It was another short paddle but full of history and quality. After leaving the Inland Sea we turned south through the distinctive Azure Window, one of the most dramatic sea arches that I have seen from a sea kayak. To the south lay Dwejra Bay, at one time this was a cavern rather like Inland Sea but sections of the outer wall have collapsed leaving a sheltered bay where there were a number of yachts at anchor.
The largest section of the outer wall to remain is the distinctive Fungus Rock, the Knights of St John used to collect a rare plant from the summit. A native of Africa it is said that Fungus Rock is the only place that it grows in Europe.
Extracts from the plant are said the reduce bleeding, prevent infection, cure dysentery and ulcers and to treat venereal diseases, a pretty precious resource. Fungus Rock was joined to Gozo by an aerial runway and the harvesters were sent across in a one man cable car. The rock was decreed out of bounds in 1746 and it is said that the sides were smoothed off to prevent people climbing up. Any trespassers who were caught risked having to spend 3 years as an oarsman in the Knight’s of St John’s galleys. As much as I like being on the water even that seemed a bit excessive so we viewed the rock from sea level.
We only covered 2 miles but what a couple of miles, sea kayaking with a geographical and historical backdrop.
The Azure Window is even more dramatic from sea level than it is from the land.
Looking south past Fungus Rock to the cliffs of the south west coast.
I have wandered for years why we carry whistles on out buoyancy aids. Today after over 40 years of paddling I found out why. This fishing boat would probably have run use down, it was the use of the whistle that attracted the attention of the person at the helm.
At the back of Dwejra Bay there was a cave system which is was possible to get through with a bit of pushing, pulling and leaning back. The rock formations inside were certainly very special and not like any I have seen before from a kayak.
A double exiting from the narrowest section of the cave.
The way out lay ahead.
Fungus Rock, standing guard over the entrance of Dwejra Bay.