As you may or may not know, I (Ria) have never dived before, and my intense curiosity about the whole sport has been showing through. When I arrived at the Divewise centre today, Viv surprised me with the suggestion that I accompany a group out to Cirkewwa today to experience a dive site for myself. I was so excited; she had to stop me from running straight out to the vans and remind me they weren’t leaving for another hour! I spent the journey (after an hour that passed far too slowly) laughing at the jokes of Ty, Jack, Jon and Teddy while Steve the instructor pointed out some local landmarks for me – St Paul’s island, the Red Tower (St Agatha’s), and even Popeye’s Village! This used to be the film set for Robin Williams’ film ‘Popeye’ and is now a popular tourist attraction. All I could see were brightly coloured buildings, and I can’t wait to explore it further.
My lovely companions for the day 🙂
When we arrived at Cirkewwa, the first thing I saw was a massive group of divers. It was wonderful to see different centres talking to each other, offering advice and discussing the weather and currents. The atmosphere was cheerful and lively, despite the blustery winds, and everyone was very excited to get in the water. Their enthusiasm was infectious, I felt myself getting itchy feet as I watched everyone suit up and prepare their cylinders before waddling off to the sea-pool. I felt rather sad, and all the more desperate to learn how to dive, as I was left behind.
Watching different groups set up different suits and cylinders was fascinating. A few days ago, I didn’t even know that drysuits existed, but after an intense crash course given to me by everyone at the centre, I was able to not only understand, but occasionally join in with the topics of rebreathers, fins, and how much air was required. It’s wonderful to know that diving can be learnt so quickly, and despite having never dived personally, I was welcomed with open arms by everyone I spoke to.
A snapshot of what I’ve been missing!
While the groups were gone, I was able to enjoy the scenery. As Cirkewwa is a port and not a town, the area is remarkably clear of many signs of typical infrastructure. Therefore the views were spectacular. Across the water, I could see Gozo looming out of the water and promised myself that one day soon, I would cross the expanse of blue and walk upon it myself. The surrounding coastline is a beautiful array of stunning cliffs and breaking waves. I climbed the light beacon tower, which has a beautiful bust of the Virgin Mary carved into the side, and looked out across the sea, trying to spot any divers in the water, or perhaps a glimpse of the wrecks they were visiting.
When the divers came up for air, it was time for a lovely hot cup of tea and sandwiches from Martin, Mr Snack Man. He was a cheerful, smiling man who was constantly busy offering divers and company whatever they needed, from cold chocolate bars, to freshly-cooked hot dogs! It was a truly lovely morning, and apart from being a wonderful experience, it has only made me more determined to slip into a wetsuit of my own very, very soon!