Tony checking out one of the many holes and swimthroughs on the reef

Dive sites (Malta): Cirkewwa Arch

Tony under the arch at Cirkewwa
Tony under the arch at Cirkewwa

The arch at Cirkewwa is located to the northwest of the lighthouse there, along the edge of the reef running along the coast. It is in fact a cavern whose roof is open (perhaps due to a long-ago collapse), with the arch across the entrance. The surrounding reef is covered with sea grass and posodonia beds.

The top of the arch is at a depth of about 12 metres, and the sand below is at about 20 metres’ depth. The rocks of which the Maltese islands are formed is mainly limestone, which is quite porous and has a tendency to form caves, holes and crevasses (all of which are enjoyed by divers). We loved watching the tiny bubbles coming through the rock – when divers swim under ledges and into caves, the air bubbles from their exhalations find their way straight through the rock.

Tony checking out one of the many holes and swimthroughs on the reef
Tony checking out one of the many holes and swimthroughs on the reef

We only spent part of the dive at the arch, and the swim from the arch back to the exit point is extremely scenic. I’ve included a number of photographs of the reef, which is representative of all the reefs around Malta.

We found this tag from the University of Malta on the shallow part of the reef
We found this tag from the University of Malta on the shallow part of the reef

The swim back to Susie’s Pool from the arch is quite long, and along a wall for most of the time. One can choose the depth to swim at – since the water is so clear, the only material consideration is air consumption. Under the wall are many overhangs, and there is rich plant growth and fish life from top to bottom.

The arch can be dived as a dive by itself (the depth and warm water allowing a long stay!) or, as we did, on the way back from a dive on the tugboat Rozi (hence the maximum depth shown below).

Dive date: 6 August 2011

Air temperature: 31 degrees

Water temperature: 20 degrees

Maximum depth: 34.0 metres

Visibility: 30 metres

Dive duration: 60 minutes

Divemaster Publio swims back to the entry/exit along the wall at Cirkewwa
Divemaster Publio swims back to the entry/exit along the wall at Cirkewwa

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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.

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