The Wet Way Update - Malta to Gibraltar

As you've all probably noticed, it’s been a while since our last website update. You could say we’ve been slack, but to be honest, we've been anything but. Since you last heard from us, we've sailed 2500 nautical miles, climbed volcanoes, surfed amazing waves and met some all-time people.

Over 2 months ago, Starlight set sail from the safety of Palumbo Shipyard. As the social media followers are probably aware, we ran smack bang into a winter storm off the south coast of Sicily on our very first night at sea. That night we ripped 2 sails, one of which we had repaired and the other was shredded to bits. We also had a rogue wave come over the roof and through the nav table window which fried our nav computer. You could say we were unlucky and got caught out, however, thats not the way I see it. Copping a good old fashion flogging on the very first night was exactly what we needed. Strange you say? Well to put it simply, it gave us confidence in the ship. Starlight handled really well in the nasty short period swell and once we hit the protection of the south coast of Sicily, we dried out our wet gear along with the wheelhouse, got the spare sails out and continued towards Gibraltar. Check some of the footage of that night on our Instagram page @thewetwayhome.

 

Starlight under heavy guard from the Royal Navy in Palumbo Shipyard

Starlight under heavy guard from the Royal Navy in Palumbo Shipyard

On approach to the south coast of Sardinia, we had a phone call on the satellite phone from Charlie warning us of more weather inbound from a storm in the Bay of Marseille, only a few hundred miles from our position. So naturally, we took his word for it and took shelter for Christmas day on the south side of Sardinia. We pulled the Turkey out of the freezer, put on a extra large pot of mulled wine and had a Christmas lunch at anchor in 50kts of wind.

The Starlight Family, Arabella and the Kirkby's

The Starlight Family, Arabella and the Kirkby's

New Years Eve was in Benalmedina, a small port not far from Gibraltar and a sleepy little town until we arrived. Once again, we stopped in here to let a weather front pass as well as do a few running repairs and pick up some new crew. Toothy joined us here as did Sam and Amanda for the new years festivities. They carried with them Starlight’s new flag which was to sit atop the ships top mast simply to add a bit of street cred to the look of the ship. We hoisted it on New Years Day. The party went for a couple of days and then we got back to business and prepared for the next leg south to the Canary Islands. 

 

The 3rd of January was the day Starlight officially returned to the Atlantic Ocean, her home for many years. After stopping in Gibraltar and topping the tanks up with duty free diesel, Starlight joined the busy shipping lanes of the Gibraltar straights on an outgoing tide and was met with a pleasant 2-3m, long period swell. We had officially left the Mediterranean Sea as well as the terms and conditions outlined in our insurance policy. 

 

Topping up the diesel tanks with half price fuel in Gibraltar.   

Topping up the diesel tanks with half price fuel in Gibraltar.   

Turns out, the straights of Gibraltar are full of tuna. With the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean currents mingling, coupled with the wild tidal streams, Starlight and her crew landed 50kgs of tuna in the space of 1hr. The aft deck was a blood bath and Starlight’s head of fishing (Brio) hit max froth. We chucked a few fillets straight on the new Magma BBQ and ate until we were ‘tuna drunk’. We couldn't have asked for a warmer welcome to the Atlantic Ocean. A freezer full of tuna, light winds and smooth seas. Now the adventure had truly begun, from a Sea to an Ocean. 

 

The lads on a big haul of Tuna after the Gibraltar straights

The lads on a big haul of Tuna after the Gibraltar straights

The trip from Gibraltar to the Canary Islands was always a concern for us. We had to time it perfectly to avoid these rogue winter swells that you so often see smashing the coast of Portugal and Morocco. As it turns out, we timed it perfectly and the trip south was relatively uneventful. With hardly had any wind, we had to run the engine the whole way. Not to worry, though, the crew was so excited to get there that burning a bit of diesel didn't bother any of us. 

 

Confessions From 233 Diesel Street

Forgive me Father for it has been a long time since my last confession…

A Hard earned thirst calls for a big cold Beer. 

A Hard earned thirst calls for a big cold Beer. 

 

Initially I believed it was a slow news week when The Wet Way Home graced the silver screens of Malta’s National News station TVM taking up a solid 3 min slot, but it wasn’t entirely the case. 

