point. She was rewarded with some pretty diving and some interesting tunnels to view.
Lunchtime was spent snorkelling and sunbathing in The Blue Lagoon after the boat crew produced a superb al fresco lunch.
We planned to dive the Comino Caves for a fish feeding session in the afternoon but unfortunately the bay had been taken over by jellyfish. A brief boat ride around the island to another bay provided a satisfactory alternative for fish feeding and a short swimthrough to explore.



Vernon with his toys! Day four took us to Malta for a day spent diving the wreck of the El Faroud from the entry at the Blue Grotto. This is always a popular dive site - very busy and very hot! I apologise to anybody that I offended by trying to get the dive completed in time to obtain air fills for the second dive!
We made it back to the air filling station at the other end of Malta with five minutes to spare! Once we had refilled the tanks things were less stressed. We all enjoyed a late lunch before kitting up for the second dive at Cirkewwa adjacent to the Gozo ferry terminal.
Upon returning to Gozo we found that an impromptu beach barbeque had been arranged by a few of the afternoon's non divers. I will draw a veil over what followed............


The final day of diving started with the classic sites of the Blue Hole in the morning and the Inland Sea in the afternoon. We had been supplied with two tanks each. This saved a lot of time and stress for everybody by allowing us time for a leisurely lunch at the cafe on the shore of the Inland Sea. It also ensured that we were back to the Dive Centre in time for what was supposed to be a "special" meal at a good restaurant prior to making the Advanced Open Water Night dive at Hondoq.
The restaurant had a fabulous situation with views across the sea to Comino and Malta. However, the meal proved to be easily the most expensive and the worst we had during our stay.
Unsurprisingly, we did not waste much time there and headed off for the night dive. Hondoq proved to be a good location with lighting for kitting up and an easy beach entry. We found lots of life and most enjoyed the experience - Nine minutes in three metres doesn't count as a dive Colin!
Steve and Julie re-enter the Blue Hole from the Sea

The Night Divers - Jessica, Steve, Andy and Lesley Thwaites, Andy Rome, Julie and Linda


Our final day on Gozo was spent exploring, with some visiting old haunts in Malta and others finding new friends and memories to hoarde against the English winter, when diving in the sunshine seems so far away!
I believe that the feedback and thanks that I received for this trip indicates that we are beginning to provide what our guests are seeking from their holidays.
I hope that you will consider giving us a try, soon!


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