Malta Long Weekend April 2024

April 5th, 2024

Friday 5th April saw 13 of us (11 divers) meeting up in Welwyn to take a hired coach to Gatwick to head off to Mid Herts Diver’s first main organised dive trip of the year – Malta!

We used a location and Dive Centre (Maltaqua) very familiar to the club, and they didn’t disappoint. After a slightly delayed flight, we landed around lunchtime at Malta International Airport where we were met by the dive centre and taken across to the north of the island to our apartments at St Paul’s bay and where we settled in, freshened up and headed out for a wander and nice dinner together overlooking the sea.

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Heading back to our apartments, a few of us made a stop nearby to quench our thirst with a pre-bedtime drink at an Indian restaurant/bar and one of our group surprised us with also having ordered one of each of all the starters on the bar menu – effectively meaning we all went to bed at a reasonable time, though some much more full than others. We can highly recommend Momos Hub Restro/Bar for their food.

On Saturday we were picked up and taken to Cirkewwa for the first dive of the day – a relaxed shallow reef dive, followed by an appropriate surface interval and then diving the fantastic P29 wreck (a 52m Malta Armed Forces patrol boat, scuttled in 2007 to serve as a scuba diving attraction) at a max depth of 34m, which we also penetrated. It’s great to see club member Pete Lemon’s still a legend in the area with our dive both our centre knowing him, and also the dive site information signage borrowing heavily from his book, considered the oracle of Maltese diving.

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After the obligatory rinsing of our kit back at the apartment and hanging it out to dry, a group of us jumped on a bus and headed to the capital, Valletta to soak in the sights and sounds of the beautiful city and enjoy a dinner where others from the trip also joined us for cocktails and sampling the local cuisine.

On Sunday, we were taken south to Il-Qrendri, a quaint fishing village which is also home to one of the largest wrecks in Malta, the impressive 110m Um El Faroud, a Libyan oil tanker which had been abandoned, then later scuttled in 1998 after a dry dock accident left it beyond economic repair. Despite being split in two by a storm in later years, it remains upright and a great dive at a max depth of 36m, taking place in the morning for us with about 100m midwater swim from the entry point and a route taking us between the propeller and rudder, followed by a couple of swim throughs of the accommodation area.

After lunch, we dived a wall dive to a depth of around 28m, and saw Moray Eel and Octopus before once again heading back to the apartments, and then out to M’dina in the evening for a wander, drinks, and a meal to finish off another enjoyable day.

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Monday was our last day before heading back, and we were taken back to Cirkewwa, but this time to head out 130m or so from the entry point and dive the picturesque Rozi wreck (a 20m tugboat at a max depth of 34m), and once again everyone swam through it a couple of routes, taking care to not disturb the Scorpionfish in the cabin. A Moray Eel was spotted in a home in the superstructure, and a Slipper Lobster on the top of the superstructure were notable finds during the dive. The last dive of the holiday was a dive through various short tunnels and arches at the same site location, offering us a variation on the dives experienced so far during the trip.

The last night saw us heading into St Pauls Bay and enjoying a last evening meal all together, with everyone taking advantage of 2-4-1 cocktails during Happy Hour and some of us tackling what would probably be considered food challenges (and failing) for the final night of our trip.

On Tuesday morning, we returned to the restaurant in St Paul’s Bay for breakfast together, before packing up our kit, posing for a photo of all of us outside the apartments, and making our way home.

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To summarise our trip: we had fantastic weather, with safe and varied diving with a great dive centre (in ~18 degree water). We visited and penetrated some impressive wrecks, saw plenty of wildlife – including Octopuses, Morays, Slipper Lobsters, Jellyfish, Octopus, some Barracuda, and plenty more, as well as swimming through some interesting geological formats. There were plenty of interesting things seen and experienced underwater to suit all tastes, and at a very reasonable price for the holiday too.

Out of the water, we absorbed plenty of the culture and significant history (and food and drink) that Malta has to offer – all in excellent company. A memorable time was had by all, and this being my first club dive trip – it’s safe to say I’m hooked and looking forward to many more.

Well done Andy on a stellar and well-organised dive trip, you’ve set a bar for 2024 and we all really appreciate you stepping up and proposing this trip in October, and your hard work since that ensured this trip was a roaring success and enjoyed by all.