On the morning of Friday May 18, sentinels stationed along the southeastern shores of the island of Malta caught the first hazy glimpse of sails spreading along the horizon. The long-expected Ottoman armada had finally arrived.
Warning shots, fires and the eerie wail of conch shells spread the alarm across the islands. Three cannon shots were fired from Fort St. Angelo, warning village inhabitants to seek the shelter of the closest fortress.
The fleet sailed west along the southern end of the island, and then north, following the western coastline before setting anchor for the night.
The next morning, Saturday May 19, the enormous armada of hundreds of ships headed south toward the bay of Marsaxlokk …