In April this year we went off to Malta and experienced some coastal walking there. We were told Malta is a “marmite country” – you either love it or you hate it. I loved it!
Early morning was a good time to start, I discovered. Most days I got up at 6:30 am to watch the sunrise. The sun started off blood-red as it crept over the horizon, gaining colour as it rose. As it cleared the water, it seemed to almost drip back into the sea as it melted in its own warmth.
Wave cut platforms in Qammieh…
You can take a boat trip out to see it from Dwerja (the “Inland Sea”) a small lagoon a couple of hundred metres away, which was formed when water flooded in through a 100 foot long cave. Local fishermen operate small boats, taking tourists through the cave and out to the Azure Window.
We also visited Comino, the third largest of the islands. Large ships do not visit here and there are no roads. Comino is best known for its Blue Lagoon, where boats seem to float on air instead of water.
Comino is heaving at the popular tourist spots, but otherwise virtually deserted. We walked around half of the island, finding only one house and a tiny graveyard during our travels. We also found this strange small hut on the southern shoreline. What it was I do not know. Look – another sea arch in the background!
There is no real health and safety here. No guards, gates, or warning signs to sully the spirit of adventure. This was fresh nature, ready to be explored. Well ok – there was that metal fence with a sign on it (you can see it in the background) which seemed to have been chucked up as a half-hearted gesture, but it was clear from the footprints that it was roundly ignored, and the passages leading off from the main cave before the fence were not barricaded at all. Armed with only the torch on my phone we ventured in.
At first we could stand at full height, but as we got deeper inside the maze (and it was something of a maze in there) the ceilings got lower and lower and the atmosphere more and more clammy and muggy. At one point we went down a tunnel that got smaller and smaller, until we could only creep through it by squatting like cave frogs. Of the three of us only I had a torch, so we made our way through the claustrophobic squeeze whilst fighting our own shadows. As soon as one of us got in the way of the torch the others were plunged into darkness. At one point we turned the torch out completely – it was pitch black. The tunnel eventually petered out into nothing; we had to retreat and take another branch. You can just see the kids in the background of this next picture.
We didn’t have time to explore the caves in full. We probably saw about 300 metres of them but I suspect they go much further than that. But we had a plane to catch, so made our way back to emerge into the bright light of day drenched in sweat and dirt (the airline staff must have been overjoyed to see us).
Points in this post (copy and paste the co-ordinates into Google Earth):
- Big Boulder at Qammieh Wave Cut Platform: N 35° 58.137 E 014° 19.420
- Valletta City Walls: N 35° 54.165 E 014° 31.220
- The Azure Window: N 36° 03.210 E 014° 11.300
- Dwerja: N 36° 03.230 E 014° 11.470
- The Blue Lagoon: N 36° 00.830 E 014° 19.420
- Strange Hut on Comino: N 36° 00.380 E 014° 20.688
- Ghar Hasan Caves: N 35° 48.406 E 014° 31.084
- Date of Visit: 12-17 April 2015
- CLICK HERE FOR LINK TO QAMMIEH INTERACTIVE MAP
- CLICK HERE FOR LINK TO VALLETTA INTERACTIVE MAP
- CLICK HERE FOR LINK TO COMINO INTERACTIVE MAP