Valletta – What lies beneath

From above, Valletta has it all. Visitors are greeted by the slick architecture of Renzo Piano, and with every step the historical city warmly welcomes you to an open air museum, with live artifcats dotted around the city, which was born after Grand Master la Vallette conceived the idea in 1565.

This strong city, encased by spectacular fortifications has endured more than most cities, be it from ancient invaders, pirates and the Great Siege, or the aerial attacks by the axis forces during the Second World War – a war which left many scars on our tiny island.

Ask nicely and Valletta will reveal its scars and recount stories of how it received each one – even if they are hidden deep under the water in the Grand Harbour, an area of sea naturally protected so well, invaders have tried to lay their hands on it for centuries.

Off the west coast of the city is where we will be diving today, so mask on, fins tightened we are ready to discover and re live a vital part of Valletta’s modern History

Maori map
A side profile of the HMS Maori as drawn by Peter Lemon


You enter the water in a little murky bay, which adds to the mysterious element to the dive, but soon the rusted mangled body of the HMS Maori will greet you, and you soon find yourself gliding over its main weaponry. The destroyer served valiantly during the war until a Nazi bomb hit her in the harbour, killing one of her crew members. Raised she was later towed deeper into the harbour, loosing her stern as she went along and if you look very carefully you will be able to find a dated brass shell on her side. The numbers 1942 are engraved and you really begin to feel her age and glory here.

Now at 14 metres deep the Maori no longer defends the Maltese Islands but defends the diverse life that made her their home, and on a great day you can even spot tiny sea horses, happy to show you the true side of this gentle giant.

Diver's Eye View of the HMS Maori
Diver’s Eye View of the HMS Maori

Want to know where the amazing dive site is? Follow this link to Google Maps

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