After a blustery night on Sicily the weather cleared yesterday morning and we got the news that the ferry was on its way. We crossed to Malta late last night and all our passengers arrived in fine fettle.

We delivered Ophelia to Alice in Marsakala, a pretty port to the south of Malta. Courier M says he’ll miss this beautiful and calm cat, who was completely unfazed by her reptilian companions.

A rainbow heralds the start of the better weather

A rainbow heralds the start of the better weather

The sun came out so we gave the turtles the chance to catch some rays and stretch their legs

The sun came out so we gave the turtles the chance to catch some rays and stretch their legs

Sun glinting off a turtle shell

Sun glinting off a turtle shell

A pair of inseparable Map Turtle sisters. The contour-line markings on their neck give them their name. These two were formerly known as Michelangelo and Donatello, but were renamed Michael and Donna when they were found to be girls. Their previous owner kept them in a bucket with no filter, and when he got fed up with them he offered them for free on Gumtree. Gerry, a member of Turtle Rescue UK, took them on and their quality of life has improved no end. Many of her reptile family are rescues who were abandoned or living in poor conditions. Gerry knows her limits, however, and won't be taking on any more!

A pair of inseparable Map Turtle sisters. The contour-line markings on their neck give them their name. These two were formerly known as Michelangelo and Donatello, but were renamed Michael and Donna when they were found to be girls. Their previous owner kept them in a bucket with no filter, and when he got fed up with them he offered them for free on Gumtree. Gerry, a member of Turtle Rescue UK, took them on and their quality of life has improved no end. Many of her reptile family are rescues who were abandoned or living in poor conditions. Gerry knows her limits, however, and won’t be taking on any more!

Juliet, Cleopatra and Eloise, three Musk Turtles named after famous lovers as their former male companion was a very active fellow. They hail from North America and are so named because they emit a noxious musky smell when threatened, in the hope of seeming less palatable to predators than either items on the menu.

Juliet, Cleopatra and Eloise, three Musk Turtles named after famous lovers as their former male companion was a very active fellow. They hail from North America and are so named because they emit a noxious musky smell when threatened, in the hope of seeming less palatable to predators than other items on the menu.

Ophelia keen to know what's going on in the compartment next door…

Ophelia keen to know what’s going on in the compartment next door…

…demanding a fuss…

…demanding a fuss…

…and getting it!

…and getting it!

A selection of axolotls. They look like tadpoles that are almost ready to become frogs. They have legs and a tail but breathe through gills. In a crisis, such as a pond drying out, they can transform into air-breathing creatures but don't last long in that state. They originate in Mexico where they live in cold lakes fed by mountain snow melt. But they're very sensitive to pollution and so are almost extinct in the wild. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about them is that they can regrow injured or severed body parts. Two of Gerry's collection were taken off their original owner by his sister who was disgusted that he didn't clean or feed them properly. When Gerry got them one had eaten all the limbs of the other one, but they grew back perfectly. (Don't try this at home, kids!)

A selection of axolotls. They look like tadpoles that are almost ready to become frogs. They have legs and a tail but breathe through gills. In a crisis, such as a pond drying out, they can transform into air-breathing creatures but don’t last long in that state. They originate in Mexico where they live in cold lakes fed by mountain snow melt. But they’re very sensitive to pollution and so are almost extinct in the wild. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about them is that they can regrow injured or severed body parts. Two of Gerry’s collection were taken off their original owner by his sister who was disgusted that he didn’t clean or feed them properly. When Gerry got them one had eaten all the limbs of the other one, but they grew back perfectly. (Don’t try this at home, kids!)

Australian Snake-necked Turtle Sanka. They hunt by lying in mud at the bottom of a lake, sensing small creatures in the mud using their barbels, or spotting their food visually. They strike with astonishing speed, much like a snake. They choose prey they can swallow whole as they can't chew (a bit like most teenagers).

Australian Snake-necked Turtle Sanka. They hunt by lying in mud at the bottom of a lake, sensing small creatures in the mud using their barbels, or spotting their food visually. They strike with astonishing speed, much like a snake. They choose prey they can swallow whole as they can’t chew (a bit like most teenagers).

Gerry has several different species of African Land Snails that she got from African food markets in London where they're sold to African ex-pats looking for a taste of home.

Gerry has several different species of African Land Snails that she got from African food markets in London where they’re sold to African ex-pats looking for a taste of home.

Interesting numberplate!

Interesting numberplate!

A few of the local residents — there looks to be a family connection

A few of the local residents — there looks to be a family connection

Ophelia in her carry basket for delivery to Alice

Ophelia in her carry basket for delivery to Alice

Alice delighted to be reunited with her beautiful cat

Alice delighted to be reunited with her beautiful cat

Just 15 minutes later Ophelia was tucked up in bed having a nap!

Just 15 minutes later Ophelia was tucked up in bed having a nap!