Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Some Pics from Today

Some pics I took today in Ghallis. All this wind we have been having and not able to sail.....grrrr! Have at least another two weeks to go before the knee should be totally healed. Fingers crossed.




Jamie Drummond riding the waves at the ''bollard''

Keith Bartolo 




Some decent sets came in occasionally near the ''bollard''



Gamblu at 'The Point'. Not very sharp but even zoomed out max with the 300mm lens ''The Point'' is a bit far off for super clear images.





Thursday, December 06, 2012

A Good Start to the Windsurfing Season

This past week has been a great start to the new season for windsurfing and there is more to come. Let us hope this past week has been a good omen for the coming months.
Today had a great short sail down at Ghallis - came in to change down cos was way overpowered with a 4.7m and did a very stupid thing by deciding to come up in a stupid place. Hence got whammed by a set breaking on the rocky shore and damaged my board a bit and had to pluck a couple of sea urchin spikes out of my fingers. But ..........all in a days sailing. Well not quite cos only had 45 minutes! But enjoyed every minute of it. Took the opportunity to take some video and shots - couple of which are below.

Click on the pics and see the slide show.



Jamie Drummond


Jamie Drummond


My hubbie can still do it! Anton Cachia


Chris Spiteri


Thomas Meachen


Matthew Fleri Soler



Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Valletta - Malta


Photo taken from www.maltainsideout.com


Photo taken from www.ottsworld.com


A rare visit to Valletta - a place I have not visited very often lately. The increased amount of traffic on this island has put me off any journey (no matter how small) unless it is totally necessary. A couple of days ago I had no option and at 7.45am felt very happy the occasion was forced upon me.

As I walked through the city gate I examined the progress being made on the new contraversial parliament building. My initial impression after I saw the original plans a few years ago was confirmed - a total monstrosity to greet you as you enter the city ''Built by gentlemen for gentlemen''. Enough said about that!

I walked down Republic Street (I still refer to it as King's Way) and through various other streets...St. John's, Merchant's Street, Zachary Street, Melita Street (formerly Britannia Street) etc. with a sense of pride for our beautiful capital city - shame at myself realising I no longer knew this wonderful place. So many renovations, conservation projects, aesthetic improvements - what a city! No wonder so many of my guests make it a point of spending a couple of nights or more here during their holidays to be able to explore in great depth and breath in the culture, history and atmosphere in the air. I need to do the same!

I had some time to spare so I headed over to PREGO. How can one visit Valletta and not go into PREGO? One of the last remaining original cafes. The decor has not changed in the last 50 years. I have been going there since I was around 7 or 8 years old and I have watched the brothers get older the same way they have watched me grow up from a child into middle age! I wonder what will happen when they retire. It doesn't look like family will be taking over - please don't let this be another future modern cafe project. Keep the old tiles, wood panelled glass cases displaying the various whiskies, brandies, vermouths etc, the same padded benches and old chairs - please don't change all that.

I left the cafe with an aim - come back soon camera in hand on a journey of rediscovery.


Friday, November 30, 2012

Wind at Last


Jamie Drummond 29th Nov 2012 Mellieha from Bunty Cachia on Vimeo.



Finally the wind drought seems to have been broken. We had a lovely south westerly yesterday which made for good sailing in the bay. Weather forecast looking good over the next week with some very strong wind on Monday which should be good conditions for Ghallis.

A breath of fresh air has been put into the local windsurfing scene with the appearance of JAMIE DRUMMOND and his girlfriend, Jo, who are with us for a few weeks/months. Just what we need here in Malta. Our aging windsurfing community desperately needs a big injection of young blood and inspiration. It seems that the fast learning curve towards the big adrenalin rush of kitesurfing is proving more inviting to the younger generation. I can understand it.

Above is just a short clip taken yesterday. I am, at the moment, sifting through years of stills, footage, sequence shots etc. trying to filter out the right stuff needed for a new home movie I have been wanting to make for a long time. Still trying to get to grips with my Adobe movie maker but learning as I go along - though I am sure there are alot of short cuts I could take which I have yet to discover. Just hope the result will be passable!

