On Sunday 24th February, Malta saw one of the worst storms in a long time which caused an uncountable amount of damage along the East coast both above and below the waters surface.
In the early hours of Sunday 24th February, Malta was being battered by one of the strongest storms on record which has since been named Medicane Dnegel (Legend spelt backwards). Winds reached up to 133km and waves reached a height of up to 10 metres, crashing over the bastions in Valletta and causing havoc along the East coast in area such as St Paul's Bay and St Julian's in particular.
Whilst the damage above the waters surface could be seen as soon as morning had broken the damage beneath the waters surface had to wait for waters to calm and visibility to improve before the damages could be witnessed.
On the surface it was clear that the area of Siren's had been one of the worst affected areas in St Paul's Bay with both the dive centre there having been partially destroyed and the Kiosk being completely broken open by the crashing waves. But underwater we all waited to hear if there had been further damage to the HMS Maori and to find out if Tug 2 had moved once again.
On Sunday I got the opportunity to dive both Tug 2 and the historic HMS Maori and we have big news to report on both dive sites. For all of those who have dived Tug 2 on a number of occassions, you will remember that the shipwreck was originally scuttled parallel to the reef some 20 metres away however in a storm in 2017 the wreck was turned 90 degrees and looked as if it had driven into the reef itself. The storm this weekend has indeed moved the wreck once again. It now sits alongside the reef once more and has listed dramatically to the Port side.
If the movement of Tug 2 was dramatic then what was to come when we dived the HMS Maori was even more shocking and it appears the age of the shipwreck has saddeningly caught up with the HMS Maori. Large sections of the deck have collapsed in the latest storm meaning penetration is now near impossible and despite a lot of the previous character having being lost there was also a few new gems uncovered. One of the things I used to love about this shipwreck was the fact you could swim along the Starboard side and peer through the portholes to witness the light penetrating the gaps in the wreck and the magic of what lay inside. Now sadly with a large section of the starboard wall having collapsed these opportunities are now reduced but with the movement of sand from around the wreck a few treasures have been uncovered. One in particular was a large helmet and attached gas mask which would have been worn by those working on the boat during the Second World War.
Sadly on the dives themselves it was not possible for me to take any photos so if you want to see the changes you shall have to come and complete some dives soon. But for now, above the waters surface the rebuilding has begun and hopefully for the kiosk owners at least, life will be back to normal soon.
Photo 1 By Willem Weeseman Photo 2 By Danny Barber