Shortly after there was a follow up interview broadcasted live on the Maltase equivalent of Kerri Anne Kennelly’s Midday Show by Mrs Antonella the self proclaimed bad girl of Maltese television. Talk about taking Malta by storm! Well a salty sailing storm in a cup of Earl Grey.

Its not like The Wet Way Home’s being hounded by paparazzi but I do find myself singing Brose’s hit song from the eighties “When will I, will I, be famous”. I even pretend to be the choir answering myself with the chorus…. “I can’t answer, I can’t answer that”! 

Unwanted fame will surely come the day the Sun Riders are discovered and get rave reviews, being equated to boy bands such as The Beach Boys, The Beatles and The Monkeys. I look forward to the day the Sun Riders cruise into LAs MTV Studio drop there underpowered 1970 moto’s at the building entrance and get down and dirty for an unplugged recording. 

Everyone has been saying “Its Happening” as in The Wet Way Home is happening but it’s been happening for so long now that “Its Happening” sounds a lot more like a sad idea of hype, like Johnnie Farnham’s Final Tour… the seventh one. Is it ever really going to happen?

Johnny Farnham on his 7th Final Tour. 

Johnny Farnham on his 7th Final Tour. 

Its defiantly going to happen, I have been watching pipe masters with Dylan allowing myself to dream of uncrowded waves in some exotic location eating fresh fish and lobster cooking on the Barbie anchored just outside the breakers. Any day now the planets will align and it will happen but no time for dreaming I got to get on up and do my thing.

The only thing stopping us now is “Frankenstein” the brain of Starlight’s navigation equipment. Frankenstein is the unholy creation of Nicky’s mad Maltese genius that surgically created the beast by cutting and joining various pieces of many computer bodies to fit a small computer carcase that Mick found on the side of the road somewhere. 

Complete with a pink mouse and keyboard all that’s required to bring Frankenstein to life is a bolt of lighting from the 50-year storm. 

The only fish that’s being eaten lately was one that spoke to Mrs Antonella on TVM informing her that the Starlight’s crew was crazy. The famous fish was splashed with some Caribbean butter and days later and thrown on the Barbie for all to try. 

A massive thanks to the boys at Rapala who provided the Wet Way Home enough quality fishing gear to cover the decks of Starlight with Cod and Haddock. Kew instructed me to fabricate a death spike to take care of big fish, it ended up looking like something that would be found in Chopper Reads back shed and that reminds me of Charlie Kirkby’s eerie resemblance of Carl Williams, what a worry.

Max Froth. 

Max Froth. 

Jodi suspects that there is a rodent on board trying to steel the goji berries. Who ever spots it first has the rights to name it. I’m thinking Rooster would be a good name…you know Rooster the rat…but you never know it could be a mouse. 

Brio

  

 

 

 

Dear Dylan, Part 3

dear dylan 6-1.jpg

MEET FREDDY, FREDDY’S A CHARACTER...

Freddy owns an antique shop in Bormla and sold us a bunch of brass bowls, bells and other assorted shapes from which we made LED light housings. Along with the brass, the three of us decided that we were sparkies for a week or so and wired up the whole boat. All of a sudden, Starlight was lit! 

KEW AND BRIO ARRIVE BACK ONBOARD

After both having 6 Months or more to hit the high seas on a boat that actually paid them, Kew and Brio were back in town. Armed with a fresh enthusiasm, the boys where straight into it. 

SCURVY RUNS RIFE ON BOARD STARLIGHT...

After arriving from the Caribbean, Kew passed on a strain of airborn zekka to the rest of the crew. It wiped us out so we fought it the only way we knew possible, raw garlic sandwiches and hot lemon and rum shots. We scared the ‘scurvy’ off along with anyone else who wanted to talk to us. 

PORTHOLES AND WET BEDS.

Guess we should replace the port holes?

Guess we should replace the port holes?

