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September 2019    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 34, No. 9   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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NDS Scuba, Malta, the Mediterranean

wrecks and divers galore

from the September, 2019 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Dear Fellow Diver,

The Republic of Malta, south of Sicily, is one of the Mediterranean's most popular dive destination for Europeans, with scores of wrecks sunk just for divers. As part of a wider trip to Europe at the end of May, I spent a week on the island of Malta to see why European divers find it so attractive. Could it be a good destination for Undercurrent readers already vacationing in Europe, especially since English is commonly spoken?

Typically colorful Maltese dive boatMalta's most impressive wreck is the 110m Libyan oil tanker El Farouk, which was sunk as an indirect result of a 1998 explosion killing nine workers while in dry dock. It was towed out and sunk off the western side of Malta. Now broken in two amidships, both halves sit upright on a sandy bottom at 34m. It's a big ship with an impressive bow, and we dived it twice, covering the forward and aft sections separately, penetrating the bridge and holds. Like all the Maltese wrecks, it had been stripped before scuttling, so the passageways, bridges, and holds are empty. Hard fittings, such as pipes, remain. Despite that, it's an impressive wreck to dive.

From Malta's more than 50 dive operations (they conduct mainly shore dives), I selected New Dimension Scuba (NDS) on the main island based on the reviews I could track down. I emailed NDS and rapidly received an informative reply. With no upfront payment, I booked two dives a day for six days. Not knowing where to stay, I asked about budget accommodations, and they recommended Buccaneers Boutique Guest House in the St. Paul's Bay Area near NDS, which I booked online.

Before my departure from Australia, where I live, I received an email from Jasper, a young Dutch guy who is the new NDS manager, confirming my airport and hotel pickups. As it turned out, NDS had been taken over by DiveWise, one of the oldest operations in Malta, now run by Liverpudlian Alan Whitehead. He teaches technical and rebreather diving, and, I've been told, sounds like one of the Beatles when he speaks. The operations remain separate, and DiveWise sends divers to join with NDS for boat and shore dives....

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