After an exhilarating trek around still-unspoilt Comino, it was time at around 3pm for my wife and I to make our way down to the jetty, a miniscule concrete platform the surface area of which can’t be more than 20 square metres. There were already quite a few people there waiting to make the crossing back to the mainland.

Only 15 more minutes were needed for the number to increase to such an extent that the mass of humanity perched on this restricted space came to resemble a colony of penguins, so great was the density. So much so, people wanting to get off the various ferries and vessels found it extremely difficult to do so since many of us were literally standing on the edge. I pitied the asthmatic lady who had no choice but to attempt a retreat to the back in order to avoid breathing in the noxious fumes belching out of those diesel engines.

The nadir was reached when our ferry finally arrived. Room is required for the formation of an orderly queue to facilitate boarding. There was neither so just let me say that the amount of undignified pushing and shoving had to be seen to be believed. A Merciful Providence must have intervened during those hellish minutes to ensure that no one slipped and ended up crushed inside the gap between the watercraft’s side and the quay. One wonders therefore what kind of divine intervention is needed during the summer months.

The frame of an iron jetty under construction lies in the water a couple of feet away but the wooden floorboards are still piled up and taking up precious space on the concrete. And those damned deckchairs strewn all over the place aren’t helping matters either. 

After we moored at Marfa, an exasperated ferry pilot told me that the company he works for is sick and tired of appealing to the powers-that-be to do something before it’s too late. He wished me luck with this letter.

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