News Letter December 2013



For a long time now I have been contemplating a news letter so now here it is.
We are intending to send it out as an email a couple of times a year also there will be a place on the
website where you will be able to read this and any subsequent news letters.
We will add any stories you have such as holiday information or experiences If you think it is relevant
to us or to diving in general then try out your journalistic skills and then email it to me.
Your input in to this newsletter is very important to us, but also, any suggestion regarding changes to
the web site, any improvements that could be made, and what you would like to see.


Very soon there will some updates to the web site - a section where this and subsequent news letters
will live.
A “reviews” and “feedback” area where you can tell us how we did with links to courses that you have
completed. This will be especially useful for new people wanting to try using us for the first time.
Malta trips dates and information, and also some new specialist’s courses will be added.


Well, there always room for one more, especially away from the

rest and not too deep
Have they got it right? Not quite! (TUG 2) is the newest of
Malta’s requisitions to the depths.
Sunk in June 2013 Tug 2 lies some 300m north of Exiles in St
Julian’s and this is where the first problem lies. It takes 10-15
minutes to swim out to her and in less then 20m visibility she’s
far enough away from the reef not to see her. So, unless you know
the right point to turn, She is quite easy to miss.
At the moment she is buoyed, not that you would want to snorkel that far.
However the good points are; that she is a largely an intact tug in 22m of water. That the north side
also has some protection from the outcrop on the opposite side of St Julian’s bay and there is parking,
although it is limited There is also a café/bar close by.


It was quite a windy day when we arrived at Exiles car park around 2 in the afternoon.
A good time to get there as most of the schools had left leaving us a parking space.
First things first. Some sort of orientation was needed and as we hadn’t been there before we used the
dive shop close by.
We went and were told...”See that buoy over there? That’s it. It take you about 15mins to get there”
Very helpful (not). Good job we already had a good idea of what we were facing.
There was a westerly wind (force 3), so not ideal, but being a group of very experience divers
we decided that it was not too bad. There was good access in and out of the water
via a small jetty and a ladder dropped down to 3m. We started to head due north.
After 3 minutes we reached the edge of the reef at this point I
noticed a large pipe laying on the sand and thought
“that is a good marker” for for the way back.
Further down the reef some debris and another pipe, this time
coming from the reef diagonally into the sand.
Another good marker. That was it now, time to concentrate on
finding the wreck.
Staying with the reef on the right and sand on the left we swam for a
further 8mins.
Then the reef starts to turn to your right. Keep following it round
until your compass says 60 degrees,
then the wreck should be another 20m north from the reef. At this point there also some large
boulders laying at the base of the reef. We were told to look out for the one that was shaped
like a heart first then the fourth boulder was shaped like a mini (CAR). Funny how one persons
perception of something can be completely different to mine, still it felt like the right place
so off on to the sand. Within a few seconds of swimming that familiar feeling of
“that big shadow has got to be it”, knowing on so many other occasions that
a big shadow was just that,
a shadow, or another part of the reef. On this occasion there she was, the
stern of Tug 2.
In front of me at first impression I thought how big she was. A lot bigger
than I had expected.
So, after a quick look around the prop, up on to the first deck dropping down
in to the engine room
where the large diesel block sits in the middle. There was enough room to
pass by and return back up to the first deck.
It was also possible to go from the wheel house and through both decks.
After spending 15 minutes hunting around it was time to head back. Heading due South
we soon picked up the reef.
To follow back this was a pleasant reef with lots going, on plenty of fish life, and a couple of morays.
Then the pipes came up and there were more pipes, some with net on, and all similar. I counted three
before reaching the one laying on the sand, at this point keep heading South.
You start heading up the reef and away from the sand. Looking up
I could see the floats marking a safe place for swimmers and then the ladder.

EXPERIENCE LEVEL Advanced (lead) independent advanced 20 dives some navigation skills
wreck skills needed
This is a relatively safe wreck however it is recommended to NOT enter any overhead environment
without proper training.


