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Diving in the south east of Malta at dive site Carolita Barge

Name Dive Site:Carolita Barge / X131
Depth: 5-25m (16-82ft)
Visibility: 5-10m (16-32ft)
Accessibility: Shore, Boat
Inserted/Added by: debono

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This is not your average clear water pretty tourist dive site, but it is a popular winter location due to its sheltered location. It can be dived nearly 365 days a year, even in stormy weather. It is also of interest to anyone who likes World War II ship wrecks. However visibility can be very poor in windy weather or after rain.

The Carolita is a 32 meter long wreck in the harbour near Valetta, located very close to the shores of Manoel Island Gzira, which was used as a submarine base during WWII. On 21st April 1942 there was an air raid on the base and the Carolita Barge was accidentally sunk in the process. It is a very special wreck as recent research shows that it is the only known survivor of a batch of 200 X craft water lighters. Those were built for the Gallipoli campaign in 1915 to supply water to the British troops on the Dardanelles, which were of vital interest in their duty to create a safe passage way to Turkey. This wreck has been identified as X131 and can be reached after an easy swim out of Manoel Island. There is also a great deal of debris scattered around the muddy seabed mainly items from the old Manoel Island quarantine hospital such as hospital beds, wheel chairs, bottles and even whole bathtubs. Other things which can be seen are bullets, typewriters, toilets and all sorts of other junk. So as well as a wreck dive site this is also a very good spot for a really good rummage on the sea bed. Some interesting surprises are still found here up till today especially after a big storm

The wreck lies at a steep slope with its bow at 3 meters and its propellers at 20 meters deep. Its torpedo hole in the stern has created nice look troughs. Engine and bridge can be reached as well from the back or through the torpedo hole. It is a wreck with many things to see but still it is not very popular by most divers because of the amount of silt which reduces visibility even further. It is a dive site with many common fish, large schools passing by overhead and a dive site that can be perfectly dived in rough weather.

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