The plan was to use the predicted NW wind and head to the South East of Malta, to the fishing village of Marsaxlokk. It would have been a lovely slow sail under the genoa only but unfortunately the wind didn't transpire and the seas were flat calm. We didn't wish to listen to the drone of the engine for three or four hours so decided to pull in to St Julian's that lies just north of Sliema and say hi to a fellow cruiser, Steve from "Scend Serendipity" who also wintered in Ragusa - on the same pontoon as us.
Admittedly, we wouldn't have stopped at St Julian's because we didn't warm to the write up in the pilot book. It described it as having the densest concentration of hotels and apartment complexes in Malta and a seafront promenade that is packed with shops, bars and restaurants with webcams - thank you to our stalker (you know who you are ;-) xx) for the snapshot of Flirtie at anchor. It's a good job we were decent at the time. Anyway, surprisingly for us after a few hours meandering along the promenade and the side streets we started to see another side, especially from a cruiser's point of view.
Maltese Balconies or 'gallarija'. Introduced to Valletta in the 17th Century and very popular around the island
Balluta Bay anchorage provided good holding and crystal clear seas for swimming (and finally the sea is warm). The bay is nice and wide so there's ample room for Flirtie to swing around and it's just a short dinghy trip over to Spinola Bay where we can safely leave the dinghy. Once ashore we had immediate access to public facilities, rubbish bins, buses to Valletta and access to one of the best supermarkets,
Park Towers that we've found on Malta and less than 100m up the hill. A 30 minute walk in the opposite direction over another hill is Sliema for yet another visit to one of the many chandleries.
As for the weather predictions, the forecast seems to change daily but we're finding www.maltaweather.com
to be pretty accurate for wind direction but strength is variable. It also indicates the bays clear of Jellyfish. The island gets inundated with various species but there are plenty of notices providing advice on the different types expected and whether or not they sting or are poisonous.
Total distance this season: 96.54 nautical miles