Gozo Diving – Mgarr ix-Xini
This dive is very popular with photographers due to the huge variety of fish species – flying gurnards (Dactylopterus volitans), stargazers (Uranoscopus scaber), picarel (Spicara flexuosa) and even seahorses (Hippocampus ramulosus).
Gozo Diving – Mgarr ix-Xini Route
There is a reasonable size car park right by the waters edge making this one of the more accessible dive sites on Gozo. During he main diving season there is small fish restuarant open and the local council maintains a portable toilet on the site. Otherwise the bay is quiet and remote. During summer and especially at weekends the bay is a popular destination for local families and an increasing amount of pleasure cruise traffic from Malta. The anchors of the latter leave a trail of destruction all over the bay and there is vociferous outcry on Gozo about this.
However, this is still a lovely shallow dive with lots to see along the reef walls and even across the sand in the middle with lots of bottom feeding fish.
The usual route is to enter on either the central slipway or the one by the hill down into the bay. Use the handrails / wall as the concrete slipways get covered in algae making them very slippy underfoot. You can then swim to one of the sides and follow the bay out. On the left hand side there are several small rocky bays down the side which are full of boulders and are worth exploring for octopus.
There is an interesting cavern about 150 – 175m along the right-hand wall in 12m which extends quite far in and has a sharp narrow twist to the left at the end. This entrance has many tiny holes and crevices with delicate lacy bryozoans (Reteporella septentrionalis) and lightbulb tunicates (Clavelina lepadiformis). There is another smaller cavern about 100 metres beyond thsi first one, just before you round the point into Ta Cenc
You can surface inside the cave. The sheltered valley and shallow depths make the site very popular for night dives, and you will always find octopuses, burrowing starfish (Astropecten aranciacus) and razorfish (Xyrichthys novacula), which hide under the sand when you approach them.
It does not matter which side you take first, as the convention is to cross the bay and return on the other side back to the beach – heading north.
Gozo Diving – Location:
At Mgarr ix-Xini inlet, around towards the private beach for the Ta’ Cenc hotel.
Gozo Diving – Access:
From the beach at the end of the inlet.
Gozo Diving – Conditions:
Sheltered and easy dive with little boat traffic but very popular with swimmers.
Gozo Diving – Average depth:
Gozo Diving – Maximum depth:
12m at the first cavern, but with a long swim on the left side you can reach 30m+ outside the bay.
Gozo Diving – Average visibility:
You can find more details of the many gozo diving sites on our main page
You may want to check out the regulations for gozo diving on the official Professional Diving Schools Association – Malta website.