Return to Corfu

Dick and Irene Craig
Sat 13 Jun 2009 14:24

Sunday morning, with the sun shining, we stuck our head out of the bay, to make passage south east. The wind, channeled between the islands, was still blowing from the south east but was due to go down today. Once out of the bay, we struggled against the wind and the tide. Even with both 54hp engines running at 2100 revs, we made little progress.

Having cleared the end of the island, there was no respite. The current against us remained strong and the wind was blowing head-on at force 6. We turned around, raised the foresail, switched off the engines and were running, at 7knots. Small wonder we had been unable to make way to windward.

It is interesting, that when the wind is forecast to go down, it is always later than anticipated and that when the wind is forecast to increase, it arrives early.

We looked at Manastir bay, just east of Lovisce, where we had spent the previous 2 nights. A Dominican monastery was founded here in the 15th century, though it was abandoned 300 years later. Mooring buoys, in prime of place, would have made it difficult for us to anchor, so we returned to the anchorage, which we had left one hour and twenty minutes earlier, having covered a total of just less than five miles.

Two large tourist boats arrived. One dropped its anchor right in the middle of the entrance to the bay, having first attempted to anchor in a small bay, off the inlet, to the east of the bay. The other anchored to the west of the bay. Perhaps this indicates that the holiday season has started. There were not many people on either boat, though a few did swim.

Two sailing boats arrived and anchored in the bay. One dropped its anchor just slightly to port of us and reversed, until it was almost touching the tourist boat. It bobbed about precariously for half an hour before raising its anchor and departingthe bay, motoring north in a much reduced sea. The wind was still blowing from the south east but was a variable force 2 to 4.

A Super Marabu arrived and anchored between us and the shore. With the wind forecast to change direction overnight, the boat was in danger of hitting the rocky shoreline when the wind changed. Fortunately, before it became dark, the wind changed direction and the aft of the boat was uncomfortably close to the rocks. The couple aboard raised the anchor and moved further out into the bay, dropping their anchor on the western side of the inlet. When I got up next morning, the boat had gone.

We were soon off again with the wind starting at force 3 to 4 but reducing as the day progressed. Miraculously, despite now blowing ENE, the wind was still on the nose.

That evening we dropped our anchor in 3 metres of clear, blue water. The bottom was mostly sand though there was some weed growing on the underwater rocks.

We left Zuljana by 8am and made passage to Sobra, on the island of Mljet, where we stopped for fuel. About 45 minutes before we reached the fuel station, we noticed a couple of dolphins cavorting in the distance. Eventually, they made a bit of an effort to play around the hulls for a short while, before they departed. As we approached the entrance to the bay, a high speed ferry came out, kicking up quite a wash, passing less than 10 metres from our port side.

While we were refueling, some beautiful, yellow butterflies, flew around the boat. I quickly closed the mosquito blind over the door. It would never do for a butterfly to get trapped inside. It would be almost impossible to get it out without damaging it.

Even when Mljet was 3 miles behind us, dozens of these yellow butterflies passed our boat, en-route to the opposite island, some 2.5 miles further to port. They seemed to mainly travel alone but occasionally, two fluttered past together. Most of them were pale yellow but a number were quite a deep yellow. One stopped on the fly-bridge but was gone before I could get my camera.

23 miles from our destination, I could see a long, low cloud enshrouding the lower parts of the islands ahead. So low, it looked as if we were heading into fog. I went below and brought up a windproof jacket but 5 miles later, the cloud had just evaporated.

We spent the night anchored in the bay at Cavat and went ashore. Next morning we took the boat round to the adjacent bay and tied up, stern to the town quay, left the boat, then paid for a ride in a boat to Dubrovnik town. The trip to the town took half and hour but the return journey took almost an hour, as we had several stops on the way back.

We walked 2 kilometers around the walls of the old town, in the heat of the day. There are so many steps. The views were worth it.

8am next morning we had already moved the boat from the town quay, about 50metres, to the customs quay and as Dick was walking to the police station, he met a police-woman, who was also on her way there, to open the office.  Papers duly stamped, he then went to the customs office. We were on our way before 8.15.

We sailed, using the parasailor until 8.45pm when the following wind had dropped to under 4 knots. In the first 12 hours, we had covered half the distance at an average speed of 7knots. Next morning, the parasailor was flying again by 5.45 and we sailed all the way to Corfu, a passage of 189 nautical miles in 30 hours, averaging 6.3knots. The fastest speed achieved on this passage was 12.4knots.

