Cirkewwa

Cirkewwa

Before the ferry terminal was built at what is now known as Cirkewwa, the rocks below the lighthouse were not part of the mainland, and called Marfa Point.  The car ferries present no issues to divers unless they leave the dive areas and surface well out to sea.  However, care should be taken to be aware of small craft, fishing and pleasure boats which have a tendency to cut the corner when rounding the headland, and dive boats will anchor here, so watch out for chains and shot lines.  There are five dives in this area, which can be interchanged to suit your experience and dive plan requirements.

The Tugboat Rozi

Built in Bristol, England, in 1958, she was launched as Rossmore.  Renamed to Rossgarth in 1969, and sold in 1972 to  Maltese company, Mifsud Bros.  Sold again in 1981 to Tug Malta and rename Rosi, and quickly resold once more to Captain Morgan Cruises who scuttled her as part of a submarine attraction.  The tourist submarine has long since gone, but Rosi remains approximately 130m west of the lighthouse at a depth of 34m as an attraction for many divers, and as a home to the marine life that has taken her over.

P29 Tug Boat

The patrol boat P29, formerly known as Boltenhavgen, lies at a depth of 38m off Cirkewwa. The p29 is a Kondor vessel, built in 1960, 52 meters in length and weighing 360 tons, this was possibly a minesweeper, and also possibly engaged on fisheries protection, border control or formed part of the German Democratic Republic logistical fleet. After arriving in Malta, the P29 patroled waters as part of the Malta’s Maritime Squadron until 2004 when she was decommissioned.  In 2005 she was sold to Malta Tourism Authority to be cleaned, made environmentally safe and scuttled finally in 2007 off Cirkewwa.

Dive area 1

This dive is the site of an unusual arch 12m below the surface and 8m above the seabed.  Most of the sea bed is covered with sea grass, large boulders and small areas of sand.  Where marine growth is short, there are many nooks and crannies which house marine life.

Moray eels and groupers can be found here.

Dive area 2 – The Tugboat Rosi

This area offers several route options.  You can swim to the end of the reef before dropping to the seabed at a depth of 14m, pass over the rocky valley, and continue 70 following the edge of the reef to the Rosi.  This route takes 6 minutes.

The alternative is to surface swim to the Rosi and dive, however, surface currents are known to take you off course.

Dive area 3 – Sugar Loaf and Madonna Statue

This dive has many permutations and variations and you can navigate your way around by using the reef, generally it runs from north to south.  Divers normally dive this site first.  A visit to the Madonna statue, then on to Sugar Loaf, which is a huge rock detached from the main reef and rising some 8 from the seabed.  Once out of the training area and over the drop off you will find the seabed reasonably flat with many boulders littering the floor; also many large and small overhangs within the reef to explore, make this a good dive site.

Look out for cardinal fish near the Madonna statue, and on the boulders lie groupers, but they are very shy so move slowly, and keep your eyes open for brightly coloured small soft coral.

Dive area 4 – P29 Patrol Boat

British diver, Frank Pembridge first started diving when he was on active service in Malaya.  He began diving in Malta in 1957.  He was invited to Malta in 1985 as the National Diving Officer of the SAA, and he continued to visit Malta for many years after, either organising courses, or with his own dive club.  Frank passed away in 2006 and his memorial stone lies at the halfway point to the P29.

Dive area 5 – Paradise Bay

This site has the nickname ‘The Long Swim’, however, in reality it can be completed in less than 40 minutes.  During this dive there are many different types of under-water scenery to observe and places to explore.

Marine life is varied and look out for the red scorpionfish and Mediterranean scorpionfish, along with saddled beam.

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