it was worth it!
'it had better be worth it', was the constant thought on our minds as we made slow progress up along the western side of Gozo being rolled endlessly and repetitively in the confused NW swell that bounced off Gozo's western cliffs. By comparison, the motor up and over the top of Malta was far more enjoyable and relaxing but with just a few hours remaining we pressed on! We were hopeful that our journey wasn't going to be a waste of time and that the swell would subside enough to allow safe passage into Dwejra Bay otherwise we'd be looking for an alternative anchorage to shelter from the predicted easterly wind that was due imminently. As the well camouflaged entrance came into view the swell calmed and we slowly eked our way in before it opened up to an almost circular pool, surrounded by steep cliffs, flat sea and crystal clear water so clear that we could see 12m to the seabed made up of sand, rock and weed and just crying out to be dived into. The fun bit had to wait though as Flirtie had other ideas when we suddenly heard the bilge pump kick in! A frenzy of activity followed. The culprit was corrosion on the water intake on the port engine. A small pinhole sending a jet of water around the engine bay that worked its way down to the bilge. It was fortunate that we heard the bilge pump because if the engines were still running we could have had a more serious issue to attend to! Coincidentally, our marine surveyor recommended that we install a visual and audible alarm, which we subsequently purchased in one of the many chandleries in Sliema ready to be installed this winter - top of the priority list now! We decided on a temporary bandage repair using heat resistant self amalgamating tape and contacted the Volvo agent on Malta. Within hours we received a reply that the replacement part was on order and would be available to collect from Friday so for the next 24 hours we can sit back and enjoy our surroundings and think about fixing the toilet pump that also decided to spring a leak earlier this morning!
Fungus Rock soars 70m out of the sea at the mouth of the entrance. It's English name derives from a fungus which grows on the rock's summit, discovered here by a general of the Knights (in Maltese it's called the General's Rock). The fungus was considered to have powerful medicinal qualities and was used to stem bleeding, prevent infection, cure ulcers and dysentery. It was a precious treasure and needed to be guarded so a tower was built and manned by a guard - they even sheared the side of the rock to make it impossible to climb. A rope was strung between the mainland and the rock, and harvesters were shuttled back and forth in a tiny, one-man cable car. Today the rock is a nature reserve out of bounds in order to protect the fungus that pharmacologists have since found doesn't affect health in the ways it was thought, though it has been shown to lower blood pressure.
Dwejra Bay is a real highlight for us and is the only anchorage this season where we felt at one with nature. The only sounds at night is the wash of any swell against the cliffs and the whierd 'crying' calls of the
Scopolis Shearwaters nesting amongst the cliffs. There's no light pollution, just the stars providing a shimmer of light - truly beautiful.
a short video of our surroundings as we loved it so much!
Dwejra Tower, one of the 17th Century coastal defenses built by the Knights and a moonscape of eroding rock with fossilized sea shells embedded into it. A few fishermen huts. Butterflies everywhere. The Dwejra coastline
exploring caves and crystal clear water
Total distance this season: 145.17 nautical miles