The HMS Maori wreck is one of the most popular wrecks from the World War II found around Maltese waters. However, what makes this wreck so popular is that unlike the rest of the wrecks, this one is in quite shallow waters, where dives can be done from shore. Suitable for novice divers, she is quite a sight! She lies on a sandy bottom, quite broken at a maximum depth of 16 metres. It is buried half way into the sand, the bow and stern have perished. What is left of the Maori that is not buried under sand is about 42m in length. There is some wreckage to the rear of the main wreck as well. It lies upright with a slight tilt onto her side. Some of the front structure makes it easily recognizable as part of an old warship, while a lot of it is found alongisde the wreck on the seabed. Two large round hatches and framework remain, however her guns were removed soon after the Maori sank. Nevertheless, she is definitely a fascinating dive!
As for its physical attributes, it was a British destroyer, 115 metres in length that sank during a German Air Raid attack in February of 1942 in the Grand Harbour of Valletta. It was then scuttled in July of 1945 to St. Elmo Bay close to the entrance to Marsamxett Harbour on the other side of Valletta. It is now a popular free scuba diving site for everyone to enjoy.
Along the wreck in it’s vicinity one will find a blue car wreck on the port side which had been washed into the sea by a heavy storm in the end of October 2016. One can also find old tires and barrels where marine life tend to hide, and also a motorbike for divers to enjoy. Like most wrecks, the Maori at this age formed an artificial reef where an abundance of marine life now call home. Among the different types of fish that can be found around the wreckage, sea breams, salema fish, shoals, cardinal fish are mostly present around the upper part of the structure. The wreck is also covered in tube worms and green weed. Whereas the other cracks and crevasses act as a safe haven for scorpion fish and octopus. On the Maori herself one can find plenty of crabs and nudibranchs, and lets not forget those fire worms! On the bottom burrowing and digging themselves into the sand you could spot, starfish red mullet, flatfish, and the occasional stingray! Cuttlefish, moray eels and even sea horses might come out to say hello. If you’re lucky. 😉
Interest – Reef / Wreck
Popularity – High
Depth – 12m (avg), 16m (max)
Qualification – Beginner
Shore access – Easy
Location – 35.9026°N 14.5154°E (Nearby)