We took a ‘slightly’ different approach this time. We participated in an offshore cruising trip, organised by Ultra Sailing. The trip brought us from Split (Croatia) via various Italian harbours to La Valletta on Malta (and back). The distance covered was over 1.100 nautical miles in all, 2.000 kilometres.
Sailing the high seas requires a different ship. Our choice was a Bénéteau 50. A good and stable ship, with all the facilities required for a trip like this. Our route can be found here. We had a crew of 9, including a professional skipper with experience on this route. Myself, I was one of the watch leaders. The trip took 2 weeks to complete.
We took hundreds of photos during this trip. It takes me some time to sort them out. For this first version of the story I have just selected a few, more will follow!
The alarm set for 0600, and by 0630 everybody was up (but not yet running…) – despite last night’s drinks in the cockpit. Around 0730 we drop our moorings. The trip back to Croatia has begun.
Valletta Port Control kept us waiting still. We slowly circled the harbour several times while they tried to get confirmation from Customs that we were properly cleared out. Of course we did, so around 0800 we got the permission to leave the harbour. Outside the breakwater, conditions were perfect for sailing. Wind from the north-west, 15 – 18 knots, so the sails went up in no-time. After the days of rest and recreation, everybody was eager for some action. Course 040, speed 7 – 8 knots.
After only a few hours at sea, we really were in our sailing-routine again. For a while we got company from a tired pigeon, which used our foredeck as a resting place. But for the rest it was just us and an occasional ship on the horizon.
Today, we also saw a lot of sea turtles. Difficult to photograph: they are small and slow, we are a lot faster.
Later that day, the wind left us, returning later from the north-east. On our bow, so motoring again… That evening, we stop for a few hours in Siracuse on Sicily. Better winds are predicted for later that night, so we want to leave again at 0200. We have a dinner, and catch some sleep before the watch system disrupts our sleeping pattern again…
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