Thanks to Andy for organising this long weekend to dive Malta.
We flew with Ryanair from Manchester, and the baggage cost more than the seat – the joys of travelling with a rebreather! We booked 4 days escorted diving with Divewise. They picked us up from the airport and deposited us at the hotel. We wandered down to their dive shop each morning and they transported us to the dive sites and back. This was less hassle than hiring a car and doing our own thing, but does mean that you can be constrained by other people’s plans.
We got off to a good start with 2 dives on the Um-el-Faroud, a Libya oil tanker that sits in 36m and comes up to about 15m. We enjoyed leisurely, long dives which made a nice start to the trip.
On day 2 we headed over to Gozo to dive the Inland Sea. Mick and I took advantage of the rebreathers to have an extended dive time, and went round to the site of the now collapsed Azure Window. We then sloped off for a leisurely lunch in Marsalforn with Dennis & Marguerite Wigg instead of a 2nd dive!
A boat dive took us to Santa Maria caves at Comino, where we had a nice amble through the pretty caves. This was followed by the P31, a former Maltese patrol boat that sits in about 20 metres. The highlight for me was a cute cuttlefish that was on the deck.
The following day we dived the P29. This would have been a good dive, but was cut short by another diver who’d been added to our group and was low on gas. The divemaster insisted that we all return together. It was about 10 minutes surface swim to the wreck, and so we’d only been on the wreck for about 10 minutes when he insisted we leave. I was on the rebreather and Andy was on his twinset, so we were unimpressed! The others dived the tugboat Rozi in the afternoon but I didn’t fancy the surface swim for 10 minutes on the wreck and decided to sit this one out.
Malta works well for a short warmer-weather dive trip, though (as a lady of leisure) I did wonder afterwards why I hadn’t taken the opportunity to extend my stay for a few extra days! There is a good range of diving to suit all levels from new Ocean Divers to hardened techies. If I were going for a week or longer, I'd probably opt for Gozo, but the additional ferry journey and trip across the islands makes it impractical for a short break.
Divewise are a decent dive operator, though my lesson learned is to clearly agree ground rules in advance. The first dive guide was very experienced and was happy for us to dive as buddy pairs rather than all exit the water together, but the 2nd dive guide wasn’t so flexible. With hindsight, we could have challenged the addition of another diver to the group and agreed some clear expectations about doing our own thing.
Thanks to Andy for organising this, and to Alex, Mick & Janet, Julie and Adrian for making it an excellent trip.
Reports on our previous club dive trips and some of our day diving activities
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