Gouvia Marina, Corfu

Vasco da Gama
Ian Strathcarron
Thu 23 Apr 2009 09:07

The night crossing from Le Castella in Italy to Corfu was cold and dark as there was no moon on my watch between nine and midnight, and to make matters worse the sea was choppy.   But I felt very thrilled and protective towards our two unexpected visitors who were sleeping in the saloon.  In the afternoon we had watched two swallows circling the boat, trying, for at least an hour, to land on the mainsail, but the sail and boat moved and they would fly away again.  They must have been very tired, when one of them had the bright idea to fly into the saloon.  Ian reported it to me as by then I was lying in the aft cabin: “There’s a swallow in the saloon helping itself to some chile con carne”.  Later he said “He’s had some cheese and now he’s making a nest behind the books”.  Later still he said “Now the other one has joined it as well and they’re having a party”.  This I had to see, so I got up and peered into the cabin and saw them both sitting above the chart table, with their beaks together as though they were kissing.  They did not seem to mind us at all as we started taking photographs and they hopped and flew around the cabin, had some more cheese, flew in and out and finally settled down to sleep on the ledge between the galley and the sitting area.  They faced each other with their heads buried in each other’s  tiny white neck feathers and their forked tails hanging down on either side.  There they slept all night before flying away in a northerly direction at dawn.  Ian has put some pictures of the birds on the Photograph page of www.strathcarrons –ahoy.com website.  Perhaps they have arrived in England by now and you will see them in your garden.

The beauty of Corfu has not been overexagerrated.  It’s mountainous, misty at dawn and dusk and very green as the mountain slopes are covered with thick forests of oak, pine and cypress which reach down to the sea.  We are in a huge marina in a bay five miles north of Corfu Town.  There must be one thousand boats here but most of them are idle and waiting for the flotilla sailing season to start.  As well as the usual marina offices there is a small Greek village, its one street lined with tavernas, which is probably too busy in summer but now it is quiet and charming.

Theo is leaving us here as he needs to find some work and will stay in Corfu.  We are heading south, and will wave goodbye to our neighbours, Jazou of Bremen, Roseanne of Chelsea and Sir Laughalot of London and zigzag between the mainland and the islands of Paxos and Antipaxos  before another pitstop at Preveza.  We are really enjoying Greece.  It’s very satisfying to have got so far East in the good ship Vasco da Gama.