July 1993 - Cagliari to Al Kantaoui - Page 2

11 July 1993 Valetta
It’s blisteringly hot. Most of the day was spent doing schoolwork, tidying up the boat and revision for my diving course. We all went to the fiesta at Ghizra – not very spectacular!

12 July 1993 Valetta
I caught the bus across the island to Ghar Lapsi Dive Centre and did two shore dives. One was a check-out dive and the other was a navigation dive. After I had completed the navigation exercise, I was used as the “student” for a guy who was training to be a Dive Master. I had to remove my mask, BCD, do a emergency assisted ascent, etc, etc. It was good practice.

There are lots of octopus here. On both dives we managed to catch an octopus. They are amazing creatures. If you are gentle, when you let go of them, they will float in front of you and then slowly try to “jet” away. You can then catch them in your hands and slowly pull them back. On the second dive, the instructor put an octopus onto my face - it was very weird to have it clamped onto my mask and regulator.

Glenys stayed on the boat and scrubbed the deck - I feel a bit guilty...

13 July 1993 Valetta
I went diving and did two dives. I did a deep dive down to 30 metres and a shallower dive as the “boat” dive. Nice dives.

On the second dive we messed around doing “moon walking” which is good fun. You simply take off your fins, pick up a big rock to weigh you down and then walk across the sea bed. Really funny. You can do back loops and giant strides. I also found out that when you laugh underwater, you get water leaking into your mask as your face crinkles up.

Glenys went to Selima and bought Brett some real deck shoes.

14 July 1993 Valetta
I went diving (again) and did two dives - wreck and night dive. The wreck dive was a bit of a mission having to swim against a strong current going to the wreck. My “buddy” used a lot of air and ended up using my octopus when his air got down to 25 bar. The night dive was interesting but no great traumas. I got my PADI Advanced Open Water Diver qualification and got back to the marina really late.

Glenys had tried to take the boys on an excursion, but they didn’t have any places left - she’s getting a bit cranky.

15 July 1993 Valetta
I did various jobs on the boat - it’s bloody hot and there’s no wind at all, so it’s very oppressive. I changed the oil and fuel filters, which was not pleasant in this heat. I rang John Day and confirmed that we will meet him in Tenerife during the first week of December ready for crossing the Atlantic. He seems pretty relaxed about where and when we go and when we arrive.

16 July 1993 Valetta
I did various jobs on the boat. We decided that we will go to Tunisia rather than Greece and then head back to the Balearics and on to Gibraltar. It would be too much travelling to go to Greece and back. We went to the fuel dock to fill up with diesel.

17 July 1993 Valetta
We did more jobs on the boat in the morning then went to the Fiesta at Msida. Contestants were trying to run to the end of a 50 ft pole placed at 30° over water and covered with grease! Highly amusing. The church was covered in red drapes, gilt and frescoes, which was very impressive. There were the obligatory Maltese fireworks from eight o’clock in the morning to eleven o’clock at night.

18 July 1994 Valetta
I did various jobs on the boat; tightened the forestay and backstay; stripped the fridge pump and fitted a water filter.

A French guy and Algerian woman arrived on “Nagawicka”. They could only speak French and were struggling to make themselves understood in the marina office. Glenys just happened to be in there and helped translate for them. The couple were very grateful and came by at eight o’clock in the evening and offered to take Brett for a walk. Glenys said yes and they disappeared towards town. After about five minutes, Glenys realised that she didn’t know these people at all and she’d let them take her eldest child away! She rushed out to try to find them. Brett came back at twenty past nine without Glenys! A mildly panicking Glenys turned up fifteen minutes later.

19 July 1993 Valetta to Ilas de Lampedusa (Day 1)
I went to the customs at eight o’clock this morning and cleared out. They had a record of when John Holms was here with Glencora in 1988 and I had to wait while they changed their records. Before we could leave the marina, I had to radio Valletta Port Control to request clearance for leaving and then wait while they checked with customs. Very bureaucratic!

We motored along the NE coast of Malta and through the channel between Malta and Gozo. The wind was coming from the West, which was the course we wanted to steer, so we had a long beat - fortunately the seas were very calm.

At about half past seven in the evening, we decided to start the engine and put the sails away. I tried to roll the Genoa away but it was very, very stiff. I had to go up the mast in the Bosun’s chair and found that one of the shackles holding the genoa halyard to the roller reefing swivel was binding on the swivel. I temporarily sorted the problem by rotating one of the shackles, but it needs a longer shackle.

19 July 1993 Valetta to Ilas de Lampedusa (Day 2)
We had to motor all night. Glenys lost a contact lens when we were changing our watch at three o’clock in the morning. We spent ½ hour searching for it before we gave up. We eventually found it in the morning, stuck to the bottom of the lens case!

We arrived at the busy little port of Lampedusa at about nine o’clock in the morning and tied up alongside an Italian yacht against the Favalore quay next to a whole load of fishing boats. We went to the beach, and had a meal in a restaurant. They didn’t have any menus, but instead expected customers to ask for what they wanted. As we spoke no Italian and they spoke no English this was a bit of a difficult thing to achieve. Eventually they brought out a poster showing marine life of the Mediterranean and we were able to point at some snapper-looking things. They produced a fantastic meal. We got back to the boat to find that we are now on the inside of a raft of three yachts!