The P29 was a former minesweeper and became a patrol boat within the Offshore Command of the Maritime Squadron with the Armed Forces of Malta. It was used to secure the Maltese coast against smuggling and border control operations. The ship was cleaned and scuttled in 2007 off the port of Ċirkewwa to serve as a diving site and an artificial reef, which is now home to plenty of fauna and fish.
The Ċirkewwa Point is easily accessible from the shore and marked by a buoy. The wreck lies at a depth of 35 meters but the entire dive can be done at 25 meters as the highest point is located only 12 meters from the surface. You will find some incredible swim throughs, although the tighter spaces are only recommended if you are experienced in wreck penetration. The deck has several openings and a lot of light, which makes it a perfect dive to take in the Mediterranean depths and its history.
The Ghar Lapsi is great for beginners and new divers who can descend to explore the reef at 15m in its quiet and shallow waters. More experienced divers can discover the natural beauty of the Ghar Lapsi Cave, which offers incredible underwater photography opportunities boasting beautiful azure that the Mediterranean is known for.
Look out for shoals of painted comber around the reef; giant tun, sea cucumbers, octopus, jellyfish, John Dory and – if you are very lucky – maybe a family group of parrotfish.
The Qawra Reef offers an eclectic dive for beginners and more experienced divers as it can be accessed from the shore and has a drop off of 40m where you can explore several big caves. The caves have wide entrances and the great depth is perfect for a newbie. Spiny or slipper lobsters, hermit crabs, nudibranchs and spider crabs can also be found amongst the rocks.
If you decide to experience the 40m drop-off, you will discover large boulders, which are home to barracudas, dentex, tuna and amberjacks that are on the hunt for smaller fish. The reef has several shallow parts with a depth of 15m, where beginners can encounter parrotfish, groupers and cardinal fish.
The Rozi Tugboat Dive
Located in Ċirkewwa, close to the P29 dive site, The Rozi Tugboar Dive is one of the most popular dive sites in Malta. You’ll start the dive from the shore and swim over one of the most beautiful reefs in Malta towards the wreck, which is only 150m away and marked by a buoy. The Rozi Tugboat is still in impeccable condition – standing upright at 34m – and the wreck can be safely entered and explored with ease as the engine and propellers have been removed.
After you have explored the wreck, the surrounding waters have plenty to see including rainbow wrasse, cardinal fish, sea breams and scorpion fish.
Santa Maria Caves
The Santa Maria Caves can be explored at the north of Comino where fascinating cave systems await all levels of divers and snorkelers. Amongst the ten caves known to divers are great swim throughs, large underwater tunnels and otherworldly views into the Mediterranean blue.
There’s a variety of marine life to spot whilst you’re diving; Nudibranch, octopus, crabs, spiny lobster, eels, mullets, shrimp, damselfish and morays. If you are snorkelling around The Santa Maria Caves be sure to bring a couple of slices of bread to attract the branded sea bream that will flock to you when you feed them.
The Reqqa Reef is located in Ghasri, Gozo and is recommended to experienced divers as it’s necessary to walk a short distance in your scuba gear to reach the site. You’ll descend beside a large 60-meter wall that is covered in sponges with a lot of small fish also exploring the site. There are multiple smaller overhangs and caves to discover, and at 18m you will find a spectacular chimney.
During your dive on the north coast of Gozo, you have the opportunity to see large groupers, dentex, rays, barracudas, lobsters and morays.
The Blue Hole
The Blue Hole in Dwerja, Gozo is one of the most popular dive sites in the Maltese Islands. It sits beside the former location of the Azure Window with the remnants of this Gozitian gem visible below the surface. The dive is suited to all levels of divers; there are several depths and routes to choose from to explore a cave located at the far end of The Blue Hole as well as a coral garden.
The dive begins in a stunning natural 10m wide inland sea pool, where you’ll descend to see a natural rock arch that will be your doorway to explore the crystal-clear waters that Malta has to offer. There is an abundance of marine life to discover here; parrotfish, schools of bream, moray eel, lobster and octopus.
The Inland Sea and Tunnel
The Inland Sea and Tunnel dive is unique to the Maltese Islands and very popular as it can be completed on the same day as the nearby The Blue Hole dive.
You will start the dive in a 60m wide scenic inlet, surrounded by the high Maltese cliffs, and descend to pass through the 80m inland sea tunnel. Some divers like to carry a torch, for added light to explore the tunnel walls. As you reach the end of the tunnel you’ll be greeted by ethereal lighting – created by the sunlight hitting the clear waters – and a seabed that drops to beyond 30m where you can dive on the left or right side of the tunnel.
Whichever route you choose you’ll experience fantastic wall dives and see an array of marine life such as John Dory, octopus, cardinal fish, barracuda, parrot fish and Spotted Doris.
This site is only accessible with a dive centre, but the Billinghurst Cave is one of the longest cave dives in Gozo spanning to 50m. The entrance to the dive ranges from only 3m under the surface to 30m. A torch is recommended on this dive as there is minimal natural light penetration to enable you to discover the colourful fish, red sponges and lace coral that covers the sides of the tunnel.