I’ve just enjoyed a gorgeous week in Malta. I spent nearly five years of my childhood on the island and a piece of my heart will always be there. (Especially when I come home to very British weather after a week of 30c Maltese sunshine.)
I had some brilliant snorkelling and so wished I’d taken an underwater camera when I spotted a ray. I’ve never seen one in the wild, even when I was scuba diving. It was about 10″ across with tails extending to around 3′. It didn’t seem at all bothered by my presence and I accompanied it on its circuits of the seabed at Ghar id Dud for about twenty minutes. It was such a privilege. I went right down to within a foot or so of it – then remembered that some rays sting, so backed off again. I’ve looked it up since I came home and it looks as if it was a marine ray of the type often referred to as skate, less likely to have a sting than some of its cousins. Amazing experience.
One of my favourite places in Malta is the Upper Barrakka Gardens on the edge of Valletta. You can see from the pic what the attraction is. The view of Grand Harbour is awe inspiring. I can stand there for hours.
The other pic shows the nearby Auberge de Castille et Leon. It’s the official residence of the Prime Minister of Malta now but in the Sixteenth Century was the auberge (lodging house) of some of the Knights of Malta – those of Castille, Leon and Portugal.
More importantly, it’s where my dad worked when he was attached to British Army GHQ. And those canon? They were put there for me to sit on to wait for him to come out at the end of the working day.