Everybody has a favourite place when it comes to diving. A place you could dive over and over again without ever getting tired. For me, the answer is easy: Um el Faroud. I remember my first dive there as it was yesterday. It was almost three years ago during my AOW course and It was the end of October. I think the air temperature was about 24 degrees and it was about 22 degrees in the water. I didn’t know what to expect from the dive as It was the first time for me in Malta. I knew there was a big wreck somewhere down there but that was pretty much it.
I remember the Dude, one of the Instructors at Divewise at the time, briefing a group of divers as we were trying to find a place to leave the equipment . It was a little crowded but after few minutes we were ready to jump in. At this point I saw something incredible: the visibility was amazing and suddenly I didn’t know where to look anymore…. I even dropped my regulator at some point during the dive and we weren’t even at the wreck yet!
It took us between 8 and 10 minutes to get there and the swim out was quite pleasant as you usually do it in middle waters. You can tell you are getting closer when a huge patch of sand opens in front of you and a big black shadow starts to loom slowly out of the blue. Two dives is really what you need if you want to have a good look around the wreck. It’s not unusual to find a big school of barracuda as you approach the wreck. On a good day you might find hundreds of them but keep in mind that this is also a clear sign for currents. Keep looking around and you might bump into a big tuna or a colorful flying gurnard. All you have to do is swim around and wait and you’ll see!
The ill fated tanker was scuttled on Wednesday 2nd September, 1998, three and a half years after an explosion that killed nine dockyard workers in Grand Harbour Valletta. She lies in 35m of water with the bow separated from the stern just in front of the bridge where you can find a plaque in memory of the dockyard workers who lost their lives. The overall length is 110 mt and the width is 16m, still in place are the propeller and the rudder.