During the afternoon of the first day, despite the sea state, Caroline spotted a turtle. Later, while Dick was doing the first night-watch, dolphins came and played around the boat. At night, the phosphorescence adds even more to their displays, as they swim through the water and play around the hulls.

Next morning, while I was resting below, a huge school of around 24 dolphins, came to the boat and played awhile. It is a long time since we have been fortunate enough to see so many dolphins at one time.

We tied up stern to the quay at Kassiopi. With no wind to keep us cool, with the temperature in the 30’s, as soon as the boat was secure, we turned our back on the marina, literally, and jumped into the sea.

What a difference a few weeks make. When we were here on the 5th May, despite the charter boats, which had also arrived at a similar time to us, there were still not a fraction of the number of people milling around this delightful village, as there are here now, mid June.

Have to say that the first evening in Kassiopi was not boring. A 65 foot flybridge motor cruiser, was moored on the outside berth in the marina. It, like the rest of us, had an anchor down and lines ashore. The wind was blowing strongly and from all directions. The skipper was ashore. The anchor slipped and the stern of the boat hit the rough concrete of the quay. Dick and many other people, rushed to help push the boat off the quay. Dick took one of our big, round fenders with him, to assist with protecting the stern of the boat but despite all efforts, the gelcoat was damaged,.

Someone on an adjacent boat made a phone call and the skipper returned, moving the boat forward, away from the quay, telling anyone that would listen, that he had 70 metres of chain out and the anchor was Ok. Subsequently, he re-anchored the boat, though neither he nor his helper seemed to understand the fundamentals of setting an anchor. As the stern of the boat moved away from the quayside, an unattached fender was blown into the water, outside of the protection of the low quay, into the sea. The skipper threw a boathook ashore and Dick retrieved the fender. Later, while we were eating a delicious meal, in a restaurant across the other side of the bay, the anchor slipped again. This time the skipper, obviously having had enough of this bay, raised the anchor and left.

The sailing boat, which was moored between us and the fly-bridge motor cruiser, was owned by a male photographer, with at least 4 women on board. One of the women was a model, or a wannabe. The others were the mother of the model plus 2 or 3 young friends. The model posed while the photographer took photographs for her portfolio.

Meanwhile, Caroline had hung her towel on the guardrail and although it was secured with 6 clothes pegs, it disappeared, while the wind was blowing strongly from all directions. We leant over the rails and walked along the quay, peering into the water. Dick spotted what looked like a blue towel and donning mask and flippers, dove into the water. It was a blue towel but belonged to the couple on the boat, starboard side. He swam around our boat and eventually found the bathing towel, minus 3 clothes pegs. While in the water, bearing in mind the problems we had observed with the motor cruiser, he also swam out to check that our anchor was secure.

We spent a very peaceful night on the boat and during the afternoon, watched the antics of our fellow yachties.

While we were having lunch, an Italian chap walked past the cockpit, with a bag of sea urchins which, having joined a group of friends, he tipped from the bag onto the quayside. One of the group, went to their boat, returning with a grown-up version of a pair of nut-crackers, which was used to open the sea urchins. What an opportunity for a photo shoot. Taking my camera with me, I approached the group of Italians and was offered a sea urchin. My instinct was to decline but instead I ate the sea urchin. I wasn’t particularly impressed but would try them again, should the opportunity arise.

A small monohull arrived and reversing, towards the quay, threw a line to a young man who was waiting to assist. Unfortunately, the line was not attached to the boat, which was by now traveling away from the quayside. The second attempt was more successful. After having stopped here for a couple of hours, possibly for lunch or provisioning, they started to raise their anchor, only to find that it was fouled by the anchor chain from an adjacent boat. Not having a clue how to remove the chain from their anchor, Dick stood on our fore-deck and talked the skipper through the process. Job done, the boat motored past us, on the way to exit the harbour with its bathing ladder still in the water. After their attention was drawn to this oversight, the ladder was swiftly brought on board.

Another monohull arrived, this time with a skipper and 2 guests. The skipper despite being advised that he was about to foul our anchor, calmly proceeded to do so, having dropped his anchor at an angle of nearly 45º, before berthing on our portside. After a couple of hours, the 2 guests sat in the cockpit applying sun cream, the skipper was attempting to manoeuvre the boat from its berth single-handedly, while we had to hold it off , to avoid damage to our boat.

We will spend a few days here, replenish necessary provisions and when Caroline leaves us on the 15th, we will make passage to Sicily.


Below: Fields cultivated on almost vertical hillside on Croatian mainland

            Approaching Dubrovnik old town, from the sea

            She may be famous one day....mum standing by

            Towel rescued from seabed

            Sea urchins