28th January, 2020
Each of us has one of those favourite ports. First time I came to Valletta was in 2006 and I didn’t have much of a view as I was watching from aft mooring station. But I loved it. Over the years, I kept coming back to Valletta frequently. It’s been now three years since I was here last….. Still, I don’t think I will ever get tired of sailing in to Valletta harbour. I got the pleasure to drive today. With 20 odd knots of wind from west, I have used the wind to my advantage to make approach taking into account the drift. That has helped me aligning the ship for outer breakwater and then giving order of hard to port to get her around the inner breakwater. Original plan was to swing on arrival once we would be inside the harbour and back her in to the pier. Good thing that Captain decided to change his mind and suggested to keep it simple and go bow in. We received a welcome blast by a set of cannon shots. As we slowed down to approach the pier, with ferry docked ahead of our position on angled pier, it did not look like we have enough space to fit alongside. Pilot confirmed that pier is 260 meters. So we have to fit. And we did. Just in time for lunch.
Malta is famous for rabbit stew. Safety Officer Andy, Broadcast Manager Liezel and I have planned to take couple of guests out for lunch. It took us a bit more than expected to get out of the port area as one of those big beasts with 5-6 thousand guests was docked in Valletta as well. We choose small restaurant that was highly rated on Tripadvisor. We kept things simple and ordered fried calamari for appetizer and all but one ordered rabbit stew. Some might say that you would feel guilt…. Until the first bite. Nice mix of Mediterranean and Arabic spices gave great balance and plates were cleaned fast….
My lunch had relaxing and informal note. Captain’s dinner required a formal suit. Captain, Horst and Chairman took our diamond guests ashore for dinner to a Palazzo Parisio. Just looking at the menu, the Harp and the décor….. Wow…..
Lately, waking up at 06:30 wasn’t fun as it was still pitch black. This morning, it felt great to be woken up by the sun. I have left my curtains open with a bit of hope.... It worked.
As I had pleasure of driving in, Captain took her out. He had to get her out of the tight spot, take her slightly further in the harbour, turn around(every now and then I get a little bit tired…… you can’t help it, you have to sing it…. Bonnie Tyler) and then take the ship the same way I took her in. On the way out, we sounded the whistle to say good bye to the harbour and cannon.
Franko Papic, Staff Captain
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