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. In addition, there are a number of conservation areas that have been established around submerged wrecks located in Maltese waters. At present, there are seven such conservation areas: The Um el Faroud in Wied Iż-Żurrieq, MV Xlendi, Cominoland, Karwela off Xatt l-Aħmar, Tug St. Michael, Tug 10 in Marsaskala, The Imperial Eagle off Qawra Point, Rożi, P29 off Ċirkewwa, Blenheim Bomber off Xrobb l-Għaġin, Bristol Beaufighter off Exiles Point
Image: P31 patrol boat shipwreck, Comino
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. For more excitement, try a night dive or dive deeper to 30 or 40 metres. Colours appear almost fluorescent by torchlight. For the more experienced, these dives offer a unique adventure.
Malta underwater landscape varies from reef and boulder fields full of marine life, to strange rock formations, caves, holes, chimneys, drops and mysterious tunnels. In Xwejni Bay in Gozo, divers can discover a maze of channels in five to seven metres of water while the more experienced can go through “the washing machine” to discover a double arch 200m offshore.
The popular Blue Hole dive at Dwejra (Gozo) drops 16m to a cave and ‘‘window’’ looking out to the open sea. In Cathedral Cave divers can to surface in crystal blue waters beneath a dome the size of that of London’s St Paul’s while the Santa Marija Caves (Comino) is a set of 10 caverns, many interconnecting where divers feed the bream, creating a frenzy of fish activity.
Experienced, qualified divers can rent equipment and dive, so long as they are accompanied. Divers who wish to dive unaccompanied are required to have a buddy as well as to present a PADI Advanced Open Water or equivalent certification by other agencies (e.g. CMAS Two Star Diver, BSAC Sport Diver, SSI Advanced Open Water, etc). It is always recommended to check with the diving centre as to where would be suitable to dive, depending on weather conditions and experience. Qualified instructors can take their own groups diving in Malta.
Divers need to complete a medical statement form indicating fitness to dive. All schools provide the service of a doctor to provide certification at a small fee. Medicals from other countries are acceptable, provided the diving centre is presented with a copy.
Image: Blue Hole, Gozo
There are several types of diving courses and activities offered by locally licensed diving schools; the long track record of the diving industry in Malta coupled with safe, clear waters – there are no tides and few strong currents – makes the Islands ideal for first-timers and novice divers. Most centres offer long weekend taster courses or beginners’ dives to give you a feel for what’s involved. Tuition starts on land, followed by a pool orientation session before your first sea dive for around 30 minutes.
The next level, usually a four-day course, combines shore-based instruction with up to six open water dives with the instructor. It will take longer to gain an entry-level diving qualification; up to six days. Check with individual dive centres for details and prices..
For more information on Dive Centres in the Maltese Islands, click here: http://www.visitmalta.com/en/dive-centres
To find out more about diving opportunities in the Maltese Island, click here.