Meanwhile, hope to enjoy some of the wind coming our way. Today............gloomy and rainy and squally........BUT we desperately need some rain so not complaining.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Wied il-Ghasri

A couple of pictures taken down at Wied il-Ghasri this weekend. Such a beautiful place. Reminds me of the sort of place Enid Blyton's Famous 5 would discover!







Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Hot Autumn Day

The Southerly breeze has been with us for the past few weeks with just the odd few days where a North Westerly has been thrown in to breath a freshness back into the air around us.






Today is no exception. As I look out over the fields in front of SAN PUPULJU FARMHOUSE, glistening dew drops teeter at the end of the potato plant leaves, overflowing into the freshly tilled soil filling it with nourishment only Mother Nature can supply.

Each weekend I stand, overlooking Bernarda's field, and follow the progess of the garlic and onion seedlings which will, no doubt, add plenty of flavour to our meals come the Spring. Cabbage leaves look full to bursting point already - yet they still have quite a while to go before they will grace our table. The joy of having wonderfully kind and generous neighbours!

The peace is almost loud! Then rudely interupted by the sound of overflowing water as the pool starts it's filtration routine. This soon becomes the soothing background sound which only the sound of water seems to be able to create.

................and that is just the start of the weekend!


Sunday, November 04, 2012

San Dimitri Fireworks Factory Just Exploded




Sitting here in San Pupulju in the quiet hamlet of Ghammar near Ghasri, Gozo. Suddenly a massive explosion rocks the whole house, windows and everywhere around. This is followed by another 3 or 4 explosions - not sure how many to be exact. We knew immediately what it was - it unfortunatley happened a couple of years ago aswell -  the fireworks factory which lies at San Dimitri point outside Gharb. We just hope there were no casualities but being the weekend there were probably people working there in their spare time off.

Above you can see the mushroom cloud that formed just after the explosion and below is the locality of the factory - photos taken from the very top of our roof.

So many seem to lose their lives each year due the obsession there is out here with fireworks for festa time. I know the fireworks look nice and they play such a major role in each village and town festa but is it really worth the amount of lives lost and families affected by these tragedies?


Monday, October 29, 2012

Early Morning Aroma


Pic: Bunty
''Pastizzi''   Pic:www.felicekitchen.com


The hour has gone back and we are on Winter time again. Up at dawn - not quite dawn as it is so dark outside it could be the middle of the night.
Out I go to join the early morning throng of delivery vans and tradesmen to catch the 5.45am ferry to Gozo and start a new week.

One could think of the ferry as just a basic and necessary form of transport connecting Malta to Gozo. Not so - this essential  link has almost become an extension of my home. As I board and start up the stairs, the welcoming smell of fresh ''Pastizzi'' warms the chilly morning air. 
At this time of day a good old cup of tea will suffice, but the ''Pastizzi'' aroma completes the early morning atmosphere.




Sunday, October 28, 2012

Another Middle Sea Race Comes to an End



Hi-Fidelity from South Africa. Winner of the 2012 Rolex Middle Sea Race (photo courtesy of Kurt Arrigo for Rolex)



Team Artie-RTFX winners of Class 4 IRC and ORC and first Maltese Boat in



Once again the Rolex Middle Sea Race comes to an end, and once again our Maltese sailors have done us proud. 
The prize giving took place yesterday at the Mediterranean Conference Centre - also a prize giving with a difference taking place within the historical surroundings of the MCC.

A recap video of the race can be seen on ww.regattanews.com

Until next year!

Friday, October 26, 2012

ARTIE Makes it Back Home



Between midnight and 1am last night ARTIE RTFX crossed the finish line in Marsamxett harbour, Malta. The crew were in high spirits although exhausted, both physically and mentally, after the gruelling 600+ mile race in lighter than light wind conditions.

