The dive sites of Gozo offer amazing diving in crystal clear water for divers of all levels and abilities. There are many dive sites on Gozo that are suitable for try divers and those learning to dive that offer an amazing underwater experience.
Qualified divers will benefit from the many caverns, wrecks and deeper dives that our island has to offer.
The Blue Hole
Situated at Dwejra on the west coast and once described by Jacque Cousteau as the best dive in Europe, it is our most popular dive site.
There is a bit of a walk to get to it from the car park, but this site boasts toilet and shower facilities as well as snack bars and ice-cream vans. The Blue Hole itself is 14m deep with an archway at 7 -9 meters on one side giving access to the open sea and the entrance to a huge cavern on the other side.
The Blue Hole gives the entrance some protection from the waves and allows easy entry and exit up to a direct NW force 3. The cavern offers a spectacular view back into Blue Hole, the bubbles have collected in pockets on the entrance so it looks like liquid mirrors. There are no tunnels leading off from the cavern so it’s relatively safe and there are lots of shrimp right at the back in the cracks, as well as the occasional conger eel.
Once diving there are several routes to take. You can either dive to the right going underneath the Azur window and keep going across the Blue Grotto and the small swim through – this leads to the exit by the Inland Sea after a slow 45 minute swim.
The other popular route is to go underneath the Azure window then turn left around the pillar, there is a spectacular drop off with lots of boulders dropping off well past 50meters, this is also where we see the large groupers.
If you go to the left leading from the Hole there is the entrance to a chimney at 16m, this takes you up to Coral Gardens at about 7meters. Only one diver can enter the chimney at a time, but it isn’t tight. You can often see a large octopus here as well as lots of scorpion fish.
We walk down as if we are going to the Blue Hole, but turn left to Coral Gardens. There is an entry in a small pool, then you swim straight out through Coral Gardens until you go through a V and out to the drop off. We turn left and swim over the mouth of the cave gradually descending to the far side at 34m. We can then follow the wall to the back of the cave as it gently slopes upwards.
There is a small tunnel that leads off at the back, we ask people not to enter this as it is very dangerous due to silt and having nowhere good to tie a line off to.
The cave is full of corals and I can describe it as if a giant ice cream scoop has been taken out of the cliff side, it has a sandy sloping bottom and is a very large cavern.
We ask people to be careful not to touch anything and not to spend long in the cavern as the bubbles may be damaging to the Corals.
The dive then proceeds along the wall to the right, gradually coming upwards. As we reach the point we normally see a lot of fish life with the shoals of silver sides being hunted by barracuda and jacks. The wall then leads round to the chimney and then the Blue Hole.
The Inland Sea
This is probably the most unique and spectacular dive. At the site there is a great café and an easy entrance by the jetty.
I would describe the Inland Sea dive as cave diving but without the overhead. There is a tunnel like a huge crevice that runs from the Inland Sea through the cliff to the open sea. The tunnel starts at 4 meters and quickly drops to 6, 10, 14 then 22 meters. There are sheer walls either-side and the stunning rich blue of the entrance and exit creating the most spectacular ambience.
There are boat trips that run though the tunnel and you can often see the small fishing boats running overhead, which, although interesting to watch it does mean that this site is not for people who have not full mastered their buoyancy control.
On the exit of the tunnel you can either go left to the Blue Hole, past the grotto and the swim through, keeping going and make the exit the Blue Hole, or turn on half the air supply . If you go right there is another grotto to see, both ways are great wall dives where it drops away to past 50 meters.
Cathedral Cave (Blue Dome)
Another unforgettable dive, situated at the end of Ghasri Valley on the North coast just 10 minutes from my dive centre.
There are two ways to do this, either by boat or by shore (although by shore it’s just over 100 steps down, it’s the 100 steps back up that is not for everyone...). Like Dwejra it’s a spectacular place to visit but this is well off the tourist trail and you can often get the place to yourself. It's a great place for snorkeling trips as well as diving.
The Valley and steps down end in a large gully that runs out from very shallow water to the open sea. We swim, keeping to the right on the way out, being careful not to drop deep (as you can miss the way into the cave).
The entrance is huge starting from 7 meters deep, a massive archway leads the way in, the visibility inside is always spectacular. After a safety stop the highlight is surfacing, the roof of the cave is a large natural dome and the light from the entrances makes the most amazing intense iridescent blue effect on the water..
Reqqa Point is my favorite dive site and just a few minutes from my dive centre. It has just fantastic topography and visibility often past 30m, as well as offering the chance to see a lot of life. It is potentially very deep 60m+ but can be dived at 18m quite happily.
Parking up on the Salt Pans, the area has a real off-world feel to it. There is a choice of either a big jump in or a longer walk (the walk of shame!) and a little jump for the entry.
There is a chimney that starts at 6m and drops to 16m at the right of the entry point as you look out to sea, it's a bit of a squeeze to get in and takes some serious buoyancy control to get through without touching anything. The chimney is full of star corals and lots of scorpion fish and cardinal fish. There is another opening on the way that is larger. The bottom of the chimney is quite spacious and the exit is wide.