When you wake in the morning thinking that you’ve pissed the bed, it might be worth having a look at re-sealing the portholes. Some of the portholes were actually cracked and we needed to replace the glass along with the rubber seals. A pretty important job considering we will be sailing the high seas in a few weeks. With all the brass threads seized tight, this was a job for Charlie and his oxy torch. After an hour or so with Charlie, the old glass was out and the new stuff in. That night, it was dry beds throughout Starlight... #TheDryWayHome

A BELLY FULL OF BALLAST

Loves the shaft

Loves the shaft

After looking like she was doing a wheely for the last few months, Starlight is back on an even keel with 2 tons of the finest ballast cut and placed in her belly. It took over a week of cutting on the De-Walt chopsaw grinder to fill her hungry goblet. We used old propeller shafts that had been condemned to the ship yard for scrap. The shafts, primarily composed of Nickel and Copper (Monal Alloy), are extremely dense (heavy) as well as being highly resistant to corrosion. My back is now cactus, however, Starlights‘ ballast may well be worth more than the ship itself. 

THE RASTA CABIN

When Brio arrived to lend a hand for the second time, the three of us agreed he needed his own digs. The foul weather berth was the only one left and Brio said he had plans to renovate... Turns out, Brio might actually have found his calling as an interior designer. The “Rasta” cabin was born. And to the astonishment of his fellow onlooking seaman, Brio splashed his “Caribbean Butter” around the cabin and turned the once stormy, somewhat unpleasant berth into a Jamaican oasis. He also has dreams of a porthole to sniff the fresh salt breeze, this we are sure will happen in good time. So, once again Brio, we thank you for your helping hands. Starlight loves you almost as much as you love Brazil. 

MERCHANDISE

Mood ring modelling 

Mood ring modelling 

All within a few days of each other, Starlight it seems has its own new range of Merchandise sample arrivals. Out of the blue, a bunch of mystery mood rings arrived on Starlights door step to which we had no idea the sender. Finally Kew owned up to it revealing his plans for an online merchandise store. “Mood rings are becoming trendy again” he assured us to which none of us could argue. Accompanying the mood ring was a selection of personalised stubby holders with names of Starlight crew and many of her closest friends. Cheers Toothy for the gesture, you’re vision of a star lit rum bar named ‘Toothy’s Rum Bar” is inching closer and closer to a reality.

Not to be out done, Brio delivered his much anticipated ‘Sun Riders Patches’. We’re yet to lock in the requirements to become “patched in”, however, we’re sure this is one piece of merchandise that has to be earned. Along with the Patches, Brio also managed to land Starlight and her crew with a clothing and apparel sponsor from Billabong. A duffle bag full of clothes was placed on the floor and a dog-eat-dog battle for the coolest threads ensued. With most of the garments size L, somehow Mick’s wardrobe still ended up with the most gear? 

MDINA GP

Winners are 'Grinners' 

Winners are 'Grinners' 

With a good crew in town to show him support, Mick was ready to race. A no show at scrutinizing, leaving a break change and tyre change until the night before, not driving his race car for a whole year and finally misplacing his race helmet, Mick was as ready as ever. Joe, Carmel and Reve were part of the support crew as well. You might know Joe from a band called Grinspoon. He’s the bass player. Anyway, you can bet that, on the morning of the big race, just like the lyrics to Mick’s third favorite Grinspoon song, Mick looked himself in the mirror and said “So you wanna be a champion?” gave himself a nod and placed his once misplaced stack hat under his arm and made his was to the track. All in all, a successful day was enjoyed by Starlight’s Boi racer bringing home 1st in his class, a 1st for fastest lap time in his class and the second fastest overall lap time. 

THE JUNKY RIGGED RIGGER

The junky rigged rigger

The junky rigged rigger

We all have assigned roles on board Starlight... Kew’s is “Head of Rigging”. This came about due to his sailing knowledge. But don’t get me wrong, Kew will be the first one to tell you he’s no expert when it comes to rigging up a 1930’s motor/fishing/sailing/smack/gaff rigged ketch. However, he is a good sailor. So, naturally, he was the one to rig up the ol gal for her new and existing sails and he’s done a bloody good job. For someone who know’s sweet f@#k all about sailing (like me), to look up at all the ropes, stays and blocks (pulleys) would hurt your brain. We also used up all the blocks, bottle screws and shackles that Starlight had to offer, so tomorrow, its off to Gauci Border to spend another bunch of cash on things we hadn’t accounted for. But don’t worry, Kew’s got it all sussed, the sails are now in place and ready to be hoisted by the men upon the next fair wind. 

