Malta the tourist
Our journey continues in the Ionian Sea. Our two weeks in Malta allowed us to discover the wild and crowded aspects of this month of July.
We greatly appreciated staying at the gigantic port of Valletta, a former English port, finally very quiet in its northern part. We were at the dead body, a way to be further away from the noise of the city. It was fun to swim there, peacefully in the clear water, while life was swarming in front of us.
We met some lovely Maltese, Claudette and Rodrig, who accompanied us in the discovery of Mdina, the ancient capital of the archipelago. They showed us the most pleasant anchorages on the island of Gozo, and it was there that we fell in love with them.
Ramla beach to the east, and Dwejra bay to the west have disconnected us from the urbanization of Valletta and the tourist madness of the blue lagoon. The curiosity of the small inland sea, only accessible from the zodiac anchorage if you have a good engine, was a nice surprise, and we thank our Breton friends Fifi and Gigi for leading us there.
Our Maltese stay ended after some improvements to the boat. We had the pleasure of finding well supplied ships in Valletta. Rached was able to replace the marine toilet pump which was showing signs of weakness, and old water hoses from the age of the boat.
Then we set course for southern Sicily. 12 hours of pleasant sailing, with little wind but no swell. Our arrival in Port Palo was peaceful. The large calm and green bay with crystal clear water welcomed us and allowed us to spend a good night.
The following days, we took advantage of this not very touristy setting to take the children to the beach. For dozens of meters the sea was warm and shallow. Nothing better to play and splash around in the water for hours.
After 3 resourcing days, we went back to the eastern part of Sicily, eager to discover the immense bay of Syracuse. There again, the majestic arrival on the ramparts of the island of Ortygia took our breath away.
We spent the first night at anchor west of the city, in the wild and green part of the bay, waiting for the sanitary authorization to accost us at the main wharf of the city.
We took out the bikes, the children's trailer, and off we went! The city, clean and maintained, has become a playground. We had fun walking through all the charming little streets and contemplating the Latin beauty of the churches and St. Lucia Cathedral.
The daily market was a real joy, full of temptations! Ultra-fresh fish, sun-drenched fruits and vegetables, oregano, pistachios, capers and dried tomatoes. Not to mention the main grocery store with a thousand and one hams, cheeses and other local delicacies. Sicily is greedy, and so are we!
Rached also took some time to optimise the boat. He seized the opportunity to change the battery fleet, and replaced the 2 acid batteries we had for 3 gel batteries. With our solar panels, the result is just perfect!
After 5 days in the bay of Syracuse, we returned to Catania. Black city of reputation, its facades, although full of white marble sculptures, are blackened by the ashes of Etna, a volcano still active overhanging the city. We didn't stay there for long, preferring to rediscover the charm of the large Sicilian bays.
And it is in Tazormine, opposite the archaeological garden of Naxos, that we made our last anchorage on the Italian island.
The view was unobstructed, day and night. Nestled in the mountains and overlooking the sea, the town of Tazormina reflects one of the most beautiful aspects of Sicily.
But the swell made the anchorage unpleasant. The wind, rushing into the Strait of Messina, invited us to discover Calabria. Another adventure awaits us!