We caught the late flight from Luton on Weds evening (June 24th) arriving at the marina just before 1am. We discovered that the marina office had changed the metering system for the electricity and water so the security chaps met us to ensure all was working. We initially thought that they had changed the entry fob system as well but that was all working fine. Friends, James and Minh, came out with us for the long weekend. They have sailed their Southerly 42 around the UK and are planning going south from the UK in the not too distant future so were keen to see how we were set up for liveaboard living in hotter climes.
Thursday morning was spent sorting the boat out and shopping. The fridge decided to stop working so Peter kindly got a fridge engineer out to us to re-gas the system. We thought that had done the trick but soon after he had left, we could smell burning from the compressor. We immediately turned it off and went out to buy ice, a lot of it! Suspect we will need a new one! Then, after lunch, we set sail. Our intention was to find nice coves to anchor in, dive off the back of the boat and generally chill for the next few days. We had a great sail from Valletta to the other side of the island.We had intended on anchoring in Tuftieha Bay as we had seen it at Easter with Liz’s parents and it looked lovely. Unfortunately, in high season the majority of the bay is cordoned off for swimming so we had to anchor in the next bay, Gnejna. By now, the wind was still gusting over 20 knots and it was getting late so decided on a pasta meal on board. The wind died down with the sunset in the sheltered bay so we spent the evening chatting in the cockpit.
It turned out to be a lovely overnight spot although the anchored boats appeared to have peeked the interest of the Maltese military. We could only assume that they had stepped up their vigilance due to the migrant crisis. After a lovely swim in the morning, we sailed over to Gozo, the second largest island in the Maltese archipelago.
We managed to sail most of the way to a place called Fungus Rock, near to the Azure Window. Once through the narrow entrance, it can be a very sheltered spot. James and Minh went for a swim and Minh managed to get stung by a jelly fish. We quickly poured vinegar over the bite then rubbed antihistamine cream on it which seemed to do the trick. By now, the swell was coming in and the holding wasn’t great with a thin layer of sand over rock so we decided to pull up the anchor and go round to the north coast of Malta.
Mellieha Bay is a huge bay with plenty of anchoring space. We decided to nip under a cliff just inside the entrance that gave us shelter from the wind, as it went blowing hard again, as well as the swell. We only had a few other boats as company. Again, we got there quite late but managed to have a BBQ on the back of the board and just spent the evening chilling.
The next day, Saturday, was sunny and very warm so we took the opportunity to try out the new scuba diving gear. We had great teachers in James and Minh who both dive so felt confident having a go. We only want it to be able to go under the boat to clean it and check it regularly. The Mini B scuba gear we bought has a small 5L canister in it which provides about 20-30 mins of air.
As the morning progressed, the wind got up and more boats came and anchored very close to us. We had let out quite a bit of chain the night before as it was windy so we were getting concerned that other boats were laying their anchors over ours. We had already decided to make our way back to Valletta so that we could clean and sort the boat out before spending the evening in the city. We had yet another great sail and arrived into our new berth just as the wind was gusting around 20 knots – lovely! Luckily, all was well although it did help having four of us to quickly moor up. After spending a couple of hours getting the boat ready to be left for a couple of months, we all had showers in the Yacht Club and made our way into the main city.
We had a lovely evening showing them the sights before having a meal on the ramparts. We had such a lovely time but it ended far too quickly. It was great just chilling and sailing in lovely company and great crew. Looking forward to next time!