|Manoel Island Yacht Yard -- given to Malta by the British Admiralty when|
they no longer had use for it. Imagine the stories this old place could tell.
|The 'new' building at Manoel Island Yacht Yard|
Malta has more boat related products and businesses than anywhere else we have visited. Manna from heaven! Getting work done in Malta made more sense than putting it off until Gibraltar or the Canary Islands. And we are glad we decided to do it here. Quite, quite, quite the marine culture here. And workers who know their jobs well and are conscientious about the quality of their work. This is a true pleasure.
|This can really mess up your boat!|
|Bridled the sterm to another one|
The slipway is small at this boat yard. But sufficient. The yard had told us that they have a 50-ton travel lift, but it looked more like a 35-ton lift to me. Bill said that maybe we had become too accustomed to seeing 300-ton lifts. Nevertheless, we had to remove the 2 aft mizzen stays and the mizzen boom topping lift in order for this smaller travel lift to properly position the straps at the lifting points on BeBe. And we have had to do this previously only for 35-ton lifts. Not a big deal; just a little inconvenience.
Soon we were lifted and set up in the boat yard. We checked in at the yard office and asked directions to Customs and Immigration so we could formally clear into the country. Europeans do not have to do this formality but we Americans must. The manager kindly offered to have someone drive us over there; he said it was too far to walk on this unusually hot day. Thank you very much!! The driver delivered us right to the doorways and clearance took only seconds in each office.
En route back to the boat yard we had the driver drop us off at the bridge entrance so we could go in search of a hotel. The hotels we had called were already booked so we decided to just walk from the boat yard entrance and find one nearby. Found the perfect place on a side street about 2 or 3 blocks away, called the Euro Guesthouse. We inspected a room and it would do nicely. The owner kindly gave us the winter rate. We later provided the info for this hotel/guesthouse to the office at the boat yard so they could add it to their list of recommended hotels. There is a laundry service directly across the street and a small supermarket less than 1/2 block down. Not a swanky place but clean and with friendly owners on site.
|Just left of that first brace on the right side forward you can|
see the SINGLE barnacle on the port side of our hull.
Micron 77 is a great antifouling paint.
|Starboard near aft had the only barnacles on that side; less|
than a dozen. Not bad for 2 years in the water.
The following morning the surveyor arrived and that went very well. He seemed to be impressed with the condition of the boat. He did not tell us of anything he found wrong so we expect to receive a positive written report soon. The last survey was done in Singapore in 2010; insurance companies usually require a formal survey every 5 years, so it was time for this inspection. The painting crew arrived and wet-sanded the hull in preparation for painting the following day.
This day we also realized that our EPIRB decal indicated that registration was due to be renewed and that the battery had expired a couple of weeks ago. Bill shopped for a replacement battery and decided to just purchase a new EPIRB instead. The cost was about the same, plus the newest EPIRB has GPS built into it. Both the old one and the new one are now registered. We will carry the old one too even though the battery date expired.
We also sent in the Zodiac life raft for servicing. We had it serviced in Turkey about 16 months ago but it would need to be serviced again before we cross the Atlantic in January. Very easy to do here because the authorized service guy has a shop right in the boat yard. He sent a guy with a dolly to collect the raft and will deliver it back to us when we are berthed in a marina near the end of May when our granddaughter will arrive to sail with us for the summer. Check another thing off our list.
|Beginning descent from inspecting top of main mast|
|Making his way down, checking everything|
|Checking the mizzen rigging, including|
those plastic circles on end of spreaders.
Day #4 the cleaning and waxing crew arrived. All stainless steel topsides now shiny and bright. And every smooth surface above the waterline has been compounded and waxed. We have decided that we are too old to do this kind of work ourselves anymore. In the past we only paid others to do this work when in areas where labor was cheap. From this point forward I think we will be paying others to do this work regardless of the labor cost. One of the curses of aging are the aches and pains and stiff joints. Just do not think we can do this kind of physical labor anymore. At least not quickly and all day. Maybe an hour or 2 each day, but that would make for a very expensive haul out when time is money.
Day #5 the painter returned and applied 4 coats around the waterline. He waited to do this after the hull was waxed so that the narrow strip next to where the paint and the antifouling meet could be cleaned and waxed before being taped off. This is the first place where the painters did this process correctly. That narrow strip usually gets overlooked because tape is applied when the antifouling is applied and then not removed when the topsides are waxed. This has annoyed us everytime. Glad it was done right this time. Turned out we had enough paint to apply 3 coats everywhere, although the painter did set aside enough to be able to paint the bottom of the keel once the boat is lifted by the travel lift. Cannot do that area while the boat is braced on the hard. Gosh, I hope he puts 3 coats down there too; but I bet it gets only 2 coats like usual.
Day #6 the guy arrived bright and early to replace the water heater heating element. We last replaced the water heater in New Zealand either very late 2008 or early 2009 (do not have the records with me as I type this). So we have had nagging thoughts in the back of our minds for the past year that the water heater could fail at any time. Sure enough; it did fail the day before we hauled out. A tiny corrosion hole developed in the heating element -- the normal thing that happens. Rather than replace the entire unit this time, we opted to replace only the part that had failed. Now working perfectly once again.
|Looking eastward to sea from our yellow steel mooring buoys.|
The old walled city of Valletta is to the right out there.
The entrance to here is very narrow and difficult to find.
|Look closely in lower center and you will see the Tex-Mex|
sign. We were going to eat there for Cinco de Mayo. But
after reading their menu changed our minds. We could see
this place when boat was on the mooring before hauling out.
I am uploading this from the hotel. Since we will be in Malta for such a short time we are not buying phone sim card or data sim card for this country, so internet access will be only when we find an open Wi-Fi signal.
By the way, we found a Turkish cafe here called Moo's Kepab & Pizza and it is great. Strongly recommend eating here. It is near the boatyard entrance, facing the water on the main street. The best food at the best price to be found in Malta.