IRDUM TAL-VIGARJU – MALTA
Date 03 April 2011
Irdum Tal-Vigarju – Malta written by Edward Vella on Bubbles Dive Magazine
The announced dive site was il-Blata tal-Melh. This is the next stop from the previous week’s dive site – Ras ir-Raheb. As it turned out, the actual dive did not take place at il-Blata tal-Melh, but further to the South beneath a straight stretch of sheer cliffs known as l-Irdum tal-Vigarju.
The weather on the day was fantastic, but there was a persistent Westerly swell, which made the normally stable Atlantis II roll all the way, resulting in a couple of motion sickness casualties. When we got onthe site, it was evident that the best place was the relatively sheltered area behind the Blata tal-Melh headland, in other words – beneath L-Irdum tal Vigarju.
I had a look at my dive logs – the last time Atlam had organised a dive here was on the 31st August 2008, so quite some time ago now. That time, it was a drift dive heading South, this time, it was a drift dive heading North – “Wall on the right!” said the dive marshal (Guzi).
At the point where we started the dive, the sheer cliff face continues uninterrupted underwater to about 35m – so after a free fall type descent – we found ourselves on a small sloping ledge at the base of the cliff. The shelf is not very wide, and beyond it, another cliff face which I would estimate descended to about 60m +. We stabilised at about 42m. Visibility was moderate, I remember on the previous time it was excellent, also perhaps due to the fact that we were in the cliff’s shadow – all this gave the place a mysterious atmosphere of the deep. We also were finning against a light but persistent current.
Our first encounter was an old fishing net caught on a rock formation – one has to be careful in such situations, since it is very easy for the diver’s equipment to snag the net – and sure enough while exploring it, right in front of me, in the twinkling of an eye, this diver’s fin buckles snagged on the net in two places. This gave me the opportunity to use my cable cutter in earnest for the first time – the U-shaped blade cut through the net as if it was not there. Lesson learnt for the next time I hope.
Other encounters were with the largest cuttlefish that I have seen to date. I would estimate that measured from behind its head, it must have been about 35cm long, and about 15cm at its widest. This was a big one! The next encounter was with a small lobster – so sea life, especially fish, were a bit on the low side. Of course, the cliff face is covered in multi-coloured sponges and lots of tube worms – plus lots of interesting features to explore.
Eventually, the dive ended in a small cavern conveniently placed at safety stop depth. A nice dive in a rarely dived location.
Dive location: Rdum tal-Vigarju
Dive type: Boat dive
Bearings: No compass bearings are required
Max depth: 41.5m
Dive time : 61 mins
Sea temp : 16 deg C
Visibility : Moderate
Attractions: Sheer underwater cliff. Rarely dived site
*The summary refers to the information recorded during
this particular dive only and does not reflect the actual features of the