The Wied iż-Żurrieq hamlet and small fishing port has long been the source of a dispute between the Qrendi and Żurrieq population over its ownership, a dispute that goes back to the other century.
Although named Wied iż-Żurrieq, the valley itself sees its origin at a locality known as Wied Hoxt which reaches as far back as the panoramic road connecting il-Ħnejja to the megalithic temple of Ħagar Qim.
At the tiny cove of Wied Iż-Żurrieq, a large number of café-bars and tourist shops have emerged to cater for the great amount of visitors that visit this place on their way to see the fabled Blue Grotto caves or the divers that visit the massive ship wreck “Um Elfaroud”.
On the 2nd of September 1998, the motor tanker “Um Elfaroud” was scuttled at the mouth of the valley settling on the bottom at a depth of 35 meters. A man made wreck to be explored, a paradise for fish, an artificial reef giving life to flora and fauna, a ship that once took the lives in a tragic accident of a number of Maltese Dock workers has been transformed into an amazing site.
Since earlier times, Wied iż-Żurrieq together with Għar Lapsi, have provided the best fishing harbour on Malta’s South West coast. A place of immense hardship but the nearest fishing port to the Qrendi and Żurrieq inhabitants, a role played till the mid sixty’s when the former Maltese fishing boats, the Luzzu and Kajjik were replaced by the “Wied iż-Żurrieq Fregatina”, a sturdy four meter wooden boat capable of transporting ten passengers opting to visit the Blue Grotto.
But Wied iż-Żurrieq is not just known as the Ferry landing for the Blue Grotto visitors and the location of the wreck of the “Um Elfaroud” so frequented by visiting divers but also for its depth of water that varies from six meters at the valley’s inlet to twenty three meters at its mouth. Water in access visibility of twenty to thirty meter is most common in this diver’s paradise. A location of immense beauty both above and below the water.
Author: David Schembri and the Qrendi Scout Group