The next day for a change, we walked a couple of hundred metres down the road to a small quay, where we were collected by a converted painted Maltese fishing boat, a Luzzu, and taken to the island of Comino. The first dive was Lantern Point & The Chimney Cave, probably more of the boring brown weed. We headed down with the group following Alex, when all of a sudden he was signalling everyone to go up, we were at 44m and apart from a couple of us, no-one else was qualified or had ever been to that depth before. So they hurriedly made their way to shallower waters. The small chimney cave that came up under the boat was the only interesting bit, apart that is, from Alex’s face when he realised how deep we all were. I asked Alex if he ended up in deco, he said yes 8 minutes, I asked what computer he was using as I only had 3 minutes, he said he doesn’t use a computer and does it in his head.
The second dive were the Santa Marija Caves on Comino, they were small shallow caves and were very picturesque. The blue colour of the sea looking back out was very nice and made some great silhouettes with divers going in and out. We could have spent more time in there really, but instead Alex decided to show us some more boring reefs!
Another long drive the next day. We went up to the ferry port to take the ferry to Gozo and to dive Inland Sea at Dwejra. It’s a small lake that is connected to the sea through a cave, loads of small boats were shooting in and out taking sight seer’s around, that could be dangerous. Sharky, Alex and I were going through the cave then descending to the bottom, the rest were going to swim along at 30m above us. Alex had a computer with him today, so he did own one. The wall the other side goes down to about 62m, it was another boring reef, very light down there even though we were being shaded by the sun. We did our decompression in the cave which itself was interesting, nice colours and several photo opportunities. We didn’t do a 2nd dive that day, we just drank wine and basked in the sun. As well as arguing about the fact that a PPO of 0.7 is fine at 36m, whereas Alex said it was hypoxic. He also ran his rich mix on the left and lean on the right, which while is fine if you notice it.
Our last day of diving, day 5. Today we were joined by the two guys who were doing their courses, they had done their Open Water course and were finishing their Advanced Open Water. We originally were going to dive the HMS Stubborn, but the wind had picked up and the trip was going to be too rough, so we headed to the wreck of the Imperial Eagle on a Luzzu. There was no dive briefing, in fact there wasn’t a briefing on any of the dives during the week. We were surprised that the students weren’t given a brief though. We took it on ourselves to brief them about getting off and back onto the boat. We were dropped down on the nearby statue to have a quick look first then swam to the Imperial Eagle wreck. Again a nice wreck, it lies upright with its propellers still in place, but once again it wasn’t long before we were ushered back to the surface as it was deep for an air dive and divers were getting close to deco. It was on the boat when we asked who got what depth, the students didn’t have a depth gauge, they hadn’t had one all week! It also transpired that they had only been doing half days. So basically they managed Open Water & Advanced Open Water in 2.5 days, with no depth gauge. They weren’t under any supervision for this dive either!
The second dive we were told was going to be St Pawls (St Pauls)Island East reef, another reef !YAWN! There was a small boat wreck close and a plane wreck, but both were very shallow and not much left of either apparently. I said either wreck sounded good to me, so we dived the reef, even though we were told we could choose.
Our week in Malta was enjoyable. The visibility was always good at over 20m and the water was warm compared to the U.K. The wrecks we dived were all interesting and well worth visiting again, the caves on Comino were also interesting and pretty. The reefs, as you may have gathered, were rather uninteresting and there was a distinct lack of life. Diving one reef out of interest is fine, diving one as a second dive every day is boring. It would probably have been better to organise one of those small boats every day to get to the more interesting dive sites. Which is what I will do when I return to Malta.