Timing, tankers and Twix McFlurries

Trip report of ICUC trip to Malta

Titanic malta
Recreating that iconic scene from everyone’s favourite film on the bow of the Um El Faroud.
Credit: Andreas Georgiou

By: Max Keech

Early Monday morning 5 ICUC members headed to Gatwick Airport. For some who had planned for the unreliability of Southern train service and so left several hours before check in the journey was uneventful. However for those traveling from further afield (Nottingham in one case) or leaving later southern was predictably able to result in delays and drama with a rush to check in. Fortunately no one missed the flight! A long but uneventful flight later, with the added luxury of a snack thanks to Air Malta we arrived in Malta to face yet further delays at immigration due to not everyone in our party being an EU national. Having nearly missed our taxi due to this they promptly took us to the wrong hotel (Malta helpfully having 2 hotels with the same name) which only became apparent on the dawning realisation that £50 per person does not get you a four-star spa resort. Having finally sorted this and got to our, decidedly less fancy, we went hotel in search of food.
The next day we went to Maltaqua dive centre who were to be our guides for the trip and proved to be informative about both diving and the history of Malta, as well as being good fun. The next three days were spent largely sleeping, diving and eating as well as visiting Mdina, otherwise known as the ‘silent city’ which was beautiful. The final day was spent visiting Valletta as 24hrs is needed between diving and flying. This also went well apart from one member who became distressed at the lack of time to purchase a Twix McFlurry before departure to the Airport (apparently they are not available in the UK).
There were a variety of dive sites with fantastic visibility meaning that all the sites could be seen in all their glory. A huge amount of wildlife was seen including one, rather shy octopus, barracuda, fire worms, and Eels. The highlight of wildlife was a cuttlefish who was very friendly and played. This was particularly exciting for one member (of Twix McFlurry fame) who rather likes cuttlefish. A lot. (They showed us their delightful MS paint ‘cattlefish’ which looks as you can imagine like some scary chimera. No I don’t understand this person either).
The highlight of the trip with respect to wrecks was the Um El Faroud a 10000 ton Libyan tanker which was scuttled in 1995 as a reef. Being able to enter the wreck and see various areas including the engine room was incredible.
A hugely successful trip was had by all with a variety of skills being learnt, largely surrounding diving. Many thanks to the staff at the Maltaqua for making it a fantastic trip!