The MCC set sail for Comino and Gozo once again yesterday on the beautiful Barbarossa sailing yacht. Johnny Dawes, who was on the island to deliver a number of climbing workshops, joined the boat, together with his dad who coincidentally happened to be holidaying on Malta at the same time Johnny was here! Former Australian competition climber (with Maltese roots) Martin Lama also joined. The weather was a bit cooler and windier than the first trip, but a great day climbing and sailing in the sun was had by all the 45+ climbers on board.
MCC banner flapping merrily in the wind, the yacht first sailed right around Comino in an anti-clockwise direction so that everyone could enjoy a close-up view of the sea-cliffs, before anchoring just off Lantern Point. The motorised dinghy was lowered and before long the cliff was dotted with climbers climbing and traversing in every direction!
Johnny warmed up by immediately traversing left from the starting cave following That Sinking Feeling SO 5c, then continuing left heading towards the main overhangs to join and finish up Deep Water Punch S1 6c.
In the meantime, Kurt Vella Haber and Adrian De Barro headed off to take a look at an outcrop further left of the usual DWS area to onsight a new line (name, grade and description still unknown – see pic). They also onsighted the arete of another isolated rock in the bay.
In typical style, Johnny then onsighted a hard new line starting up the obvious thin brown slab left of the cave (above rocks). I didn’t see the exact line he took but I believe the grade is about 6c – I’ll be sending him pics of the crag so that he can dot in the route and confirm the grade. The rest of the climbers were in the meantime trying out various lines. Impressive were French import Maelys who showed promising talent, while I was also amazed to see German girl Sophia give it all she could on the various routes – given that this was her first time EVER climbing! Nice one!
After climbing for a couple of hours everyone headed back to the boat, either in the dinghy or swimming alone in small groups for a rest, to chat and have lunch. A group sat in a circle on the cabin and played guitar and sang happy birthday for …oops I can’t remember who that was for!
Following lunch, and given the weather conditions it was decided to berth next outside Mgarr iX-Xini instead of Xlendi bay which would have been affected adversely by the Force 3 wind conditions. The dinghy soon set off for the brown cave area inside the creek (on the right looking towards the beach) – perhaps the best section of overhanging rock in the area. We heard later that a jellyfish also made an appearance to the detriment of Mars and Amanda!
I took Johnny and a couple of other climbers for a swim into the beautiful sea-level cave on the opposite side of this creek – if you’re DWSing in this area this swim is NOT to be missed. The roof of the cave is just above the water and its possible to swim right into the back of it and experience a turquoise wonderland. If you need to know where it is – let me know. After the swim Johnny climbed a new line above the cave exiting the water just right of the cave entrance, moving left then back right again up a brown shield of rock. I think the grade is 6a/b – I’ll have to check with him to confirm. Richie Abela in the meantime headed a train of climbers on a long traverse from this cave back out towards the mouth of the creek. Earl, Lian, Martin and Juleanne made the most of the day out to go for a scubadive while the rest of us sweated, pulled, jugged and crimped up every bit of rock in the area. Johnny next had a look at the white walls directly opposite the brown cave and climbed two possibly new lines.
Before we knew it, it was time to collect all the climbers and divers and head back to Marfa. On the way back everyone had a smile on their face 🙂
Thanks for all the support!