A local diver, Adam Sant, has released a video showing his dive exploring the Ħarq il-Ħammiem Cave, Malta’s only known fully submerged terrestrial cavern.
Located on the northside of St George’s Bay in St Julian’s, Ħarq il-Ħammiem is an incredibly unique yet mostly inaccessible cave, reaching a maximum depth of 52 metres. Though the dive starts in freshwater, it transitions to saltwater towards the greatest depths.
Currently, the cave is threatened by the developments happening on the land above by the proposed developments in the area.
Said developments would consist of a plethora of construction above Ħarq il-Ħammiem, including a five-star, 455 room hotel, 158 residences, commercial office spaces, a shopping mall and restaurants.
In light of the developments, many environmentalists have warned of the danger of developing on this site, for fear that Ħarq il-Ħammiem could collapse – leading to the destruction of this unique natural heritage site, as well as the potential risk to human life should the buildings collapse alongside it.
The video offers a glimpse of the danger of Ħarq il-Ħammiem collapsing, becoming far clearer as the underwater cavern appears littered with large chunks of rock debris.
Whilst not featured in the video, the cave is known to house a species of albino shrimp, not found anywhere else in Malta. Thus, it highlights the importance of preserving the cave even more.
Despite this, the beauty of the submerged cave cannot be denied. Swimming through the dark yet vibrant waters of Ħarq il-Ħammiem easily evoke a unique experience of a lost world that would otherwise largely remain unseen.
Though it is hard to access, Ħarq il-Ħammiem is a true splendour of natural beauty, which should not be allowed to be degraded or lost further. Being a unique cave, Ħarq il-Ħammiem should be a part of our natural heritage.
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