Rożi Wreck / Cirkewwa Reef – Location and General Information
Cirkewwa is Malta’s most popular dive site. It is accessible from the shore just near the Cirkewwa ferry terminal. Gozo based dive shops usually go there by boat and anchor on the Cirkewwa reef. First level divers can enjoy diving on the reef itself. It is shallow, has a swim through, a small drop-off and the famous Cirkewwa arch which is essentially a small cavern with no ceiling. The water is usually very clear, the rock formation on the reef is spectacular and the marine life abundant. The MV Rożi wreck lies west of the reef and is only for more qualified divers.
The M.V. Rożi lies at a depth of 36 metres close to the Cirkewwa arch and reef. It is the wreck of an old 40m British tug boat that was built in Bristol in 1958. It was originally named Rossmore, then Rossgarth before being sold to Tug Malta in 1981.
The Rożi is well-established wreck since it was decommissioned and scuttled in 1992. In an effort to make it safer and more diver-friendly, the engines, doors and hatches were removed before the scuttling operation. It was initially scuttled as an underwater attraction for tourists on submarine tours that no longer operate. This wonderful little tug boat continues to sit perfectly upright on a sandy bottom, stern to the sloped rocky reef. The ship is now well colonised and all areas of the superstructure and bridge are accessible to divers. The deck and rails support a healthy growth of sea firs and hydroids. Different species of colourful nudibranchs can often be seen on this wreck. Photographers will enjoy macro photography, but the wreck is especially scenic for wide angle wreck shots.
Rożi Wreck / Cirkewwa Reef – Access
The Cirkewwa reef lies north of the ferry breakwater and the Rożi wreck about 150 metres North West from the shore. In summer a buoy marks the wreck and this facilitates access. Our dive boat DIVEMANIA drops divers near the buoy and they just follow down the buoy’s chain straight to the wreck. The boat is then moved and anchored on the shallow reef. This is especially handy on days when the current is strong.
Rożi Wreck / Cirkewwa Reef – Dive
Suitably qualified divers are usually dropped near the buoy that takes them down to the Rożi wreck. They then have enough time to circle the wreck 2 or 3 times exploring the hull on the sandy bottom, the superstructure and the bridge. The view of the bow is spectacular. Divers also visit the engine room that is now full of rocks. The view of the stern and the rudder is also extremely scenic.
Shoals of Amberjack (Seriola dumerili) and Bonito Tunas (Sarda sarda) are often seen swimming at high speed hunting smaller fish around the wreck while larger fish like Barracuda and Dentex are often spotted hunting between the wreck and the Cirkewwa reef. Shoals of Damselfish, Chromis, Bream and Sand smelt are also often seen here while large anemones (Condylactis auratica) grow on the flat sandy seabed around the wreck.
When the time is up, divers leave the stern and climb eastward on the rocky slope towards the arch, passing over a small valley covered in Posidonia. This is a small caved in cavern that forms an arch and is covered in colourful corallites, sponges and anemones. It is quite common to see Barracuda, Dentex or Amberjack hunting in this area. From the top of the arch at 14 metres divers follow the sloped reef upward and southward to the 5 metre plateau where the boat will be waiting for them. The last minutes of the dive are spent enjoying the marine biodiversity in and around the many cracks and crevasses on this shallow colourful reef.
The Cirkewwa Reef is also an excellent reef for snorkelers of all levels but snorkelling on the Rożi wreck is limited to experienced more proficient snorkelers.