Snorkelling and diving are some of the best ways to explore the marine treasures of Gozo. This enchanting island not only offers accessible beaches to soak in the beauty of the Mediterranean but also crystal-clear waters to easily spot some of the most colourful and unique inhabitants of this part of the world.
Gozo is the second-largest island in the Maltese archipelago. Its wonderful shoreline means that you can reach 10 metres in depth, just seconds from the shore. There is also a variety of diving options you can choose from – easy snorkelling along the coast, deep dives, underwater wrecks for rust seekers, and also cave & cavern diving for the more adventure-seeking tourists.
The best thing about Gozo is, because of the naturally rocky and sandy terrain as well as the artificial habitats created by the underwater wrecks, an abundant variety of flora and fauna dwell in these Maltese waters. From squids to octopus and stingrays to flying fish, it is a surreal experience no one should miss.
Here is a pick of some of the marine fish species you might see in Gozo,
Barracuda – These are long, silvery fish with prominent eyes and equally prominent crossbars along the body. The smaller fish are 30-90 cm travelling in shoals while the larger ones can be 1-1.5 m long. They are usually found in the shallows along the seagrass bed.
Garfish – Also known as the needlefish, this unusual fish has the distinctive feature of a beak-like shape formed from its jaws which protrude forward from its head. Seen often in snorkelling sites, especially in September, they swim very near the surface and burst forward or upward to catch prey from a shoal of smaller fish.
Flying Gurnard – Easy to recognise, the flying fish or the flying gurnard will make you believe you are daydreaming because they really seem to be flying spreading their wings! Found on sandy habitats actively searching for food, the flying gurnard have almost a square body that tapers along the tail. The giant pectoral fins are outstretched while swimming revealing beautiful colours and blue spots.
Stingray – The common stingray inhabits sandy or muddy waters in shallow depths of around 60 m, often burying itself in the sediments. The diamond-shaped pectoral fin and the long, whip-like tail are the most prominent features of this sea-dweller.
John Dory – The fish is also often called St. Peter’s fish since St. Peter is alleged to be the origin of the distinctive dark ‘thumbprint’ (or spot) on its side. The name John Dory derives from the French ‘Jaune doré’ meaning ‘golden yellow’. They are easy to spot during dives, usually solitary and seemingly standing still in the water.
Red Mullet – This is a fish that is visible in every site and every dive in Gozo. The two long and constantly moving barbels will draw your attention to the fish as would the red markings on the body.
Other than these, the Mediterranean Sea is home to native species like the white-spotted octopus, scorpion fish, nudibranch among others. Visit Gozo and experience the marine paradise for yourself.