Gozo Diving – Mgarr-ix-Xini

by Rob Smith

in Gozo Diving Sites for Underwater Photography, Mgarr-ix-Xini

This dive site provides a shallow sandy bay with extensive eel grass meadows, bounded by vertical rock walls on either side. There are also two caverns that can be entered when the weather is calm.

gozo diving mgarr ix-xini

Entry is best made down the large slipway and wall on the right hand side of the cobble / sand beach.

gozo diving mgarr ix-xini right hand slipway

Another entry is down the central slipway and handrail in the middle of the beach.

Mgarr ix-Xini slipway - 2013

Thanks to Annie Wilcox for use of the image.


In either case, care needs to be taken, as weed growth makes both entries very slippy indeed. Use the wall and railing for support, carrying your fins, and donning them once in chest deep water.

The usual route is up along the right hand wall, and after 15 – 20 minutes swimming you will come to a large cavern that has an air pocket at it’s far end. Usually the bay is calm as it faces south east away from the prevailing north westerly winds but if there is any swell then the cavern should be avoided. The route up to the air pocket at the back of the cavern twists back on itself and becomes increasingly narrow. However you will enjoy a small pool of iridescent blue water should you make the trip. One other word of caution. To get to the air pocket you will rise to the surface from about 10metres, and you will need to descend again to get out of the cavern. If you have problems with sinuses or clearing ears, then this can prove to be a painful experience. Careful finning will not disturb the sandy floor of the cavern and will maintain the visibility for your exit.

Outside this cavern, the center of the bay contains young seagrass (Posidonia oceania) beds in the spring, and it is here that you are most likely to find sea horses in the summer months. Patience, and a good hovering technique will allow you to search out these well camouflaged fish, but they are there if you look.

Continuing on down the right hand side you will find another smaller and narrower cavern, but this does not have an air pocket, and is really only wide enough for one diver at a time. It also tends to silt up fairly quickly.

Usually by the time you reach the second cavern, it is time to turn around and head back, either down the wall you have just followed or if still good with air, to cross over to the other wall of the bay and follow it back to the shore.

Any time spent in the middle of the bay is usually rewarded with a variety of fish swimming just above or just buried in the sand.


Location of Mgarr-ix-Xini:

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We have a list of other Gozo Diving sites on the main Gozo Diving page.

Scuba Diving Holidays in Gozo – other resources

You may want to check out the regulations for scuba diving holidays on the official Professional Diving Schools Association – Malta website.

Scuba Diving Holidays – Gozo Diving Centres

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