David's Diary: Wednesday, April 2, 2003

Welcome to Malta

Gozo
Gozo, Malta

During the night we motored past the Italian island of Linoa as we continued to head straight into the wind and the sea. Dragonsinger smashed into the waves and Allen got sick. In the middle of the night, we checked underneath Jocelyn's berth in the forward part of the boat. A leak was letting in water and Jocelyn, Kevin, and I made a human chain that passed a bucket back and forth to empty over 150L of water from under the berth. We had to brace ourselves in the tiny space as Dragonsinger lifted up and crashed down into the waves.

We were thankful when just after dawn the wind moderated and the waves were reduced. We continued to motor-sail towards Malta and by mid-morning we are approaching the island of Gozo, one of three islands that make up the country of Malta. I'm on watch as we pass through Gozo channel passing two ferries that ply the water between Gozo and the main island of Malta.

We round the corner and head for the final few miles to Valletta when Jocelyn notices a problem with the mainsail. The hook that holds the tack of the mainsail (the forward corner of the sail) has broken. Jocelyn and I work on a heaving deck to pull the mainsail down before it is damaged.

Fort Elmo
Fort Elmo

We motor the last bit and adjust our watches -- Malta is one hour ahead of Tunisia due to daylight savings time. The change in time means that the customs office in the marina where we want to stay is closed down. We hail the Valletta port control on the VHF radio and are told to go to the main customs office in Grand Harbour. We follow the pilot boat past Fort Elmo and tie up Dragonsinger next to a cruise ship. I'm allowed to take our papers and clear us into Malta by myself and everyone else jumps on to the enormous quay to run around after our long passage.

Valletta
Valletta

After a customs officer comes onboard and checks Dragonsinger we are told that we can be on our way. We motor around Valletta and into Marsamxett where Msida Marina is located. We find an empty spot and tie up. I am tired, but relieved that we have finally made it through a tough passage. Allen leaves the boat to visit the boys on Ocean Breezes, a catamaran that was in the same marina last fall when we were here. Karalee and I make dinner, we eat, and I have a shower, and then fall into bed exhausted.

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