Christ's face is upturned towards the surface (or heaven, if you prefer)

Dive sites (Malta): Statue of Christ

Tony hovers behind the statue for scale
Tony hovers behind the statue for scale

The people of Malta are predominantly Catholic, and the islands are full of visual reminders of their faith. One we particularly liked was a magnificent statue of Jesus Christ, purposely placed in the ocean as an attraction for scuba divers.

The statue stands in a natural amphitheatre of rock
The statue stands in a natural amphitheatre of rock

The three metre tall, 13 ton statue by Maltese sculptor Alfred Camilleri Cauchi, made of concrete-covered fiberglass, was commissioned to commemorate the 1990 visit of Pope John Paul II to Malta. After being blessed by His Holiness, the statue was placed on the seabed near St Paul’s Islands as an attraction for divers.

Christ's face is upturned towards the surface (or heaven, if you prefer)
Christ's face is upturned towards the surface (or heaven, if you prefer)

Ten years later the statue was moved to its current location about two kilometres offshore (off Qawra Point) near the (deliberately scuttled) wreck of the Imperial Eagle. The Imperial Eagle is a ferry that used to travel between Malta and Gozo, and was scuttled in July 1999. The statue was moved because the water clarity in its original location had deteriorated to the extent that it was no longer being dived. Explanations for this include increased boat traffic in the area (and possible dumping of waste from the vessels), and the nearby fish farms.

The statue is to scale, and three metres tall
The statue is to scale, and three metres tall

It’s a tranquil and serene environment, and we found the statue, which is somewhat encrusted with sea plants and algae (but not nearly as much as it would be if it were in the waters of Cape Town!) quite beautiful and compelling.

Tony hovers behind the statue for scale
Tony hovers behind the statue for scale

The statue stands on white sand in a natural circular amphitheatre, at a depth of about 28 metres. It is a short swim from the statue to the nearby Imperial Eagle. Dive details shown below are for a boat dive we did on both sites.

The large plinth rests on white sand
The large plinth rests on white sand

Dive date: 3 August 2011

Air temperature: 31 degrees

Water temperature: 18 degrees

Maximum depth: 37.0 metres

Visibility: 30 metres

Dive duration: 35 minutes

Tony swims off towards the Imperial Eagle shipwreck
Tony swims off towards the Imperial Eagle shipwreck

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Clare

Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

2 thoughts on “Dive sites (Malta): Statue of Christ”

    1. I don’t know if I absorbed enough useful information when we were there to do a creditable job of it, but I could get some help from the dive centre we used – compass bearings and the like… I will give it some thought!

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