The first day was a bit bumpy due to a he shallow waters off Greece however once we sailed into the deeper waters of the Ionian Sea the short chop was replaced by a longer swell.
The first evening the wind picked up to 20kts and we dropped the mainsail and sailed on with missen, staysail, and a reefed Genoa.
By the next morning the wind had dropped to under 14kts and we hoisted the full mainsail again. By late afternoon the wind dropped out altogether and we motored on slowly towards Malta.
Early the next morning we were surrounded by huge storm clouds that sucked the wind away from us before the lightening began to strike. When my teeth started to tingle and my hair started to fill with static I knew lightening was close. I turned off all our instruments and helmed in the darkness, surrounded by lightening strikes and huge crashes of thunder. Amazingly Emilie and the kids slept through the intense electrical storm.
Once the clouds cleared We enjoyed light winds of 10kts and sailed on towards Malta. We began to see a lot more ships, many anchoring far off the Malta coast waiting for their assignments.
Over the past few months my beard and hair had got well out of control until Emilie refused to kiss me until I cleaned up my facial hair. While Emilie enjoyed her afternoon nap I had Issy and Max assist me in trimming my hair. Emilie awoke to the sound of clippers and scissors and half my beard blowing around the cockpit.
Max decided to get in on the hair cutting action and allowed Emilie to cut his shoulder length blind hair. Max’s transformation into a small boy was incredible.
We sailed in towards Manoel Island and anchored off the Royal Malta Yacht Club in the early evening and enjoyed dinner at anchor with a splendid view of the bastions.
While we anchored off the RMYC we enrolled Issy and Max into sailing school for a few days and thy loved sailing around the bay with the other kids. With the kids “back at school” this gave Emilie and I some time to get some maintenance done.
Unfortunately while at anchor off the yacht club another yacht collided with us when the lone sailor was hauling up his anchor. The sailor was very apologetic, however we are now dealing with their insurance company Pantaenius who are not being very helpful in resolving the situation and refuse to pay us back for repairs until we have paid for them with our own money. This puts us in a difficult situation as repairs, though not major involve replacing a 4m section of teak and could cost €15,000 and three weeks of our schedule!
Malta was a good stopover to see family and get Sunday Island ready for the Atlantic. We ordered our liferaft and new Zodiac tender. We also completed our radio station and had radio survey to complete our Malta registry. Our location can be tracked occasionally through the marine traffic website MMSI 256002505.
The freezer I had built in our previous visit to Malta was only dropping to 6*C and so we consulted a refrigeration engineer and had a stainless steel freezer box made up. This will be fitted before we depart Malta and hopefully we will have a freezer for our Atlantic crossing.
For the past week we have enjoyed some time off the boat relaxing in a Gozo farmhouse by the pool with Emilie’s family. We will cruise Malta and Gozo for the next week while we wait for our ordered spain parts to arrive, have medical checkups, visit family and friends and enjoy Emilie’s grandmother Dora’s 90th birthday before we set sail to Sardinia and then to the Balearic Islands ready to step off into the Atlantic Ocean.