FILFLA HERITAGE CRUISE

Sunday 2nd August 2015
Over 140 FAA members and friends spent a wonderfully enjoyable and enriching day rich on FAA’s Filfla Heritage Cruise aboard the Fernandez II on Sunday 2NDAugust.  Leaving from the Sliema Strand, the boat sailed past the Grand Harbour and given a commentary about the many fortifications they sailed past, starting with Tigne Fort, Fort St Elmo and Ricasoli, and continuing with the less-known southern coast fortifications, Fort San Leonardo, Xagħjra Tower, Fort San Rocco and Torri San Tumas.
 
Passing Marsascala at St. Thomas Bay, participants stopped for a refreshing swim while taking in the geology of the famous Munxar Cliffs and a series of inlets, such as il-Ħofriet, Peter's Pool and the two Kalanka bays. On the way, well known biologists Jeffrey and Arnold Sciberras kept passengers well informed about the endemic flora and fauna that this coast supports, including a colony of rare snakes in Valletta! They described how the boulder screes made the islet of Filfla ideal for breeding wildlife, especially sea birds such as storm petrels and sheerwaters. They also explained how the legend of the “double tailed Filfla lizard “ arose.
 
A buffet lunch was served as we approached Filfla, the highlight of the trip. The captain went round Filfla twice to make sure everyone aboard could take advantage of the photo opportunity and capture some dramatic shots of the island! Leaving Filfla, the boat headed for GħarLapsi and  past the valleys of Wied iż-Żurrieq, Wied Babu, Wied Ħallelin, Wied Bassasa and Wied Fulija on to  the lonely offshore large boulder/stack known as ĦaġraTas-Sajjetta.
 
The Heritage Cruise was favoured by perfect weather conditions – calm seas, a light breeze to keep passengers cool, and clean, crystal-clear blue seas which we enjoyed a second time when we stopped for another swim at Xrobb l-Għagin before returning to Sliema.