Monday, July 26, 2010

Tugboat Rozie

The tugboat Rozie was never meant to be a diving attraction. She was scuttled off Cirkewwa to be used as an artificial reef so as to be visited by glass-bottomed boats.
She was scuttled in 1992 and in the 18 years since then, she has become a gem of a wreck, as well as a fantastic artificial reef teeming with fish and marine life. She is a shore dive, and to reach her, one must swim round the drop off and take a bearing of 300 degrees from below the lighthouse. If you keep the reef wall to your right, you eventually come across an anchor and a bit further on, you will find the Rozie. She lies at a depth of 34 metres on white sand. 
The Rozie still looks like she should be at sea, with ropes making the ship look like she is ready for a day of work. She's a coppery rust colour and she is just teeming with life. First up, its time to have a look at the stern. 
Visibility is always very good on the Rozie if it's good weather. But the water is full of thermoclines, so be prepared for a few icy blasts. You can take a look at where the engines used to lie, which is now a wide open space, a cavern within the boat. From there, you can take a trip up to the bridge, which is all pretty straightforward. There are blue exits a plenty and it's simple enough to get inside the bridge structure for a play with the knobs and dials.
From there, you descend to the fore deck, and if you want a great treat, just fish (excuse the pun) out the packet of Twistees you put in your BCD pocket and open it up. You might need a knife as the pressure at the depth with vacuum seal the packet. As soon as you open the pack, you can expect every and any fish within 200 metres to swoop down on you for a snack or two. Groupers, rainbow fish, cawl, mullet... all sorts. It really is an experience to look around and see so much marine life which is tame enough to come and literally be fed by hand. After about 10 minutes on the wreck, you should be registering about 50-70 bar of pressure and it's time to head back. The swim back is easy, you can see the anchor on the way, and if you keep the reef wall to your left, you come across a statue of the Madonna which lies in a recess just before the exit point If you are staying for the day, just do your surface interval and then it's time for the P-29, another shore dive that complements the Rozie beautifully.

Wreck History: 
Built in Bristol, England in 1958 by Charles Hill & Sons Ltd for Johnston Warren Lines Ltd, of Liverpool and launched as “Rossmore”. In 1969 sold to Rea Towing Co. Liverpool and renamed “Rossgarth”. In 1972 she was sold to Mifsud Brothers (Malta Ship TowageLtd), retaining her name. In the same year she sailed from Liverpool for Malta where in 1973 she was registered. In 1981 she was sold to Tug Malta and renamed Rozi. Tugboat Rozi operated in Grand Harbour Valletta. In 1992 she was sold to Captain Morgan Cruises and was scuttled in the Northwest side of Malta as an attraction for tourists taking a submarine trip around the area. 

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