- Shane Willis
Here we are again, September and on our way to the sunny island of Gozo, and this time the pack has grown from 4 to 8 intrepid adventurers. Our chauffeur arrived to take us the dive centre where we were greeted with familiar faces and smiles from last year. Following a short drive, we arrived at our checkout dive site named Mgar Is Xini. A shallow hour around 12 metres, a lovely gentle swim to re-acquaint ourselves with the conditions and for the guides to see what level we are at. After a short lunch we moved onto our next site of the day the Middle Finger also known as Ras il-Hobz. It is pinnacle that rises from 40 metres at the base to 8 metres from the surface. After a little swim we dropped to 30 metres on the Finger and did a spiral ascent. On ascending we were able to see large groupers, also schools of Saddle and Two Banded Breams. Also making their home there were sweet little Damsels, shinning in the light cutting through the water.
This wonderful pinnacle for the novice diver is fantastic and simple. The seas around Gozo like many have been over fished, and it was glorious to see nature taking hold of this pinnacle again and it becoming a safe haven for wildlife.
We completed the dive after spending a good 45 minutes on the pinnacle. We headed back to the dive centre, washed our kits down and headed to our accommodation to get ready for a night out dinning and enjoying a small tipple!
Day 2 and after a hearty breakfast we made our way to the centre ready to see where our adventures would take us that day. First stop was the Double Arch Reef which lies next to the salt pans in Marsalform Bay. A T-shaped reef at about 20 metres, it has steep drop-offs on each side. The top of the arches start at 20 metres and the big arch drops to 45 metres. Also around are small coastal caves and a large sea grass field on route. Stepping in from the shore we did a surface to the arches which took about 20 mins. It wasn’t lonely we had a few travellers with us. ( he will be my squishy )
What a view and a little fun playing peek a boo in the middle strut and a explore, it was time to head back over the grass fields and back to shore, where it got interesting!!.
Before we entered the water we had a briefing and were told they nicknamed the exit point the washing machine, and we soon found out why. There is a sloping wall at the exit point which when the waves hit, churns up like a hot wash. Taking your fins off just before getting to the wall ( don’t do this too early ) you move in and if you time it right the waves give you a helpful kick up the rear and pop. Out you come safe and sound after a great dive. Managing to get into a little slot I managed to help pop a few divers out like corks from a champagne bottle. That’s when the sea got her revenge and has a pop of her own. Only when we got back to the mini bus did we know what the sea did. Ouch I love surgical spirits! A few bruises and cuts from the exit wall, but nothing to dissuade from this lovely adventure. Rest for the remaining of the day while the others went out for the second dive. Oh well dull the pain with a couple of glasses of nectar from the vine.
We once more dived the wreck of the P31, sitting 18 metres down, this makes a great dive, simple and perfect for ocean divers and beyond. The funnel after several years is becoming fragile so care has to be taken of any loose parts which may dislodge. This was the first of 2 wrecks which we returned to. The second site was the MV KARWELA. Her bow is at 39 metres with the decks sitting at 33 metres. The hull sits in the sand at 45 metres so exploring the hull was sadly out of reach. However this did not stop us having a fabulous dive on this gorgeous wreck . Gliding through the decks we found the stair cases, which still glowed like I remembered from our previous trip. After spending as much time as possible before going into too much deco we headed for the large grasslands and shallows to hunt out some sea horses. Always a delight to find as needle in a haystack best describes this mission. Ascending to 12 metres max, we had lots of time to achieve our sightings. Happily we were not disappointed, working together we located our little creatures.
Gozo presented us with a week of fantastic diving yet again.