Monday, April 18, 2011

Um El Faroud - Malta

One of the tasks that was set for me during a recent dive trip to Malta was to get some deep dives completed.   The first deep dive of the dive trip was on the wreck of the Um El Faroud, a Libyan motor tanker.  The ship was being worked on in dry dock in Malta, when a gas explosion on board killed nine Maltese dockworkers. For three years after the 1995 explosion she lay in the harbor of Valetta.  She was then moved to the current location
Memorial Plaque to the dockworkers of the Um El Faroud
Our dive club had a couple of good reasons for diving on this wreck.  
Rodger Donald dives the Um El Faroud
Our Branch Diving Officer, Rodger Donald had been diving on this wreck not long after it had been sunk and was keen to see how it had changed in 10 years.    Back then there was a large crack through the ship.  One could stand on the deck and straddle the crack.   A violent storm (or series of storms)  completed the break and the ship is now in two large chunks on the floor of the sea.  It was commented that there is less life sticking to the wreck than we expected.  
Um El Faroud
It was agreed that if the ship had been sunk in the Clyde estuary , it would have been covered by soft corals and encrusting algae by the time 10 years had elapsed.  I don't know how much of those opinions are based on loyalty to home waters . . . however, there was plenty to see. There were more fish here than I have ever seen on any dive in the Clyde.
Rodger Donald and a ladder inside the Um El Faroud
I loved this dive!  I'm not overly fond of wreck dives.  I'm much more interested in staying shallow, where the light is better and there are more little things for me to see.  I will admit that the number of fish living near this wreck was amazing and kept me from staying inside my own head where I start to worry about the depth, air consumption and other less pleasant thoughts.
Male Parrot fish on the Um El Faroud
In addition to thousands of damel fish, I saw at least six parrot fish, both male and female.  I'd only ever seen one parrot fish in all the other Mediterranean dives I've done.
Damsel fish on the Um El Faroud
In going forward to the next stage of dive training, I have to complete 10 deep dives.  This wreck dive plus one other deep dive completed during this trip means there are 8 to go. 

The thought of doing the remainder of the deep dives in Crummock Water in the Lake District where there is 0 visability and 0 life doesn't inspire me.  I wonder if I can convince anybody to go away with me for another cheeky little dive trip. . . . to warmer waters.
Rab and Nick dive the Um El Faroud
There was a sea squirt and some encrusting sponge starting to stick to the side of the ship so life is beginning to think of the hull of this ship a permanent thing.
unknown sea squirt
When I get find out what this is, I'll edit this entry - New Book Needed!


dogbait said...

I'm not sure if I mentioned in the past that they sunk a warship just off the coast at Ocean Grove which is a very popular diving spot. Is there a prescribed depth that is classified as a deep dive?

Betty said...

Your blogs are so interesting! Makes me realize how dull my life is.

J-Funk said...

Oh sooooo neat!!! Thanks for sharing all your wonderful dive photos, I'm glad you have an underwater camera!

Anonymous said...

Peggy, you'll get those 8 done - and we'll get to see the pictures!
Go for it! --Cousin Susan