Time for a boat trip!
Maltese friends of my hosts own a speedboat and wonderfully offered to take us to Gozo for lunch. I loved this idea – I was totally swept up with the romance of “how the other half live”.
Launching at Marsakala, we settled on to the boat in our swimmers, swigging beer (classy!) and anticipating the journey ahead. It was touch and go whether we’d be able to go out as a storm had been predicted but the locals decided it was ok.
As we left the harbour, my girl-friend and I stood, holding on Miami Vice styley. How cool were we?
Making our way out of the harbour, the waves became higher and the swell increased to about 3 metres as we slam dunked on to the open ocean.
Standing up seemed like a good idea at the time but saw me like a limpet hanging on for dear life, knuckles white as my fists clenched the handles on the side of the steering column, my legs frozen and refusing to move me to the seat. I was sure if I moved I’d fall overboard!!
I took a deep breath, let go, my friend who is much more nimble and confident than I grabbed my arm, and I promptly thumped down on the 1.5 person seat. If we’d have been on the Bakerloo line my fellow passenger would’ve see-sawed up and banged her head on the ceiling!
Laughing hysterically we sipped our beer; every time we brought it to our lips the boat slammed down and beer spilled down our faces and on to our bikini tops – brewery anyone?
Taking in the golden land on my left I slowly relaxed before my senses were assaulted by the fish farm we passed. What a stench!
Maltese water is one of the most patrolled and policed in the world. There are strict fishing rights and some of these fish farms are illegal. In light of the Middle East crisis and civil conflicts in Africa, the police try and detain illegal immigrants from crossing. These waters are dangerous and as we’ve seen on the news, the poor exiled people can easily drown in their desperation to reach safety. Having said that, I did see camp escarpments along the coast where homeless and/or immigrants were residing, so they’d luckily made it.
With a few more laughs bouncing around on the boat we reached Gozo.
Passenger ferries, colourful fishing boats and restaurants greeted us as we pulled into Mgarr Harbour. Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel, a clifftop church with a huge edifice of Christ built into the hillside resided, ever watchful of everyone and everything to’ing and fro’ing into the Gozo Channel.
Disembarking by clambering along the bow of the boat like a baby elephant (that was just me), we opted for a seafood restaurant for lunch.
Rose wine, mussels, prawns, squid, bread and sweet desserts saw us through for the afternoon at Sicilia Bella.
Fully satiated, we set off in the boat again and moored up at Comino Island, and I swam for the first time in years in the Med. It was truly wonderful to lie back, star fish style and feel the water wash over me.
Slightly disconcerting however were the many more boats and jet skis pulling in next to us and being the little wimp that I am, I scurried out of the water as elegantly as I could. Our captain pointed out that I had to take a shower so as not to get anymore salt water inside the boat than there already was so wet t-shirt competition style, I showered off in front of a bunch of strangers. Who knew speedboats had showers on board?!?!
Happy, relaxed and sated from such a lovely day, the ride back was so much easier as we watched the sun reflect carrot and apricot hues over Malta.