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Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Through HWSAC (your local BSAC club), you can enjoy the full range of club and training activities - including specialist skill development courses - as well as weekend dive trips, diving holidays and social activities.

Dive Tales

On 19th June 2010 we all met up at The Squirrel PH (where else?) for our lift to Gatwick to fly out to Malta at 2240. We all arrived, Alan, Rob, Libby, Gareth, Niamh, Sarah, Phillipa, Howard, Graham, Steve and Dennis. The late flight is not always a good idea but we arrived at Gatwick with no traffic, the airport was empty and we all checked in and deposited luggage with most snearing at the guy who brought a guitar. The group then suddenly split, some to do some browsing in the shops followed by a nice evening meal and those that wanted to drink Guinness like they would not see any for a week.

 

We hade a pleasant sleepy flight with Air Malta on a plane half empty and Alan for one (chairman) immediately bagged three seats for a nice bed. On arrival our bags appeared to be waiting for us on the carousel. We were met and off to the 4 Star Hotel Santana in Qawra, Buggiba, near St Paul’s Bay. On arrival we all fell into the trap that Malta looked a bit run down and needed a good coat of paint but once settled in and looking beyond the frontage found a nice clean hotel, bars, shops and restaurants.

 

At 3am we obviously looked a mean bunch of Brits arriving at the hotel, so much so that the Jobs worth reception manager wanted full payment from us in advance to giving us room keys. We all queued to pay in turn, but for some it took longer. Poor Niamh appeared to have card problems but eventually found one of her many cards that worked for the time being. We all hit our beds, but in true English tradition we all hit the breakfast buffet hard later that morning.

 

We were diving with ‘Dive Deep Blue’, a firm I had used some 10yrs previous with my son. I was surprised when the owner Jonathon who collected us, stated he recognised me immediately. Such was his vibrancy and patter we knew we were on a winner. We loaded up and drove to the dive centre which was only a 5 minute walk away. We then stored all our kit in boxes and hired any additional kit we required. The Maltese fitting guides are well out as my slim figure (English ‘L’) could just about squeeze into a Maltese XXL 5mm semi. The weather was very hot high 20’s but unfortunately there was a very strong wind blowing in Malta which limited our dive sites for the 1st couple of days. 

 

Our 1st days (21.6) diving due to the winds was on the south coast at Wied iz Zurrieq, otherwise known as the ‘Blue Grotto’. It was up early to get there and park our vans down at the bottom of the sloping road at the waters edge. (a good call by Jonathon) No sleep on this journey with the potholed road, well apart from Niamh. Once parked it was just a quick jump in and off we went to do a shakedown dive along the west reef and a 2nd dive later along the east reef and to the ‘Divers Helmet’ a memorial placed there. Some of our party Alan, Rob, Libby and Gareth our doing Scapa Flo later in the year so spent the week on twin tanks, the less said about the twin tank brigade the better. (Well later)

 

The next day (22.6) we were back early at Wied iz Zurrieq. This time to do the wreck ‘Um El Faroud’. The Um El Faroud was a former Libyan bulk fuel carrier operating between Libya and Italy. In 1995 a massive explosion killed nine Maltese dock workers. It sits bolt upright and was Scuttled in 1998, this 110m wreck with its chimney at 12m is said to be one of the best dives in the med. I did this last time out here with my son and cleared my mask more than once, well it was quite emotional. A lovely wreck it is standing upright at 30m, you could spend a week on it. The wind had picked up and we had a current against us on the way back to the reef.  The wind really picked up then and so we aborted a 2nd dive there and went to Valletta Harbour where we dived the ‘Lighter X127’ wreck. The X127 was bombed during WWII whilst moored near some submarines in Valletta harbour which were probably the bombs target. The wreck now lies on a bank at a 45 degree angle and requires a short swim from the entry point on Manoel Island. The visibility may be low, but the floor is still interesting as it is littered with bottles and cans and World War II debris, such as bullets. A lovely dive along the reef then out to the wreck and then back along the reef.

 

The next day (23.6) we decided that we would only do the one dive as the wind was restricting sites not to mention that England were playing Slovenia in the World Cup group match at 4pm. The girls insisted that we all get back for the match, the men reluctantly agreed. We drove out to Zonquor Point where we intended to dive the ‘Tug Boats’ plural. Two tugs about 50m apart. Dive to one look at it briefly and then go to the 2nd then back to the reef was the dive plan. Entry for this dive was probably the toughest, clambering over wet slippery rocks to the waters edge and then, well deciding what entry you thought was easiest. I preferred the slipping backwards out of control method. Alan lost a contact lens, he says before he entered the water! We all got to the 1st tug boat following our speedy Gonzalez guide, he is thinner that ‘Posh’. Unfortunately the viz was crappy and after a quick look realized the guide and half the team had left for the 2nd tug. Four of us decided to stay on the 1st tug before using Alan’s compass to get us back to the reef. I have to say he not only got us back to the reef but we surfaced beautifully next to a ladder, however we then marched 500meteres back to the van. (Note to all, always carry a compass) England drew with Slovenia and so we qualified for the last 16, the girls were euphoric as that meant we played the Germans or Ghana for a place in the quarter finals just before we fly home. Much beer was consumed and talks of how we would win the World Cup. We had no conception then that we would be flying home with the England team!!!

