Sunday’s boat dive site selection is in most cases based on the weather forecast, and this week it was as the Americans say, a no-brainer! The wind direction had settled Easterly for most of the week, and the weathermen said that it would not change during the weekend, so it had to be West facing. Migra l-Ferha was an excellent choice.
Migra l-Ferha is the place where in popular legend, the fabled Norman, Count Roger landed with his troops to begin the end of the occupying Arabs way back in 1090. Two things may be deduced on what happened on that fateful day – the first is that the weather must have been like last Sunday 19th – otherwise no landing would have been possible, and second that those worthies must have been cursing Count Roger to hell when they realised that they would have to carry themselves in their armour, and whatever else they had up that steep gorge!
The intention was to anchor the heavily laden Atlantis in the first inlet after the ‘Count Roger’ cove, but it was not to be – there was a lot of nylon hanging from the cliff anglers, and it was obvious that we were going to spoil the Sunday for good number of people, so the decision was taken to drop anchor just outside of ‘Count Roger’ – on its Eastern-most side.
The plan was to cross to the other side of the cove and there encounter a tongue shaped reef, on top of which at the base of the cliff, there are a series of overhangs and caverns. We descended onto the first platform, and then over the edge of the second one which leads to a large plateau at about 30m depth. We followed the wall on our right hand until we came to a steep incline, at this point we were at about 40m, and here we started the ascent up the slope. In most cases, the seabed in proximity to cliff faces, one finds boulders, here however, the ‘boulders’ looked very much man-made! Car wreckage was everywhere – all in various stages of disintegration – but an unusual sight none the less!
After a short while, we were on the reef top which forms a plateau at about 18m. To our right there loomed the dark shadow of the cliff face, and we went towards it. Here at the base of the cliff, there are deep overhangs, whose ceilings are simply covered in sponges and orange hydroids. While under one of the deeper overhangs, which I would estimate to be somewhere close but to the West of the accessible shore area, I saw on the ceiling, a group of what appeared to be five circular saucer sized patches, which in the darkness appeared to be faintly luminescent? There must have been at least four or five more of these ‘groupings’ – I wonder what these were! As we headed back towards the Atlantis II the overhangs were with us for most of the way. It would be interesting to learn what caused them.
One common comment however heard on the boat as the divers were securing their tanks, was that in spite of the environment would have seemed ideal, for territorial fish like groupers for example there seemed to be an absence of fish here – we wondered what all those fishing lines were there for… or perhaps it was a bad day for fish! Apart from this, a truly excellent dive site which can take much more exploration.