Gozo Diving – Xlendi Reef
This Gozo diving site extends underwater from the headland on the northern side of Xlendi Bay, dipping down to 9m, before rising to just 2-3m below the surface. The top of the pinnacle is marked by a light, and the area around it and to the headland should be avoided on the surface due to boat traffic.
The outside of the reef drops vertically to 23m and then gently slopes off to well over 100m. There is often a large shoal of schooling barracuda during early summer on the seaward side between the reef and the north shore of Xlendi Bay.
Gozo Diving – Early Archaeology
During the summer of 1961, the Royal Navy Mediterranean Fleet Clearance Diving Team were asked to assist the Malta Museum authorities, in investigating possible historic ship wrecks off the coast of Gozo at Xlendi Bay. The RN deployed two teams of divers for the Gozo diving survey and subsequent recovery operations. Lieut. Commander P. Dowland RN led a team of Clearance Divers (known as “corkheads”) , and a second team of surface supplied hard hat divers (known as “steamers”) was led by Lieut. J. Grace RN.
The target of the expedition was the reef just outside the small harbour in Xlendi, where it was thought that many Roman and Phoenician ships may have been wrecked while seeking shelter in the bay from southerly gales. Dr Trump, Curator of the Archaeological section of the Museum, co-ordinated the research with the RN diving operations, and large area off of the reef was found to contain many examples of amphorae that were used for transport of oil, wine, and corn. Heavy lifting techniques using large baskets were used to lift some of the heavier amphorae which were laden with over 2,000 years accumulation of sand and silt.
Further Gozo diving archaeological surveys were carried out between 1999 – 2001, including an ROV seabed survey of an amphorae field at 100 metres that covered and area of 1km by 4km. Further details can be found on the ProMare website
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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.