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Goodbye Africa, Hello Malta

April 15, 2019

We finally received our Lifeline batteries from the States and installed them in the boat, the entire exercise lasting 5 months! A few days prep on the boat and we were ready to continue our cruise of the Med. All we needed was a short weather window to Malta. Weather predictions showed that April 8 was the perfect time. But we awoke to 25-30 kt winds and had to wait until afternoon before the winds slowed to the teens. We hastily said our goodbyes to our friends in Monastir and set sail for Malta amongst a pod of dolphins. Two hours later we were becalmed.

We arrived at Gozo Island at sunset the following day and anchored in the lee of a huge rock. While anchoring, the setting sun shown through a large hole in the rock. A beautiful sight but all hands were too busy anchoring to take a picture. The next morning we motored to the island of Malta and checked into the Msida Marina next to the old city of Valletta.

First on the agenda was to get tickets to the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, the most highly prized tourist attraction in Malta. We learned that they were sold out for two months, but that it might be possible to purchase tickets the day before. The trick is to get in line before the sun comes up and wait and hope. Brian managed to be second in line and scored two tickets.

The Hypogeum is a vast underground three-tiered necropolis dating back to 3,600 BC that was carved out of living rock during the Neolithic period. This prehistoric culture had an amazing understanding of acoustics, engineering, and astronomy. Yet, they vanished long before the first explorers arrived here during the Bronze Age and the catacombs went undiscovered until the twentieth century. The tours are limited to 10 visitors per hour so tickets are hard to get but worth the effort. Afterwards we visited the nearby Tarxien Temples.

We spent two days walking the streets of the fortress city of Valletta and visiting the St. John’s Co-Cathedral, the St. Elmo War Museum, the National Museum of Archaeology, the Knights of the Hospitallers, and more. We spent another two days on the Hop-On Hop-Off buses visiting sites across Malta including the ancient capital Mdina and learning about the Knights of Malta and their bloody history.

We have enjoyed Malta but it’s time to move on. A weather window is opening tomorrow and we will be headed north to Sicily and a re-visit of Siracusa.

Getting to Malta

 

City of Valletta

 

St. John’s Cathedral & the old capital of Mdina

 

 

From → Travel

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