As a break from the usual watery wanderings around the Channel Islands I thought I would cover a trip that I was fortunate enough to do a couple of weeks ago. It was along part of the south coast of Gozo, Malta's northern and smaller neighbour.
What Gozo and Jersey have in common is a sheltered coast, when the wind picks up. On this particular day we were experiencing a north westerly force 6, so not ideal for two of the coasts of Gozo.
The obvious route was out from Mgarr Ix Xini, a narrow inlet, which several centuries ago provided a sheltered anchorage for galleys. Today it is a popular location for diving, one of the mainstays of the Gozo economy.
The entrance to the bay is marked by a tower, which was built in 1661, from there we headed east along the coast, enjoying scenery which isn't as dramatic as elsewhere on the island but still entertaining.
Our destination was Hondoq, a popular launching spot for kayakers, but where we were going to have lunch and take advantage of the cafe before returning to Mgarr Ix Xini. This isn't a particularly long day trip but it is a recommended option when the wind is blowing out of the north.
Launching from Mgarr Ix Xini. The sign warning of the nature of the slip was needed, several of the group fell over.
From offshore the entrance to the inlet isn't easily seen, although the tower, which is just out of the picture is a bit of a give away.
An old military institution, which is being re-developed for residential purposes, Fort Chambray, overlooks the channel between Gozo and Comino. During the Crimean War the Fort housed 500 British troops. It has also seen service as a Leprosy Hospital
There were a number of caves along this section of coast, which are worth exploring. The land behind is the island of Comino, a great day trip from Gozo.
Our destination for lunch was Hondoq, with its popular cafe, which serves possibly the best banoffee ice cream anywhere.
There were a number of offshore rocks to explore. These are just outside the harbour at Mgarr, which is Gozo's main link to the outside world.
In several places the authorities have thoughtfully placed some jumping platforms. What a contrast to Jersey where the authorities seem intent on banning jumping into the sea.
The tower protecting the entrance into Mgarr Ix Xini, built in 1661.
Back where we started from and an opportunity to swim in the crystal clear water.