Category Archives: Sail Blog 2013

MANOEL ISLAND YACHT YARD, MALTA

Malta is a very central place in the Mediterranean.  From here you have the Balearics, Sardinia, Sicily, Greece, Croatia and Turkey not to far away.

As Malta is a tourist and expat destination for many north Europeans, there are a number of inexpensive flights.

The other advantage is that everyone speaks English.  At Manoel Island there is an excellent marina, MIYM and a boat yard, MIYY. Within walking distance you find 5-6 chandlers and a number of restaurants.

There is two yard for winter storage on the hard in Malta.  A number of cruising friends had stayed at  MIYY and had only good things to report.

Manoel Island Yacht Yard

Manoel Island Yacht Yard

The yard has 24/7 security, and you do not get in or out, whiteout an electronic card.  We feel we can leave BL here without any worries.

Security at MIYY

Security at Manoel Island Yacht Yard

The travel lift is capable to lift up to 50 t.  The weight is not really the issue. But the height under the travel lift is.  With a 50 t travel lift, we have to lower the radar pole to get under the beam of the travel lift. Not a big job, but it would  be nice if it could be avoided.

MIYY is a very clean boat yard. Boats are standing on a concrete surface, propped with wooden supports.  Wooden supports are unusual in northern Europe, but very common in the eastern Mediterranean. It looks scary, but if done correct I would say it is as good as a cradle.   The wooden stick method can be dangerous if the surface is dirt.  In case of heavy rain fall, the dirt under the supports washes away and the boat falls over. Normally high winds also means heavy rain falls.

Before we left the marina we contacted Michael who came with his fuel truck. He rolled out about 80 m fuel hose and filled our tank with bio free diesel. It is important that the fuel tank is full to avoid condensation in the tank. Fuel is much cheaper on Malta than on Sicily.

Michael with his fuel truck

Michael with his fuel truck at the Manoel Island Marina

We were lifted out as the first boat at 7:15 in the morning. The MIYY crew covered the slings in bubble-wrap to protect  the  freeboards.

Bella ready for the lift

Bella ready for the lift

Covering the slings with plastic

Covering the slings with plastic

It was a short ride up to the spot were BL will spend the winter. We got a spot just behind an HR 54.

Almost there

Almost there behind a Hallberg-Rassy 54

Propping the boat the right way is important. It was comforting to see that the staff was checking the propping on all the boats yesterday as high winds was expected over night. They also have people checking propping 24/7 if high winds are forecasted.

Propping is important

Propping is important and is only done by authorized personal

After propping the high-pressure water guy came and started his work cleaning the bottom.  Bella got the best pressure wash ever, and was clean like never before.

Pressure Wash

The best pressure wash ever!

Bella ready for winter

Bella is ready for the winter

In April/May we will continue our cruise. Will then be back with an updated report.

MALTA

We departed Licata at 0615, waved goodbye to Sicily until next year and enjoyed the beautiful sunrise with our breakfast.     The seas were a bit lumpy during the crossing but we were entertained by some of the largest dolphins we have seen and a baby dolphin.      There was plenty of traffic and surprisingly, a fair number of net buoys, despite the incredible depths,  to avoid.       Our arrival brought us to the Blue Lagoon  where we dropped the anchor and immediately took a swim in the crystal clear water.    The Blue Lagoon is off the island of Comino which is between Gozo and Malta.

On the west side of Gozo we anchored in a  circular bay that is somewhat protected by a large rock in the middle of the entrance.  The cliffs around the bay, Dwejra, are very steep.

Dwerja Bay

Bella Luna at anchor in Dwerja Bay

Bella Luna at anchor

Bella Luna at anchor

We took the dingy and went north to a passage through a large cliff that opened into a inner shallow bay.   This is a major tourist stop, but also a great place for scuba diving.    We enjoyed a cup of coffee and watched all the activities surrounding the divers.

Tunnel in to Dwerja Lagoon

Tunnel in to Dwerja Lagoon

 

Dwerja Lagoon

Dwerja Lagoon

Karolina, who sailed with us in the Balearic Islands, lives on Malta so she took the ferry to Gozo and met us at the Mgarr Marina for the remaining couple days of our sailing  season.

Mgarr Marina integrated in nature

Mgarr Marina integrated in nature

We returned to Dwejra for a lovely clear evening looking at the stars.    There was a Swedish couple also at anchor who saw our Swedish flag and cheered.   Roland went over to talk to them.  They live on Malta part time and their boat “Ragata”  is registered in Malta which is why we did not notice them when we arrived.   They graciously sent  gravid lax back with him.    What a TREAT!

Bella Luna & Ragata at anchor in Dwerja

Bella Luna & Ragata at anchor in Dwerja

Our next anchorage was on the north side of Malta which offered protection from the southerly winds that had kicked up.    We went ashore for lunch and sitting in the restaurant looking out over the bay we felt like we were in the Caribbean.

Busy anchorage

Busy anchorage

Vickie & Karolina enjoying the Beach Club

Vickie & Karolina enjoying the Beach Club

It would of been a great place to stay that night but the winds were forecasted to swing to the NW during the night so we decided we would get closer to our winter destination and anchored in St. Julian’s Bay which is in the heart of activity near Valletta.    It is lovely at night with all the surrounding lights of the city.     The next morning we took a very short trip to our winter destination of Manoel Island Marina and Yard.

Final destination 2013

Final destination 2013

 

 

SICILY

Anchored behind a very large breakwater in the harbor of Mazara del Vallo provided very good protection from the continued strong winds.      The view from the boat did not present a very inviting village but as we explored it was a very nice old village with local artwork displayed and many artisan shops.  A nice unexpected surprise.
Our cruising book claims this is the largest fishing harbor, although we did not quite see it that way.     We stayed one extra day due to thunderstorms in our path.    Now time was really slipping away before we had to depart Sicily. The crew from Kismet came over for drinks. It was Shirley´s birthday.
Mazara del Vallo river & harbor

Mazara del Vallo harbor is dirty, but the town is very nice

Art work in Mazara

Art work in Mazara

Kismet

Kismet on anchor outside the harbor

 

Martin & Sheila from Kismet

Shirley & Martin from Kismet

Our next stop,Sciacca, to our opinion looked to have a even larger fishing harbor than previous.   The main town sat up on a hill so after climbing several sets of steps we arrived at a lovely square which was very active.   Children playing games, a photo shoot of a bride and groom having just exited the church at the end of the square, and many families out walking.    We then came across a large group of people standing behind a police barracade.   Once the police removed the barracade the group started walking and it was then we realized it was at least 70 quite elderly men.    I asked several but they could not explain in English, but one managed to say “a way of looking ahead”.      Later after dinner we found another group in the square having what appeared to be a “community debate”.   Sciacca is a very active village!
Sciacca harbor

Sciacca harbor

Art work in Sciacca

Art work in Sciacca

 

More art work

More art work

Basilica

Basilica

House on the way down to the Marina

House on the way down to the Marina

 

Monday morning, looking ahead at the weather for crossing to Malta, we decided Tuesday would be the best and this meant we would continue past Porto Empedocle/Agrigento, which was a big disappointment.   Here is where we had planned to visit Greek ruins.

Our last destination on Sicily, Licata, has a beautiful new marina and VERY attractive prices for winter moorage.  There were already several cruisers there, including two Swedish boats.    The town was large enough for entertainment while staying on board during the winter.
Marina Licata with shpping mall just 200 m from Marina!

Marina Licata with shopping mall just 200 m from Marina!