Malta: In the crossing of cultures

The small island republic of Malta is a historic yacht charter area in the Mediterranean between Tunisia and Italy. This strategically important location between the continents and between the western and eastern Mediterranean, this archipelago, consisting of the barren, arid islands of Malta, Gozo, Comino, Cominotto and Filfla, owes its lively history of the last 3000 years: Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Ostrogoths , Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, German, French and Spanish noble families, the Johanniter, the French under Napoleon and until independence in 1964 the British ruled the island. Apostle Paul was shipwrecked in Malta in AD 60 and converted parts of the population to the Christian faith as a result.

In Malta, however, advanced cultures built temples long before the Phoenicians. The megalithic Ġgantija temples date from between 3600 and 3200 BC. BC, the hypogeum (Greek for “underground”) carved deep into the rock of Ħal-Saflieni with its tombs from the time between 3800 and 2500 BC.

In the past, there were repeated attacks by pirates and privateers in Malta. The successful defense against attacks by the Ottomans under Suleyman the Great is the greatest military success so far in Malta’s long history. In modern times, Malta was exposed to German and Italian attacks during the Second World War as an important British military base for the expeditions in North Africa. Malta has been a member of the EU since 2004 and the euro was introduced as the official currency in 2008. Today Malta is a popular destination for tourists. Due to its location between Tunisia and Italy, Malta is also a first point of contact for migrants who set sail from North Africa to Europe.

Maltese coast

Territory properties

The mistral comes in from the northwest in Malta under normal circumstances, but sometimes turns to the north or northeast. The wind force is then 4 to 5 Beaufort and falling gusts can occur near land. The sirocco occurs in spring and autumn, which may impair visibility due to sand and dust carried along from the Sahara. Later in winter, the Gregale blows from the northeast, often for up to three days in a row, with a strength of 9 to 10 Beaufort, creating a jet effect between Malta and Gozo. On the way from Malta to Sicily in summer you can expect a mostly sluggish Old Sea and a wind that falls down halfway, which increases again shortly before you approach Sicily. In spring and autumn the prevailing winds come from the south or south-east. In the strait between Malta and Sicily, a current flows eastwards from at least one node. This current completely falls when the wind is easterly.
It is of a medium difficulty sailing area. There are only a few protected harbors and bays. The rocky bottom makes it difficult to anchor. On the east coast of Malta there are poorly marked fish farming nets that are sometimes kilometers long. In front of St. Paul’s Bay there are fishing nets that are marked with buoys towards the sea. Otherwise, the waters around Malta and Gozo are well buoyed and lit. Shallows make navigation difficult in Marsaxlokk Bay in southeastern Malta.

Grand Harbor on Malta with the imposing walls of Valetta on the north side is one of the most impressive ports in the Mediterranean. Other ports are Marsamxett Harbor, Msida Marina and Marsaskala. On the west coast of Malta there are many attractive anchorages such as Paradise Bay, Anchor Bay, Golden Bay and Ġnejna Bay. These bays are partly open to the northwest and are therefore exposed to the mistral in summer. A popular, very well protected anchorage is St. Paul’s Bay. On the small island of Comino there are three more protected bays with Blue Lagoon, San Niklaw Bay and Santa Marija Bay. The port of Gozo is Mġarr Marina. The bay of Mġarr ix-Xini to the west of it is a spectacular anchorage. A stern line is required here, as there is hardly any space to swim. Be careful at the entrance to Xlendi Bay, because there are shoals. Another anchorage to visit in Gozo is Dwejra Bay. The offshore island il-Ġebla tal-Ġeneral, also known as Fungus Rock, shields Dwejra Bay well from the open sea. Marsalforn Bay and Ramla Bay are rarely free of swell during the summer months. You should refrain from driving through the well-known rock arch “Azure Window” on Gozo.