ST Elmo Bay

ST Elmo Bay

St Elmo Bay – Area 1

On the south side of the entrance to Marsamxett harbour, on the lower level road, underneath the city walls, is St Elmo Bay, Valletta – Site of the HMS Maori, 1959-ton Tribal Class British Destroyer, bombed on 12th February  1942.  In 1945 she was cut in two and the forepart refloated and towed to St Elmo Bay where it still rests today.  The aft section was refloated and sunk in deep water further out from the island.

St Elmo Bay is normally used when adverse weather conditions make other Maltese sites more difficult, the sheltered position and depth is ideal for easy dives and training purposes.  However, the best time to visit the site is when weather conditions are ideal all over the island, and you are likely to have this site to yourself for an unfettered dive.

In just 10 minutes you can reach the Maori at 14m, with two large entrance holes to enable access into the forward hold, it is possible to swim the full length in favourable conditions.  Silt can be an issue here given the wreck has been on this site for nearly 70 years, and the structure could be weak so caution is advised.

There are still plenty of original features to be found on the wreck,  the two guns that were in place onboard were removed and used as shore battery guns on Malta shortly after it was first sunk, however the brass base of the front gun can still be clearly seen.  And the upper deck structure, at 9m, should not be missed.

Marine life here is bountiful, with small morays, cuttlefish, red mullet, scorpion fish, flatfish, blue neons and occasionally large shoals of salema fish.  Also night diving this site is likely to bring you little commensal anemones and hermit crabs.
St Elmo Bay – Area 2

Situated between the entrance to Grand Harbour and Marsamxett Harbour at the tip of the peninsular, St Elmo Bay is a popular dive site in calm sea conditions.

Within 3 minutes of the water’s edge you can reach a depth of 12m with a drop off to 20m, thiks is the start of the main reef.  This site is a place to explore with many gullies and boulders to rummage.  Suitable for a second or training dive it has a wide array of life including, moray octopus, red groupers, damselfish and shoals of salema fish.

Thought should be applied to the precarious exits, even with a de-kit routine, getting out of the water has its challenges at any of the three exit points, with rough seas making it dangerous even to experienced divers.  Note: In winter months be sure to check the steps have not been removed from the exit points before diving.