Thunderbolts and Sliema

The night of Sunday/Monday saw the heaviest rain and thunderstorms that I’ve seen in a long time. Normally storm rain comes in phases heavy, eases off, heavy, eases, passes. Not here. it just poured down and meant it.  By morning the blue sky was back. On the face of it, nothing had happened that previous night.

I made my day plans and left the apartment and soon got to see what the storm had done. rock slides, roads under water, mud and grit mounds in the roads and manhole covers that were riding on a geyser of high pressure water looking for an escape.

Panic? Didn’t seem any of that here, people were just getting on. There were already people out scooping up the mud and moving boulders. The fire brigade held the traffic back as they punch a hole in a wall and let a field drain.  Nobody was phased. (I did hear late that the morning commute for most was several hours rather than 30mins)

Anyway, the day said I should head into Sliema, a harbour town, guidebook says a bit of a playground.  The trusty Chevy was suitably abandoned in a car park and I headed off to the water front.  The first impression is.. tourist city! pleasure boats, harbour cruises. Countless vendors fishing in the same dwindling pond of tourists. I chatted with a few vendors asking if they did a night trip but they all stop at 5 now, just not enough people to make it viable. Fair enough.

Monday was panorama day. I had my tripod and pano head with me plus 10kg of camera gear.I picked out some spots and made a selection of 180 and 360 degree panos, each overlooking the harbour and  the opposite Manoel Island.

Lots of wandering along the harbour edge led me onto the island, This is mostly boat yard and marina. As the marina is private I asked if I could make some panos there. Nooo problem said Hermann the marina manager ”just don’t fall in!” Wow. A packed playground for the nautically minded, boats of all shapes and sizes plus crews to match.. Hermann caught up with me and said it was a shape there were only ”small” boats there today. Small? one in particular looked like it had  a car garage on the stern and a few aquatic toys parked up on the decks. but at something like 40m long it was small compared to the 100m vessels that can park up for a weekend fun. After shooting my panos I was invited for coffee at the marina office, Hermann, a keep amateur photographer was keen to show me he shots. Very nice too! Of course, he’s there all day and has full access.. luck man.

A bit further round on Manoel I spotted a guy with a horse in the harbour water. Owkaay.. He saw the camera and called me over. Introducing himself as Richard. Richard was cooling off his trotting race horse after a race. She seemed to love the gently lapping waves and mild swell on the water. Richard was keen to improve his English, telling me he was laughed at by people because it was so bad. I taught him a few naughty words to thrown at those people if needed 😉

Continuing around off the island and further round the bay into Ta’xbiex I had a good vantage point to see the marina from the other side of the water.  I’d also stumbled into the posh end of town. Imposing houses of classical design overlooked the harbour and to the distant right, the tip of Valletta.

More panos and more wandering brought me to the Royal Malta Yacht Club. Lots of activity here so me being me, I went and stuck my nose in. Apparently the leader in the Rolex Middle Sea race was due in. Right on, warned people to stand back, I’m a professional.. and got some shots of the leader.  Cheeky, but cool.

By now the sun had dropped off the horizon, I made some night panos on my way back to the car after an exhausting and packed day.

Needless to say, my shoulders were grateful to be relieved of carrying all the cam gear and tripod.

Sorry if I’m boring people with this, I’m going to have to add more pics and maps after the trip, there’s just no time now.

Malta, I’m loving it.

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