Location of Site:
Underneath the seashore cliffs forming part of Ricasoli Fort, facing the east.
Type of Dive: From the shore
Average Depth: 6 metres
Maximum Depth: 12 metres
Certification Required: BSAC Ocean Diver, PADI Open Water or equivalent.
The Cannons at Ricasoli are located in a sea cavern whose roof collapsed through erosion and the weight of the cannons which apparently had been dumped and covered above it sometime in the early part of the 20th Century.
The Cavern: To find the cave you have to swim to the left from the entrance point just after the first wall of defence of the fort and keep the foreshore on your left side. After about 15 minutes, you enter a small L shaped alcove which becomes shallower from 10m deep to about 3m and if you surface here, you will see the entrance to the cave in front of you. The entrance of the cavern can be seen from sea level and is up to about 2m up from the sea level.
The Cannons: The two smaller cannons (about 10 feet long with a 3 feet diameter) can be seen immediately upon entering the cavern, with the third larger cannon (about 14 feet long and 4 feet diameter) is right after them. Depth here is 2-3m and is well lit thanks to the hole in the roof of the cavern.
Speculation is that these are Victorian era front muzzle loading cannons that fell into disuse prior to World War 2 and were disposed of by dumping on the grounds of the Fort Ricasoli sometime before or during the War. More information from the Virtual Museum Underwater Malta
The Reef: This vermitid reef can house a lot of different shallow water usuals like octopus, cuttlefish, damselfish, various wrasses and moray eels. It is an easy dive.
This divesite is off the popular divesites. Make sure someone (preferably two persons) stays on guard with the vehicles as the area is rundown and may be visited by shady characters.
Boats pass fairly close to shore and the entrance to the Grand Harbour is very close. Keep an SMB handy in case of emergency and if diving very shallow, make sure you’re close to rocks which jut out of the sea’s surface as boats will keep away.
Do not dive this site if east winds/waves are prevalent. Waves and heavy rain may cloud up visibility within the cavern as it’s very shallow. Rocks in the walls of the cavern may be unstable, so don’t spend any more time than necessary inside the cavern. The cavern roof is close to a car park used by Ricasoli visitors who willingly or not, may cause materials to fall down into the cavern.