If you then follow the wall to your left it takes you round to the point which looks like the bow of a ship, it's deck jutting out at about 18m. There are stunning drop offs down to 60m+ where you can often see large groupers and dentex.
It is often great to swim to the point and look down. To the right is the entrance to the bottle (57m) and just bellow you is the exit at 34m. Occasionally we see bait balls of silversides being hunted by barracuda, tuna or jacks and you almost forget you're in the Med as it's more like a natural history film. There are two exits based on wind condition and sometimes a ladder to choose from.
This site is located just along from Reqqa Point and the entrance is found at around 34m as a white V of sand going into the cavern just where the boulders end. It's best to enter the water next to the swimming pool exit to preserve as much air and no-deco for the cave portion of the dive as possible.
As you go in you see a large peg that has been used by divers to tie off on, the entrance soon comes to an end, but the cave is actually above you. You can ascend to around 26m and it gets noticeably warmer, maybe due to ground water entering the cave.
There are very unusual rock formations inside and lots of prawns scurrying around trying to hide from your torch beam. The cavern could fit 6 divers in at most and you can always see the glow from the exit, if not the exit itself. However it's not too long before you have to move on.
The great thing about this dive is you can now incorporate Reqqa Point and the chimney by going multilevel. It is easy to do a 45 minute dive without going into deco and have constantly changing scenery.
This cave is again just a bit further along to the west. This is the longest cave on Malta and Gozo at around 70m long. It's a bit of a tricky walk down to the entry where you jump in above the cave mouth or take advantage of the new government ladders.
The cave itself is like a huge railway tunnel that goes from 24m depth and goes straight back rising slowly. Towards the end it doglegs to the right and you can actually surface in a 1m or so of air pocket.
You can still just see the glow from entrance and there are no other tunnels that I have found leading off. In the cave there are some prawns and there is start coral, Spirastrella and bath and branch sponges, but otherwise there is not a lot of life, just the spectacular view of intense blue of the exit. Once out of the cave you can carry on past Shrimps Cave and exit via Reqqa.
Double Arch Reef
This is best as a boat dive, as by shore it's approximately a 10 minute swim to the drop off straight out from what's known as "the washing machine". This is a tricky entry point, even when it's flat. When done by boat it's less than 5 minutes from Marsalforn.
After anchoring, we drop down onto the end of the reef. There are, surprisingly enough, two archways with the bottom at 38m and the top at around 20m.
There can be lots of life here. We've seen huge shoals of barracuda, Saupe with a vibrant reef. Going by boat is great as instead of having to head back to shore over sea grass and rocks we can follow the reef along, sometimes getting as far as Triple Arch, before firing the DSM.
Mgarr ix-xini is one of my favourite places on the island and a great place to come for a day out even if you're not diving. It is a sheltered cove with a fish restaurant nesting among palm trees on a pebble beach.
It starts shallow in just 1-2 meters so it's great for snorkelers - I've often seen moray eels, painted combers, octopus and even a sea hare while just snorkelling here with my children. There is a slope that then leads down to a sandy patch at 6m and you can follow either wall out - often the vis is so good you can see both walls. However the right hand wall is better as there are two caverns on that side.
The first is longer and runs down to a really tight squeeze at the back which is probably not a very good idea. The second cave has a bottom the slopes upwards and it is not very deep. There is a lot interesting life here, (I'm sure they would be more if the restaurant was not serving a lot of it up to tourists) and flying gurnard, scorpion fish as well as sea horses, weaver fish, red mullets, damsel fish, eels and octopus can usually be found (although the sea horses are difficult to find).
We often get a hours dive in here and it's a great place to bring a camera and really take your time exploring.
Xlendi Cave, or rather tunnel is another great dive that is not deep. The whole thing can be done in less than 10 meters so makes for a great second dive that can last up to 60 minutes. The tunnel itself is incredibly beautiful and there have even been weddings in here.
There is a crack along the ceiling and mixed with the light from the exit makes an incredible atmosphere in shimmering, intense blue light.
Normally, the visibility on the other side of the tunnel and the fish life much better. We often see shoals of barracuda or jacks - you can feel that you have been transported to another world.
If you follow the wall to your left and then head out due south, from a large square shaped rock, you come to a pinnacle that drops to 18m on the far side. You can then either retrace you path or go back to the wall and follow it back into Xlendi bay.
Otherwise know as Santa Marja Caves, these are not to be missed and are one of the best boat dives on all of the islands.
It's a cavern network like swiss cheese, one to the Med's classic dives. This is also the one place where the dive centres feed the fish so you can become part of a big bait ball of greedy bream before going around to explore the caverns and archway.
Zoro's cave is also part of this network of caverns and looks just like an enormous z has been carved through the rocks. Another one of the cavern was used in the recent remake of the Count of Monte Cristo in the scene where he hides the treasure. Overall this is probably one of the best Mediterranean dive sites.
Also know as Champagne Cave or Tony's Cave, this is another memorable boat dive on Comino or rather Comineto. They way I do this dive is to jump in at Crystal lagoon, go through the tunnel, which is like a mini inland sea, going NW. This takes us across to Comineto where we find the entrance to Alexander's cave.
