Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Malta to Sicily

Hi from Clare                                                             Sunday 1st May 2011

Mike, Grace, Clare and Kiwi

When last I wrote we were enjoying life in the Msida Marina at Malta. We had a BBQ on the New Zealand boat “Wired for Sound” with our Kiwi mate and Canadian couple Mike and Grace from “Two Moons”. We all contributed to the meal, ate like Kings and after some lubrication sang along to Kiwi’s favourite tunes from yester - year.

Queen Victoria Monumrnt

Valetta housing

The following morning we caught the bus to the Capital city Valetta. The Knights of St John occupied the area from the early 1500 to late1700 and are mostly responsible for the building of the walled city and fortifications. We spent a few hours walking around looking at the architecture, housing conditions, monuments and parks and gardens. It is very impressive with stunning views over Grand Harbour to the south and Marsamxett Harbour to the north.

We went to a museum style presentation capturing scenes from the life and times of the Crusading Knights. Plenty of dummies in manacles being tortured, blood dripping off them and arrows and spears dug into them – all pretty gory!   After that we decided not to go to the World War II museum and went to the Maritime and the Aviation museums which were very interesting.

Fighter Ace Andy

The Aviation museum, although small, was particularly good because we could get up close to things and have a good look. There were restored World War II Spitfire and Hurricane fighters and Andrew got to sit in the cockpit of a fighter jet designed for the EU – it’s a wonder I ever got him out of there!

Executioner's house

Another day we caught the local bus to the old city of Vittoriosa. This area pre dates the Knights and some of the buildings although renovated are still in use today. We walked up narrow streets and came across the home of the executioner of the times.  This was depicted by two axes carved in the stone work above the front window.  I couldn’t help but wonder if he had small children and what it would be like to come home to that reminder.

Vitoriosa streets

On Friday we left Malta at 7am to sail the 85 miles to Siracusa in Sicily.
Andrew took a photo of our chart plotter showing the AIS targets around Malta. Eye Candy is the boat in the photo with the red and green line running off the bow. All the other grey triangles are large ships. The largest being 1200 feet long, another was a large drilling platform. The cruise liner Queen Victoria was there too, but she is less than a 1000 feet long so not a problem.  Later in the day we had a large ship on a collision course with us and only 1.2 miles away. Andrew called him on the radio and told him where we were and asked what he was doing – fortunately he changed course.

AIS targets around Malta

It was a good sail albeit slow at times. We had to motor the last twenty miles and arrived at 2am Saturday morning.  We listened to the Royal Wedding on the BBC via HF radio along the way. The reception wasn’t brilliant but we could gauge the excitement and we heard Kate and Wills exchange vows.  Our friends Colin and Denise are coming to Eye Candy within the next fortnight and bless them for they are bringing glossy magazines. So I will catch up on all the gos then.

Since arriving we haven’t been off the boat. The wind comes up every day and going ashore pretty well means getting wet on the return trip. Tomorrow morning (Monday) we will head in and get a data plan for the sim card we got here last year so we will have internet access on the boat.  This means I will be able to post photos with the newsletter.

We will stay here until the wind can carry us north through the Messina strait to the coast of Italy.   We did all this area last year with Colin so we will probably fast track up the coast and meet them further up this time.

Love CANDY xx