Arrived in Zakinthos (Zante) around lunchtime yesterday, after a rather frustrating passage across the Ionian. Frustrating because there just wasn't any wind, and we ended up motoring for most of the 290 miles. Boring, noisy and expensive!
Drinks and nibbles in the middle of the Ionian - note the flat calm sea! Land ho! The island of Zakinthos.
That did not mar, however, the high we felt on arriving in Greece, as this is another milestone in our travels. The harbour in Zakinthos town, which we had to make our first port of call as it is a port of entry to the country is large, and accommodates all sizes of vessels, including ferries, fishing boats and cruise liners (though the QE2 which arrived today anchored outside as it is not quite THAT big!) Small yachts (which of course ours is by comparison) tie up along the harbour wall.
Just one corner of the harbour!
This was the first time we have moored without lazy lines and so had some discussion before arriving about whether we go bow or stern-to. The problem for us going stern-to as most boats do, is that we have a rib hanging off the back of the boat and that makes it difficult to get lines ashore, unless someone is there to take them. Our rudder is also just 3 inches forward of the transom so we have to be sure there are no underwater projections that it could foul on.
So we decided we would use the kedge anchor over the stern and go in bows to. Forward planning and preparation meant that we moored up without problems and very shortly after the harbour official arrived to ask for our papers. We had expected a load of red tape and sitting around in offices as we had been warned that Greece is a bit bureaucratic, but we had none of it. This very friendly guy charged us 30 euros for two nights, then went off saying that he would bring the relevant paperwork back in the morning, which he duly did. So much for red tape! We had to pay 95 euros for a type of boat log book which we have to have stamped in and out of each port, but this now lasts indefinitely rather than one year as previously was the case, so we won't have to get another next year when we come back this way!
He also arranged for some guys to come and look at the GPS/radio interface and the outboard engine. Two guys duly turned up saying they had come to look at the electronics, which they did. They did not know, however, how to fix it, so off they went. The outboard motor mechanic didn't turn up so when we next saw the harbour master we told him, and he replied that he had seen him on our boat! It turned out that one of the pair that looked at the electronics was the mechanic but he didn't think to tell us that! The fact that we don't speak Greek and he didn't speak English probably didn't help! Anyway, the harbour master is going to ring him to ask him to come again!
Although Zakinthos is very touristy, we both like it here - it's lovely to be moored in the harbour and to be able to sit in the cockpit and watch everything going on around us. We could get used to this...
(Part of )Zakinthos harbour from the cockpit. (Thanks Nancy - the camera sat on the gorillapod to take this one!)