Once again, for the third year in a row, the ARTIE team have proved they are an excellent bunch of sailors and can give the pros a good run for their money.

Their positions are 1st in Class 4, 5th Overall and 1st Maltese boat in. COMANCHE RAIDER was threatening to steal the title of 1st Maltese boat right until the bitter end. COMANCHE had a very good race too and were hot on ARTIE's tail for most of the race.
The rest of the fleet have been slowly coming in during the night but it will be a very slow finish for all of them as wind conditions have still not  improved. 
Typically, starting from tomorrow, the forecast for the next week is strong winds!!

TO READ THE LATEST NEWS UPDATE ON THE RMSR WEBSITE CLICK ON HERE





Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hi-Fidelity Confirmed 2012 RMSR Overall Winner


Photo taken off the RMSR website


The crew of South African yacht Hi-Fidelity outside the yacht club after being declared overall winners of this year's race.

The race is now on to see who will be the first Maltese boat in. Artie RTFX has a good chance of being that yacht and coming first in their class - Class 4. Once they are in we will then know how they stand in the overall placings. At this moment Artie RTFX is approaching the Comino Channel before making its way on the last stretch down the west coast of Malta back to the harbour.

You can read the latest News about the race on HERE


Hi-Fidelity - Has she Snatched the RMSR 2012 Crown?

The 2012 Rolex Middle Sea Race will certainly be one to remember. As the 2007 RMSR is infamously known for it's extreme gale force conditions, so will the 2012 RMSR be remembered for its total lack of wind.
All crews have pushed themselves (and are still pushing themselves) to their limit to increase every half a knot of boat speed throughout the race.

It seems, as I write, that Hi-Fidelity has actually taken the title this year. As the majority of the fleet round Lampedusa and start their approach to Malta, the little bit of wind they had now seems to be dying down. Around Malta there is minimal wind and by tonight the remaining yachts will probably be caught up in yet another wind hole.

I suppose one would have to call this one of the most challenging, stressful and frustrating races - certainly in the past decade or more. It is a big disappointment for team ARTIE RTFX who have been one of the firm favourites throughout these past few days. XP-ACT kept them on their toes and finally got the better of them in the last 24 hours. They approach the Comino Channel as I write. QUOKKA was also considered as a likely contender this year, but, as we seem to learn more and more as each year goes by, it is impossible to even predict who will actually steal that coveted prize. Surprises are usually sprung at the last minute.



ARTIE RTFX on the way out of the Grand Harbour at the start of the 2012 RMSR (pic Bunty)



Hi-Fidelity after the Class 2 start of the 2012 RMSR
(pic Bunty)


Now we look forward to seeing family and friends back home. Look forward to hearing all the different stories and most of all look forward to the race again next year!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

ARTIE Still Holding on .......just!





Above pictures (Kurt Arrigo for Rolex) are ESIMIT finishing last night and RAN giving it's best on the last leg of the 600 mile plus journey.

More or less half the fleet have now passed or are passing the island of Pantelleria. At this point ARTIE RTFX is still leading overall with XP-ACT in a very close second. HI-FIDELITY and TAKESHA are 3rd and 4th respectively at this point in time. ESIMIT is home as are RAN, STIG and MED SPIRIT. 
The next marker to round for most of the fleet will be Lampedusa. 

Here in Malta a storm is brewing with thunder rumbling close by and in the distance. I expect this storm will reach the home coming yachts (infact some have already experienced some thunder and lightening). This will no doubt make the race even more interesting and mean many more sail changes in order to keep up and increase their boat speed.

It is interesting to read some of the blog posts on the RMSR website. These can be found HERE

Meanwhile, web traffic following the race continues. It would be interesting to know just how many hits the Tracker page has had since the start of the race!


