Marina di Ragusa to Valletta Malta

Thu 14 May 2015 15:45
At 07.30on Saturday 10th May this year's adventuring started as we slipped
the lines from our winter berth and glided silently on lake still water
through the ranks of moored yachts in Porto Turistico Marina di Ragusa,
their hulls and masts reflected on the surface gently distorted by our
almost imperceptible wake. Aboard Pamarzi Lynn and I had been joined by our
good friend Rob (Liliane is to join us in Malta) and Sam and Florencia who
have been looking after Pamarzi during the winter months. No sound from
Porto, the marina's playful yellow Labrador as we slide past the fuel dock
but our French friends aboard their yacht Sumama have risen early to wave us

Shortly after leaving the marina the wind picked up and the motor was joined
by the mainsail. The wind just aft the beam, slightly north of west quickly
strengthened to 20 knots and with motor shut down and the big 140% genoa
unfurled it was great sailing. This was Florencia's first experience of
sailing and she seemed to thoroughly enjoy the conditions and joined Sam
and Lynn on the foredeck as a pod of dolphins put on a show for us.

The breeze was forecast to increase to over 30 knots after 17.00 but that
change came much earlier and by 11.00 we were 'flying' across a rolly sea
seeing 12.2 knots on the log. By 12.30 we had over 35 knots so changed down
to reefed main and staysail as the shore line of Malta hove into view and
quickly Fort St Elmo and Valletta became discernible. We swept into
Marsamxett harbour, having averaged over 10 knots for the voyage, out of the
westerly running swell (much to Lynn's relief) and motored up to Ta'Xbiex
finding our berth in Msida Creek Marina that friend Lawrence had kindly
organised for us. Med. moored and boat washed down we surveyed our
surroundings finding ourselves surrounded by an eclectic mix of
architectural styles from the traditional Maltese stone built dwellings with
distinctive glazed and timbered verandas to high rise concrete structures
both domestic and commercial of dubious delight to the eye. This scene was
spiced with the occasional elaborate baroque, limestone church defiantly
flaunting its high church decoration.

On the eve of Mothering Sunday in Malta everyone, or so it appeared to us,
eats out! For booking a table for five at any of the recommended restaurants
proved impossible. A speculative jaunt to an expensive but highly rated
establishment brought no success but they did ring for a taxi for us to take
us to a restaurant we were assured we would have a table. After a convoluted
drive through some dubious areas we were deposited outside said eaterie who
on enquiring replied that no tables were available! Surveying the neon lit
streetscape we were not enamoured with the prospect of eating in this
district but hunger and weariness persuaded us to try to find somewhere half
decent. On the third attempt we were welcomed to partake of an Asian fusion
menu. The place looked clean and we took our seats despite the surliness of
the patron. On the adjacent table a family of three dined the rotund father
scooping heaped spoonful's of whatever it was piled on his plate down his
throat, mama, thin as a halyard, picked at morsels from her almost empty
plate distractedly, whilst little Maria (if that was her name) whinged and
whined. He who never smiled told us that it was buffet style and whilst
taking our drinks order pointed to a long side table lined with heated food
containers. Never in the field of human nutrition have so few been beset
with so much that tasted of so little. We ate because we were hungry
regretting the anonymity of the ingredients we were consuming. A pair of
diners took their places at the table on the other side of us their arrival
thankfully distracting us from that which we swallowed. He an extreme body
builder about as wide as he was tall his bulging steroid fuelled and acneed
body giving him the appearance of a grotesque plastic cartoon character that
had been left too near the fire. His heavily made up companion, thickly
powdered face slashed by lines of red and black, lashes long enough for
paint brushes, tottered in on precipitous heels attached to enormous wedges
atop which were shoes. Her diaphanous blouse floating over the tiniest,
shortest, tightess pair of shorts imaginable, which left nothing to the
We paid our bill and rose to leave, rotund father still shovelling from yet
another mountainous plate of food, mama still twittering and pecking and
scolding Maria who pushed a tear sodden pakora around her plate.

Just before midnight Liliane arrived fresh from Belgium and despite the hour
the girls started to catch up with a winters worth of news and gossip. Along
with Liliane came even more delicious Belgian chocolate.

Sam and Florencia spent Sunday sightseeing whilst we had a day of boat jobs
and relaxing. We all dined together in the cockpit beneath brightly shining
Jupiter and Venus exchanging views and histories.
Early next morning Sam and Florencia returned to Sicily on the ferry and we
set out to do the sights of Valletta and learn of its history from stone age
to the knights of St John and the devastation of World War II. The following
day we took a taxi out to the old capital , Mdina, a delightful and
beautifully restored walled city whose quiet and shady, narrow streets and
courtyards beguiled us. The multiplicity of churches, monasteries and
convents within its wall testifying to the religious devotion of its
inhabitants. A private house, Palazzo Falson, of particular note was once
owned by Captain Olof Frederick Golicher OBE (1889 - 1962) and although he
left this mortal coil over fifty years ago his furniture, possessions and
collections remain in the numerous, modestly sized intimate rooms which left
one with the distinct feeling that he and his wife had just nipped out for a

We ate on board and prepared Pamarzi for the ninety nautical mile voyage
back to Sicily tomorrow where we look forward to introducing Rob and Liliane
to the ancient walled, island city of Ortega just off the mainland town of