Today we headed off early to dive two shipwrecks at Cirkewwa, a location very close to the ferry port for Gozo. Fi headed off to the pool – it was a cloudless blue sky and nice 24C.
First we had to call in at Maltaqua to pick up 6 fresh cylinders and drop off the 3 used ones from yesterday. Jack was there and we said hello and arranged to have dinner on Wednesday night. We got to Cirkewwa at about 945 and there were already quite a few divers there, not as many as there were later. It’s a very popular spot because there are a number of possible dives from the point, ranging in depths from say 8m to over 40+. There are loos, and an excellent snack and drinks van service too, easy entries with steps…. all in all, just a great place for divers. We parked up in the special divers carpark and got ready.
There was still a bit more swell than usual, despite the lack of wind and the entry area for our first dive was a bit of a washing machine. We got under and out as quickly as possible and headed off towards the p29, patrol boat. This is a minesweeper, intentionally sunk in 2007, and its about 150m offshore and is 52m long A really lovely dive. As you swim away from the entry point you come to an underwater cliff dropoff where the depth goes from about 7m to around 30m, as you fly out over the drop, it probably is the nearest thing to flying….. We swam out on a compass bearing, passing a huge anchor sitting in the sand and soon got to the P29. She’s sitting upright with all the doors and hatches removed, very interesting to swim along. The bottom is in about 38m, the top in about 30. There are lots of fish all around her, clouds of fish really. On the bow there is the mounting for a gun so we had a bit of fun posing with that. Eventually, we headed back visiting a couple of the plaques to divers who have passed away. Came slowly back up the cliff and then decompressed for three minutes in the shallows. Had another swirl around the washing machine on exit and Stuart’s weight pouch fell out. We found it again though a bit later. Just a brilliant dive, very enjoyable. Photos here
Had about an hour and a quarter surface interval: relaxed in the sun, chatted to other divers, drank hot tea and a bit of lunch. The boys had hot wraps from the van. I had hard boiled eggs which we brought with us. It was lovely and sunny today.
Our second dive was on the tug boat, Rozi. Some very good photographs here website
We didn’t have our camera but Stuart took pictures so I will get some eventually. Another lovely dive. We entered at a slightly different point (giant stride from the jetty rather than a low step in). You then turn right along the reef under the lighthouse for about 150m and then there is a sort of chute of large rocks. If you follow that chute down, the Rozi is just off the reef there. She is 35m long, sitting upright and has been down since 1992. The bottom is in 34m and the top in about 20. Lots to explore, lots of open hatches. Very scenic. Lots of fish again. We explored her till we ran out of no-stop time and swam back to the reef with 3 minutes of decompression on the computers. Then we swam back along the reef in about 15m looking into some of the caves and crevices, past our entry point till we reached Suzie’s pool, our entry point for the P29. By the time I got to 7m in there my deco stops had disappeared but Stuart and Bob had 1 minute so we waited and then came out. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Probably more than the P29, although it was close.
We got changed, loaded the car and headed back to Maltaqua where we got the cylinders topped up with air ready for tomorrow. Tomorrow we are going to Gozo to dive.
Back to the hotel, and down to the pool and pegged out with Fi who’d had a lovely day too. It was still very warm and I stayed there till about 4. I think all three divers fell asleep for most of the time!!!! Spoke to both girls. Lucy was messaging me from a flight en route to Toronto, such are the wonders of modern tech.
Tonight we had an amazing dinner at a little restaurant in Mellieha. An interesting trip there with a weird gps route, some of which felt like it was via a goat track, and one street that was almost vertically steep down…. the roads here are not the best in Europe it must be said, very poor surfaces in places and odd junctions. Anyway, the dinner was great. The restaurant was packed, thank heavens we had made reservations. It is called Bouquet Garni, and is run by a family. They brought out amazing warm breads to start with local cheese, fat olives, vegetable pate and oil/balsamic. No one had starters because we could see the portions were large. Stuart and I shared a huge seafood platter. It contained 4 massive prawns cooked in garlic, a bucket of sweet mussels, a sea bass and a sea bream. Absolute perfection, delicious. Bob and Fiona both had ribeye steaks with a peppercorn sauce and there was a selection of vegetables and roast potatoes. They also had desserts – red fruit pavlovas, which just looked mega. The meringue was perfect, crisp but chewy in the middle. Just right. Lovely service and atmosphere. Would definitely go back. We got chatting to a nice Canadian couple who are on an 8 month round the world trip.