Sidemount Diving Gozo. Anchor Reef to Xwejni Bay. Diving with Sidemount Society.

Sidemount Diving Gozo – Anchor Reef to Xwejni Bay

Join us as for 90 minute dives around Gozo, Comino & Malta condensed into 90 second videos and quick reads. 

We’ll be adding dives regularly over the coming months so check back for regular updates. 

North Coast – Anchor Reef to Xwejni Bay

Parking up opposite Anchor Reef we headed across the salt pans to check out the entrance and way down to shore. The handy rail leading to the shelf was gone but other than that conditions looked manageable for sidemount entry. It was just a case of carrying cylinders down one by one, finding the least slippery path across the limestone. It was much easier than it looked but we wouldn’t recommend doing it in flip flops! 

Once kitted up we dropped the car down the road at Xwejni Bay and walked back to Anchor Reef. We could’ve done this in reverse of course, and picked up the car at the end of the dive, but we were happy not to do the walk after 90 minutes underwater! 

There were some surface swells at the entrance so we decided on an elegant sideways shuffle entry – fins on, left cylinder fully attached and carrying the right. Despite the choppy surface conditions, a few metres underwater and all was completely calm. 

The shallow reef here can only be described as fascinating! Rocky canyons and perfectly  placed boulders create swim throughs and passageways – it’s a sidemount divers playground. In the summer it’s full of octopus. Today, we weren’t so lucky but were happy to find ourselves surrounded by schools of fish hanging about in the seagrass beds. We could have dived deeper along the drop off following it round to the Double Arch dive site – but we’ll save that for another day. 

This time we stayed on the plateau, zigzagging  our way eastwards and exploring the swim throughs and canyons made up of weirdly polished rocks. The seabed here may have been created by ancient underwater abstract sculptors. 

Headed towards Xwejni there’s a dramatic contrast between swimming peacefully along the wall while the surface rages just above. It’s a meditation in itself. 

Xwejni Bay and the Washing Machine. Sidemount diving with Sidemount Society in Gozo

After about 60 minutes we reached the ‘Washing Machine’ – a circular impression in the wall that looks like well… a washing machine. On rough days you don’t want to be anywhere near it but on this dive it was calm, clear and an excellent backdrop for photos. 

We finished the dive in Xwejni Bay practicing some sidemount skills and drills while enjoying the late afternoon light beams. 

Final thoughts 

Xwejni Bay is a favourite location for recreational and technical sidemount course training. With several large areas of bare rock bed nestled amongst the seagrass it might have been designed specifically for sidemount divers to practice their skills! Xwejni shouldn’t just be written off as a training site though. It’s a fascinating site where you can find sprawling seagrass meadows, octopus, cuttlefish and even the occasional shark tooth!

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