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Report 2011: Gozo, Calypso’s Isle

By Eleanor from UK, Spring 2012

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Page 25 of 26: Beaches

photo by MAW

Ramla Bay

Most of the coastline of Gozo is surrounded by cliffs with wave cut platforms at the base of them. There are few beaches suitable for the sun-seekers.

Ramla Bay is on the north coast, reached either by walking from Xaghra past Calypso’s cave (good views) or the long drive from Nadur. The road drops down from the plateau into a fertile valley. The fields are irrigated and in May were planted out with lettuces and cabbages. The bottom of the valley is very wet and covered with a dense growth of bamboo. To the east are steep cliffs with limestone outcrops. There is plenty of parking along the side of the road.

It is a lovely, deep golden color, sandy beach backed by sand dunes with typical dune flora. It is a popular swimming bay in summer. The day we visited there were strong winds blowing off the sea with quite a few white horses and big waves breaking on the beach.

There are two outdoor cafes at the top of the beach and a white statue of the Madonna standing in the middle of the beach. This is an ex-voto offering from three 19thC fishermen caught in a storm who promised to build a shrine if they returned safe.

Blue clay is exposed on the west side of the bay and this slope becomes unstable when wet. To the east are limestone outcrops with massive boulders. We followed a track from the east side of the beach which took us up the side of the cliff through tamarisk trees and wild oats. There were quite a few lizards darting around and disappearing into the undergrowth as soon as they saw us. Some were bright green, others brown.

The island had always been the subject of raids by the Turks. Ramla Bay was one of the few places ships could land easily. In the early 18thC, the Knights began building a series of fortifications to guard the bay. The remains of watchtowers can be seen on the headlands. They also built an underwater obstruction across the bay consisting of a submerged wall aimed at stopping boats landing. Apparently the remains of this can be seen on calm days.

Dahlet Qorrot Bay is a delightful small bay on the north east coast. It is popular with fishermen but gets few visitors as there are no tourist facilities, apart from a seat in the shade of the tamarisk trees.

It is a nice drive from Nadur down a very fertile valley with a lot of trees. There are small well tended fields growing a wide range of vegetables. Further down, the valley bottom is thick with bamboos. The valley sides to the south are bare limestone with little vegetation. The valley drops down to a small bay with tamarisk trees and small boathouses and storage sheds carved out of the cliff face. There is a certain amount of parking on the small quay and there are floats in the bay for the fishing boats.

The sea was very calm, clear and deep blue. A lot of small brown seaweed had been washed up on top of beach after the gale force winds the day before.

On the far side of the quay, steps lead up to a wave cut platform running round the headland and a steep narrow footpath heading up onto the hillside. On the other side of the bay are jagged rocks with a watch tower on the headland.

This is a delightful spot and our favorite beach on the island. We watched a fishing boat return and tie up with a few octopuses, eels and flattish fish.

Hondog Bay is a small sandy beach on the east coast overlooking Comino. It is reached by road from Qala or Ghanjsielem. This drops down beside the remains of an old quarry and the large reverse osmosis plant at the bottom of the valley. The car park was busy with divers. The beach was full of sun shades and sun seekers We didn’t stop.

The small church of St Mary of the Rocks above the beach was locked. Tradition has it this was built on this spot so people on Comino could follow Holy Mass when rough weather stopped a priest from crossing. There are certainly excellent views of Comino from the courtyard in front of chapel.

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