Gozo Diving – Xlendi Reef and Tunnel
The tunnel through the headland is only 2m deep in Xlendi Bay and 6m on the other side, so it is possible to snorkel through. From here dive to the left to the gentle outer drop-off and around the reef, which extends underwater from the headland. Part of this forms a pinnacle, which should be avoided by boat traffic. The cave is also popular at night as it is a nice easy dive in shallow water – it is also popular with less experienced divers, and is for many their first adventure in a cave.
The cave walls are brilliantly coloured with golden zoanthids, red starfish and sponges, and green and purple algae, and there are bristle worms everywhere. Pink flabellina (Flabellina affinis) and Hervia (Cratena peregrina) are also common. During the winter months a small school of juvenile barracuda seeks shelter at the entrance of the cave.
Gozo Diving – Early Archaeology
During the summer of 1961, the Royal Navy Mediterranean Fleet Clearance Diving Team were asked to assist the Malta Museum authorities, in investigating possible historic ship wrecks off the coast of Gozo at Xlendi Bay. The RN deployed two teams of divers for the Gozo diving survey and subsequent recovery operations. Lieut. Commander P. Dowland RN led a team of Clearance Divers (known as “corkheads”) , and a second team of surface supplied hard hat divers (known as “steamers”) was led by Lieut. J. Grace RN.
The target of the expedition was the reef just outside the small harbour in Xlendi, where it was thought that many Roman and Phoenician ships may have been wrecked while seeking shelter in the bay from southerly gales. Dr Trump, Curator of the Archaeological section of the Museum, co-ordinated the research with the RN diving operations, and large area off of the reef was found to contain many examples of amphorae that were used for transport of oil, wine, and corn. Heavy lifting techniques using large baskets were used to lift some of the heavier amphorae which were laden with over 2,000 years accumulation of sand and silt.
Further Gozo diving archaeological surveys were carried out between 1999 – 2001, including an ROV seabed survey of an amphorae field at 100 metres that covered and area of 1km by 4km. Further details can be found on the ProMare website
Gozo Diving – Location:
To the northern corner of Xlendi Bay, through the headland and onto the outer reef.
Gozo Diving – Access:
The preferred entry for these shore dives is to jump in from a raised platform past the St Andrew’ Divers Cove. From here, swim across the bay on the surface until you find the entrance to the cave – just below where the bright green plants can be found on the otherwise bare limestone wall.
Gozo Diving – Conditions:
Sheltered, but very busy with boat traffic and swimmers.
Gozo Diving – Average depth:
Gozo Diving – Maximum depth:
Gozo Diving – Average visibility:
Varies greatly in the cave from 6m to 30m
Find other diving spots or check the regulations for Diving in Gozo and Malta on the official Professional Diving Schools Association Malta website.