Tag Archives: Corfu

A Day Out  

9 Sep

My bout of D&V kept us in the marina for a couple of days, venturing out only on land. Then just as we were making the boat ready to head out Neil developed symptoms and naturally wanted to remain in reach of a flushing toilet! I didn’t need any persuading; I’m always anxious when we set off regardless of conditions or destination.

With some very unstable conditions forecast for the weekend we eventually grabbed the chance to have at least the day at anchor​. We didn’t want to waste time doing anything as boring as sailing, of course, so just motored to the nearest bay. We nearly motored right out again when a little speed boat towing a paraglider shot out without bothering to look right in front of us and we were seriously worried the poor paying customer was going to end up wrapped around our mast!

Having moored as far away as we could get it was surprisingly peaceful considering the busy tourist resort close by and much cooler than in the marina. Unfortunately we’d picked the spot one of the many tripper boats used to disgorge its load of the American version of Club 18-30 into the sea. With shrieks of delight and amplified music the scantily clad beautiful bodies variously climbed, bombed or performed athletic dives into the water. Were we ever that young?

As is usual with these trips they didn’t stay long, though, and I was surprisingly sorry to see them go. They’d been hugely entertaining to watch and even the music had been good.

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Let Loose

16 May

We’ve finally let go of the lazy line. Yes, the Lamputts have left the marina. Neil must have started to think that he’d have to drag me kicking and screaming from the pontoon even as I still clung onto the shore power cable. But, this time at least, my reluctance genuinely wasn’t due to losing the comforts of home.

It was still a bit blowy. Well, it was the day before to be precise and it all still looked a bit unsettled in the forecast. I know, I know, I sound pathetic but it’s experience that’s made be this way. Apart from anything else the last time we’d done this journey was the one and only time I’ve been physically sea sick. In the entire time we’ve been sailing, in all the big seas and high winds we’ve been in from Plymouth to Greece, the only time I’ve had my head in a bucket is during that short distance between the two islands of Corfu and Paxos.

We were both awake early. Truth be told, I’d been awake most of the night. Eventually, though, with every forecast known to man checked, a pile of ham rolls in the fridge, water tank refilled and a couple of Stugeron swallowed, we left the marina behind us. Once out of the bay, the sea was still a bit churned up and it was decidedly on the chilly side but I started to relax.

If you wait for the wind to drop before leaving harbour you can’t expect to sail all the way. Well, so be it. A steady 6 knots on engine and main sail would get us into Lakka just fine. OK, it’s a bit boring but at least the floor stays mostly horizontal and there’s an awful lot to be said for that. I know Neil wouldn’t entirely agree with me.

When the cork-screw motion approaching Paxos set in the meds did their work. We could see the boats at anchor in Lakka, their hulls appearing pale blue in the distance, reflection from the turquoise water of the bay. It is worth letting loose.

Stage Set 

15 May

Enforced lingering in the marina, latterly by my reticence to leave the safety of harbour in anything stronger than a force 4, has at least given us the chance to get out and about a bit on Corfu. Not that we’ve gone far; a couple of bus journeys into Corfu Town where we struck lucky and caught sight of Champagne and her crew, formerly of the good ship Isabelle, Christine and Vic. Fizz duly ensued, the preferred Italian kind rather than that to match the boat’s name.

Otherwise we’ve not got much further than easy walking distance of the marina itself. It was on one of these walks we spotted the film crew outside the old Durrell House as featured in the TV series. Of course I immediately wanted to take a photo but was practically jumped on by a fluorescent vest wearing youth who was alert enough to put down his phone in time to stop me. No photos. So this is a sneaky one taken from the road on the return journey.

Around the back was a different story and we’d already taken the picture of the house overlooking the beach. It appeared suitably rather ramshackle as it would have appeared in Gerald Durrell’s time here, presumably staged for filming. 

His books are attributed as being largely responsible for the beginnings of Corfu’s tourist trade, a fact he, apparently, lived to regret when he saw how the island had changed. It appears that the local residents feel differently, however, if the monument in Corfu town is anything to go by. Certainly the house in Kalami that was rented by big brother “Larry” is now a rather nice restaurant doing a booming trade. The owners of the house rented by his family, on the other hand, have remained very private people, the grounds surrounded by high walls. If it wasn’t for local knowledge and the current presence of a film crew, the visitor wouldn’t be aware that it was anything out of the ordinary. I confess to a certain frisson at seeing it, though.