STARLIGHT MAKES HER OWN DRINKING WATER

Reverse osmosis. If you don’t know what it means, look it up. Starlight now has a “reverse osmosis machine”, more commonly known as a water maker. We can now make our own fresh water on board and fill our water tank wherever and whenever we wish. Nicky helped us out with the installation and we couldn’t have done it without him. Nicky also gave us a hand with the new exhaust manifold, welding it up from scratch, but tthat'sanother story. So, from here on in, Starlight wont need bottled water, which means we can live for months on fish, rice, fresh water and surf. A fine investment.

SURFING

Surfing at rubbish tips rights

Surfing at rubbish tips rights

With one of the biggest swells to hit Malta in quite a while, we managed to score a few waves. At its peak, the waves reached over 5m and nowhere was holding the swell. After it peaked however,I scored some of the best waves I’d had in Malta at a place I only know as “Rubbish tips” with a couple of Maltese lads, Peppi and Matt. The locals where frothing and rightly so, there was no wind and a well-overhead swell. Mick sat this one out nursing a rogue hangover and was pretty off me when I returned home to tell the tale.

NEXT TIME ON DEAR DYLAN

Starlight leaves the embrace of Palumbo Shipyard for the first time in over a year, Charlie fixes a wartime relic and the lads find an alai in the form of the Queens Royal Navy. 

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Confessions from 233 Diesel Street

Shortly after the sun had risen we rose from our scratchers and packed into the wheelhouse like oversized sardines to wish Dylan a happy birthday.

Mick presented Dylan with a gift, a quill and ink to aid him with his Dear Dylan entries. I enjoyed the moment sitting on an old wooden foot stool under Starlight’s helm, munching on a piece of cheese and vegemite toast that Kew had prepared earlier.

Instantly I had visions of Dylan, instinctively dipping his red parrot feather into the small bottle of black ink while surrounded by buzzing mosquitos and antiques in his dimly lit cabin. This vision did not materialise as such, and the red feather was to become symbolic of trying times for Dylan Snowball.

I would describe Dylan’s temperament as an unwavering, stoic, co-operative and thoughtful one, whom of which I have never seen or known to be rattled. However, I’ve noticed a change of late, and like Dr Phil, suspected something was amiss. True to my inner woman’s intuition, a rusty chain of events did transpire, and it threatened to melt Dylan like a snowball in the hot Caribbean sun.

Snowy has been crook with the flu adding garlic to everything he eats to combat it. Without his chunny around he looks like a sheep-less shepard. He feels that the two saddles he handmade for the gaffs would more suited to a horse, and he can’t get the generator to purr like a well fed Maltese stray. He was going through a rough patch. 

The bad run finally reached its peak when the next instalment of Dear Dylan was lost forever. Trying his hand on todays modern writing machines, he lost the lot while looking for the paper slot. I believed it had the potential to bring the salty snowball unhinged.

Initially, I was surprised by not being surprised when Dylan headed to his scratcher late the following night to dutifully rewrite his lost diary entry. I assumed he had everything under control till the spiritual vibe in the rasta shack was broken by a different sounding sigh coming from the cabin across the street. It became shockingly clear that Dylan had rewritten and re-lost his Dear diary entry for a second time.

The following day during the morning meeting Dylan sat quietly on Starlight’s top step. I gingerly asked if he would attempt his Dear Dylan diary entry for a third time. I couldn’t help but encourage him to do so, adding he should while the content was fresh. In a moment of rare weakness, Snowy looked to the sky, reaching high with NBA arms and outward palms. His garlic mouth agape within a pale confused face. Why had the sea gods stolen his words? Dumbstruck.

The End.

Bryson.

Keep your partner happy & stick to what you're good at!

Everyone who knows Kew, would agree that he is well known for many things; like playing the guitar until his fingers bleed at the tail end of a party, vulgar dance moves, minimal and scattered possessions, randomness and writing.

However he is most renowned for one thing....... resigning!

After convincing any new found employer that he’s "in it for the long haul", contracts are exchanged and the resignation clock starts ticking. It's just a matter of time.. Fortunately for the Starlight crew, that time came today.

