Il – Qaws Dive Site
aka Ras Il-Qaws
Il-Qaws is a cliff bound inlet on Malta’s South West coast which may be reached only by boat. It is the first inlet to be found heading East beyond Migra l-Ferha before coming to Ras id-Dawwara. Being exposed to the Westerly and Southerly winds and swell, it is therefore suitable to dive with an Easterly wind and wave direction.
The dive boat takes about an hour from Cirkewwa, and indeed Il-Qaws is the remotest Malta site out of the dive sites at which Atlam SAC normally holds Sunday boat dives. The divers are dropped close to Ras id-Dawwara, which when looking seaward, is on the left hand side of the inlet. They then proceed towards the innermost point of the inlet, where the dive boat would have dropped anchor. During the dive, therefore, the cliff wall is kept on the right hand side.
At the entry point, depths of 50 metres and over can be found, but the more the dive progresses towards the inlet, the shallower it becomes, and at the pick up point it gets to about 15 – 20 metres. A torch to explore the caves as well as the extensive ridges and depressions in the very interesting cliff face is highly recommended. The first cave, which is arrived to at about 15 minutes into the dive, is what we sometimes refer to as Dolphin Cave, so called because some years ago there used to be a dolphin skeleton inside it. This cave has a highly sloping floor with quite a bit of sediment on it – therefore careful fining techniques are recommended. Beyond this cave, it is worth to fin slowly to search for Nudibranchs, and further in, the cliff walls are covered with spectacular rows of rigid pink Lithophyllum algae.
The dive ends in two large but shallow caves. If enough air remains, they are certainly worth exploring. At certain times of the year, fresh water can be seen coming out of the rocks. This is also a great place for photography – the play of light inside these caves is not to be missed.
Content by club member Edward Vella
This dive site is organised regularly by ATLAM SAC
Video by member Adam Sant on You Tube …. Il Qaws video