As great as Tunisia is it was definitely time to leave, Phil had received his second covid vaccine and we were ready continue our journey in the blue of the Mediterranean Sea.
We were keen to leave but the conditions were less than ideal. The wind was blowing strong meaning a quick sail however the swell and sea state would have made an uncomfortable trip after 5 months in the marina. After much deliberation and twice daily weather conferences between the Captains of Red Roo and Caffe Latte (also looking to cross) for the three days prior to our departure and even a thought of leaving during the night, we decided to wait 24 hours which was a real compromise. It meant the sea state was magical (flat) but we would run out of wind half way to Malta meaning we may have to motor more than sail.
Before leaving, we had to undergo that all together unpleasant stick up the nose business (covid testing) and complete the exit formalities with the Tunisian Customs and Port Police.
Leaving Monastir Marina at 7am we set off and had a great sail all day with only 2 sail changes as the wind dropped and we tried to maintain speed by using lighter sails. By sunset we had the motor on and continued on under an almost full moon with very little traffic on the water just a couple of fishing boats to keep an eye on during the night watches.
By 4:30am daylight had broken and we began another stunning day on the water – just missing that essential wind to move us. The colour of the water was mesmerising and I lost a few hours just watching it, knowing how lucky I was to be doing that.
When the wind died it seemed to have taken our wind instrument readings with it! It was hard too fault find due to no wind, but it is something we will need to investigate and fix in the short term. Also we had an electrical charging problem with overheating of the wind generator controller (even though the wind generator was off) which indicated issues between the engine alternator/solar charger and battery charging system. This is a priority to fix.
By lunchtime Malta was on the horizon and we counted down the miles as we got closer. We were checking in at the Port of Mgarr (pronounced Im-Jar) on the northern island of Gozo. We had all our ducks in a row for check in; negative covid tests (less than 72 hours old), paperwork previously emailed and approved, passports, crew lists, boat documents, and despite these challenging times for travel due to the global pandemic it was actually one of the easiest and quickest check in formalities we have experienced. Welcome to Malta.
Well before sunset we were anchored up in the gorgeous Santa Maria bay off Comino Island, and thanking our lucky stars for the life we are able to live and the view from our home that evening.
Distance 180 Nautical Miles