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20th October, 2012



Gozo came into view first, and then the radar became very busy with targets coming along the north east shore of Malta - yachts. The Rolex Middle Sea race had commenced less than an hour before and the first of them were crossing our path ahead as they headed on up towards Sicily. With a stiff breeze they were leaning right over and our passengers had a fine view of the spectacle as we threaded our way through. I trust it was a wave of greeting from the crew of one that had to alter course in order to pass close under our stern.

Being the first call of Saga Sapphire into Malta we were privileged to receive a cannon salute as we passed into Grand Harbour, the high sandstone walls on either side echoing the sound. Above us, locals and tourists looked down and watched our passage into the turning area, passing four other cruise ships already alongside. It was one of the busiest days for Valletta with eventually six cruise ships being berthed alongside. A grand show for a Grand Harbour.


Our guests were soon off on tour or to take the challenging walk up into town, on board however, we had our own challenge. Two inspectors from Transport Malta came aboard to scrutinise the ship, the crew and our operational practises. Because we fly the Malta flag they were particularly keen to ensure we were ‘ship shape’, and fortunately they were not to be disappointed.

So, that took up most of our afternoon and by the time they left I should imagine there was a collective sigh of relief from the senior officers tasked with ensuring that all our responsibilities are successfully met. We sailed after darkness had fallen, the illuminated walls of the harbour looking even more majestic. The pilot disembarked before we had passed through the breakwaters and we were setting course to the east when a call came from the Doctor, someone was not well.


We made a few calls, turned around and sailed right back in again, picking the pilot up on the way. Within the hour the passenger, now a patient, was off ashore to be checked out in hospital. We came off the quay, turned in the bay and, once more, I said farewell to the pilot.

So a double helping of magnificent Grand Harbour, one I never tire to enter.....but not necessarily twice in the same day.

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The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.