Divers looking for a summer getaway should take a look at the Mediterranean islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino. The Maltese Islands offer award-winning diving in crystal clear, warm waters and can be reached in a short, three hour daily flight from the UK. Add to this incredible underwater topography and multiple ship, plane and submarine wrecks, and it’s easy to see why these charming and sun-drenched islands are such a hotspot for British divers.
The sheer diversity of sites and their suitability for divers of different experience levels has secured the Maltese Islands’ reputation as a great all-round diving destination. Calm, sheltered bays, the exceptional water clarity and easy shore access provide ideal conditions for beginners. Tunnels, caves and wrecks satisfy experienced divers seeking adventure, deep or technical diving challenges.
Cosmopolitan Malta is the island of choice if you’re serious about your metal. The marine-protected Northern area of Cirkewwa is home to many popular sites including the artificial wrecks of the 40m tugboat Rozi, one of the most photographed subjects on Malta, and the P29 Patrol Boat, both of which can be accessed from the shore. Also at Cirkewwa is the other-worldly 13-tonne statue of Jesus Christ, which was relocated there from St Paul’s in 2000 to attract more divers.
Malta’s past as a disputed land has led to an abundance of historical sights and below water the island is equally rich. The WWII wreck of the Bristol Blenheim Bomber is one of only five known wrecks of its kind and its intact engine and wings at 42m attract experienced divers. The forward section of the Tribal Class British Destroyer HMS Maori offers a shallower dive at 11-15m and a chance for those with less experience to explore a unique slice of wartime history.
Regaldive offers short breaks and longer holidays at the Sands Apartments in St. Paul’s Bay, Malta. The apartments are ideal for travelling divers and are located just 100 metres from the dive centre. A seven night holiday costs from £284 per person to include flights, transfers and seven nights’ room only accommodation. Dive packs start from just £69 per person for seven days unlimited shore diving.
The smaller sister island of Gozo offers a relaxed pace and spectacular scenery on land and below water. Situated just 25 minutes by ferry from Malta, Gozo offers a couple of artificial reefs but its real attractions are an amazing array of natural underwater attractions including dramatic tunnels, caves and swim-throughs to explore. The Blue Hole, located in front of the much-photographed Azure Window at Dwerja Point, is Gozo’s most famous dive site and reportedly a favourite of Jacques Cousteau. Further north, the stunning Cathedral Cave can be entered at just 5m and leads to a huge domed vault, where divers can surface and practice their singing voice as the acoustics are amazing!
Also in the north, Reqqa Point can be hard to access due to surge, but the reward is a number of exciting dives with something for all levels of diver. The edge of the reef offers a breathtaking view out into the blue that is a popular spot for underwater photographers wanting to practice their silhouette shots. In the south, and directly in front of the dive centre, Xlendi Cave and Tunnel offers an ideal introduction to cave diving with the tunnel at 2-6m, and a maximum depth of 12m.
Seven nights’ at St Patricks Hotel on the pretty seafront at Xlendi, Gozo cost from £407 per person to include flights, transfers and B&B accommodation. Regaldive guests can choose from unlimited, unguided diving (subject to experience) at £89 per person for six days, or add boat or guided dives.
For further information or to book, visit www.regaldive.co.uk or call +44 (0)1353 659999.