Tec Maltfest 2014Posted:
This year was the first tec only Maltfest trip and the first post Diving Leisure London trip I have run. I was out doing full trimix for James Creighton and Dan Stacey whilst another group of teccies joined us for general fun and games.
Most diving trip reports end up as fairly dry affairs (ha haaaaa) consisting of lists of depths and dive sites that aren’t particularly exciting unless you’ve been there. It’s entirely possible that this one will be fairly similar but I guarantee that this trip report will have more mentions of various types of Maltese sausage that any other trip report. That’s because I intend to employ a device whereby I compare different sausages to dive sites in an attempt to convey their quality. I can already imagine that I will be forced to discard this early on but probably won’t bother to come back and edit the opening paragraph. For those of you who haven’t yet realised this is an attempt at humorous deconstruction.
Anyway first let’s lay out our sausages…… And, back in the room. The Maltese have 2 types of sausage: The Maltese sausage: A course and herby sicilian style affair and the Wudy (yes, the Wudy) essentially a frankfurter of which there are a number of different grades.
We arrived in Malta from sunny UK to discover the weather was worse. The wind was blowing and there was a light rain. Upon arrival at Divewise we discovered the waves hammering the house reef. Our thoughts turned darkly to the Faroud. This is a fantastic artificial reef in Malta at Zurrieq but it is also often the only diveable place when the weather is crap. The Faroud is like a particularly salty and over-spiced Maltese sausage. It’s delicious the first time around but being forced to go back repeatedly for more is vomit inducing.
Fortunately we caught the cusp of the weather as it began to change so after a shallow skill circuit on day one, we were off to the Stubborn the next day and back on schedule. The Stubborn is definitely one of the main tec attractions in Malta. It’s a British WW2 submarine that survived the war and after a successful campaign was ultimately sunk for target practice. The Stubborn is an amazing dive, the sub lies upright in 56m of crystal clear blue water and in terms of sausage I would rate this as a good quality maltese: The seasoning is spot on, it classically represents Malta and there’s no evidence of unpleasant offally bits like the large bouncy piece of gristle I discovered in the sausage on my pizza on one of the first nights that upon removal turned out to closely resemble an arsehole with a length of colon attached.
The following day brought the bow section of the Southwold, this time in 65m of water and a dive I had very pleasant memories of. When I had dived it previously there was a teapot on the seabed and I was very pleasantly surpised to discover it still there. That’s a testament to the dive centres bringing divers there that noone has removed it. Later in the week we visited the stern section of the wreck. It was destroyed when it hit a mine and both sections have ended up as separate dives. The stern section is full of depth charges and we also saw a huge grouper swimming around it.
Both sections of the Southwold can be described as a Wudy Party: A whole pack of delicious bite size sausages that will keep you coming back for more.
We also did the Polynesian, a wreck torpedoing in WW1. This is a huge wreck full of enticing swim throughs and with that in mind it’s a bit like a cheese Wudy. It has that great frankfurter taste you know and love with some unexpected surprises (I never said that this wouldn’t be extremely weak as a narrative device).
So this all these wrecks ticked off the guys were qualified and massively deserved it was too. Here they are looking very cool on their deco stops:
The course was complete which meant only one thing was left to do: The big 100m dive. The weather was already on the turn again but it looked like we had a window of opportunity so we decided to go for it. Gases were pumped and analysed and the truck was loaded. We had hoped to do the cargo wreck but the only site on was Ras il Hobz at Gozo. Unfortunately on arrival the water was pounding over the rocks and so began a keystone cops stye affair as we travelled around the island looking for a safe entry point. Eventually after traversing the whole of Gozo on 2 separate occasions we ended up back at the 100m point. We forlornly watched the waves crashing over the rocks for an hour before giving up and heading to the inland sea. Excitement was piqued as Alan suggested a pathway to depth that he hadn’t yet explored so we headed out and managed a very respectable 70m dive with a 90 min run time. In terms of sausage this is a tricky one. if the 100m cargo wreck is a high class ginger pig sausage flown over to Malta as a treat then doing the inland sea is a bit like discovering that in fact they sent the wudy from the Gozo ferry by mistake. I described that in far better detail on the DLL blog some time back
All in all it was an amazing trip! Many thanks go to Divewise for all the help and support. We will see you again very soon.
Postscript. There is a new player in town: the Aeroplane Wudy. Bad but not as bad as the ferry Wudy: