Taking a Dive in Gozo (Summer Sailing 2018)

We went to bed in Valletta and by the time we opened our eyes, we were in Mgarr, a town on the island of Gozo, which is part of the Maltese archipelago.

            This was supposed to be our “kick back and relax” port of call. We were booked on a Sail and Swim excursion and so, our day was looking to consist of just those two things: sailing and swimming.

We put on our swimsuits, grabbed our towels, and practically ran off the boat, excited for the day ahead.  This whole trip so far has been so much sightseeing, walking, and planning. For once, we could abandon that for a day and just suntan on a sail boat and swim with the fishes in the Mediterranean Sea.

            Our tour guide/sailors led us onto the boat and after a brief introduction, our ship headed off to the Blue Lagoon. The Blue Lagoon was described to be a ‘slice of paradise in Malta’ located between the islands of Malta and Gozo. It was a small bay with shallow, azure coloured water and offers tourists (and locals) some of the best sights of the Maltese archipelago. People flock there to spend a day to do nothing but relax, whether that means diving into the crystal clear waters, putting on a snorkel mask and going on an adventure, or just hanging out on the boat all day under the sun.

            Our captain chose to do this right in the morning before it got busy around noon time. They said that during the peak times of the summer, there could be close to 9,000 people in the entirety of the Blue Lagoon at one time, fighting for a piece of the slice of paradise.

            We were given about an hour and a half to swim and snorkel. This wasn’t like the other snorkeling adventures we’ve been on, like in Cabo or the Cayman Islands. Those had more fish and sea life than you could keep track. Every square inch of the ocean or sea floor looked like it was covered with coral that was home to dozens and dozens of fish. The Blue Lagoon was a little different. I only saw about 2 or 3 species of fish (but I did see a couple of small, red jellyfish). The amount of fish that I did see wasn’t a staggering amount either. There was very little coral to be seen, and there just wasn’t too much to be filmed on my GoPro in general.

            At one point, I just took off my snorkel mask and swam around for a bit. Because it was a beautiful place to swim, there was no doubt about that. The water was beyond clear and beyond blue. That is always what I’ve always loved about the Mediterranean Sea and sky. Everything is just extraordinarily blue, and the camera never quite captures the hue as vividly as you see it. It’s as if the universe had a little bit of extra love for the Mediterranean region and just turned up the saturation on all of its landscapes – the sky, the food, the sea and oceans, and the flora.

            We climbed back onto the boat and dried ourselves off. Then, came the sailing part of the excursion. Along the way to our second snorkeling destination, the captain sailed past many landmarks and did his best to point everything out to us. The sailing was just as fun, in my opinion. I grabbed my camera and found a comfortable place at the front of the ship to stand. The sun beat down on my back, the salty air tickled my nose, and the ocean wind tousled my hair as the boat continued on, full speed ahead.

One of the most beautiful quotes that I’ve ever read goes, “The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea.” The sea really does make everything better. There’s such a strong sense of peace and happiness that I feel when I’m either swimming in it, sailing it, or just looking at it from a balcony onboard.

We got a glimpse of Elephant Rock, explained by its name.

            We saw cliff after cliff, some with buildings, most completely bare.

            Our last spot of the day was Crystal Lagoon, which was another popular destination for locals and tourists it seemed, as made clear by the amount of boats that were already anchored there. Instead of an open expanse of water, we were stopped by some caves that allowed swimmers to swim through it, or just into it. One of them had a ‘skylight’ or in less romantic terms, a large opening at the top of its roof.

            Jumping off the boat for what would be the second and last time, we swam over as quick as we could and explored the cave and its open roof more. After getting enough pictures, I just lay flat on my back and stared up at the top of the cave and to the sky. Mind blank, thinking nothing more than the shape of the clouds overhead and of the feeling of the water surrounding me. There was nothing more to think about, nothing to worry about.

            There were a couple more groups of fish, but again, nothing compared to our previous snorkeling excursions in the Caribbean.

            What I found so interesting was that there were boats selling ice cream going from boat to boat, showing off their sweet goodies. Now that is a smart business plan, in my opinion. There is nothing a tired, parched snorkeler wants more than to bite into an ice cream cone on a hot summer day.

            After this, we made our way back to the boat, and then the boat headed back to our ship, the Oosterdam. Head tipped back, I closed my eyes and let the sound of the boat cutting through the waves fill my ears. I let the sun and a sense of total tranquility wash over me.

            Malta, you will be missed. I definitely thought it was one of the most beautiful stops this entire trip and what I loved even more was our ability to see the city in Valletta and the sea in Gozo. This one cruise definitely gave us the ultimate 2-in-1 for Malta.

            Until next time, then.

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