Archive for October, 2009
Finally we got to The Black Pearl, where we were meeting up with Hultmans (En plats i solen). Kalle and Chelle came shortly after us by bus. Unfortunately the food wansn’t the best we’ve had… Abbe’s Fish n Chips had only tiny pieces of fish in it so we sent it back to the kitchen. Kalle ordered schnitzel and got curly pieces thin as leaves. So he also sent the food back to the kitchen and ordered rabbit instead. I don’t think any of us was pleased with the food. Hopefully the chef just had a bad day.
The Black Pearl has an interesting and chequered history which dates as far back as 1909. Built at Pukavik in Sweden, and destined to be one of the last serviciers of the wooden trading schooners, she was originally named the “Black Opal”.
Fashioned on strength, so that she could penetrate the Baltic ice floes in the cold winters, and sail in the strong nordic winds of Scandinavia, the Black Schooner was constructed with a hull of two layers of thick seasoned oak. Over one hundred and fifty feet long, and with three stout masts rising ninety feet from the deck, the “Black Opal” must have made a majestic sight indeed as she sailed the high seas on her trading missions carrying a net weight of nearly four hundred tonnes.During her lifespan, the black schooner has faced many vicissitudes. For sixty-nine years she navigated under sail with cargoes of grain, coke and wood on voyages to the remotest areas of the Swedish scurries.
In 1969, she arrived in Ramsgate where she was converted into a barquentine with a luxuriously refurbished interior, modern equipment and nine thousand square feet of canvas. This re-construction work was completed on Christmas Eve in 1973.
Re-named “Aeolus” she then set sail for Australia with a crew of six, sixteen guests who worked their own passege, and a parrot who answered to the name of “Herman”. On the voyage to Australia, she called at Lisbon, Martinique, the Virgin Islands, and the Galapagos Islands.
From the cold nordic temperatures of Scandinavia and the North Seas, the Black Schooner found herself in the warm climate of Australia and the South Pacific, in the year 1974. Her owners employed a crew of sixteen professional seamen, provided accomodation for forty pampered guests and used her for holiday cruises from Australia and the Pacific Islands.
Eventually she developed weevel worm in the hull and had to be sent back to the United Kingdom for repairs. Enroute, misfortune struck as when passing through the Suez Canal a fire broke out in the engine room. She sailed into Maltese waters for repairs in 1976, and was abandoned by her owners in Marsamxett harbour where she sank, settling on the seabed at a depth of 70 feet.
In 1979 she was refloated by the Vella brothers. Her hull was repaired in the Marsa floating dock, and she was towed to Anchor Bay to be used in the filming of the motion-picture ‘Popeye’, in which she played a prominent part. She sank once again during a freak storm in 1981 and was later towed back to the Grand Harbour for repairs.
Now called the “Black Pearl” the schooner remains a majestic sight, reminiscent of days gone by, when sails ruled the waves. She no longer has to face the battering seas and high winds, as she lies safely in the sanctuary of the Ta`Xbiex Yacht Marina, for a well deserved rest.
Her present owner Vincent Vella has with foresight and entrepreneurship, converted the Black Pearl into a de luxe Bar and Restaurant, where guests are again pampered on board with lavish up-market cuisine and a first class service.
This major operation was completed in six years, with the help of family members, friends and volunteers. Now a unique attraction in the Maltese Islands, the Black Pearl is again at the service of Ladies and Gentlemen with a sense of adventure who like to enjoy a first class lunch or dinner, and a drink in a truly magnificent atmosphere.
After Sa Maison Gardens we walked along the quayside towards Msida and the restaurant The Black Pearl.
On our way to Black Pearl we found a “secret” garden. It’s not really a secret garden of course, but there were no sign at the entrance and I’ve never heard of it. It was really cool, with a lot of trees and flowers and the garden was in several levels. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to explore the whole garden, but we saw most of it anyway.
This is the information I’ve found about the garden at visitmalta.com:
The Sa Maison Garden is a small, pretty garden mostly known for its military heritage. The garden is also known as ‘il-Gnien tal-Milorda’ (Her Ladyship’s Garden) in memory of Lady Julia Lockwood, who resided there between 1842 and 1856. Her house was later demolished and the garden taken over by the military, which were responsible for its maintenance until 1903, when it was taken over by the civil government.
Apart from the several regimental crests, which are engraved in the bastion wall inside the garden, there’s also a small model of a castle carved in Maltese stone dedicated to the 2nd Battalion of the Essex Regiment.
The garden itself is on several levels and there is a Knight’s Gardjola (watch tower), which is easily accessible and provides spectacular views of the Ta’ Xbiex Yacht Marina and fortifications.
It’s always nice to walk the streets of Valletta. A lot of signs are old and even if they aren’t old they fit in with the old ones very well.
Frippe had sushi for lunch and he liked it a lot.
Best sushi on this island!
Kalle is not that into museum’s, so I took the opportunity to visit Grandmasters Palace with Frippe that also wanted to go there. I liked it. It was interesting and really fun to play around with the camera in the museum. Unfortunately I noticed that I have a problem with missing pixels in the images. So I might have to send it to Sweden for repair…
Today a 4-day sailboat race started from Valletta. I think the contestants are suppose to sail around Sicily and back.
Today I passed by Spinola Bay and took this picture. Most photos I have from this area is either in bright sunshine or from the evenings with all lights on. But this is what it looks like a cloudy day. Not to bad I think.
We drove by the penthouse in Baħrija again today. The building was all open so we went inside to have another look.