I having been diving on Malta and Gozo since 1993 and am still being amazed
It definitely is a place that keeps coming up with surprises year after year with
more and more fish life, more wrecks, and if that wasn’t enough, then wait for it,
WOW WOW WOW the most outstanding topography I have ever seen.
The Pinnacle's; all this time, on the southern side of Gozo, this dive site has been sitting there only
enjoyed by local divers
I learnt about this dive site purely by luck;
We were talking to Peter Lemon, author of the diving Malta books, about dive sites, as you do,
when he mention Russell Hobbs. “ They make kettles” I said, “ No Ras il-Hobz on Gozo”.
Always interested in new places to dive I prized as much info as I could out of him. It turns out that
he had only done it once, and at about 10m, but said from the locals it was deep and there was an
anchor laying around but the rock formation was very different to the normal reef.
He described it as a giant fist coming up from the bottom.
This sounds interesting “Gozo tomorrow anyone”


Having racked Peter,s brains on how to get there, finding it, and any other information
I could get we were off to Gozo. He had warned we needed a 4 wheel drive vehicle.
I thought “our hire car will be fine” (a month old Peugeot 7 seater).
So as planned we were on the 9am ferry and 30 minutes later in Gozo.
Not too far up the nice new tarmac road we found the turning we were looking for.
“Are you sure this is the way?” my fellow passengers asked A dirt track through a field!
Its got to be it, there is no other way. So down the dirt track,
through a farm and a breakers yard then it got worse,, a 1-4 drop with some concrete
thrown down by the local farmer to drive his tractor on. Still we could now see the sea
and were not giving up now. Two more holes to manoeuvre around and we were there on the flat
rock with the familiar salt pan cut-outs virtually at sea level I didn’t want to think about the
journey back...” lets go diving.”


We entered the water from the end of a long straight concrete path that took us through
the salt pans and right up to the waters edge. Once in we could see the reef below us sloping away
we dropped to 10m where we were met by the biggest shoal of
Amber Jacks I had ever seen and large averaging 18-20 inches. My first
wow memories of Ras Mohamed in Egypt came to me
So not spending too much time watching them we carried on along the
reef with in a couple of minutes there it was this huge rock formation
reaching up from the darkness, a giant arm ending in a fist with spread
knuckles at 10m and only a few meters away from the reef wall.
With the visibility being so good you could almost see it in its entirety at
one time. Being joined to the main reef you can see where the knuckles
may have started and got deeper as the rock
headed out to sea and over time currents running along the reef wall have
cut through making a 6m wide 30m deep passage between the reef and
the rock. Wow 2, this was so different to any other rock formation so a
brief stop just to saver the awesomeness or the surroundings.
We swam through the passage now at around 20m and round to the left,
anticlockwise. Around this point we were looking for a large rock that looks separate from the
main, balancing at 22m. That was the drop off point. Sure enough, as we came round to the most
southerly point, there it was “Wow 3” Coming over the rock we
were now looking down a vertical
wall to what could be the bottom at 46m, so down we went,
free-fall. As the 46m came closer we could now see that it was a
shelf sticking out only a few meters.
Then another shear drop down the rock face, this time to another
shelf at 54m.
This one smaller than the first.
Over to the edge and down again. I should point out that we had
planed for a 65m maximum dive,
at 63m it was no longer a vertical drop but now starting to slope
away but no bottom to be seen,
(no pun intended).
Thinking 'I don’t think were going to find a anchor down here',
then, just above me
something caught my eye and at 62m there it was much, smaller
then expected, sticking out horizontally from the rock and no bigger then 30 inches across and well
The saying “needle in a haystack” comes to mind, still objective achieved, time to head back
a few meters up and something else was sticking out of the rock....The biggest Moray
I have ever seen, certainly in Maltese waters, poking his head out of his hole so I swam over to take a
look. He had obviously lived there a long time and he was big enough to stand his ground
not moving for no one was the impression I got. Six foot long and a girth of 10 inches I wasn’t
going to argue.
So now the long climb back, nice and slow, taking around 15mins to get to our safety stop
Still loads to see on the way up. The amber jacks were still playing on the reef and only
10mins of deco, what an incredible dive.
Yes, we got stuck trying to get back up the hill in the van,
but didn't stop us from doing that dive again.

EXPERIENCE LEVEL (any level; open water to deep technical)
The top is 10m, bottom unknown. Great dive at any depth.