 

The following day (24.6) we were having the luxury of a boat dive. A lovely coloured boat called the ‘Calypso’. We boarded and enjoyed a hot pleasant 90 min ride to Gozo & Comino. The 1st dive was ‘The Karwela’. This was a car ferry and was sunk as a dive attraction in 1986. This was my 150th logged dive and also Sarah’s birthday. What a great dive it was. A large wreck sitting upright with the deck at 35m. We all explored the top deck and sides before dropping down the staircase and along the starboard side. I thought it was like the opening shots from the film ‘Titanic’ and expected to see the passengers as you looked into open rooms. (No, I was not narked) We then left the wreck and did a beautiful ascending reef dive to the surface. It was a big hit with everyone. 

 

We then did a 2nd dive at the ‘Comino Caves’. Most of these caves are in reality caverns or swim throughs and they are also very nice and relatively easy accessible for most divers. This could only be described as fantastic. Entering a dark cave and then seeing sunlight beams coming in from holes above as we moved through the cave system. We dived through tight gaps in rocks, one of our number got stuck, but moving quickly on, what a great dive. We ended up in a beautiful lagoon where we then released some fish food and immediately we were surrounded by large shoals of fish, a tremendous site and a great end to a fabulous days diving.

It was back to shore diving the next day (25.6) The Patrol Boat P29 at Cirkewwa. The P29 Patrol Boat was a Kondor Class former Minesweeper and Patrol Boat scuttled in August 2007 off Cirkewwa. Built by Peenewerft shipyard as a Minesweeper for the German Navy. This was a long dive out to a fantastic wreck and we explored the deck at 30m. The twin tanks went deeper into the holds. This really was an excellent dive. We then went back to the reef and made our way towards our exit. It was at this time my buddy Phillipa and I noticed a diver bolting for the surface quickly followed by her instructor leaving three others on the bottom. We both went to her aid and took control of her while her instructor went for the other students. She was in a terrible state but we soon calmed her and towed her to safety. She promised to name her children after us.

That afternoon we dived the same area but stayed on the reef and turning back once we reached a fantastic arch in the water. We observed for a time a large shoal of Barracuda swimming around us. We also had some fun with a cuttlefish who kept changing colour and position to keep us at bay, it failed. Another great days diving, can it get any better. Oh yes it can.

The next morning (26.6) we again were on board a smaller boat that took us out to the ‘Imperial Eagle’ wreck. It started life as a ferry in 1938 between Brighton and Newhaven but in 1942 was commandeered by the British Government for the war effort and was released back to being a ferry between Malta and Gozo from 1958-68. She was scuttled in 1999. This dive site is also home to a religious icon, a 3metre high, 13 ton statue of Christ that was sunk in front of the Imperial Eagle and blessed by the Pope John Paul. The wreck sits upright at 45m. Had a great look at this boat and then off it to look at the statue before hanging on the shot line decompressing. Probably the best dive of the week.

Our afternoon and last dive of the trip was at Anchor reef in Valletta on the HMS Maori. The HMS Maori lies in 12-15m of water. Attacked by enemy German aircraft and sank at her moorings in the Malta Grand Harbour on 12 February 1942 with the loss of one of her crew. She is famous as the destroyer that sank the Bismarck. Precarious entry into the water again, most tried my uncontrolled backward flip which works!!! Then a steady dive out to the wreck. A big ship and lots to explore before coming back over a fantastic reef with lots of small conga eels, stonefish and lots of feeding flatfish. Phillipa and I enjoyed it so much we surfaced on 60 minutes. Jonathon then said another 30 secs and he would have charged us for 2 dives; such was the wit of the man…A great dive to end the week.

 

 

 

 

 

SCUBA DIVE, SCUBA DIVE, SCUBA DIVE, OH OH

WHILE IN MALTA WE’LL DRINK AND DIVE.

 

WELL HERE WE ALL ARE ON A, HIGH WYCOMBE DIVE

MUCH BETTER THAN BEING HOME WORKING OR, ON THE SCIVE

DIVING WITH ‘DIVE BLUE’ OR AT HOME, HAVING A BALTI

MUCH BETTER DIVING WRECKS AND REEFS, ALL AROUND MALTI…

 

WE ARRIVED AT THE HOTEL AT AN, UNGODLY HOUR

BUT THE JOBSWORTH AT RECEPTION WELL HE HAD, TOO MUCH POWER

WE ALL HAD TO QUEUE AND PAY BEFORE WE HAD, EVEN AWOKE

SOME FOUND OUT THEN THAT THEY WERE, STONY BROKE…

 

