If you’re not drawn to Malta for the perfect climate, megalithic temples and fine cuisine, it has to be for the wartime wrecks. Known as the Land of Knights, there’s no shortage of activities for history lovers and military enthusiasts alike.
Perhaps you’ve set your sights on a vacation; you want to have a unique experience while you learn something in the process. Join forces with us as we explore wartime wrecks and diving sites around Malta and Gozo.
Into the Depths
Maltese beaches are some of the most picturesque in Europe, with the water as clear as crystal and mild in temperature, diving should be on the top of your list of things to do here. Although the waters are a marvel to behold, it’s what’s underneath them that’s of special interest to most.
In 2018, Malta took 2nd place among the Top Diver Destinations of the year. Not only can you explore amazing underwater wrecks, you can enjoy the fascinating marine life, unique topography and the best shore-tour diving that the world has to offer.
What to Expect
Diving has come a long way in Malta. In the beginning, things weren’t as orderly and advanced as they are today and curiously enough, a lot of people still prefer to do things the old fashioned way. That’s why we still see a lot of shore diving around Malta.
This type of diving is not for the squeamish, however, and that’s why there are wreck diving tours and dive shops to make it a little easier for the rookies.
Getting to a wreck site is not a hassle at all. It won’t take you more than a couple of minutes of swimming to get to one. The better a diver you are, the more you’re likely to see. All the good stuff is more than 30m deep, so you better know what you’re doing if you hope to make a worthwhile trip.
Watery Words of Warning
The waters of Malta are more or less safe, but that doesn’t mean you should let your guard down. Make sure you always dive with someone; you never know when you might need help. Company can guarantee your safety, you know.
It would be best to get someone familiar with the waters, an experienced local who knows the ins and outs of the place. Always keep an eye out for deadly creatures like the puffer fish and the bearded fireworm.
Don’t feed a single animal you see down there and watch your step on the rocks, there might be a sting waiting for you there! Keep in mind, however, that just like on land, animals will only attack if threatened.
So Much To See In The Sea!
If you’re interested in the boat dives, technical dives or shore dives, there’s something for everyone. You probably couldn’t visit all the wrecks if you tried, the way there’s so many of them.
Some wrecks resulted from wars and others are an intentional attempt to create reefs and spice things up for divers. There’s never a dull moment on a Maltese dive, you can see sunken ships, aircraft carriers, ferries and so much more.
Dives To Die For
Diving in Gozo; Malta’s sister island is said to be something else. Although Malta is praised beyond compare, some consider Gozo the real star of the diving show. Known primarily for cave diving, Gozo boasts of one or two wartime wrecks that add texture to the history of Malta.
Take for instance the MV Karvela, for almost 50 years it served as a ferry; faithfully helping its nation achieve logistic glory. With three decks to explore, you won’t have a chance to yawn under that swimsuit. Not so far from the wreck, there’s a magnificent natural reef for you to check out when you’re done.
In the Maltese archipelago, divers feel like they’re in heaven. With sites like the P29 patrol boat wreck, you’ll go home with so many stories, you could write a book about them. This wreck is one you don’t want to miss.
Imagine an intimidating East German minesweeper, complete with a machine gun and almost 36 meters underwater. That’s a piece of world history, not the sterile kind, all locked up in some museum somewhere behind shatterproof glass. History surrounded by the life and mystery of the sea, history you can touch with your own hands, history that resulted in liberation.
Perhaps the HMS Maori might be more to your liking. It provides wide access to the hull and with its gigantic size; it truly is a wonder worth seeing. The Bristol Blenheim Bomber wreck is one that speaks to the persevering spirit of the Maltese people. This World War 2 aircarft was sent out on a bombing raid but suffered intense attacks from enemy aircraft.
To avoid a messy landing that might pose an obstacle, the pilot was ordered to evacuate the aircraft and have it sink into the sea. Crew members survived alongside the pilot, sustaining only minor injuries. To this day you can find it under the sea in Malta, with the pilot’s seat, column control, wings and fuselage still there for you to marvel at.
The Fortunes Of War
So maybe you’re not an oil tycoon, a weapons dealer or a military scientist. You can still benefit from the outcome of war. These wrecks are reminders to the Maltese people; that even though you go through the toughest of times, you can still come out of the ruins, alive and kicking.
Do you need a breather from your hectic or dull life? Not planning a trip to Malta would be act of war upon yourself.
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