An avid scuba diver looking for a unique diving experience this summer need not look further than Malta. Not only does this Mediterranean paradise offer beautiful azure waters for crystal clear visibility, warm oceans and mild currents, but also boasts a large selection of shipwreck diving all easily accessible from the islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino. Take a dive below to learn about what Malta has to offer in terms of its superb shipwreck diving.
Malta Diving in General
First of all, Malta in general sports beautiful conditions for diving with it balmy weather and clear waters. What’s more, Malta peters on the border of a continental shelf and thus its shores shelve away rapidly, meaning that many diving spots are located close to the shore. Furthermore the islands permanently have a sheltered side, making shipwreck diving possible all through your Malta or Gozo holiday no matter the direction of the wind. Although Malta can be dived throughout the year, the best time to visit is from April to October, although the oppressive summer heat from July to August must also be considered. Here is a selection of three best shipwreck dives in Malta.
HMS Maori Shipwreck Dive
Because of Malta’s significant role in World War II, acting as a midway mark between Europe and Northern Africa, the island suffered severe damage from bombings. It is a little known fact that more bombs were dropped in Malta than in Birmingham during the war, and it is from this tragedy that shipwreck divers today can enjoy such an array of shipwrecks. Thus there are many historical shipwreck dives around the islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino that simply cannot be missed on your shipwreck diving holiday. First on the itinerary is the HMS Maori, the ship that helped sink the infamous German battleship Bismarck. The HMS Maori, a tribal class destroyer, hit the ocean floor in Malta’s Grand Harbour in 1942. What’s great about the HMS Maori is that even novice shipwreck divers can enjoy its atmospheric views at a comparatively shallow depth of only 14 metres.
Um El Faroud Shipwreck Dive
For a more challenging scuba diving shipwreck adventure, the Um El Faroud is the massive wreck of a Libyan tanker. Whilst being worked on in a dry dock a gas explosion occurred killing nine Maltese dockworkers. Three years later she was moved to her current location outside Valetta. The shipwreck is close to 115 metres long and rests at a depth of 18 to 25 metres from bridge to main deck. Shipwreck divers can access the wreck via boat or shore, although the former allows more time for exploring its various compartments. Because of its size, more advance shipwreck divers can safely enjoy the Um El Faroud.
HMS Southwold Shipwreck Dive
One of the deepest dives in Malta, the HMS Southwold destroyer sunk on the 23 March 1942 from a floating mine that blew the ship in half. For this reason, the HMS Southwold is actually two dives in one wreck, making it an excellent choice if you are pushed for time. The upright stern is around 73 meters deep, and below the algal growth of shallower Mediterranean waters, sponges add beautiful splashes of colour to the haunting images of guns, depth charges and ammunition, making for a truly unforgettable shipwreck diving experience.
Our guest author, Penny Munroe, is an avid writer in travel features from around the globe, particularily adventure and eco tourism.