Dates may fluctuate by a day or two due to flight and apartment availability
Due to trying to bring the best prices, at the right times, it is always down to the number of people.
Having people commit to coming on trips early is better but I realize not always possible,
however let me explain the break down.
Flight price go up and down on a daily basis.
Airlines know when to increase the fare. School and Bank Holidays we know are at prime rate.
Bank holidays may be different in the country you are going to.
Celebrity appearances, music and religious festivals that can pop up just like the flight prices do on
these occasion.
Question : Can I book my own flight?
Answer : Yes, but in doing so you may have added costs, transfer from airport to the apartment.
Also, as a group travelling together we get a bit more leeway with weight allowance.
Also the diving is arranged around everyone being there at the same time.
Accommodation. Practically any time you book accommodation you will see
“prices based on 2 or more sharing” so if you don’t fill the room you will be charged a
When arranging a group you cant guaranty an even number. Some people wouldn't want to share
with people they don’t know or opposite sex. This is what makes booking apartments difficult.
Question: Why stay at Billy's ?
Where we stay in Malta (Billy's apartment's) is not the cheapest
but has all the facilities we need in self catering apartments so you can cook if you wish.
It is out of the way of the main stream tourism spots (peaceful) but close to local supermarket's
and restaurants /bars (5min walk) but by far the reason we keep going back year after year is
it's diver friendly. Have you ever tried walking in to a hotel dripping wet dragging a bag of also
dripping wet dive kit in one hand and a cylinder banging off the marble floor in the other
while trying to keep a slipping weight belt round your waste? (not easy). If looks could kill.
Then up to what ever floor you might be on in the smallest lift in existence to be confronted
with at least 20 miles of corridor filled with cleaners and visitor's all wanting to go in the
opposite direction....... this is why we stay at Billy's.
You can drive almost in to your apartment wash kit in the outside shower and leave it
out to dry around the pool without getting dirty looks from the sun lounger stealing Europeans
(you know who you are) that frequent most holiday locations.
Its basic clean safe and convenient.


Car hire is expensive partly to do with the insurance they don’t seam to categorise the same as we
do in the UK there you have the legal basic insurance then they have a collision weaver which
means you still have an excess of around £500 to pay even if the accident damage cost £20
so you have to waiver the waiver that brings it down to around the £100 access,
then another that brings it to zero.
That doesn’t include tyres or windscreen that you have to get from a different company at further cost.
That still doesn’t cover keys (what a pain).
Then what size car or combination of cars.
So you can see taking it all in to account it's all about how many people want to go. I could
say a price that would cover the cost of any scenario that would probably be double
what we pay now so please if you are interested let me know early and book your place.

Tuesday 19th back 26th flights from London Gatwick
course: Advanced
Deep speciality
HOLIDAY Inc. flights. Transfers. Accommodation and transport to and from dive sites £450.00
does not include : Equipment hire
COURSE PACKAGE Inc. P.A.D.I Advanced course and 1 speciality all manuals, certification and
equipment (not cylinder and weight's) flights. Transfers. Accommodation and transport to and from
dive sites £750.00

Saturday 14th back 21st flights from London Gatwick 7 nights
Saturday 21th back 27th flights from London Gatwick 7 nights
Saturday 14th back 21th flights from London Gatwick 14 nights
14th - 21st courses :Advanced ,wreck speciality, deep speciality, multilevel speciality
21st -27th More Experience divers
Cost nearer the time .
Let us know if you are interested and we will let you know as soon as we know.
So a couple of last things; as I said right at the beginning of this letter there would be changes to the
web site. You can log on to and leave comments about your
courses and experience with us. Please take a moment to do this just click on testimonials .
We are also conducting a first aid course in Feb/march next year. Places are going fast as I don’t do
many of these so if you're planing on a rescue course soon (remember its a prerequisite).
Don’t forget, dive masters need to keep up to date or any one who fancies some hands on first aid
training we cover defibrillator use and oxygen administration (unlike some).
£95.00 Includes manuals and certification
£120.00 with oxygen administration certification
That’s all for now, hope you found it informative and watch out for the next thrilling installment of