The fishing boats of Marsaxlokk…

Fisherman preparing a Maltese luzzu for a day of fishing in the Mediterranean.
Fisherman preparing a Maltese luzzu for a day of fishing in the Mediterranean.

…where seafood comes from

Photos and words by Mary Charlebois
It’s early morning. The sky is changing from deep indigo to gold. The fishing boats of Marsaxlokk bob quietly in the harbor. Fisherman sit under a shelter drinking coffee and eating Maltese pastries. On a striped bench, a deckhand catches a few winks. The conversations are mostly in Maltese, but I hear English, Italian, and a language I think might be an African dialect.

Marsaxlokk has been home to fishing boats for centuries. Some are small, holding one or two men, fishing close to shore. Others carry a larger crew and venture further out to sea. Most are motorized, but a few are man-powered using oars. All sizes and colors bring back the Mediterranean cornucopia of seafood to the Marsaxlokk fish market, fishmongers, and markets in Malta and Gogo.

A luzzu, the traditional fishing boat of the Maltese Islands.

The bright colors of the boats are traditional. The small luzzu were the first to be decorated with yellow, red, blue, white and green bands of color encircling the vessel. Luzzus are pointed on each end, and often have a bow and stern that curve up to a point similar to a gondola.

The market comes to life

Shrimp in the open market at Marsaxlokk Malta.

Crushed ice is poured into shallow bins that are quickly filled with fish and shellfish. Grouper, snapper, swordfish, tuna, and amberjack are lined-up waiting to be taken home for Sunday dinner. Clams of several varieties, oysters, squid, and my favorite, king prawns, join the displays of Neptune’s gifts. I can’t wait to buy the makings of my seafood dinner.

Eyes on the fishing boats of Marsaxlokk

The Eye of Osiris, a traditional talisman to protect the fisherman and the fishing boats of Malta while at sea.

Luzzus traditionally have the eyes of Osiris placed prominently on the bow. The Eye of Osiris is a traditional amulet that protects the fishing boats and fishermen while at sea. Some believe it’s a Phoenician custom, but it was also practiced by the ancient Greeks and Egyptians.

To view a full-sized slide show, click on an image in the collage.

~MG~
Read about my adventures on Gozo –
Malta Day 6,
meeting a naked farmer, oh my!

To learn more about Marsaxlokk visit HERE.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Ron says:

    Aloha Mary, many thanks for sharing your Malta story with us. Malta is definitely on my bucket list!
    Keep up the wonderful work!
    Cheers
    Ron

  2. Lady Eloise says:

    It’s so cool we get to enjoy your one trip in a multitude of blogs so the experience goes on and on! Thanks for sharing – what a place to go!

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