Malta 2012 - Training Trip

Planning for the annual pilgrimage to Malta started early in 2012, with the aim to entice the trainees in to packing their bags for an amazing holiday. 7 lucky students signed up for the trip along with our Chairman and two of the club’s Instructors. The date was set: 28th June – 5th July.

So, the day arrived and we all met up at Manchester Airport. No delays… awesome. Next thing you know it were coming in to land in Malta and the moon looks massive out of the plane window. Once we’ve collected our masses of luggage we get in the minibus for the transfer to St Pauls Bay and our accommodation, Sands Apartments, owned by Maltaqua.

Day 1 - Anchor Bay

Up bright and early everyone got in to the swing of things well, organising their food and helping to load up the two pickups. We headed off to Anchor Bay where Popeye (the one with Robin Williams) was filmed. Everyone was excited to be jumping in the 26 degree water! The first dive involved us heading over to see an amazing cave in which you can surface and its pitch black. Unfortunately we didn’t manage to see the anchor in the bay this year; it’s getting more and more hidden! That evening we did something we’ve never done before…. we went for a night dive on the first day, down at Wied Iz Zurrieq or Blue Grotto as some people call it. That was personally the best night dive I’ve ever done and I’ve done a few. My torch lit the water up and everything came to life!

The following day, myself, Luke and Dan snook off for an early morning dive on the Rozi tug boat at Cirkewwa, before heading back to St Pauls to pick up the lads. We loaded up, everyone taking part and headed back to Cirkewwa, completing two further dives, the first at the Madonna Statue and the second at the Arch. The guys were beginning to fall in love with it, but also looked pretty knackered after the first day. Time for the second thing we’ve never done before, we had an amazing bbq on the penthouse balcony with some lovely fresh meat from the local cash n carry and a couple of beers to wash it down.

Sunday morning we headed off to dive the two tugs at Marsascala - Zonqor Point. We split in to our groups as we had been doing so far and headed for the water. As it was Sunday, Maltaqua had given us two sets of cylinders so we could head straight to the next dive site - this was the 3rd new thing this holiday, a new site to the club. We were planning to dive the East Reef at Delimara Point, this was so we could try something new and so that I could be Dive Manager on an unknown site as part of my Advanced Diver qualification – no harm in me taking advantage of the trip!! We managed to get there in once piece thanks to Dan L’s navigation, and squeeze down a narrow over grown tack to get to the dive site.

The dive site wasn’t great, but it give the guys chance to do more training which was the aim of the game. In the evening we went down to the ancient walled town called M’dina. Luke and I undertook the annual mandatory climb in up to a window sill, and everyone else decided they were stupid too and followed. We found a nice local restaurant and made Dan happy as he got to watch part of the World Cup.

Day 4 - Gozo

Day 4 was the day we had chosen to go to Gozo. This involves getting a ferry over to the island from Malta. Again we took two cylinders to make the day easier, and had two amazing dives, first in the Blue Hole, and second in the Inland Sea. Everyone really enjoyed the day except for Tom who lost his mask after a sneaky snorkel session between dives in the Inland Sea.

When we got home from Gozo it was time for the 4th new thing of the holiday on Day 4 which was going and trying the local curry house just down the road from our accommodation. I’m not gonna lie, it wasn’t the best, but it was alright, made a change!

Day 5 - Fort St Elmo

Day 5 was an action packed day. We headed down to Valetta to Fort St Elmo to do a reef dive with some distance line work in my group via a shot line, followed by a dive around the corner on HMS Maori.

Once we got back we packed up again and drove up to Cirkewwa to do a night dive. Some of the lads chickened out as they could see the jellyfish in the water, so only 5 of us got in the water, and we did it pretty smartish once it was dark, as a loads of trainees from another dive school were just about to get in and make a mess! The night dive was really cool and we soon got away from the other divers. We looked in small caves and at the reef life that changed colour at night.

Day 6

Day 6 was a sad day, it was the last day’s diving, but some of the guys got to go and see the P29 Patrol Boat out at Cirkewwa in the morning which is a purpose sunk wreck. Following that we headed back to Maltaqua and had the cylinders filled before heading back to the site we’d visited on the first day, but for a dive in the day this time - Wied Iz Zurrieq, diving the West Reef. We saw an octopus on this dive which the guys loved, I did my signature thing of sending up a tyre to the surface as we were heading out of the harbour, and we finished off with some rescue skills on the slipway.

That evening we went for a nice pizza meal and went out for a few beers in a local Irish bar! Some of the lads went on to a club for the rest of the evening, some chatted in the bar and the instructors fell asleep in their pints after a hard week!

The last day we headed down to the front in St Pauls bay for a slap up breakfast before heading to the airport. What a week, lots of smiles, 3 new Ocean Divers, 1 new Sports Diver, 3 guys who are now half way to their Sports Diver and me, one of the instructors who got some Advanced Diver work completed during the week.

Matt Newbound

Diving Officer / Trip Organiser / BSAC Open Water Instructor

 

Luke Adams – BSAC Open Water Instructor

This year’s trip to Malta was my fourth to the island and it certainly didn't disappoint. I have been before as a trainee sports diver and an Assistant Instructor, and this was my second trip to Malta as an Open Water Instructor, helping others to fall in love with diving the same way as I did 5 years ago. There are some cracking dives on Malta, and it works well for us because we can hire kit and trucks and just head off to wherever we fancy, there's so much shore diving to do, and a short ferry ride to Gozo unlocks even more. The staff at Maltaqua were amazing as always, providing us with up to date information about sites and conditions and a level of local knowledge which is faultless. I thoroughly enjoyed this year’s trip; it always brings a smile to my face being able to share some great dives with new trainees, and we had a fantastic week of diving.

Thanks to the impeccable organisation of our DO we managed to get a couple of night dives in, investigate our fair share of caves and wrecks, see octopuses, sea hares, crabs and loads of fish and even get stung by jellyfish (not for the first time, I should probably stop refusing to wear a full length suit but it's just too warm!). It's fair to say there was something for everyone. The trainees all had a brilliant week (I could tell because they slept well!), and me, Matt (our DO) and Dan (Chairman and Assistant Instructor) all got to do some amazing diving as well. Highlight for me was (as always) the blue hole on Gozo, and seeing all the octopuses, low point was probably realising that we're old compared to all our trainees now as me and Matt fell asleep into our pints while they all went out and partied on the last night! Can't wait to go again, I'm already excited for next year!

Updates

We've had a very successful intake this year, with around 20 new divers being trained and a hanful of divers who area already qualified joining.

We're off to the Farnes at the end of November to see the seals. Wish us luck!

For more information visit the contact us page!


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