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Shore Diving Malta - September 2018

 

We went shore diving with AQUATICA - (see http://www.scubadivingmalta.com/) - this is what "My Guide Malta" has to say:

The Aquatica dive centre is situated in the village of St. Paul's Bay close to Bugibba and is only 100 metres away from the sea front. The friendly staff are highly professional and well trained. As an authorized European Scuba Agency Point and PADI Dive Centre, at Aquatica’s premises you will find top quality service in an easy going and relaxed atmosphere. Apart from courses and dive tours for beginners and experienced divers, Aquatica also organizes snorkelling excursions as an alternative for those who do not want to scuba dive but just the same want to experience the unmistakable Mediterranean underwater environment.

We have to say that we were impressed with the set-up, the staff, and the dive-guides. Aquatica comes highly recommended for future Malta shore-diving expeditions.

10 dives were offered over the period. Below are various (mixed quality) clips from the wreck dives. The visibility was mixed but all dives were enjoyable.

Boltenhagen was a Kondor I-class minesweeper built in East Germany. After the Volksmarine was disbanded just before the reunification of Germany, she was sold to Malta in 1997 and renamed P29 and was used as a patrol boat. After being decommissioned, she was scuttled as a dive site in 2007 off Ċirkewwa.

MV Rozi was built in Bristol in 1958 by Charles Hill & Sons Ltd, for Warren Johnston Lines Ltd of Liverpool. Her original name was Rossmore. In 1969 she was sold to Rea Towing Company and renamed Rossgarth. In 1972 she was sold to Mifsud Brothers Ltd, and operated for Malta Ship Towage Ltd, retaining its same name. She left Liverpool and began her career in Malta.

The tugboat was sold to Tug Malta in 1981 and was renamed Rozi. After many years operating in Grand Harbour, she was decommissioned and sold to Captain Morgan Cruises. They scuttled the tugboat off in September 1992

El Farouk was built in 1969 at , England and was owned by the General National Maritime Transport Company, Tripoli. She had been operating between Italy and Libya carrying refined fuel up to 1 February 1995. On 3 February 1995 she was docked at No.3 Dock of Malta dry docks. During the night of 3 February an explosion occurred in No.3 centre tank and nine shipyard workers lost their lives.

The vessel suffered structural deformation and, following inspection and survey, was considered a total write-off. She occupied the dock in the harbor of Valletta for three years until it was decided that the best option to utilize her remaining value was to tow her to sea and scuttle her as an artificial reef in 1998

The P29 The Rozi El Farouk - Stern Section
    El Farouk - Bow Section

X127 is one of the many World War II wrecks around Malta. X127 was a British water lighter that was sunk in 1942. The wreck is in Marsamxett Harbour off Manoel Island at the start of Lazzaretto Creek. X127 is laying upright on a slope, her bow at 5 metres and stern at 22 metres, and can be dived from the shore.

HMS X-127 was built in 1915 in England for British Royal Navy to be used in World War I. She was 24 m long landing craft with 7 m beam, converted into a water lighter and later again into a fuel lighter. X127 was sunk on 6th March 1942.

The wreck was unidentified for years and was considered as an ordinary barge, known by divers with different names like Carolita or Coralita. In 2003 an underwater survey was carried out and the wreck was first identified as X-131 and few years later in 2006 confirmed to be X-127.

Maori was laid down by the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company at Govan in Scotland on 6 June 1936 and launched on 2 September 1937 by Mrs. W. J. Jordan, the wife of the New Zealand High Commissioner Bill Jordan. The ship was commissioned on 2 January 1939.
Maori joined HMS Cossack's division in January 1939 and joined the Mediterranean Fleet. She and the other Tribal-class destroyers did convoy escort duties, and Maori then returned to Britain in October. Until April 1940 she patrolled the North Sea and also took part in the Norwegian Campaign. In June she sailed to Iceland looking for German warships and also served briefly in the Faroe Islands.
In May 1941, she participated in the pursuit and destruction of the German battleship Bismarck. While escorting Convoy WS-8B to the Middle East, Maori, along with the destroyers Cossack, Sikh and Zulu broke off on 26 May and headed towards the area where Bismarck had been reported. They found her that evening and made several torpedo attacks in the evening and into the next morning. No hits were scored but they kept her gunners from getting any sleep, making it easier for the battleships to attack her the next morning. Maori then rescued some of the survivors from Bismarck after the battleship sank.

She served with the 14th Destroyer Flotilla during the Battle of Cape Bon in December 1941. Maori, commanded by Commander R. E. Courage, RN, was attacked by German aircraft and sunk at her moorings in the Malta Grand Harbour on 12 February 1942, with the loss of one of her crew; she was raised and scuttled off Fort Saint Elmo on 15 July 1945
Lighter X127 The Maori
Marsaskala wrecks. These wrecks, one a Tanac Type “St Michael” 20 meters in length built in 1944 by a Canadian Company & the other 16 meters long, Melita Type ” Number 10” saw many years of service towing numerous other ships around Grand Harbor. Just like in other sites these where deliberately scuttled mainly to offer an alternative site to other dive sites.

SS Margit is a shallow World War II wreck dive in Malta. Margit was a Panamanian steam passenger ship built in 1912. She was sunk in an air raid on 19th April 1941 in Kalkara Creek, on the eastern side of Grand Harbour of Valletta. The wreck is also known as MV Odile.

SS Margit lies at a depth of 22 meters on a silty bottom in the middle of Kalkara Creek parallel to the shore. The wreck is around 100 meters long and quite broken. She is listed to port side, and her two masts and funnel have been removed by explosives.

As Margit wreck it is located in the harbour area, the visibility is not that great (compared to other Maltese dive sites), and due boat traffic

Tugboat Number 10 St Michael SS Margit
  St Paul's Bay and Mdina still images.  

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