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I have a week's holiday to come in February, and I was considering a trip to Malta.  

Anybody dived there at that time of year?

What's the weather/temp/visibility like?

Places to see (or avoid)?

Any info gratefully received, thanks in advance.
 

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wibble
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<font color='#000080'>The Badgers are going to Malta in April, but i went last year in November.  

The weather was changable - storms made the roads awful some days, others i had to plaster on the sun cream! So take a waterproof, but also your shorts.  The vis was very good except in Valetta harbour.  Mostly i would say between 15-30m vis.

We stayed at Buggiba, the main touristy bit of the island.  I dived with Maltaqua who are great, if a little expensive ( but i think you get what you pay for).  However the guides were excellent and the dives were great!

Watch for changing money - shop around for the best exchange rate.  You can get quite a big difference a few streets away from the hotel.

The main item used on a maltese car is the horn, so be careful if you are a pedestrian or a driver!

Do the Faroud, but see if you can hire a scooter to get to the wreck as it is a bit of a swim.  Either that or get a local with a boat to drop you on the bow and swim back along towards the stern.

The caves on Comino are a must, fantastic!

I would give the one in Valetta harbour a miss (i cant remember the name of it, but it is by an old hospital.  The vis was awful and there is nothing to see)

Ghar Lhapsi (i think thats how you spell it) is great for diving, very pretty.

Oh yeah, and dont piss the guards off at the airport.  I had my bag searched cos they insisted that i had a cylinder (duhhhh) in there.  Of course i didnt, but they went through a weeks worth of stinky undies looking for it.  They were nice enough to me, but i wouldnt like to get on the wrong side of them!

If you get a day off, go to Valetta and have a wonder around.  It is a beautiful city.  The busses cost bugger all (mind you take your life in your hands goin on one!).

Have fun

Porgster
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>Hi Druid,

I spent a day in diving in Malta with Starfish Diving School (Mike & Keran) who were very friendly. It was around April last year and the water was warm and clear with loads of fishlife to sea, flying gurnards, octopus, cuttlefish etc. We dived HMS Mauri in St Elmo's bay (Locator of the Bismark) which is a nice easy dive.

Hope this helps
 

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aka Rich.
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I was there in May 2003, just looking at booking again for Sept 2004. I'm taking the wife and baby so it's great being short haul, injection free, etc.

In regard to your question the water will be cool....dry suit recommended I'd imagine between 10-14C. If you check out a couple of diving websites for Malta they usually have some advice on the weather you can expect.

I also stayed in Bugibba, and used Subway Scuba. They are a bit cheaper than Maltaqua but both are good and are pretty much longest running clubs on island (so I'm told).

I'd recommend the HMS Moari too, wrecks not much to look at but loads of fish on wreck and nearby reef. Also nice easy dive as it's max 12-15m. Best avoided when it's rained heavy the day before due to all the rain water running into the harbour and reducing the viz. I'd agree to leaving the Carolitta Barge (near army hospital, opposite Maori). Visability crap due to proximity to shipping lane, limited marine life and wreck is also pretty dull.

Ghar Lapsi and Wied iz Zurrieq (spelling), also good dives. I didn't get chance to do Comino Caves but I'm hoping to do these when I return. If your just there for a week it's worth checking which days the dive schools are doing Gozo and Comino to see if you can fit them in with flying. I expect they'll just be doing them once a week at that time of year and then probably only if they can get the numbers (paricurlarly for Comino as it's a boat only trip)

I did a couple of dives on Gozo - Inland Sea - spectacular topography, 30-40m+ wall stretching up to huge cliff out of the water. There's also a chance of seeing some big stuff in the blue. Also did Xlendi (?!?) Bay or something like that. Unfortunately the Blue Hole was blown out. This is supposed to be one of the best dives on the island, hoping to do this next time.....

Seems to be the place you either love or hate. From the old town of Msida with limited electricity supply to the bar street of Paceville, and 5 star hotels/marinas of St.Julians it's quite a quirky little island.

Hope you enjoy it.
 

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Thanks for your comments.

richardbarker:
I've checked the weather, February average water temp is 14C.  I don't think that my wife is going to be too keen on diving in that (she's very much a warm water diver), so I'll have to look for somewhere a bit warmer.

Malta still sounds a good place to go, but later in the year when the water's warmer I think.
 