Kew resigned his position as captain of a Caribbean based catamaran. The fear of missing the first leg of The Wet Way Home was just too much. Does he have plenty of funds saved? Probably not. Does he care? Probably not. But he’s done it and come November, he will be onboard with his guitar, a new synth and the giggling Bengy under his arm.

Dear Dylan, Part 2

Wonder what Dylan's been up to these past few weeks? Wonder no longer! Second instalment of Dear Dylan - straight from under his pillow, ink and tears still damp upon the pages.


After an earlier than expected arrival in Malta, we were super grateful to be settling into Mick and Joey's pad in Spinola Bay. As it turned out, Dirk, (the tenant living in Mick's place) had done his time in Malta for now. He was outta here. Dirk, a top bloke might I add, moved out the day after we moved in.

Dirk showed us around and made us aware of all the new features that the "Spinola Pad" now had to offer. The lower level reeked of damp due to the flood that happened 6 months prior, there was mould everywhere. The downstairs toilet no longer flushed cause the sewage pump was fucked and, to shower, he was standing in Joni's largest cooking pot until it filled and then disposing the remains in the kitchen sink... classic! So I called a plumber who removed a few tampex and 20 wet wipes from the sewage pump, all for 25 Euros, and boom, we were back in action showering without a cooking pot in sight.  We re-plasted and painted a couple of mouldy walls and thought we should leave the rest to stress Mick out when he gets back. 

As for the Starlight, well today we officially finalised the order for the new sails. The main and the mizzen sail are on their way. Four weeks until arrival apparently. It would be pretty funny watching me walk into a sail makers loft a try and talk shop with them. I paid the asked deposit and got outta there before they started talking about "luffs" and "reaches" and other sailors chat that I just wouldn't have had a "clew" about. The new sails will be keeping in the same colour scheme as the old ones - a dark maroon/brown/pooey colour which will, in time, fade to a lighter more piratey brown after many salty days in the sun. 

The job that's sucking the motivation out of all of us is the ballast. After removing all the rust affected pig iron from the ships belly last year, we now had the task of finding a new solution the weight her keel down and sort out the current "tender" stability issue. The simple solution would be to invest in a couple of tonne of lead. Only issue is, lead is expensive and we're not rich. We thought about a tonne of Sailor Jerry's, however, as you could imagine, that would bring its own stability issues.

Today I was supposed to put in my first full day of work in on Starlight. But I didn't. There was surf here in Malta, so when there is surf here, you go surf because you never know when your next chance will be. The vibe in Malta out in the water is pretty different to anywhere else in the world. You paddle out and the locals are super friendly. They ask you where you're from and let you catch as many waves as you want if you're polite. The waves were small, but fun. A good session for a bloke who hasn't caught a wave in 3 months. So cheers for letting me borrow your legrope surf instructor (sorry, forgot your name) and nice catching a few waves with you Peppi and Marco, catch you guys next swell. 

We've also been busy planning the new "Wet Workout" (the workout name is still up for discussion). Its for anyone who wants to be a super seaman or sailor siren . Its going to be run by Jenny Feather who is here with us in Malta to develop this seaman specific workout for a few weeks only. We look forward to seeing what Jenny has up her dirty salty skirt for us with this one.

So tomorrow I should go do some work on Starlight.

Dear Dylan,

Dylan's well known for a few things. He works long and hard without complaint, and enjoys a beer when the day is done. He likes camembert and clean clothes. But don't be thinking that's all there is to Dylan. Dylan's deep. 

So when Mick made a rule that journals were to be kept and issued diaries on the spot, Dyl took his new possession and placed it next to his hair comb on the nightstand. Nowdays, before extinguishing his lantern, Dyl puts ink to paper and a new section of the news was born.


April 2, 2016

It was time... My two months of holiday's were up and I finally had to go back to work onboard Silver Dream - which was currently in Nice port, France. I looked around at all the jobs left unfinished and thought ... “fuck, there’s still a lot left to do”. I wished I had another two weeks.... 

In that same moment, Mick and I had a celebratory rum and acknowledged all the work that the 3 of us had completed. Having the mast and rigging up was the main one, and what a job that was. We were glad we finished that one because without the 3 of us there for this, the mast and rigging installation would’ve been nearly impossible. Getting the rig up before Kew left was imperative as he pulled down the old rig and knew exactly where all the new members had to be fitted. The framework for the new fwd cabin was almost complete, the house battery boxes complete and ready for battery installation, the bowsprit was installed along with the new booms and their 20 coats of varnish. These are but a few of the jobs that we were toasting to. 

