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Scuba Diving In Gozo
Scuba diving in Gozo will bring you some of the best diving sites of the Mediterranean. There are dive sites suitable for all levels, for both novice and experienced divers. Underwater landscape here is just great, visibility is excellent. The sea is usually calm and the water temperature sometimes drops to 13ºC in winter, so diving is possible in all seasons during a year.
Blue Hole, Gozo
Gozo is rated as one of the best scuba diving holiday spots in the Mediterranean. It offers all year round diving and you can dive reefs, explore caverns, walls and wrecks, including the world famous Blue Hole. Although Gozo shares a common history with Malta, physically it is different. Flat-topped hills, steep valleys and rugged cliffs dominate the landscape.
Scuba diving in Gozo: General Information
The warm climate, crystal clear blue waters, virtually no tides or currents, and a prolific marine life are the right ingredients to make Gozo the perfect holidays diving destination which keep divers coming back year after year.
A visit to Dwejra is a must in your holidays diving. Famous for Fungus Rock, and the spectacular Azure Window, this location also features other prominent and unique sites such as the Blue Hole, Inland Sea and Crocodile Rock.
Gozo's south coast offers few famous dive sites for you, including the wrecks of Karwela , Cominoland and the MV Xlendi. If you are fan of night diving - the picturesque cove of Mgarr ix Xini is perfect for night dives where sea conditions are ideal!
Gozo has an impressive number of dive sites from shore diving to sites that are reachable only by boat. The small size of the island means that you do not need spending a lot of time to move from site to site, and if there wind blows on one side of the island - just in a few minutes you will be able to find more suitable.
Clean coastal waters of Gozo became the divers' legends. Here at depths of 20 - 30 meters, we can see objects at distances up to 50 meters. Winter water temperatures usually do not drop below 15C (ocasionally to 13 degrees in winter) and in August normal temperature of about 28C, so that's enough to have a wetsuit.
There are quite a few diving centers in small sized Gozo (Atlantis Diving, Blue Waters, Calypso Diving Centre, Scuba Kings Dive Centre, Gozo Aqua Sports, etc.) and there are at least a dozen well-known caves and many beautiful underwater cliffs. Almost the entire coastal underwater area of Gozo is richly populated with marine life, which is bustling everywhere, and high transparency of water and rocky landscapes make underwater adventures here particularly pleasant.
Island of Malta has many more dive centres that run courses leading to internationally-recognised diving qualifications. The most common are the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) and the Confederation Mondiale des Activites Subaquatiques (CMAS).
Ferry runs continuously between Malta and Gozo. Tickets for people and vehicles are sold only in Malta. From the side of Gozo entry to the ferry is free. Ferry runs with interval from 30 min to 1 hour throughout the daylight period. Ferryride itself - is a nice boat trip. Also Gozo can be reached by helicopter from the airport, as well as seaplane from Valletta.
Scuba Diving In Gozo: Diving Conditions
Scuba diving in Gozo: Marine Flora & Fauna
The combination of sheer cliffs, caves, wrecks, shelves and sandy and rocky sea beds, means there is a large variety of fauna and flora to see in the Maltese waters. There are a few sea animals to watch but not handle as they have vicious or poisonous bristles and spines. Keep your eyes open for the scorpion fish, bristleworms, sea urchins and the stingray. If you do step on or touch one of these fish, seek medical attention as your reaction to the injury will depend on your general medical condition and age.
While scuba diving in Gozo we may spot following sea beauties:
Scuba Diving In Gozo: Scuba Diving Centres
The Maltese Islands offer a wide choice of dive centres with a track record of some 30 years in the industry. Professional, qualified diving staff are trained to teach all levels, from beginners to instructor courses. Dive centres are located across the Islands, so you will always find one near your accommodation. There is no need to bring your own equipment as centres provide all you need.
Most centres run courses leading to internationally-recognised diving qualifications. The most common are the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) and the Confederation Mondiale des Activites Subaquatiques (CMAS).
Scuba Diving In Gozo: The Most Visited Scuba Diving Locations
Gozo has been officially recognised as the third best diving destination in the world. The beauty of Gozo lies in its widely varied underwater landscape! Here on this map of scuba diving in Gozo you may see the number of the great dive locations that leave you with unforgettable dive experience!
Scuba Diving In Gozo: The Best Dive Sites from Bubbles Dive Centre
The Blue Hole is a natural rock formation carved out over the centuries by wind and wave power. Offering a sheltered entry for a number of dives, this site includes a huge archway which starts at 8 metres and has a flat top, almost square in shape, and covered in golden cup coral (parazoanthus axinellae). A large cavern is also worth exploring and can be found at the bottom of the hole to the left of the entry point.
Once in the hole itself descend and you will notice that from this hole there is a lovely archway into the open sea. This will bring you down to 15 metres and the walls of this hole are covered with colourful coral tubeworms, sponges and other small marine life. The sensation the diver gets here is breath taking.
Stick to the right hand-side wall after swimming out from underneath the arch and you will find you are swimming over a great number of large boulders. After going in this direction for a while you will see the leg of the Azure window on your left-hand side. Take a left turning and go around this leg. Stick to around 40 metres and you should see a few big groupers. On the way back, you will notice that when you go under the arch there is a cave to your left-hand side. This you can enter and have a good look around, especially in the crack at the bottom of the back of the cave. Here you can find a few colourful shrimps and also the odd eel. The Blue Hole is one of the most beautiful dives of the Maltese Islands.
