At Ritual Dive, we’re all about living for the spirit of adventure and embracing new possibilities. And while summer is the peak season for diving, don’t let the cooler temperatures of winter hold you back from exploring the underwater world. In fact, diving in Gozo in winter can be an exciting and unique experience that offers a range of advantages for those who are up for it.
Great Reasons To Dive in Winter
Clear Visibility & Less Crowded
Firstly, the water in winter can offer greater visibility, with less plankton in the water, meaning you can see further and clearer. The absence of crowds and fewer boats during winter months also means less disturbance to the underwater ecosystem, and more space and opportunities to observe marine life in their natural habitats.
Additionally, fewer people mean that the local marine life is more likely to be curious and approachable, giving you a more immersive and memorable experience.
Diverse Marine Life
The cooler water temperature also means different species of marine life are more active, so you may get to see different behaviors and interactions than in the warmer months. In the colder waters, some marine life, such as crabs, lobsters and octopuses, are more active and visible than in the warmer months. These creatures thrive in colder temperatures, and the cold water stimulates their metabolism, causing them to move around more and hunt for food.
Lack of Humidity
Another advantage of diving in winter is the lack of humidity in the air, meaning you can have a clearer and more comfortable dive experience without the discomfort of sweating or fogging up your mask. It’s also a great time to take advantage of the quieter beaches and dive sites, with more space and less noise pollution making for a serene and peaceful dive.
Another advantage of diving in the winter is the lower cost. Since it’s the off-season for many dive locations, you may be able to get great deals on dive packages, accommodations, and airfare. This can make the trip more affordable and accessible for many people, and may allow you to dive in more exotic or remote locations than you might have otherwise considered.
More Time to learn and explore dive sites
Since fewer people are diving in the winter, you may have the opportunity to explore deeper or more challenging dive sites that are typically off-limits in the summer months.
Winter Diving Sites in Gozo
Choosing the right dive site is always important, whether it’s summer or winter. Sea conditions, winds, tides, water temperature, presence of sea creatures, visibility, the goal of the dive, and time of the day always play a major role in making such decisions.
Diving in winter with Ritual dive is an incredible adventure! Our favorite low-season dive sites around Malta and Gozo include:
- The famous Blue Hole, starting in shallow water and touching the bottom at 60 meters, with an average depth of 15 meters and a large scenic arch between 8 and 15 meters;
- Inland Sea, Gozo, in the same area as the Blue Hole, is considered by Jacques Cousteau one of his top ten dives.
- Ras il-Hobz, aka Middle Finger, is a pinnacle rising from over 40 meters of depth and attracting uncountable marine creatures including jacks, moray eels, and barracuda.
- Xlendi Bay, with a stunning and shallow 70 meters long tunnel and a very pretty reef at the end of it, rich in marine life.
- MV Karwela Shipwreck, an old tourist ferry lying at a maximum depth of 40 meters, is safe to penetrate and great for photographers.
- MV Cominoland, just like the Karwela, an old ferry scuttled in 2006 to form an artificial reef, with several wide openings allowing passages and swim-throughs. Both sunken ships require the Deep Specialty certification due to their depth – 40 meters for both.
Naturally, a few considerations must be taken into account when choosing to dive in colder water in the fall and winter seasons, such as having the right exposure suit and gloves, finding the best dive spot, and maintaining safety.
Choose the right dive equipment
Colder waters require specific dive gear. The first aspect that comes to mind is certainly the need for the right temperature protection. You might be using a dry suit, a semi-dry, or a thicker wetsuit with additional accessories. Among these, dive boots, gloves, and a hood will be true game-changers.
Between 24 and 27°C a 5 mm full suit will be more comfortable, especially in case of a longer dive. Below 24°C, a 7 mm wetsuit or semi-dry is recommended. If you have only a 5 mm wetsuit and don’t plan on purchasing or renting a thicker one, consider wearing a few layers underneath it or even wearing a shorty on top of your 5 mm. A dry layer under your wetsuit might also help you keep warm during your surface interval between dives, which by the way might need to be a little longer to allow your body to gain warmth and be ready to dive again with the same level of comfort and safety. A hot cup of cocoa will surely do!
Interestingly, flooding the mask for better vision is a habit we tend to build in warm waters, but it might be unpleasant in colder temperatures, hence a well-fitting, properly defogged mask becomes important, too. Another unusual consideration is that cold waters drain your batteries faster: ensure your batteries are fully charged, and consider having a backup.
At Ritual Dive, we always prioritize safety, and winter diving is no exception. We take extra precautions such as wearing thicker wetsuits or drysuits and providing additional training to ensure that you stay warm and comfortable during your dive. Our professional and dedicated team is always on hand to provide guidance and support, making sure you have a safe and enjoyable dive experience.
So why not embrace the spirit of adventure and try something new this winter? Book your winter diving experience with Ritual Dive and explore the beauty of the underwater world in a unique and exciting way. Remember, it’s all about inclusivity, and whether you’re a seasoned diver or a beginner, we’re here to make your experience a memorable one. So grab your gear and let’s dive in!