POOR OLD NIAMH DIVED AND HAD PLENTY OF, AIR IN HER TANK

UNFORTUANTELY THE SAME COULD NOT BE SAID, FOR HER BANK

TRIED ALL HER CARDS IN VAIN THERE SEEMED TO BE, NO TRACE

SADLY LEFT LADY GA GA WITH A, POKER FACE…

 

WE DID SOME DEEP DIVING BUT YOU HAD TO BE, IN THE KNOW

WE ALL SHOWED THIRTY FIVE METRES BUT, DON’T TELL JOE

GARETH HAD HIS TWIN SETS BUT I’D RATHER, HAVE A NEW TELLY

HE ALWAYS DIVES WITH TWO TANKS, ONE EACH FOR HIS BELLIES…

 

GRAHAM, STEVE AND DENNIS ALWAYS OUT ON THE, HIT AND MISS

ACTUALLY WHEN NOT DIVING THEY WERE OUT, ON THE PISS

MORNINGS THEY LOOKED TIRED BUT OTHERWISE LOOKED, PRETTY FIT

UNTIL GRAHAM MET MR SMIRNOFF AND FELL, ARSE OVER TIT…

 

WHILST WEVE BEEN HERE ENGLAND’S FOOTBALL TEAM, HAVE BEEN PLAYING!!!

WEVE DRANK LOTS OF BEER AND DONE A LOT OF, PRAY-ING

THE BARMAN WAS SURPRISED THAT WE HAD BEEN OUT DIVING, ‘OH MY’

SAID THE NIGHT BEFORE WE HAD DRUNK HIM, COMPLETELY DRY…

 

THE GIRLS DIDN’T WANT THE FOOTBALL IT WAS JUST, TOO MUCH TROUBLE

THEY SAID IT WAS LIKE WATCHING YOUR, OWN DECO BUBBLES

BUT WATCHED IT, GOT EXCITED, YOU COULD TELL BY THERE, MANNERISM

WHEN WE SCORED YOU WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THAT THEY HAD ALL HAD AN, ORGASM…

 

 

 

 

 

ROB THE DIVE LEADER THEY CALL HIM, THE RAT

SEEMS TO EAT ANYTHING INCLUDING, DOG OR CAT

HE LOOKS LIKE SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN DRAGGED OUT OFF, LOCK-NESS

IT’S OK, ITS ROB AFTER A LONG NIGHT OUT ON, GUIN-NESS

 

I’VE BEEN SHARING WITH ALAN IT, HASN’T BEEN A CHORE

WE TAKE IT IN TURNS EACH NIGHT AS TO WHICH ONE OF US, WILL SNORE

HE SCYPES HIS MRS DAILY I THINK SHE WANTS SOMETHJING, FROM A SHOP

BUT PLEASE ALAN DON’T FORGET YOUR, SIX METRE STOP…

 

PHILLIPA AND I, WELL WE DESERVE, A MEDAL

HAD TO RESCUE A GIRL WHO PANICKED DOWN AT A, LOWER LEVEL

GOT HER UP AND TOWED HER IN HER INSTRUCTOR SAID SHE’S A CRACKER

I SAID SHE’S OK, I QUITE AGREE, AND OH, I’VE HAD HER…

 

WEVE HAD SOME LOVELY MEALS BUT NOT, ALWAYS TO MY LIKING

‘MALTESE RABBIT’ MIGHT BE OK IF, YOUR OUT HIKING

BUT WHEN YOUR OUT DIVING YOU NEED A PIE OR, SOMETHING DOUGHY

NOT A REMINDER OF YOUR LOVELY, PET RABBIT ‘SNOWY’…

 

SARAH HAD A BIRTHDAY AND EVEN A CANDLE, AND A CAKE

BUT WOULD HAVE LIKED A PRESENT OR SOME, MACHO BEEFCAKE

ABSEILING INTO HER LIFE MAYBE LIKE A, LEO DI CAPRIO

SHE ALWAYS SLEEPS WITH HER DOORS OPEN INVITING, HIM TO HER PATIO.

 

WE KEEP BEING HELD UP BY THE, TWIN SET BRIGADE

IT WOULD BE QUICKER ORGANISING ANOTHER, ‘BAND AID’

CHANGING TANKS AND THIS AND THAT THESE TECHS, YOU CAN’T WIN

LIBBY TELLS GARETH DOESN’T MATTER WHAT HOLE, YOU PUT IT IN…

 

LADY GA GA HAS USED UP, ALL OF HER CARDS

I’M SURE SHE’LL END UP DOING, TIME BEHIND BARS

FROM MY ‘TECNO’ EXPERIENCE SHE IS A, GANGSTERS MOLL

MY FRIENDS WILL MEET HER AT THE AIRPORT, FROM INTERPOL…

 

IT’S TIME TO GO HOME NOW WE HAVE ALL HAD A, GOOD CRACK

SADLY THOUGH WE DON’T REALLY WANT TO, GO BACK

DIVING CAVES AND REEFS AND WRECKS WE’D CHOOSE NOT TO, GO HOME

BUT NONE OF US GOT NARKED SO WE WILL, COME BACK TO ROME!!!...

 

 

 

 

 

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