This crocodile-shaped, low-lying rock can be seen approximately 150 m offshore between Dwejra Point and Fungus Rock. Commencing from the sheltered side of the rock, this dive takes you westerly (towards the left of the rock) where a natural amphitheatre with near-vertical sides drops towards deeper water, reaching a steep wall directly below the seaward side of the rock.
Continuing around to the right, there are a number of deep fissures inhabited by a variety of marine creatures. The bottom of the wall is littered with huge boulders, an excellent refuge for the many groupers in this area. The marine life here is prolific with damselfish, bogue, and salema dominating, while, as well as groupers, barracuda, tuna, dentex and amberjack are a common sight.
Depth to the limestone reef is only around 7 m. The limestone rock platform here at Crocodile Rock is deeply grooved with many delightful gullies to explore and the reef top is covered in several species of marine algae, including Padina povonia and Udotea petiolata. Crocodile Rock is a wonderful site with a reef that drops down to about 30 meters and quickly increases to 50 meters plus. There is a small cave worth having a look inside and as you dive along the reef cliffs you’ll see shoals of barracudas, Amberjacks or Dentex.
You also have the chance to see Gozo’s biggest grouper. Going up onto the reef the diver will find many small cracks and canyons to dive through where you may find octopus, moray eels and scorpion fish looking for shelter.
Double Arch Reef
There is prolific fish life around this extended rocky headland carved by two large archways. The entry point is over very shallow water, dotted with hundreds of sea urchins. Passing over the large areas of sea grass here, you can often see cuttlefish, octopus and numerous wrasse. Once you reach the start of the wall around 14 m, keep to your right and follow it around until you reach the double arch. The first, smaller archway starts at 20 m (66 ft) and directly beneath it is the larger of the two, stretching to the seabed 45 m (150 ft) below.
There are two main routes out to the reef. If the sea is rough, then the best entry is made from Xwejni Bay and follow the left hand wall out to the end then head straight north until you reach the drop off to the reef at 16 – 18 metres. Keep to a mid water swim at about 6 metres following the eel grass beds below. The swim takes about 12 – 18minutes depending on fitness.
The outer reef is great for barracuda and grouper, with small blennies, nudibranchs and anemones common in the shallows; the undersides of the shaded arch are covered in small, colourful sponges and golden cup corals (Astroides calycularis). Instead of coming back the same way, if you continue around the coast to your right you will come across a few large caves cut into the cliff.
This dive is very popular with photographers due to the huge variety of fish species – flying gurnards (Dactylopterus volitans), stargazers (Uranoscopus scaber), picarel (Spicara flexuosa) and even seahorses (Hippocampus ramulosus). The usual route is to enter on either the central slipway or the one by the hill down into the bay. Use the handrails / wall as the concrete slipways get covered in algae making them very slippy underfoot. You can then swim to one of the sides and follow the bay out. On the left hand side there are several small rocky bays down the side which are full of boulders and are worth exploring for octopus.
There is an interesting cavern about 150 – 175m along the right-hand wall in 12m which extends quite far in and has a sharp narrow twist to the left at the end. This entrance has many tiny holes and crevices with delicate lacy bryozoans (Reteporella septentrionalis) and lightbulb tunicates (Clavelina lepadiformis).
You can surface inside the cave. The sheltered valley and shallow depths make the site very popular for night dives, and you will always find octopuses, burrowing starfish (Astropecten aranciacus) and razorfish (Xyrichthys novacula), which hide under the sand when you approach them.
It's located at Mgarr ix-Xini inlet, around towards the private beach for the Ta’ Cenc hotel. Working depths - from 9 to 12 meters, but with a long swim on the left side you can reach 30m+ outside the bay. And average visibility is up to 15 meters.
MV Karwela Wreck
MV Karwela is probably the most dived wreck around Gozo. More interesting than the MV Xlendi and closer to shore and larger than the MV Cominoland, she has some open passageways and swim throughs. The wreck is now fully populated with an overall coating of algae and marine invertebrates, and the sea firs along the rails are a popular feeding ground for nudibranchs. The largely calm deep water around the wreck also encourages the growth of some very large spiral tube worms (Spirographis spallanzani).
Normally dived from the shore, she is a short swim strait out from the entry point. Her bows rest in 39 metres with the deck at 33 metres. Shortly after sinking, a VW car adorned with graffiti and pink carpet wheel arches was also sunk onto the wreck, but all that remains now is a collapsed chassis down on the starboard deck by the stern.
Diving depths - from 30 to 45 meters and visibility is up to 40 meters.
MV Xlendi Wreck
The 80 meters long MV Ix-Xlendi, an old ro-ro ferry, was scuttled in November 1999 to form an artificial reef on Gozo’s south-east coast. Unfortunately, the wreck ended up upside down and due to the weight of the hull, the whole section above the deck was crushed. However, the MV Ix-Xlendi still offers a good dive for experienced divers. The propellers, one on each end, are found at approximately 32m and fish life is abundant all around the wreck. Wreck penetration is not recommended due to its very unstable condition.
An old car lies next to the ferry on the coast side.
Some material reprinted from www.gozodive.com and www.visitgozo.com websites