Thursday, 20 October 2016

Inland Sea & Tunnel Gozo

Inland Sea & Tunnel Gozo


The Inland Sea, sometimes called Qawra in Maltese, is a lagoon of seawater on the island of Gozo linked to the Mediterranean Sea through an opening formed by a narrow natural arch.

It was probably formed where a geological fault in the limestone had created a sea cave and the roof then collapsed.

On one side there is a gently shelving stony beach with several fishermen's huts. The boats are often pulled up on to the stony beach. The bottom of the lagoon is also mostly pebbles and rocks and is fairly shallow. As you exit through the tunnel towards open sea, the floor drops away in a series of shelves to a depth of up to 35 metres on the outside. Jacques Cousteau said the Inland Sea was among his top ten dives.
Inland Sea, Gozo on February, 2007

On calm days fishing boats, known in Maltese as luzzijiet, can pass through the tunnel. Some of the boats are used to take visitors through the archway and then for a tour of the nearby cliffs and other sites, mainly to the Fungus Rock and another large natural arch in the cliffs called the Azure Window.


When conditions are perfect this is a fantastic dive along a narrow canyon that stretches 80m through the headland to open water beyond.

Boats constantly whizz overhead, but the wall is so deep, vertical and under hanging for the most part that there is no danger of collision other than at the beginning of the dive and the end, assuming you exit in the same place.

The view as you look out into the deep indigo blue of the open ocean is spectacular. Around the corner to both the right and left there are further vertical fissures in the cliff face which can be explored at all levels and are covered in marine life. These routes out to the left or right of the Inland Sea are not to be missed.
On the return journey through the tunnel, there are two options for a safety stop.
There is a large rock platform at 5 metres on the right hand side just after you enter the tunnel, or you can continue up the tunnel until it rises to the Inland Sea itself and there is a small rock platform at 5 metres.
Entry is down the slipway on the left hand side, and swimming across to the left hand side of the tunnel avoiding the tour boats in the process. Descend down the wall to 4 metres and staying low swim round into the tunnel close to the rock on your left hand side. Exit by reversing the process and surface in the Inland Sea itself near the rock face.
The Inland Sea dive is one of the most spectacular dive sites in Malta and Gozo, offering beautiful lighting effects and plenty of marine life.
The Inland Sea is a very popular and spectacular dive that can be can be done on the same day with the Blue Hole dive located close by.
The dive at the Inland Sea and Tunnel starts in a 60m wide scenic inlet surrounded by high cliffs. The unique tunnel connected to the inland sea is 80m long, however be careful when diving in the tunnel as boats pass through it as well.
At the end of the tunnel you will see some stunning lighting effects created by the sunlight hitting the water. Light inside the tunnel is usually not a problem; however some divers prefer to bring a torch along to explore the tunnel walls.

Once you exit the tunnel, the seabed drops to beyond 30m and you can choose to dive on the right or left side of the tunnel.

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