Poking out of the middle of the Mediterranean Ocean is a small limestone land called Malta, along with its even smaller co-island, Gozo.
On May 10th Marc and I boarded the ferry from Pozallo Sicily heading to Valetta, Malta, ready to get our sport climbing on. As Valetta came into view it appeared like no other place I had ever seen; A land completly absorbed in sandy city walls, narrow steets winding in every which way, and big industrial like tankers and machinery in the harbor.
My first impression was that Malta was chaos.
Our rental car agency dropped a car off for us at the ferry terminal and left us to fend for ourselves. I was surprised to find the steering wheel on the right side of the car and the manual shifter was left handed. More surprised still to learn that the Maltese drive on the left side of the road.
Just like that we set off on a quest through the interconnected maze of cities to find the one and only climbing store. It’s quite complicated navigating through these cities as is, but given that Malta is lacking 80% of their street signs makes things much worse.
With a bit of luck two hours later we were on our way to the first crag, The Mellieha Cave. The cave is located in a sink hold on a plateau just above the ocean. Overhanging walls of pockets and stalactites worked me over pretty quick. (not to mention we had been two days on from climbing in Sicily already)
|Marc climbing Crazy Monkey|
We set up our tent outside of the cave where the dirt road meets the seaside cliff, overlooking the beautiful Mediterranean Ocean.
|Our tent at the Mellieha Cave|
I awoke during the night to the sound of thunder off in the distance, and a quick flash of light. Less than 20 minutes later, a full blown light show was directly overhead striking through the sky. I darted off the the car for shelter to comfortably watch while Marc decided to stay in the tent… I imagined what kind of horrific rescue situation would play out if I had to save Marc from a lighting strike.
|Marc rappelling down to Red Wall|
We rappelled down to a small isolated bench lined with climbs. I dove into the ocean for a cool wake up. The swimming is amazing except that small boats are continuously passing by. Strangley enough the Blue Grotto town is famous for its ‘tour boat’ attraction. Hundreds of tourists pile in by bus to be taken out to view the sea caves. They were pointing in awe at us all day as we climbed, got to see me take some fun whippers 🙂
|Greek Odyssey multi pitch, Red Wall|
Within a few days we were ready for a change and headed over to Gozo.
|Me climbing out of the Underworld via the 7b+ Furry Animals|
|Marc exploring the Underworld|