St Barbara's Web Diary
Peter & Sue Goldsmith
Wed 29 Apr 2009 17:58

Manoel Island Marina

37:54.18N 14:29.87E

18.00 29th April

NB ( Tuesday 28th Passage to Malta - then Wednesday am)

As far as Pete and I am concerned, we are off on "the final" passage from
Marzamemi (Sicily) to Valletta (Malta) where we shall jump ship and go home
to Blighty. Tuesday morning finds the wind in the right direction and down
from the gale the day before to 15-20 kts. As the rollers were surging in
through the small harbour entrance, Skipper went off and asssessed the sea
state from the harbour wall . At 0900 we charged out of the harbour at full
tilt ( 6+kts) to power our way through the rollers and out into a relatively
calm sea. We were soon sailing at 6 + knots ( = almost top speed) with a
reefed main and partial genoa. We powered our way past the off-shore fish
farms, round the headland, and set a direct course for Valletta.

Well what a sail; - 15-25knts of wind all day - with, in our opinion, but
the skipper disagreed, BIG seas. By 1900 we were nearly in Valletta having
covered the 60 milrs or so in 10 hours - a fast passage.

As the sun started to set, with Peter on the radio to the Port Authority and
Pete at the helm, we entered Valletta harbour gliding past the once heavily
defended ramparts and forts, which were softened by the setting sun to a
honey-coloured glow .

As the Manoel Marina office was closed for the night, we moored up for the
night at a temporary mooring . After a long day, we could not be bothered to
cook so avoiding KFC we had a take-away kebab meal and an early night. In
the morning, after a very quiet night, we moved St B to an alongside mooring
in the Manoel Island marina where she will stay until the next lucky crew
arrive in mid-May.

Later in the morning, Pete and I took the bus ( 1960'single decker with a
fixed fare of 45p almost anywhere) into Valletta for some shore leave. What
a fascinating place, heightened for me since I had been reading "The
Kappillan of Malta" by Nicholas Monsarrat. This book is based around the
dark days of WW2 when Malta was under German and Italian seige and was
extensively bombed but never invaded .The Maltese nation received the George
Cross from George V in April 1942.

We plan a farewell on-board meal tonight ahead of Clive leaving tomorrrow
and Pete on Saturday.

Leg 1 successfully completed. We have covered 946 miles in the last 3 weeks.
Some very quiet with plenty of motoring and others lively enough to keep us
on our toes but all interesting, some fascinating and none of it boring. The
crew have come on in leaps and bounds. Pete of course an old hand from our
days in the Red Sea but Clive, a relative novice, managed his night watches
with enthusiasm and attentiveness. All good stuff and my sincere thanks to
both of them. Now it is clean up and make ready for the next crew and the
next leg to Ibiza. Lots more fun to come!

Question 4 - How many islands, including this one, have we visited since we
left Turkey?

Pictures will follow as soon as I can get internet access.