Off to Mahdia for the Tunisia – Malta crossing in aid of Puttinu Cares

Thursday, July 15, 2010, 9:43

By Wilfred Sultana

Things are so far all going to plan for the ‘From Tunisia to Malta in aid of Puttinu Cares’ Kayak expedition.

On Tuesday late evening the Sicilian team arrived by Catamaran along with their kayak and they together with the Gambina-Vassallo Malta team all slept Wednesday night on the escort boats so, as scheduled, the local flotilla set sail on Thursday early morning at 5.30 hoping to arrive at Mahdia, in Tunisia, on Friday morning to commence paddling towards Lampedusa on Saturday at 11.00. A third team made up by Tunisians should also be joining the crossing.

In fact the kayakers will be in the limelight as at Mahdia between the 17th and 22nd July, the festival of the sea – the “Fete de la Mer” – is celebrated at this Tunisia sea-side resort.

Albert Gambina and Dorian Vassallo

Albert Gambina and Dorian Vassallo

The local support flotilla that left Malta on Thurday morning was made up of four yachts, namely, “Tallulah”, “Katy Jane”, “Destrier” and “Nicesca” skippered by Capt Joe Brincat, Ivan Grech Mintoff, Alfred Vassallo and Edmond Cachia respectively who will be seeing to the teams’ safety and movement so crucial in such open sea long distance marathons.

The approximately 175 nautical miles crossing will be made up of two long passages – Mahdia to Lampedusa and Linosa to Malta that will involve some 24 hours of paddling on each route. The distance between Lampedusa and Linosa is 25 miles and should take from 6 to 8 hours to cover. Taking into account the stops in Lampedusa and Linosa the kayakers hope to make it to Ir-Ramla tal-Mixquqa – Golden Bay – around Thursday 22nd July.

The ultimate aspiration the Maltese twosome of Albert Gambina and Dorian Vassallo, and of the rest of those on this daring challenge, is to raise awareness and funds for Puttinu Cares, the Children’s Cancer Support Group.

Dorian and Albert, as the protagonists and organisers of the event, are most grateful for the assistance extended towards the eventual happening of this crossing by the Maltese Ambassador in Tunisia, Dr Vicki Ann Cremona who was instrumental in making contact and sort out the necessary arrangements with the Tunisian authorities and the Tunisian Canoe-Kayak Federation. The Ambassadors of Tunisia and Italy in Malta have also given their support to this initiative.

Other support has also been extended by the Malta Sports Council (KMS), the Malta Canoe Federation, Transport Malta, the Luqa Meteorological Office, the Armed Forces of Malta, Medcomms Ltd, Virtu Ferries Ltd, the Tunisian Ministry of Youth and Sports and Herbalife Nutritional Products, sponsored by Dunstan Farrugia @ Nutrition Club Malta.

Dorian and Albert also have two personal sponsors; Sullivan Maritime Limited and AB Vituddens Kanotvarv of Sweden.

The Tunisia-Malta “Kayak for Cancer” event is being held under the Distinguished Patronage of His Excellency Dr George Abela, President of Malta.

Donations related to this activity are to be made by cheque, made payable to “Puttinu Cares Foundation”, and addressed to: Kayak For Cancer, Puttinu Cares Foundation, c/o MaltaPost p.l.c., 305 Triq Hal-Qormi, Marsa MTP 1001.


  1. felic says:

    is it possible to track their progress on-line

    [Sportinmalta] We don’t know of any site that is tracking these athletes, but if you do come across one please inform us. thanks for your interest


  2. oliver says:

    I too, wish the very, very best for this brave man’s actions for Puttinu.


  3. Malta says:

    Good luck to Albert and Dorian and all other people involved in this great event.


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