Diving at shipwreck the Imperial Eagle and Jesus Statue
|Name Dive Site:||Qawra and St Pauls, Imperial Eagle and Jesus Statue|
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The 'Imperial Eagle' used to be a ferry boat crossing from Malta to Gozo, carrying about 70 passengers and 10 cars, between 1958 and 1968. For the next 20 years, it was than used as a cargo ship on the same route. It was originally bought to replace the world famous 'Calypso' when the latter was donated to Jacques Yves Cousteau. On July 19th. 1999, the 43m long vessel was scuttled about 300 meters north east of Qawra Point. It now stands upright on a 40m sandy bottom.
The 'Imperial Eagle' soon became one of the most popular boat dives and when the weather conditions are good, one is bound to see a dive boat or two. A permanent mooring with a shot line to the surface makes it easy for the divers to find. Once half way down the rope, the diver will find himself in a valley. Following the reef wall outwards, the ghostly appearance of the wreck is quite stunning. A couple of rooms and the open passages provide excellent swim-throughs.
Whilst going down on the shot line, and to the inside of the valley, one cannot miss the 3m high statue of Jesus Christ. This 13 ton statue was reallocated here in May 2000. It was originally sunk, and blessed, by Pope John Paul II near St. Paul’s Island during his visit to the Maltese shores in 1990.
The wreck and the statue are not the only interesting points of this dive site. There is a natural arch in the reef wall to the right of the wreck and if you look very closely in the front of the outer side of the arch, one can also see the stalk of a huge old anchor, wedged between the rocks and the sandy bottom.
The wreck and the reef host a large assortment of marine life including large conger eels, groupers, rockfish, damsel fish and sea breams, while tuna, jacks, trigger fish and barracudas are also often encountered.
WARNINGS: Due to the max 43m depth, and many attractions, one can quite easily forget his bottom time, so remember to keep your eyes on your depth, time and air supply. Visibility can be bad at times so stay close to your buddies. Also watch out for any hanging ropes, wires and pieces of jutting metal once inside the wreck.
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