Posted 21 March 2016
To enjoy the wreck-diving possibilities of Malta to the full, it helps if you’re a technical diver. CATH BATES went to see how many good dives mixed gas would enable her to fit into a week. Pictures: Peter G. Lemon
Posted 21 March 2016
To enjoy the wreck-diving possibilities of Malta to the full, it helps if you’re a technical diver. CATH BATES went to see how many good dives mixed gas would enable her to fit into a week. Pictures: Peter G. Lemon
MALTA HAS AN ENTIRE GHOST FLEET of ships from all corners of history, and not only from the two world wars. There are paddle-steamers, destroyers, aircraft, ferries, submarines and battleships. Some are deep, some shallow, some hard and some easy. So where on Earth should I start?

There are more monuments in Malta per square metre than in any other country, and the same must go for the sheer volume of wreck-sites.

Having recently finished working for a dive-centre myself, I figured that the best way to decide on the wrecks to feature in this article would be to ask the opinion of the local experts. 
Where would they choose to go if they had a week off diving for fun in Malta?

The country I am sent to visit after spending 11 years working in Egypt has one of the lowest Muslim populations in the world, but the Arabs did conquer the islands in 870AD, and their influence is evident in the otherwise heavily Christian architecture, and also in the language. 
Malta hosts 100,000 divers each year, a massive achievement for such a small location. Flight prices from the UK are more than reasonable and additional dive-bag charges low.

Three and 4* accommodation is affordable and there are plenty of cheap eateries and apris-dive bars.

I took my equipment to Dive/Techwise and met my guide Steve Scerri and the owners of the centre, Alan and Viv Whitehead. Alan is a Platinum Course Director for PADI and an Instructor Trainer for TDI, DSAT and IANTD.

Techwise is “GUE-friendly” but does not alienate non-GUE divers in any way. Alan has a great sense of humour (“they Go Up Eventually…”) while maintaining an emphasis on safety. 
He is clearly a highly skilled technical instructor and is in the water most days, while Viv, a bubbly redhead, is in charge of logistics and runs a well-organised office.

Steve gave up his “proper” job recently to become a full-time instructor, and is very much in love with his JJ rebreather. He discussed dive-planning at length, always gave an interesting dive-briefing and even blended our gas for us.

The staff were up-front – they didn’t once promise to deliver something they couldn’t, or gloss over what was out of their hands, such as weather conditions. 

According to Alan, the Lighter X127 is “the most historically interesting wreck in all of Malta”. It was involved in helping the injured in WW1’s Gallipoli Landings.

David Mallard, who finally determined in 2003 that the wreck was that of the X127, has dived with Alan a lot.

The wreck is accessible via Manoel Island, and after descending just a few steps into the green harbour water, you come across it within a few minutes.

The bow is at 5m, but we followed the port side to begin our dive at the deepest part, the stern, at just 22m.

The simple multi-level profile along the wreck’s furry 35m length is easy even for an Open Water Diver.

We weaved our way up, looking into the engine-room with its 5.5-tonne twin-cylinder Campbell engine. X127 was initially a water-carrier, and from the deck you can see six hatches, with both water-tanks and Tangye pumps inside.

During WW1 she became a rescue vessel, helping to remove troops and horses from battle. The footholds for the horses are on the foredeck.

Nicknamed Black Beetles, these ships were designed like Thames river barges to handle steep beaches.

It was in Malta tha

To Read the full article, Login here or Register for a free account

For more great articles like this get the FEBRUARY 2016 issue of DIVER below or subscribe and save.


5 Stars
(1  Customer Reviews)
12 Issues per year
DIVER is Britain's best-selling scuba diving magazine – regularly out-performing all its competitors combined on the open market.

Select your version

Digital Edition
SAVE 44%
Single Issue
Annual Digital Subscription
Only $1.67 per issue
SAVE 44%
6 Month Digital Subscription
Only $2.00 per issue
SAVE 33%
Monthly Digital Subscription
Only $1.99 per issue
SAVE 33%
Payment Options


Best diving mag
This is by far the best diving mag. Great features and amazing photos
5 Stars   
Reviewed 25 November 2012

More great content like this...

For more great articles like this get the FEBRUARY 2016 issue of DIVER below.

FEBRUARY 2016 | Buy for $2.99


There are currently no comments for this post
Be the first to leave your feedback

More Articles

A manta ray called Mathilde was just one big reason why SIMON MORLEY will never forget his recent trip to Socorro, San Benedicto and Roca Partida – the main Revillagigedo islands More...
The WW1 U-boats at Pendennis have been dived for many years, by many people. The site is probably the second most popular shore-dive in Cornwall. Thousands of trainees did their first open-water dives there, most seeing the remains of one or two of the U-boats. Not sure what to write into their log-books, other than 'Silver Steps’ or ‘Pendennis’, what were these subs? MARK MILBURN investigates, and believes he can now paint a clearer picture of what lies where and why More...
When she took up scuba 40 years ago, Alexandra Hildred had no idea that her life would become inextricably linked with a Tudor warship. Now the Mary Rose Trust’s Head of Research and Curator of Ordnance & Human Remains, she tells STEVE WEINMAN about the lead-up to the raising of the iconic wreck, still one of the biggest such operations ever attempted. More...
Not all ‘pro’ photo workshops are the same – on some you just pay and hope. But what’s it like learning to get the best from your camera under water from a recognised master? HENLEY SPIERS studies at the school of Mustard More...
In February IAN PEACH and his buddies went through a nightmarish boat-separation experience off Mozambique. In a DIVER exclusive he explains what happened – and how to avoid it happening to you. More...
Nautilus Lifeline Marine Rescue GPS
You don’t think you need a PLB – until you do. If there have always been reasons not to invest in one, a new product looks set to sweep them away. NIGEL WADE tests it. More...
Like a knight of yore on a sacred quest, NIGEL WADE finally faces the prospect of bringing an epic journey to a stirring conclusion – at a Balinese location he has already visited four times before! Can his quarry live up to the weight of expectation? More...
It’s a diver’s dream, and Vince Thurkettle is the underwater prospector who came across the biggest gold nugget ever found in British waters. He talks to STEVE WEINMAN More...
As when reading a book or watching a film, STEVE WEINMAN likes to avoid spoilers and arrive open-minded at an unfamiliar destination ready for what he hopes will be pleasant surprises. So how would the tourist heart of French Polynesia measure up? More...
DIVER TESTS - Ratio iDive Easy dive computer
NIGEL WADE tests a new dive-computer with everything but bells and whistles More...
Powered by
Powered by Pocketmags
Diver is owned and operated by:
Eaton Publications, Suite B, 74 Oldfield Road, Hampton, Middlesex TW12 2HR
© Copyright 2015 |