Bronze statues of a father returning from fishing with the haul met by his son, daughter and cat
Being surrounded by tall cliffs meant that the easterly wind blew straight over the top of us. Fortunately we didn't suffer from any nasty downdraughts but occasionally we did get a light breeze into the cockpit which was a welcome relief and reconfirmed that we'd made the right choice of anchorage.
With our Volvo part on order we decided that we'd meander down the west coast of Malta for a change to anchor in our favourite fishing village of Marsaxlokk, completing a circumnavigation of Malta ;-).
The western side of Malta is pretty exposed with steep, dramatic cliffs and just two or three anchorages. There were a few noteworthy sights that kept us entertained along the way along with the notion that the now light easterly wind would pass over the land and accelerate just enough for us to be able to sail. The reality was light airs with just a short window of wind that allowed us a brief sail before it turned variable. We were accompanied by several beautiful butterflies that must have feasted on the powerful medicinal fungus as they passed us at such speed. One must have had withdrawal symptoms though as it took a brief nap aboard Flirtie and wasn't at all bothered by a close encounter with a camera lens.
an exhausted butterfly taking a rest, a wildfire off Dingli cliffs that spectacularly stand a whopping 220m high, Hagar Qim & Mnajdra archaeological site protected by tent like canopies and the natural arch of the Blue Grotto is somewhere over there
The following morning we were up early so we could catch the bus to Sliema (via Valetta) to collect the all important Volvo part and purchase a spare set of rubber seals for our Henderson Mk5 toilet pump. By lunchtime we were back onboard and both the engine and toilet were back in full working order.
With everything restored we could continue to explore the area - this time a short walk along the dusty Delimara coastal path. It's an uphill start following dry stone walls with men busy picking capers. At the top it flattened out to offer excellent views over to Hofra z-Zghira, one of our favourite anchorages (and now with far more boats anchored) before we continued down for a brief rest and swim at St Peter's pool, a natural lido in the rocks with large areas of flat slab to sunbathe on but with limited shade - we didn't stay long!
St Peter's Pool, Salt Pans and a caper plant
We also took a dinghy trip past the commercial cargo port (we motored between the shore and fish farm to avoid the commercial traffic) to see the alternative anchorages of Pretty Bay and Birzebugga.
our track to Pretty Bay and Birzebugga
Whilst chilling in the cockpit much time was spent just observing and being entertained by the locals (it gets noticeably busy over the weekend). Flat surfaces become a make-shift home for the weekend with rows of tents, canopies of all descriptions, tables, chairs, generators, speakers, water bowsers, sleeping bags and BBQ's that line the water's edge. Children and adults alike busy themselves playing in and on the water, often with large, even giant size inflatable beach toys - colourful unicorns, flamingos, and even pizza slices. As evening approaches, dozens and dozens of BBQ's are lit and aromas of cooked food and music drift across the bay.
Total distance this season: 171.9 nautical miles