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A short fat well off crap cave diver. Likes wrecks
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Even Egypt in Feb is thick semi dry or Dry suit at about 19c. Ist dives OK but that second one realy gets you

ATB

Mark Chase
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>Malta is good to dive, and as its a fairly small island, if the wind gets up inthe winter/spring there is still a good choice of dive sites.

Recommend the Comino caves and the Um El Faroud.

I use Dive Deep Blue in Bugibba and can't recommend them enough. Their site is www.didgate.net/deepblue
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>I found Gozo boring and uninspiring.  The walks to the dive sites were dangerous and tedious.  We did the blue hole (coz you have to) and it was crap.
No fish, the wreck off the Gozo coast was empty, and we ended up doing 4 dives out of 12 because the dives were garbage.  Good viz etc ... but you could see the lack of fish for miles!
The Red Sea has its detractors, but I reckon this is a much better option than anywhere in the Med. Even Hurghada which has been "fished" out has more marine life than we saw in Gozo.
The only good thing about Gozo was there is a restaurant on the side of the main bay, where the guy who runs it is the most amazing host.  The food was phenomenal and the price was obscenely cheap.
But never again
 

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I don`t think Gozo is that bad. I spent a week there last October. It depends what you want. If it`s disco`s, night life and plently tacky resorts, them stay on Malta. If you want something a lot lot quieter, then Gozo is perfect.

As mentioned, Gozo is not the Red Sea, and I did`nt expect it to be. That dos`nt mean the diving is not spectacular. The problem can be that the best sites are on the west and north of the island. If these are blown out, you are left with the south east, and that is not so good.  

As for the access to the dive sites, if you are used to shore diving in the UK it`s no great problem. At this time of year, I`d use a dry suit. Some of the thermoclines are fearsome !
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Belushi @ Jan. 31 2004,08:42)]Even Hurghada, which has been "fished", out has more marine life than we saw in Gozo.
Sorry, but it's just not true that Hurghada is "fished out". There are huge numbers of fish at some of the sites.
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Belushi @ Jan. 31 2004,07:42)]I found Gozo boring and uninspiring.  The walks to the dive sites were dangerous and tedious.  We did the blue hole (coz you have to) and it was crap.
No fish, the wreck off the Gozo coast was empty, and we ended up doing 4 dives out of 12 because the dives were garbage.  Good viz etc ... but you could see the lack of fish for miles!
The Red Sea has its detractors, but I reckon this is a much better option than anywhere in the Med. Even Hurghada which has been "fished" out has more marine life than we saw in Gozo.
The only good thing about Gozo was there is a restaurant on the side of the main bay, where the guy who runs it is the most amazing host.  The food was phenomenal and the price was obscenely cheap.
But never again
<font color='#0000FF'>I would say the opposite was true, restaurants were expensive and as for diving I thought Gozo was good. If you want nightlife & pampered diving then Gozo is not for you. Some dive sites require some exercise but nothing that most girls couldn't do. (Maybe you should dive in the US where they do everything for you). Fish life was as good as anywhere I've seen in the Med and viz was great. I'd go back to Gozo any day.
I can not compare the diving off Malta island vs Gozo but on topside I prefer Gozo as it was more tranquil. In Gozo I can highly recomend Gozo Aqua Sports.
 

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<font color='#736AFF'>I did ten dives at Xlendi bay c/o St Andrews Cove diving last August.

During the day one has to search around for the wildlife, but we found octopus, big groupa, flying gurnard, cuttlefish, and something large that we hoped was a tuna. (Apparently there was a 4m great white swimming in the area)

Wife and daughter found a live seahorse on their very first ever dive.

Night diving we found Xlendi bay full of life-loads of octopus, moray eels, scorpion fish. One of my most memorable dives ever.

Go and do Blue hole, Reqqa Point, Double Arch Reef

Xlendi has many small, friendly, well priced restaurants-we have received a Christmas card from one. In fact we found the whole island to be friendly and very relaxed. Driving is fun.

Can't wait to go back
 

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Sorry to hear about your disapointment Belushi. The Islands have alot more going for them than you found. Did you ever try boat diving? Most Gozo Diving Centers offer boats, even to the Blue Hole. And you found only one good restaurant? Wow! I guess you either like Malta and Gozo or you dont. Well I like it and I off to the Blue Hole in 15 minutes!
 
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