MV Cominoland Wreck – Location and General Information
The 35m long M.V. Cominoland was scuttled together with the MV Karwela on the 12th August 2006 near Xatt l-Aħmar on the South coast of Gozo to create an artificial reef for divers. It is the wreck of a Second World War Royal Navy minelayer that later served as a passenger vessel taking tourists on day trips to Comino and around Malta. In an effort to reduce danger for divers, prior to the scuttling, doors, hatches and windows were removed. It lies south east of the entry / exit point at Xatt l-Aħmar about 60 metres to the east of the Karwela at a depth of 42 metres. This wreck is sheltered from Gozo’s prevalent North West winds and lies just off the shallow reef at Xatt l-Aħmar, where divers could decompress and enjoy a long safety stop after visiting the deep wreck
The Cominoland is a very popular dive site with its open passage ways and swim-throughs. The large winch used for laying mines is still visible on the stern and is one of the highlights of this dive. Like the Karwela, it is covered in algae and marine invertebrates. The sea firs along the wreck’s steel rails are home to many species of nudibranchs. The deep water around the wreck encourages the growth of some very large spiral tube worms (Spirographis spallanzani).
MV Cominoland Wreck – Access
Nearby Gozo’s Mġarr harbour, a steep windy country road through fertile farm land leads divers down to the diver car park and kitting up area at Xatt l-Aħmar from the village of Għajnsielem. Divers then walk down to the shore and can perform a giant stride to enter the water. Two ladders on the rocks by the shore have been installed to facilitate the exit. In summer, buoys mark the area within which the Xatt l-Aħmar wrecks lie.
MV Cominoland Wreck – Dive
After entering the water close to the ladders, divers descend to 6 or 7 metres to start the dive on the shallow reef before heading down the gentle slope towards the drop-off in a south easterly direction. The wreck is often visible soon after they shoot out into the blue past the steep wall. The impressive view of the high bow is unforgettable and divers usually dive around and over the ship’s superstructure at an average depth of 35 metres, visiting the stern, the mine-laying winch and the bridge.
Bream and Damsel fish live on the wreck but Amberjack and Tuna are often spotted hunting in the deep waters beyond the wreck. Colourful nudibranchs are often seen on the steel hull. After touring the wreck, divers start ascending and head north towards the reef. Crevasses on the reef wall and large boulders surrounded by extensive Posidonia meadows provide ample opportunity for divers to spend this second and shallower part of the dive searching for other forms of marine life such as eels, Scorpion fish, cuttle fish and octopus. Divers then head westward on the reef and exit using the ladders.