The more I visit Malta, the fonder I get to the country. Although I did not have the best of experiences the first time I came to Malta a few years ago, it was now my third time visiting the Island, and it has grown on me.
My previous visit was for Technical Diver training with Trimix, and this trip was no different, but for a more Advanced level of training, now extending my depth range to 100 metres! I remember saying, in the past, I would never dive down to these depths, but here I was in Malta ready to take the plunge. My main reasons been the amount of deep wrecks which I had seen on social media recently. I love wrecks! Malta itself has many historical wrecks lying in deep waters off it’s coasts. This trip however was for training purposes and the exploration of these wrecks will have to wait for a future expedition.
My training actually started months before the actual trip itself. I spent many hours in the confined shallow waters of Rosia Bay at home in Gibraltar practising three stage handling, a skill necessary for these deeper Trimix dives. I also spend some time recapping on previous basic technical diving skills, which are used in all levels of training. Unfortunately I don’t have many opportunities to do deep technical dives in Gibraltar itself, but I did manage to do a few deep air dives and Normoxic Trimix dives before leaving to Malta.
On the first day of training in Malta, I spend most of the day at the dive centres house reef, a dive site quite familiar with me. Here I practised three stage handling as well as the other basic tec diving skills necessary. Once the instructor was happy with my skills been up to scratch, we then headed off to the wreck of Um El Faroud, a wreck I had already dived twice before in previous years. On this wreck dive, my instructor and I, conducted a simulated hypoxic Trimix dive, with the use of three stage handling again, at simulated decompression stops, as well as some surprised emergency situations to deal with, given to me by the instructor. All skills were recorded on my GoPro, for later analysis and debriefing the classroom.
All my skills went well in the simulated Trimix dives, so then I was asked by my instructor to plan some hypoxic trimix dives. The planning was done in the classroom and then gases blended. After analysing gases were ok for the planned dived, the next morning we headed off for my first “real” deep dive. The subsequent dives and qualifying dive of the course was conducted all at the same dive site, Ras Il Hobs, off the Island of Gozo. The shore dive at Ras Il Hobs is excellent. You can achieve depths as far down as 100 metres, just a few minutes swim from the shore! A perfect site for all sorts of training. It even has a shelf at 6 metres, where you can swim around at, perfect for the last decompression stop!
Next trip to Malta … Trimix Wrecks Exploration!