Xlendi Reef Gozo
The Xlendi Reef dive is one of the more popular dives in Gozo, and with the excellent weather forecast, a full-house boat resulted. No wonder that the Atlantis II is well liked by the regular Sunday boat divers – it is fast, comfortable and stable, and with the ideal conditions found on the day, its anchor was kissing the Xlendi Reef sand some forty minutes after leaving Marfa.
The water temperature is starting to improve now, and was a nice 21 degrees on the surface – at depth it became 19 deg, so even if conditions on the surface are warm it looks like it is still not shorty weather – and this is not taking the jellies into consideration!
Descent was free fall skydiver style on the left hand edge of the tongue shaped reef. It is always a buzz to watch the reef wall rush by on its way up as you go on your way down! Our descent was stopped at about 47 metres, about 10 metres from the seabed, I would estimate. Water clarity was very good. To the West we could see the reef heading out and disappearing into the blue, while to the East, the reef butted into the landward slope. This time we headed East.
The slope is quite steep, I would say at about 45 degrees, and is littered with small to medium sized boulders. We stayed at this depth for about 8 minutes, and then started a slow ascent heading South along the steep wall under the Sanap cliffs. The slope then becomes a perpendicular cliff, and the dive here becomes a classic wall dive, only the wall is far from featureless, and is full of vertical cracks and recesses which are too tempting not to explore. The torchlight makes the oranges of shade loving hydroids and the yellows, oranges and reds of the sponges, stand out.
In my group the sealife highlights were three large size – about 30cm- slipper lobsters (ckal), but there was another group who encountered a large group of barracudas. This group went in the opposite direction to which we did, that is, they headed out in a Westerly direction – seaward – along the reef.
That is another nice dive which can be made in this prime location. We had gone that way in a previous dive. The reef top if I remember correctly, starts to descend slowly the further out one goes, and then describes a wide U-turn back towards land. The only down side to this route at that time, was that since we had chosen to stay a bit deep before getting onto the reef top, we had accumulated some decompression time, and so we had decided to come back to the boat in mid water. Anyway, there are many different permutations in dive routes here! Also, this is a site that caters for all levels of diver skills.
A very nice dive!
June 2010 : Atlam Boat Dive
Dive location: Xlendi Reef
Dive type: Boat dive
Bearings: Will not hurt to get a bearing on the shore if diving the
Max depth: 47.6m
Dive time : 66 mins
Sea temp : 19deg
Visibility : Excellent – est 40m +
Attractions: No navigation hazards
Boulders & sheer wall with swim throughs and recesses
Suitable for all levels of diving experience – depth if you want it,
but can also be a shallow wall dive
Spectacular reef to seaward.
*The summary refers to the information recorded during this particular dive only as described in the preceding write-up, and does not reflect the actual features of the dive site.