It is a huge crevice with walls running up 14m either side of you. As you go in, the crevice narrows and it comes to a cave- still wide enough to comfortably fit a few diver across. At the end of the tunnel you can surface by going up and to the right.
The cave that you surface into has a small crack down one side, the air is good and there is enough space to fit 8 or so divers on the surface. Descending, you easily see the glow from the exit and it is a fantastic journey back out into the blue from the dark.
If you keep to the left you follow the wall around underneath a swim though that has a hole in the centre and you come out in the Blue lagoon.
Situated just to the west of Comino, in an area call tal–Matz, the 52meter long former patrol boat has been scuttled in just 18 meters of water, making it a great dive for divers of all levels.
Prior to being used by the Armed Forces Malta the P31 was a Kondor class patrol boat and was used by East Germany in the Cold War era to patrol the river banks between the East and the West. They were also used for mine sweeping operations between Germany and Denmark.
As you can see from my video, this is a boat trip and there are lots of swim-throughs and rooms to explore.
The Three Wrecks
We have 3 great wrecks available from shore at Xatt l' Ahmar. The great thing about Xatt L' Ahmar as a dive site is that there is a big ledge of reef that runs at 5 to 8 meters and a wall from 8 to 30m the wrecks are just a 2 -3 minute swim out from this wall. This allows for multilevel diving, we can drop onto the wreck and when the 12 minutes or so no-deco is up, the dive is far from over, as we just fly up to the wall and then onto the reef, so we still get a 45 minute dive even when we have been down to 38meters, without necessarily going into deco.
There is a jump in entry and (usually) a ladder for exit. The wrecks are all deep, so you need to either be experienced and trained in deep and wreck diving to do this independently, otherwise, I ask for minimum PADI advanced/Sports Diver rating and have dived recently. We can always do them as a taster to the PADI Deep Speciality course to keep everyone's insurance ok, at no extra charge, who knows you may want to do the course.
I personally think this is Gozo's best wreck. We often get asked to do a second dive on this for peoples holiday.
An ex ferry, the Karwela is 48m long and 8m wide. It spent it's twilight years as a floating disco in Valletta harbour. The bow of the Karwela is south from the steps, the top of the captains cabin is about 31 meters with the stern as the deepest point at around 40meters.
There are numerous entry/exit points and a lot of effort has gone into making this wreck as safe as possible (apart from sinking it at 40m!). There are escape holes cut all along it giving you a fairly direct route to the surface from the first two decks. The lower decks are a bit more tricky as there is little time at 38m. They are lit by portholes all along the side which is quite atmospheric.
There is a small amount of silt and sand so you do have to be careful with your buoyancy control and fining technique to keep the crystal clear visability.
On the back of the boat lies what is left of a shell of a vw beatle done out in hippy colours complete with furry fluffy pink wheel arch covers. It was swam out on barrels by persons who have to remain anonymous, dropping air in and out until it was landed on the back deck and chained and padlocked in place. Although fish life has been a little slow to take off, there are lots of nudibranchs and other life that has started to claim the wreck. As an experiment to see what technique was better to encourage life the Karwella was left with its anti fouling paint on and the Comino Land had it stripped off.
At 34m long and 8m wide this ship was an ex minelayer, and still has the winches in place on the back. It was then a sightseeing ship with Captain Morgan's.
The sea bed is around 39 meters and the top of the wreck is at about 32m.
There are only 3 levels to this wreck to the Karwella's 4 and it's quite a bit smaller. However this is another relatively safe wreck as escape hole have been cut and most hazards of entanglement removed.
This wreck lies just off the reef wall to the left of the Karwella. There are a few bits below deck to explore and on the main deck the canopy has collapsed at the front which can be a bit of a tight squeeze and has some sharp rusty edges. On the top there is the captain's cabin and then the mast on top. Again lots of nudibranchs, especially on the mast.
A ro-ro Gozo channel ferry 77m long, was sunk as an artificial reef in November 1999. Unfortunately it ended up upside-down and the funnel and top deck have collapsed and the canteen area 2nd deck is now under the sand level and extremely dangerous to penetrate.
The top of the hull lies at 34m and there are huge propellers at either end, the ship meets the sandy bottom at around 42m on the shore side and 44m on the seaward side.
You can get in to the car deck and swim through the wreck at around 40m however it's not advisable as ships are not built to hold everything in place when upside down and corroding, things may well collapse on you. It is definitely not a good idea to try to penetrate the upper decks as they are full of debris and sand.
Proper wreck diving techniques must be used if the wreck is penetrated as it does not have the escape routes and safety precautions as the other purpose sunk wrecks. It is a lot more overgrown than the other wrecks and there is a large Morey eel that lives in the break in the hull, in truth it looks more like a proper wreck.
We also run regular boat trips to the wrecks of the P31, P29 condor class ex German Patrol boats, the tugboat Rozi, Popeye's Barge and the other wrecks on nearby Malta. Reviews to be added shortly.