Our Wakes: 2017

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  The Maltese Archipelago (September 2017)
Located 50 miles south of Sicily is the group of islands which form the Maltese Archipelago. Malta is the biggest island, but two others tourists also visit Gozo and Comino. The islands is essentially build of  limestone that are prone to erosion. In some places, creeks have been carved by the sea which offer protected harbors for boats. La Valetta, the main city, is located between 2 creeks that have been carved by the sea and eroded by the rivers. Around the historic center, big walls were built centuries ago to protect the city.  Sometimes, in big storms, bits of the islands fall into the sea. Malta is also a very important strategic location in the med as Africa, Turkey, Greece and the Middle East can be easily reached. If you want to learn more about the rich and complicated  history of Malta I can only recommend that you check the web. In 1964 Malta separated from England and became independent. In 1973, Malta finally became a republic. Today the official languages of the island are English and Maltese. A lot of tourists visit Malta to see all the old buildings, but also for the cliffs that can be visited by hopping on a boat. Some of the movie “Game of the Thrones” was shot here. HBO, the filming company, was accused of causing some damage to the island (especially at the Azure Window arch) and was fined. As a result they left  Malta and shot the rest in Croatia in protest to the fine. St John’s Basilica is a must to visit. While the outside of the cathedral is very simple, inside you discover an extraordinary place every inch of which, whether on the ceiling, the floor, the walls or the pillars is covered in real artworks. The painting of Caravaggio called, “The beheading of Saint John the Baptist” is one of the masterworks exhibited in the cathedral. Whilst wandering in the historical city you find that all the streets lead to the sea, and as the use of cars in Malta is severely restricted, the city has almost no pollution. To visit Malta we recommend that you use the local buses that offer packages that allow you to travel around at reasonable prices. After La Valetta, we sailed around the islands of Gozo and Comino. If you go close to the cliffs, you have an impressive view. In many places, there are bays and creeks that offer you good protection against bad weather. One of the creeks (Qala ta Dwerja) offers a unique anchorage as it is surrounded by big cliffs. We spent a night in the creek with only two other sailboats as neighbors. At night, the full moon gave the place nice colors. During the day, a lot of tourist boats visit the place as next to it we had  the Azure Window, a natural arch that used to be a big tourist attraction but disappeared in March 2017 during a violent storm. The prime minister announced that the disappearance of the Azur window was a big disaster for Malta. The arch is now completely gone so if you want to see how the site was you can still check it in the movie “Game of Thrones”. After one week sailing around Malta we returned to Sicily with our heads full of beautiful images of this unique country.
St John Basilica
Qala ta Dwerja
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