I arrive in Malta having left travel chaos in the UK – snow,Channel tunnel train failures and aircraft cancellations. It was good to seeTenacious again Three of the voyage crew don’t get past the muddle of moderntravel in Britain, we’re sorry to miss them.
Day one is acclimatising to Tall Ship sailing in theMediterranean. The weather is warm and kind so the various safety drills arefulfilled in a mild climate and timely way.
The next day the harbour pilot arrives and we leave Valettaand motor from the harbour into the open sea where the sails are set and we areunder sail assisted gently by the engines in a mild sea and wind. This is noforce 6! Very civilised and welcome. We arrive in the Sicily port of Siracusa. There are numerousboats, modest cruisers to gin palaces. Tenacious is a jewel amongstthorns. We spend the night of the 24th either visitingthe Cathedral to hear the Midnight Mass or roaming in the town. As a wheelchairuser I value the assistance of colleagues. The road rules are different here.Zebra crossings are not safe havens here but perhaps a target for the game of ‘surprise’for the wheelchair user. We were refreshed at a café with excellent coffee andcakes. We then return to the ship. Thank you to the two angels who helped me overthe challenges of Siracusa paths and crossings. Back at Tenacious the Christmas Eve spirit is comingtogether in both the galley and bar. I retire to my bunk to ready myself forChristmas Day in Sicily.
The next day starts for me with a harbour watch at 4am. Twoof us care for Tenacious while the sun comes up, the bins are collected fromthe streets and there is a curious explosion noise that raises our eyebrows incuriosity but goes without notice by local people. Our watch is otherwisewithout incident.
Christmas day official celebrations commenced with abreakfast of smoked salmon, scrambled egg and Bucks Fizz. What’s that on Chefshead? Is it a sheep? Hope it’s not for lunch later?
We celebrate Christmas day in the lower mess with a generoustraditional spread – turkey and the trimmings followed by an excellentChristmas pudding and resolutions for the next few months.
Robert on behalf of Aft Port watch Peter. Janet, Janet,Mick, Linda and Kieran