Friday, September 14, 2007

Thursday, September 13, 2007

MV Karwela Xatt L-Ahmar

Xatt L-Ahmar lies on the South East coast of Gozo about 1.5km west of the main ferry port Mgarr. The MV Karwela (along with the MV Cominoland )was sunk on August 12th 2006 as an artificial reef for divers. The maximum depth at the wreck is roughly 43m but this is right under at the propellers and there is no real need to go there unless you want to see the props.

Looking down from the car park you can see a small finger of rock just below the surface. If you enter the water by giant stride just to the left of the finger you are in a better position to navigate out to the wreck at 160 degrees. Navigating from the ladder, that should be further to the left, will bring you slightly too far east of the bow and should be used for exit only. Straight out (approx. 20m) from the entry point (finger) there is a large V-shaped cleft at the drop off at the edge of the reef. Swimming underwater at 160 degrees from here, at about 15 or 20 meters deep, will make the wreck more visible on approach.

The wreck initially was highly visible just after it was sunk as the white and light blue paint was left on. After over a year in the water most of the ship is covered in a fine layer of weed which darkens the wreck and makes it difficult to see from the surface. However, you can just about make out the mast, the top section is broken and bent over, and it appears as a white cross. This lies at 24m.

A more practical maximum depth is 38m. This is the depth you can enter the two doors at the stern that lead into the open lower deck. Inside as you swim towards the bow the depth changes from 38m at the very back to roughly 35m as you leave the forward doors just before the bow.