We made it to Malta. What a victory :-) Malta has been on our mind for weeks now and to finally make it to our first planned destination was a big moment for us. After 3 weeks of paperwork delays in Israel, a changing crew, unexpected fueling stops in Greece and days of going upwind, to say that we were elated to reach Malta would be an understatement. Right smack dab in the middle of the Mediterranean, Malta is a small island just south of Italy. Known for tourism and pastizzis, the country has character and great historical significance. For sailing vessels like ours, it means we've made it half-way across the Mediterranean Sea.
While our time in Malta is short (about 30 hours--we're heading out to Gibraltar later today), it's been nice. Not going to lie, getting on land had me shaking a bit. The ground keeps feeling like it's moving, prompting me to take a seat or lean up against a structure. (I think this is the start of what they call landsickness? Guess I'm not going to catch a break--oh well.) Pulling into the marina, we were greeted by a one-man welcoming part, Jorge, our new captain.
My dear friend Captain Chad needs to head back to the US to prepare for upcoming charters they had booked in the Bahamas and is turning Tellstar over to a friend, Jorge from Portugal, who is a delivery captain. Yup, there's such a thing! In Jorge's line of work, he is hired by boat owners to sail private vessels from one port to another. Sometimes it's a two day journey, sometimes, like in this instance, it's a cross-Atlantic voyage. In the short time that since we've met Jorge, we've all gotten acquainted and feel comfortable in our new captain's hands.
So, how was the sail from Greece to Malta? It was pretty cool! At one part during my watch, we were in a submarine practice area and we saw a submarine off of our starboard. It was pretty cool! It looks like a truck sitting on a flat bed that just emerged above the surface. As neat as that was, it wasn't the coolest thing we saw on the sail. I already told you about the incredible sunset and moonrise I saw while sailing around Greece, but I finally caught a sunrise as well. If you think it looks surreal, let me add to the allure by sharing that there were dolphins swimming around as well. True story.
The sunrise was my second dolphin sighting of the sail. During my watch the previous day, Tyler was keeping me company and caught sight of a fin ahead of the boat. WE SAW REAL LIFE WILD DOLPHINS AND THEY WERE SAILING WITH US! IT WAS SO COOL! (And yes, I'm screaming. And I'm still cheesing. It was THAT cool.) Thank goodness Tyler has a steady hand, I was way too excited watching the dolphins to capture a video myself, but he did!
All in all, my first long stretch of sailing went well. The guys have been teaching me about the basics of sailing (though the bowline knot is still a puzzle), I've been doing a lot of reading and writing and thinking and reflecting, and I've been enjoying the beauty and serenity of the water. Sailing is one of those things that you have an idea about before you start doing it, and then once you start, you realize you had no freaking clue. Still learning, still pondering, still being flexible. We'll see what happens next. Onwards to Gibraltar!