Back on Board 

7 May

 

A winter in Spain with a couple of weeks in the UK either side means we’ve been away from the boat for the best part of 8 months. Thankfully, a man (a very nice man, a very, very nice man) has been looking after her in our absence. We returned to a clean and aired Desi, lift-out, antifouling and lift-in all done. Now that is what I call luxury. He’d also fitted the new anchor Neil had ordered, the same as on our previous boat which we’ve grown to trust (a Kobra 2 for those who are interested in that sort of thing – yawn.)
Arriving in the early afternoon with three big holdalls of “stuff” (including much-missed slow cooker and quilts) meant we had a few hours to get the interior back to rights and unpack. For the non-boaties out there I should perhaps explain that the unheated space below deck left over winter can get very damp so anything that might suffer has to be wrapped up and positioned​ away from the walls.

Much to our relief Desi has proved to be a very dry boat and it was only the one pillow that showed any sign of mildew. As well as unpacking and unwrapping, all the loose items from deck including dinghy, sails etc were stowed in the rear cabin needed shifting.

However, our early start got the better of us and a cold beer was giving off its siren call. A glass or two and a delicious stifado later and we were both done in. With enough space cleared to sleep on, we collapsed into Desi’s welcome rocking and the lullaby of creaking mooring lines and rattling halyards. It was 8:30pm.

Kassiopi Festival

18 Aug

We managed to get on to the quay in Kassiopi on the 15th of August when they celebrate the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. Although the day is celebrated throughout Greece and is generally a holiday they particularly make a big deal of it in Kassiopi because they regard Mary as “their” saint as the church is named after her.

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The church parade is led by the band followed by the choir competing with the ringing of the church bell

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The boys carrying the banners and cross walk ahead

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Followed by the girls throwing flower petals

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The priests emerge singing from the church dressed in their finery as the elaborately decorated alter that contains the image of the Virgin is paraded through the streets. The image itself, though, never leaves the church.

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The evening is all about celebrating. Tables and chairs are laid out around the harbour as whole lambs are roasted. A band plays traditional Greek songs long into the night.

Not on Holiday

10 Aug

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It could just be me but the Northern Ionian seems a lot noisier than I remember. Of course, August was never going to be a quiet period and we’re definitely on the popular sailing route from Italy. We haven’t noticed much in the way of the flotillas so ubiquitous further south, although the charter boats are still plentiful and these don’t have the lead crews helping the less experienced into harbours and bays.

It’s not just the fight for a place on the quay and the inevitable anchor chain spaghetti, though. Millions arrive at this time of year to stay in the hotels and apartments of Corfu and despite initial worries that this might be a slow year it doesn’t seem to be the case. What everybody has in common is the fact that they are on holiday.

The crews want to actually sail all day, arriving late into already packed harbours and anchorages, usually in 50 odd footers or huge catamarans and they’re coming in whether you think there’s room or not. Those who are land based want to hire little shadeless motorboats or go on jaunts to neighbouring islands in big tripper boats which aren’t worth the money unless the same endless loop of Greek tunes is blasting through less than perfect speakers, all with the promise of swimming in the same deserted bays. Then there are the water skiers along with the jet skis and speedy ribs from the massive gin palaces blocking the entrance, all creating a succession of bow waves and wakes to make any sailing boat in the vicinity rock constantly from side to side. Rarely do any slow down.

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And everybody wants to party all night. Where once little tavernas competed with each other using live bazouki players now there’s a cacophony of pounding beats until at least five in the morning all along the waterfronts. Every night. If I sound like a boring old fart it’s because I probably am. We try to take the attitude of “if you can’t beat them, join them” after all, you’re not going to sleep anyway. I’m here to tell you that it can’t be done all summer, not at our age. Well, I use the plural but Neil doesn’t have problem. He sleeps just fine. Anyway, next year I’ll be spending August elsewhere.

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