Just off the coast of Bugibba you can see the tiny St Paul’s island, notable for the statue of the great man which stands on its highest point.
Believe it or not, the island was inhabited in the not too distant past, when a farmer lived in what is now a ruined farmhouse right next to the statue. He packed his bags and moved off the island in the 1930’s, and nobody has had the inclination to make it a home since then. Not surprising, as a life being buffeted by wind and the hard-scrabble terrain make it a less than idyllic spot in which to live.
However you can visit the island, and we popped over there with the Seahorse cruise company. They do a boat tour which also goes around the coasts of Xemxija and Selmun, and gives you a different perspective on the familiar (to me at least) sights of St Paul’s and Bugibba. The best views of Malta are generally from the coast looking out to sea, or the other way around, rather than from within the sometimes claustrophobic inland towns.
It was also nice to be able to check out St Paul’s island, although the allotted half hour is ample time to take your photos and amble about the place unless you plan to stick around for a picnic or swim, in which case the next boat along will pick you up a couple of hours later.
You can see the ruined farmhouse, and the statue of St Paul erected over 150 years ago to celebrate St Paul’s visit to the island. Not a planned visit of course, he was shipwrecked on Malta and it is generally believed that he came ashore on St Paul’s island. Note that if you are visiting this year, the statue is currently being restored and so is encased in scaffolding. Apparently part of his hand came off, a victim of the elements, but presumably the restoration work will be complete in a month or two (or six, or twelve).
It’s a nice way to pass a couple of hours, much better than a lot of the land-based cruises you can go on.