Leaving Monastir heading to Malta - we escaped at last.

Steve & Carol
Mon 10 Apr 2023 13:15
35:54.4079N 014:30.1535E
The day before you want to leave Monastir you have to go and get permission from the Guardia National to be able to leave so we headed there and to fill in the form needed to leave - the office had a boat load of migrants who had been intercepted leaving the coast in small unseaworthy boats - they were all male and sadly some looked to be not much older than 10 or 11, while we were there they processed one of the lads who was a teenager - he had to empty his pockets - all he had on him was a few sweet bars, a couple of crumpled bank notes and a phone! Apparently Tunisia have intercepted 13000 migrants trying to leave Africa in the first quarter of 2023, after processing them they are set free to try again! Once the form was filled in and handed to the officer dealing with us we were a bit dismayed that he chose to broadcast loudly to the room full of migrants trying to get to Europe the name of our boat and where we were heading to 🤔 not very bright!
Having said all our goodbyes the night before we went to the Port Police early to begin the check out process, once we had filled in the forms and had our passports stamped and photos and finger prints taken again we could go to customs to be checked out with them and get Steve's drone which we had had to hand in on arrival. Then you really have to leave - they follow you to the boat with a couple of marina staff, come on to check for any illegal stowaways while the marina man starts to cast lines off 😱, then Steve was told to start the engine and they threw all the lines off - by this time we were in a mess having been blown sideways before the engine was even started and got caught up in the laid front lines of the boat next to us - a marina man jumped on board to “assist" and soon we were cleaning our hull over more lines while Steve tried to get Innamorata to do as he wanted her to and the marina man pulled on ropes while I fended off the bows! after a couple of minutes Steve got her back into her berth, straightened up and and free of the lines so he could get out cleanly and avoid the lines etc - only problem was we had a Tunisian on board now 🙄so we headed for the fuel dock and marina man jumped off as we motored past slowly! At last we were on our way👏.
We hoisted the mizzen set the genoa and soon we were sailing, a German boat Ancosa 3 had left as we went to check out, so Steve called them on the VHF to say Hello - we hadn’t met them in Monastir but they were heading to Malta as well so we have company for the sail which is always good. Soon we were having a great sail although the sea was a but boisterous for a first sail of the season and I have to admit I did feel a tiny bit yucky for a while, during the evening the wind increased and we reefed the genoa but maintained reasonable 6-7 knot speed. Come morning the wind had eased and so we went to full genoa again and sailed the whole way to the entrance to Valletta harbour where once inside we got rid of the sails and motored to Sliema to pick up a couple of the big moorings there at 12.15 Malta time.