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

ARTIE Pushing Towards Favignana



NOONMARK


RAN 


XP-ACT


Although the wind has been extremely light most of the time, there have been very short bursts where a bit of wind has made an appearance. Apart from the start on day 1, there was some decent wind on leaving the Straits of Messina only to be totally becalmed once they reached Stromboli. Progress from Stromboli towards Favignana has been slow (to put it mildly). Once the leading big boats rounded Favignana they were able to catch a better breeze and the second half of the race is proving to be a bit faster for them. Esimit is, in fact, on the homeward leg and is due in sometime tonight.

Now that some of the yachts have passed, or are heading towards Pantelleria, the race has been thrown open with alot of possibilities as to who may actually win the race. But, ofcourse, that is anyone's guess. As seen in past races, the unexpected can happen within metres of the finish line.

ARTIE is still pushing hard. The gaps have closed and there are threats all around them. This means they cannot afford to stray away from total concentration on keeping the boat moving and making sure they do not make any tactical mistakes.

Monday, October 22, 2012

.....and so the Battle goes on!




VENTO DI SARDEGNA and REBEL approaching Stromboli yesterday. Pictures are Rolex pictures form the Rolex Middle Sea Race website



For a full update of what has been happening today during the Middle Sea Race click on this LINK.
This year's race must be one of the most frustrating races so far. Certainly frustrating for the leaders as they have been almost becalmed today giving a chance for the back part of the fleet to catch up. Tonight will be very calm once again but tomorrow may bring a change with a bit of a breeze. Meanwhile, Esimit has pulled ahead a bit from RAN and STIG. It is quite a race between those 3 boats to gain line honours. 
Tomorrow morning will probably bring yet another change - meanwhile we sit and watch!




Update to Rolex Middle Sea Race 2012


Last night the front of the fleet rounded the impressive volcanic island of Stromboli. Winds have been light and some boats have taken a tactical decision to sail up further north in search of a better breeze. Whether that will have paid off or not still remains to be seen.
ARTIE has rounded Stromboli too, but it's present closest rivals have closed the gap. The reputation of this race as a closely contended event is proving to be very true. ARTIE was leading overall once they passed the Messina mark but now they have rounded Stromboli positons have changed. SPEEDY is now leading overall with ARTIE in second place. 
Below are some pictures of ARTIE's close rivals.






Photo of ARTIE RTFX is a Rolex photo taken off www.regattanews.com


Above is COMANCHE RAIDER also a Rolex photo


Timmy Camilleri (sitting) onboard X-yacht XP-ACT Banks Sails Racing
Photo taken by me prior to the race start


TRUSTMARQUE QUOKKA photo taken by me prior to race start. This boat has apparently had a very good racing season this year and is definitley on of the ones to watch closely


SPEEDY who is leading overall as I type. Photo taken from the RMSR website.



Sunday, October 21, 2012

REGATTA NEWS UPDATE ON RMSR 2012


Photo of NOONMARK from www.regattanews.com




FOLLOW AN UPDATED ARTICLE ON REGATTA NEWS (CLICK ON IT FOR LINK)



RMSR 2012 - Half the Fleet Through the Straits of Messina

Below are a few more of my pictures before and after the start of the race yesterday.
As I type half the fleet have made it through the Straits of Messina. At that particular point ARTIE RTFX were in the lead overall - but it is early days yet. Winds ahead are light and everyone knows that anything can happen in light winds, but they are pushing hard.




Click on photos to enlarge

ARTIE RTFX pre start







Since the start of the race yesterday family, friends and more have been avidly following the race via the tracker on the RMSR site. Alot of people have probably wondered how this is actually done. The little device (I assume some kind of GPS system) you can see in the photograph above is attached to every boat  competing. This, ofcourse relays the exact postion of the boat enabling us to follow practically every move they make.  
Things have come a long way since those early Middle Sea Race days when the sailors themselves did alot of their navigation by dead reckoning and nobody really knew when the competitors were going to turn up!





Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Funnier Side of the RMSR Start



Not sure who the above picture belongs to (could it be Victor Pulis??) but it has been put up on Facebook and think it very amusing. The wonders of Photoshop!


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