So with Kew off in search for work in the America’s and myself back to France, the payload of work all of a sudden fell like a pile of rusty pig iron into the lap of Mick. One sentence comes to mind... “where do I start?” with a bunch of jobs lying in wait, some big, some small. Knowing Mick, he was about to make a start on them all. 

Further to the long list if things to do, Mick also had the daunting job of sorting out all the footage that we’d acquired over the past 6 months. Now believe me, having Mick tell us for the past 6 months to “film everything”, “‘you gotta film it” , “why the fuck didn’t you film that” ... I can only imagine the state of the unorganised footage that was sitting on those hard drives waiting to be logged. This too was Mick’s show... Another thing in the back of his mind that squeezed that rubber band around his head that little bit tighter. The stress was building...

August 5, 2016

Fast forward now to the beginning of August. Just by chance, a repeat charter guest for Silver Dream decides he will start his charter in Valletta, Malta. So there’s me, rubbing my hands together, knowing that I will be able to drop in on “Starlight” and check out all the work that has been done while I’ve been away. 

As the 5th Aug approached, the crew on Silver Dream must’ve thought “I wish this guy would stop talking about his damn boat”... The excitement was showing. 

We arrived in Malta in the AM after a 24hr steam from Palermo, Sicily. “Starlight” was first sighted from the tender as we were dropping our passports in for check in. Her masts in the foreground of the shipyards cranes glistening in the morning sunlight. And, soon enough, we were onboard.... 

Where to look first??? My mind drew a blank as to where we kept the key, we were locked out, heavy. But we found a way in, along with the key, and with “Mantooth” and “Jenny from the dock”  along for a captain cook, we hit max froth (at least I did anyway). 

After a quick mast inspection, we were inside looking at a nice new main saloon, equipped with a new deep burgundy upholstered daybed, varnished floorboards and lo and behold, a new custom made freezer. The space was now large enough to swing a cat and the turkish floor rug really set off the new decor.

Step fwd a few more steps and we found ourselves peering into the new fwd cabin. Now sporting a double bed, extra storage cupboards, but, most importantly, the music studio. To the starboard side of the new cabin, was a new bathroom, boasting a shower that Kew and I can stand tall in, along with a new throne that got a good test run by Mantooth one morning. 

Further toward the bow, we found the bosun’s locker now equipped with new shelves for the tools along with nice timber draws for the hand tools. Not to mention, the anchor chain stowed neatly in the freshly painted anchor locker. Peking duck... 

The froth was high this day, and although she was in need of a wash, “Starlight” was looking the best I’d seen her. Ever. The word “majestic” may have even been used to describe her on this day. 

Gab and I enjoyed our second only sleepover onboard, and it was great to see one of our girls enjoying the mood “Starlight” offered up. An ‘Otis Redding’ record was spun, and a relaxing beverage on the sundeck was in order.   

So, fast forward another week or so, and here I am writing a blog for thewetwayhome’s news page (am I a blogger now? WTF??). We are busy with another charter off the coast of Sicily and back to the grind. After seeing “Starlight” this last time, all of a sudden, things seem to be coming together. A combined effort from the 3 of us at the start of the year, followed by a huge push from Micko this last few months, along with a great deal of help from others, puts us well on track to be off at the end of the year. 

There are still a few jobs to complete, her sails are on order, the generator is in place but not fitted, and the water maker is ready to be installed. But hey, we’ve made it this far, the rest should be a piece of piss. 

There are some exciting things coming up. Sea trials will be a highlight. Testing out the old girl in a decent size, short period, windy Mediterranean swell will be a good shake down, for both crew and vessel alike. 

So cheers Micko for the solid effort this last few months, “Starlight” is looking ship shape. That's enough from this bulletin. Till next time @thewetwayhome.

Fire in the Hole

A poorly played horn blasted through the silence of the shipyard. A bugle was discovered onboard the ship, and in the amphitheatre of the dry dock, once you found the sweet spot it truly made an impressive sound. Men laughed joyously or nodded approvingly, depending on what the player could produce.

