Off to Corfu

Dick and Irene Craig
Sat 2 May 2009 15:27

Unfortunately, the lady who was joining us from Australia has had to abandon her plans just days before flying out. She feels that she must be available for her daughter, who has just had an accident. Not only will she have to cancel her travel plans but the engine part, which she was bringing with her from Australia, will also have to be sent back. We will have to try to obtain the part locally. Not having an address can sometimes be a little awkward.

Great news! We managed to order the part for the engine, which was couriered to Prevasa, where we collected it from the Yanmar dealer on Tuesday. It was more expensive than had we sourced it from Australia or America but it was still considerably cheaper than having to obtain it from the UK. It has now been fitted. Well done Dick!

On Tuesday, a flotilla of about 20 monohulls arrived during the afternoon and tied up on the town quay. All had departed by mid morning the following day. 

We planned to leave Prevasa early on Thursday morning but at 8am it was pouring with rain so we didn’t actually get away until around 10.30.

As we moved away from the quayside, the captain of the Danish monohull, which was berthed in front of us, quickly moved a fender board to cover the huge, black, rubber tyre that was hanging against the dockside. This was in preparation for his friends, whose boat, also with Danish ensign, was tied up against the hammerhead. They were going to move to the space we had vacated. It would provide more shelter than their present mooring.

A monohull arrived as we were making preparations to leave. This boat, sporting a German ensign, tied up opposite us on the outside wall of the marina. The captain was also keen to utilize our berth, once vacated. However, after he had been made aware of the situation, he decided to move to the hammerhead when the Danish boat moved. More shelter would be afforded than to stay where they were. It could become very uncomfortable, particularly when the wind blew from the south.

We set off with virtually no wind, the log displayed force 1 to 2 and the sun was shining. We expected to motor all the way but managed to pick up some wind a couple of hours out and sailed at just over 7 knots with never more than a 10 knot wind.

Although the sun shone most of the way, the temperature, even out of the wind, was no more than 22 ºC. With the wind chill, I needed 5 layers of clothing, including my foul weather jacket, for most of the passage.

While we were in the UK in January, we bought some replacement foul weather gear in readiness for the Atlantic crossing. This was the first outing for my new, bright yellow jacket which has replaced red clothing which I had bought in 2000. The logic being that, should I fall overboard, we hope that I might be more visible in yellow than red. Due to weight restrictions, flying between the UK and Spain and between the UK and Greece, we had left Dick’s new wet weather clothes in Spain, ready to collect when we stop there in September.

I began to feel sea sick after the first hour, probably because I felt cold, in addition to the rolling motion from the large swells left over from the gales earlier in the week. It was our first sail this year and I didn’t want to succumb to taking stugeron, preferring to try to overcome this weakness by myself. Fortunately, as I grew warmer and the pattern of the sea gradually changed, I began to feel better. This was a double benefit as I was then able to prepare lunch.

We arrived at Mongonisi , a landlocked bay, on the south tip of Paxos, just under 6 hours from leaving our berth at Prevasa. There was a smell of sulphur as we approached the island. A very quiet and peaceful bay. It was too early in the season for the taverna to be open.

A flybridge , motor cruiser was tied, stern to the low quay, with a sports boat and 2 small motor boats tied up nearby. A blue monohull flying a British ensign, was at anchor. We anchored between the blue sailing boat and a shipwreck, totally submerged, unmarked, sitting on the sea bed some two metres below. The light was still good, making the wreck perfectly visible through the blue, transparent sea.

About 6.30pm, a monuhull flying only the Greek ensign, anchored in the bay, between the blue sailing boat and the quay. Two children, possibly about 10 years old, rowed the dinghy ashore, played on the sand, then rowed back again to their boat. Later, the monohull moved to the quayside, dropped an anchor and tied up stern to the quay. It made life much simpler for the children to get on and off the boat.

We left Mongonisi around 11.30am. It was raining but we were on a mission. It rained almost all the way to Lakka, a passage of just an hour and a half. We dropped our anchor in the pale blue water of the bay, on the north end of Paxos. Lakka is a picturesque hamlet, with olive trees growing down the slopes of the hills, surrounding the bay. Apparently quite lively during the season, not much was happening this early.

A swimmer jumped into the water from the quayside and swam out into the bay. I checked the water temperature. The log read 16.5ºC. The water really needs to warm up quite a bit before I will attempt to swim, even in a wet suit. The warm weather in the Mediterranean seems to be very late to get started this year.

The swimmer was back in the water again by 9am next morning. It hadn’t rained overnight and the sun was shining without any hint of rain. We raised the anchor and set sail for Corfu.

I was in the galley making some tea when Dick spotted a small turtle. We had passed it by the time I had got my act together.

The voyage to Gouvia was lovely despite there being insufficient wind for us to sail. We traveled on a broad reach, sometimes running, with the wind never exceeding 8 knots. The sun shone and it started to feel like summer.

We anchored in mud and weed on the north east corner of the bay. It took several attempts to get the anchor through the weed and our perseverance eventually paid off and the anchor set.

We are floating just off a white pebbled beach with a cave behind.Ahead, we can see the Greek mainland, behind which is the closest part of Albania, quite hidden from view. Behind us is the marina, with a backdrop of green, wooded hills. On the other two sides are the heavily wooded slopes of the coast of Corfu. It is very beautiful.


Below: Me, in my new foul weather gear, feeling like a robot, pointing out a potential anchorage, at the end of a cold, uncomfortable passage.

            Dick, in his old foul weather gear, being really cool.