Malta revisited.

Steve & Carol
Thu 13 Oct 2022 15:46
35:54.418N 014:30.179E
We headed to Malta with Adriana and Jack the Lad, the forecast was good and so we left at around 4pm for an overnight sail to arrive in daylight, we had to motor sail initially until we were clear of Sicily when the wind filled in and we had a good sail arriving in Sliema basin and picking up a couple of buoys at 8am, soon we were all on moorings fore and aft like we did when we were here a few months ago. 
Sirena - a Catamaran which wintered in Gibraltar with us was heading to a marina in Three Cities, Malta from Greece at the same time and it was good to see them pop up on the chart plotter, they were heading to a marina for a few days so we managed to meet them for drinks and a catch up one evening in Valetta which was really nice. 
We also did some sight seeing in Valetta again with Craig, Zena, Steve and Janine - we're getting to know our way around quite well 😁 and tried to find some new areas to look at.
We spent about a week in Sliema, met up with my friend Tony and went for a drive with him to the north of the island for lunch, we took advantage of the good shopping in Malta  and stocked up with foods like cheddar & halloumi cheese, bacon and pork for Steve, coffee, cereal etc as we're not sure exactly what we will and won’t be able to get in Tunisia but are pretty sure bacon and pork won’t be easy to find!
The moorings are so convenient and it's far too easy to stay there but we want to see more of the island and get in the water to clean the hull and hopefully see a few fish! The Water temperature is a rather pleasant 26 degrees again now we have come south in the med 😁. We set off to sail towards the north, our first stop was St Pauls bay here too we picked up one of the many empty moorings for the night, we went ashore for a walk around and to go to an electrical shop we had found on the internet to buy a small heater for Tunisia - the electricity is included in the mooring fees so we want to be able to keep the chill off when the nights get cooler. 
Nice as the bay was, one night was enough - by the evening the swell was rolling in and we had a fairly sleepless night rolling from side to side, by 8am the next morning we were up and on the move, we headed to the north coast and anchored in Armier bay where we were able to get in the water and start to clean the hull - we were pretty shocked at how dirty it was with lots of tube worm growth which is a type of barnacle 😬 - some of which came off easily but where it was thicker it was impossible to get off completely! We got some of the hull done and called it a day, the swell had begun to come into the bay so we decided to move further on round to Paradise bay on the NW top of Malta. Not quite paradise but it was good enough to spend a few days in and get in the water a couple more times cleaning the bottom as best we could, there is still the remnants of the tube worms which we could do with getting ride of! It was great to see little fish come and investigate what we were doing and snack on the bits coming off the hull, we even got to go for a little snorkel to the edge of the bay to look at the fish!
Sunset in Paradice bay
Steve and Janine joined us in the bay, they too wanted to clean the bottom of their boat, we had a lovely few days, few cups of tea and sundowners with them before the wind direction changed and we had a bouncy night with the swell rolling in 🙄  time to move, we headed back to the east side of the island and anchored in Mellieha Bay and launched the dinghy to go ashore and find a shop for fresh vegetables, restock the fridge and get a few other bits - we're off to Comino and Gozo next where the shops aren’t easy to get to without going into the Marina! 
The next day we set off and headed to the Blue lagoon on Comino - a tiny island in-between Malta and Gozo, the north anchorage was pretty busy by the time we got there but then we found a spot in the south anchorage and anchored with a long line ashore. 
And after the motor boats had left:
A while later Steve and Janine arrived and anchored close by with a long line ashore as well, soon we were in the water - the 2 Steves had a go at the wormy bits while Janine and myself went for a snorkel along the shore, exploring the small caves, nooks and crannies for fish and other marine life, we were pleasantly surprised by the number of species and quantity of fish, I saw my fist bearded fireworm - actually there were 2 of them, we also saw Mediterranian Parrotfish, Painted Combers, Rainbow wrasse, Saddled seabream, Sea bream, Cardinal fish as well as Brown Cromis, pupfish and many more I can’t remember! By far the best fish selection we have seen since we left the Caribbean! Despite the warmer water we got a bit chilly so headed back to the boat meeting the Steves on the way. After a shower and something to eat we headed over to Jack the lad for sundowners, it was a lovely evening all the motorboats had headed home leaving just 5 sailboats in the bay. The following morning I went for a kayak round the bay before we decided to head to Gozo.It looks like there is a reasonable weather window to head to Tunisia in a few days so we headed to Dwejra bay which is a well protected cove on the west coast and an ideal place to set off from. 
Gozo’s coast seems to be mainly high cliffs with some great Geology.
Round in Dwejra bay we found some sand to anchor, the bay is quite impressive with 2 fairly narrow openings however the seabed isn’t great -its rocky and weedy with just a few small sandy patches, Steve helped Jack the lad find a sandy spot when they arrived a while later.  The shore is high cliffs with a few caves so of course it was time to get in the water and go to explore. There were fish but not as many as at the Blue Lagoon, the caves were quite deep and dark with not a lot of marine life in them just a few cardinal fish -  I had the forethought after the blue lagoon caves to take my dive torch with us which helped pick out the colours and the fish 😁. 
On the second day Steve from Jack the lad and myself went for a paddle board / Kayak along the coast which was fun, later Craig and Zena on Adriana came to join us in the anchorage - we're all heading to Monastir for the winter so will leave together for the overnight sail!  
We all decided to go for a walk ashore before we set sail tomorrow and headed off along the shore towards the Blue hole - a natural hole connected to the sea 10 m below the surface, near by the rocks are full of fossilised shells, with a few little lizards running around! 
Looking down into the now quite busy bay.