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Crete to Malta to Barcelona

As October is in full swing we needed to get moving west toward Barcelona. Our first stop will be Malta, some 475 miles from Rethimno Crete. Our first night was awful, wind on the nose and a crappy sea state. So we were close hauled and bouncing all over. We managed a little sleep and by sunrise the sea state had calmed down and we were sailing along at 6 knots. Day two we sailed half of it, then motored as the winds were very light and started sailing again with winds now out of the south, smooth seas and 10-15knots.

Day 2 into 3 brought winds up to 20-25 out of the SSW with significant sea state and we flew along at 7-8 knots. By the end of the day the wind clocked around to NW 10-15knots. We turned course to SSW until the wind clocked again to the NE 8-12 knots and then had a nice sail along with diminishing sea state until the winds subsided to less than 8 knots, which is now as I write this. We are motor sailing with 5-8 knots of wind and 80 miles to go. Looking forward to arrival, although it will be in the middle of the night. If entry looks easy, as it should, we will enter in the night, if not we wait for the sun.

I wish we could have entered Malta in the daylight. We arrived around 2am and all we could see were some large forts overlooking the harbor as we pulled up to the customs dock, open 24/7. We quickly went through the entry formalities before making it to our marina, one harbor further up in Ta’Xbiex.

Entry into Grand Harbor, Malta

We ended up staying in Malta for nearly a week, about 4 days too long in my opinion. The city itself was amazing, like pulling into a Game of Thrones episode, without the violence and bloodshed. Next to Bonafacio in Corsica, this was the most magnificent medieval city harbor we have seen. The island itself seemed to be rather barren with a ton of archeological sites. We have seen so may ruins at this point, that we say to ourselves, we have been ruined by the abundance of ruins.

So with the weather window opening for our trip to continue, we were off. We left knowing our final destination but planned to stop in one of several places if things deteriorated, but our goal was to finish the entire trip. From Malta to Barcelona the distance is about 650 miles as the crow flies, but between them there are 3 different weather patterns. The med is crazy like this, there are so many influencers on the weather and each area has characteristics that provide for extremely different wind direction. We didn’t make it all the way to Barcelona but we did make it to Mahon, Menorca, about 500 miles. We visited this island and city with my sister Joan last year so we knew the harbor well and didn’t mind the 4am arrival time in the night. We dropped the hook in the middle of the harbor in the NO anchor zone, poured ourselves a cocktail, had a drink to brush off the past few days of bouncy travel and settled in for 8 uninterrupted hours of sleep. We woke up to the harbormaster knocking on the side of the boat telling us to move. No problem, we up anchored and went into the marina right in town.

We had the strangest thing happen the first morning we woke up in our posh Marina de Mahon. Jess got up and was opening the doors in the companionway and noticed a large pile of shit right on the cockpit cushion. She called me up to investigate and I was able to immediately confirm that it indeed was a pile of shit. We are tied up med style here at the dock, meaning the only way to get on the boat is from the stern.

We didn’t have a passerelle out so you needed to jump 2-3 feet across to the dock to get on/off. Using simple rules of elimination, we ruled out the culprit of a dog and it was way to big for a bird to leave this for us. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing. We both deduced that it was human. After I removed the excrement from the cushion, I went to the specific spot and put my body into a position to see if it was indeed possible for a human to have left this, and sure enough I was able to recreate the body posture and position needed to do such an act. Why would someone do this, was it the American flag? Were we targeted or was this just a random act of debauchery? We will never now, but we will always remember this needless act of impropriety.

Jess only stayed in Mahon for one night and then flew to Barcelona the next day so she would be on time for her first day of Art class at Metafora. I stayed for another two nights and then left mid day for a 24 hour passage solo to Barca. The trip proved to be very med like and I had wind from multiple directions, multiple speeds, rain, muddy rain, thunder and lightning and a disgusting sea state that was always different than the wind direction. I arrived mid morning very tired as I was unable to get any sleep. Jess was at school already, the marineros at the dock helped my tie up in our winter slip and I was thankful for a great summer cruise and a great winter spot to be living.

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