"THE ONE" DIVE NOT TO MISS: AZURE WINDOW ON GOZO ISLAND, MALTA
The perfect dive can take so many forms it's not easy to recount 'the one', but there aren't many dive sites that can boast great and varied dives on every entry, whatever the season. The Azure Window at Dwejra, Malta's sister island, Gozo, is one that can.
It starts with the journey to reach her, taking a ride down the winding hill that leads to the open rock landscape, still to this day fairly unspoilt by layers of man-made tarmac that signify progress. That's a polite way to describe the fitting yet unchanging, dirt tracks that make for a fairly dusty and bumpy run to the cliffs that overlook the Blue Hole; an image of archaeological, ecological and historical significance that now stands centre-stage in the Dwejra Heritage Park.
If that's not enough to wet the appetite for a memorable dive into the blue, then the view of the 40m arch
itself might just do the trick. And that's all above water. Because the
uniqueness of this dive site lies not just in the underwater topography, but
in the awesome, breath-taking picture of nature that awaits the thousands of
visitors who wander down here every year.
The anticipation of what lies beneath the blue surface is held further as divers in their small groups negotiate a tricky walk between the rocks, to paddle in water that crowns the roof of the cave beneath their feet, to sit on the lip of the blue hole, and then to drop beneath the surface...so rarely is the water not clear to the point that descending the 15m to duck under the ridge into open sea, you can straight-away take in a majestic sight ahead.
Probably the one feeling I will always hold dear, is that
moment when you look up, your eyes following the line of the huge stone leg
as she breaks the water, up through air, arching left to join the
cliff-side. At that moment, as you take in this reflection, you can't help,
but be reminded of the miniscule scale of man versus the immense form of
Nature and of Time itself. If ever there's a moment that can guarantee a
little humility, here's one.
As the divers work their way around the leg of the Azure Window, the marine life just jumps at you from all directions, and anyone who knows the area well will tell you, it keeps on surprising you, dive after dive, never failing to reveal colour and form at every depth and to remind you of the enduring nature of the seas.
Season after season, the variety of flora and fauna maintains itself. The mix of the warm Mediterranean waters and clean rock formations make the extra luxury of abundant life at times too good to be true. Maybe that's why this site, like many others in the area, come close to the top of most local divers' list.
Written by Rita Vella, Malta.