There was no time for fun while the boat was high and dry, but we had fun anyway. Like six wine soaked men crammed into the wheelhouse blasting a bugle. It would carry on until the dude that was getting it delivered straight into his earhole couldn't take it any longer. One unlucky player even held up the instrument, closed his eyes and prepared to play, when five other men's saliva ran into his mouth and put him off playing the bugle ever again.

The plug was pulled and as the winter sea drained from the dry dock, Starlight began to rest on the blocks being strategically placed by the shipyard divers. Everyone knew the magnitude of the day – we were about to see the underbelly of the vessel and could be peering at a rotten mess, like a dentist’s day at Sunset Retirement Village. But good fortune prevailed, and although the list was long, it seemed within our capabilities and possible within the time frame we had allowed.

The task that laid ahead however, was far greater than just Starlight’s owners. A bugle cry for help was sounded, and promptly answered by several men – of whom thewetwayhome will be forever indebted. Bless you Mantooth, Stevo, Brio, Nick, Chris and Mark. Long hours were spent toiling well into the night. Your blood, sweat and tears will be returned with adventure, waves and beers.

Christmas came around and after a tiresome month buried deep in the shipyard, it was time to let the cat out of the bag. There was talk of venturing out into the world, but like a family of moles poking their heads out after too long underground, we squinted at the blinding sun and decided it was safer to stay put in familiar dirty territory. Fires were lit, motorbikes lowered in and the sounding of the bugle signified the beginning of the games.

Days became nights and suddenly it was well into the new year and a pile of work still awaited. A giant clock now loomed and ticked over the hole. When everyone had found their heads and wallets, we had to get stuck in. A crazy couple of weeks ensued, with the troops rallying and working right up to the eleventh hour. Tomorrow Starlight was to feel the cool embrace of the Mediterranean Sea.

Charlie blew his whistle and Seppy opened the flood gates. Millions of cold salty litres roared into what had been our grimy home and playground for well over a month. Some major works had taken place and we anxiously awaited as the water level rose and the boat began to float again. To the delight of all, the repairs and works were successful, and the leaks that were once a torrent had been reduced to but a trickle. Jetski’s and tenders were launched and we celebrated Kevin Costner smoker style, while shipyard management watched and checked on their insurance policies.

Now back on sea level, the winter sun glistens off the waters around Palumbo Shipyard. Together the crew inhales the clean salty air and enjoys the warming sun upon their faces. After a memorable few months in the dark belly of Palumbo, Starlight edges a little closer to riding the deep blue rollers once again.

The Queen's in town - Mick's in the slammer

Occasionally there's a little wave in Malta when it's been windy for a few days. Today was such a day so the cars were packed and everyone headed to the northern tip of the island - Golden Bay. There wasn't a lot on offer, but times are tough in the Mediterranean Sea, so there were a few desperadoes keen for a paddle. The sun peaked through the clouds just as the wind backed away, so the crew on the beach put the drone in the air to grab some shots of the pleasant afternoon. 

Shortly after the drone landed, two policeman were spotted marching earnestly across the sand. Being the most dubious mob on the beach, it became clear where they were headed. Tense words were spoken and the drone was confiscated and its owner taken into custody for further questioning. Turns out the big dogs from every Commonwealth nation were in town and staying in the beach hotel the drone was buzzing around. When we were no longer suspected to be ISIS spies posing as Aussies surfers plotting mischief towards the Queen, the mood relaxed and everybody headed off to the station to complete the formalities.

After viewing the footage, the sergeant summoned an officer to fetch the biscuits and coffee and started to let his stories roll. Full of coffee, Mick decided he had a few stories of his own. Some time later, when all the telling was done, Sergeant David said it was an honour to meet everybody, and wished Starlight and its crew all the best in its future endeavours.

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The Oracle

Three doors down from the boat shed a man quietly goes about his business - tinkering on a boat, day in, day out. His name is Trevor Goldsmith but to us he's 'The Oracle', and we've been tapping him for knowledge on all things boating. Trev was kind enough to invite us around for a drink and a meal to discuss some of the upcoming projects on 'Starlight'. The evening was very pleasant and his buttery vegetable stew was a treat to eat. Cheers for your time Goldsmith and happy birthday, next time dinner is at our place.