Welcome Caroline

Dick and Irene Craig
Fri 8 May 2009 08:03

We reached NAOK marina and had just finished making the boat safe, when we heard Caroline’s plane arrive.

Although we had sent Caroline details of where the boat would be waiting for her, she hadn’t received the email which we had sent to her from Prevasa. The email, which she had sent to us the day before her arrival, asking where she should meet us, hadn’t been received by the time we switched off the computer. Thus we missed the subsequent emails asking for a mobile number, directions, is there anybody there?

The mobile rang and it was Caroline asking where we were. She had tried the number that we had when she was with us last year, in Turkey. Almost before I put the phone down, the taxi arrived and there she was.

The taxi driver wouldn’t give Caroline her luggage until she has been the look-out and assisted him to do a 3 point turn, on the narrow quayside.

We had a light lunch, planning to eat out that evening. As it happened, the wind came up late afternoon, early evening and was blowing a force 7 with waves breaking over the quayside. As we would have to walk along that quay to reach the shore, we decided to eat on-board.

Although protected in the marina, we were still pleased that the wind went down before it was time to go to bed.

Next morning we explored the old town and the castle before setting off to Kassiopi, on the north of the island.

34 years ago, Caroline and her husband had visited this town, soon after they had married and before the children arrived. So much had changed of course but the hotel was still there, as was the square, with the trees that provided shelter from the sunshine.

That evening, we had a delicious meal in a restaurant, under the trees, in the square. This restaurant, though now under different management, had been frequented by Caroline and her husband when they holidayed here, so many years ago.

From the marina, where we had dropped an anchor and taken lines ashore, we were surrounded on three sides by hills, the slopes of which were covered, lushly, with green trees. On the other side, looking across the water, we could see the stark hills of Albania, sparsely dotted with trees or maquie.

The sun was shining when we cast off our lines and raised the anchor next morning, making our way from the small harbour in a westerly direction towards the island of Othoni, a passage of 5hours duration. We had been traveling less than half an hour when 2 dolphin swam up to our boat, the first of the season.

We anchored on the south side of the island, gaining protection from the northerly and WNW winds. The sea was blue and quite transparent. The sea bottom was sand, though there were a lot of big rocks scattered around under the water, in addition to those which were showing above the water. The wind blew down through a gully in the hills, 500 metres high, with a sheer cliff face on the western side. We bobbed about, just inside the semi-circle of submerged rocks, while the sea rippled, the wind howled and the sun shone.

Two monohulls arrived and in the process of attempting to anchor, one managed to get the line of the dinghy, tied to the rear of the boat, wrapped around the propeller. One of the chaps on board, wearing a wet-suit, snorkel and goggles, had to get into the water, swim under the boat and free the line.

The wind howled all night and as we left our anchorage, we raised the mainsail and pulled out the genoa. Within just a couple of minutes we put a reef in the mainsail and sailed west to the tip of the heel of Italy, the wind gusting force 6, from the north-west.

Fifteen miles from our destination, a fishing boat tried to thwart our passage, adding further obstacles by trawling as it passed us, thus making our evasive action even more of a difficult operation.

We sailed almost all the way to Santa Maria di Leuce, where we moored the boat for the night, awaiting the arrival of an engineer from the factory, who was to check out the small problem that we have with our passerell.

Below: Views from our boat at our anchorage at Gouvia, Corfu