Manoel Island Malta, en route (almost)

Vasco da Gama
Ian Strathcarron
Wed 18 Mar 2009 17:07

Manoel  Island,  Malta   En route – almost

Today has been a memorable day.   For the first time in many months I felt the heat of the sun on my face and even now at 5 pm it is blazing down on us.  Today was departure day, the boat was ready and our crew gathered for the year’s first run to Gozo – 12 miles away and scheduled to take about 2 hours.  Our crew were the grandly-named Ian Kingsley-Brown who was introduced to us by Cindy the sail-maker from Essex,  and Theopane, a charming young Frenchman who has been painting the deck and is looking for a passage to New  Zealand.  Before their arrival we motored to the quay to be filled up with diesel by the diesel  truck.

Ian KB and his friend Pete, who both live on Gozo, fitted the sails and we set off.   We felt euphoric to be moving and on our way out of the Grand Harbour.  However, after only about  5 minutes, the engine spluttered and died,  Ian S gave the order to hoist the main sail and we fortunately found a bit of wind which carried us back to our old pontoon to get help, as the engine still refused to start.  We called for an engineer to help and on his arrival he did not take long to detect the problem which was that the diesel  fuel  was  contaminated with about 60% water.  The result of this accident, or debacle or whatever you call it is that we are probably grounded for several days as the tank has to be drained and cleaned before being  refilled, filters have to be changed, tomorrow is a public holiday and the weekend is forecast to be stormy! 

The crew has dispersed, morale on board is fairly high, the diesel company have accepted liability and are going to pay all our expenses.