Fungus Rock

Location of Site:
At the entrance of Dwejra Bay

Type of Dive: By boat

Condition:
Along the outer wall it can be choppy, with surge and slight currents, but is sheltered on the inside

Average Depth: 30 metres
Maximum Depth: Beyond 60 metres

Certification Required:
BSAC Sports Diver, PADI Advanced Open Water or equivalent

The Dive:
The Fungus Rock is a large imposing islet. The plant that once thrived on this steep-sided offshore rock was prized by the Knights of St John of Jerusalem for its medicinal properties - so much so that they jealously guarded the islet and made it inaccessible. The only way of reaching this virtually unscaleable rock was by means of a hoist from the still-standing Qawra tower to the top of the rock. Any unauthorised person found attempting to gain access was sentenced to death.

The local name for the island - Il-Gebla tal-General, the General's Rock - is said to commemorate an Italian general who, while supervising the quarrying of the rock in the Middle Ages, fell off the Cliffside and drowned. This is a boat dive, and to get to it, if you are coming from the direction of Malta, you have to steer up to Cirkewwa and head to Gozo. Keep steering by the cliffs towards your west. Eventually when you come to the West of Gozo, you will come across this massive rock (Fungus Rock) just before Dwejra. Drop anchor just on the inside of this rock in a quaint little bay with about 5 metres of water.

Splash!! Dive in and swim out of this bay at the Southern most side of the rock. The bottom suddenly drops to about 45 metres in a sheer drop. You will find this area full of sizeable boulders, these and the fact of the depth and clear visibility usually provides this dive with the bigger size of fish. Grouper, bream, goldies and open water fish, like amberjacks, barracuda, tuna and dentex are very common around these parts.

The cliff face itself is very colourful with sponges, false coral and brightly coloured Starfish. On occasion the odd moray and conger eel are also spotted here. For your return journey you can either return the same way you came or else proceed to shallower depths and go all the way around the rock. This is a very interesting dive, but please beware of your depth and decompression time, because the visibility here is so clear that it could be deceiving.