Greece in sight
Little to no wind, no wave worth mentioning. This is how our crossing from Otranto/Italy to Erikoussa/Greece should be according to the weather forecast. Means in our case: engine hum. Sure, we could wait for a day with good wind and. But that would mean paying berth fees in Italy in the daring hope of having a suitable weather window soon. The forecast is entirely different, the berth fees here are more expensive than the diesel we will consume.
April 8th – Off to Greece
At 8.30 we leave the heel of Italy, leave Otranto behind us. Wolfgang, who accompanies us since Manfredonia with
his sailboat, stays here. At night a constant, light wind should blow, for him light wind is enough to sail, it is worth waiting.
The engine, our dear Dorothy, is humming slowly. Thanks to the new motor panel we can see the relevant motor data at any time now and know immediately whether everything is in order. Tiki chugs towards Greece at a pleasant speed. An average of 4.4 knots, the 53nm have passed quickly after 12 hours in fantastic weather and a sensational visibility. Erikoussa receives us with crystal clear water in bright turquoise. Unfortunately some jellyfish with up to 4m long tentacles also belong to the reception committee. They successfully prevent the jump into the refreshing water, but we will have plenty of opportunity to do so in the future. After a short walk we get tired, the whole day at the water, sunshine, motor hum and heat makes us sleepy.
9 April – The next morning
Around 5:30, we wake up pretty rough. Tiki swings wild and the wind makes the standing rigging sing. Rapidly we climb out, get a short overview, engine on, lines loose. We moor at another place in the same bay. Here it is more sheltered and calm. Yesterday there was another sailor at this spot, he must have left in the night and the place is now free for us. A short glance around confirms my suspicion that Wolfgang is not here yet. We climb on the breakwater and have a look in all directions, no boat except us anywhere. Who knows, maybe he is just in another bay. We can’t reach him so we have to wait and see.
Around noon a sign of life, everything is fine, he zig-zagged between the islands, leaves Erikoussa to his left and heads directly for the island of Corfu. On the north side there is an anchorage named Imerolia. After a short consideration, we undo the lines again and go the 17nm to the mentioned bay to find out where Wolfgang lost so much time. He was on the way more than 24h. He had to zig-zag a lot and sometimes he had some calm spots, but now we are reunited again and -jiiiipiiieee- in Greece.
10 April – Gouvia
The next morning we lift the anchor and head for Gouvia. A distance of 13nm. Clear water, pleasant waves and
sunshine accompany us on this leg. 2 miles before reaching the marina we make radio contact and wait for permission to enter the canal. At the third attempt (30 minutes in between) we are heard, they want to pick us up at the other end of the canal, we can go. Once there we realize that there are lots of boats, but nobody is waiting for us. So, again, this time via phone, with a little luck that might be better. Finally a Marinero comes in a rubber dinghy and escorts us to our berth for the next night. The Marinero gives the impression that we would disturb him and is rather unfriendly and impatient. After we have moored, we go to the office, 54EUR one wants to have in the low season for 9.54m boat (4cm, not even 2in, shorter and it would have been only 36EUR). The sanitary facilities are bad, the employees make a permanently annoyed impression. Well well, it will be for one night only. We leave with our documents to the bus stop and drive to Corfu city.
10/11 April – Corfu City – Registration
The bus ticket costs about 5EUR for both of us. Arriving in the city we successfully search for the Coast Guard.
Here we are warmly welcomed and one shows themselves enormously helpful. After a few minutes the first step is done. Two more are pending to get all the papers and the, in Greece vital, DEKPA . But today it is already too late for that, the office we would need is closed for the rest of the day. We walk leisurely through the city, find out where the tax office is, because we have to go there tomorrow and walk back to the marina in Gouvia 8km (5 miles) away. Back there we meet Wolfgang again and sit down in a nice little restaurant.
April 11th: After breakfast we go back to the city, this time the three of us. We go directly to the tax office and then back to the Coast Guard to finish the process. Altogether the whole process costs us 65EUR (without the bus tickets of course) and thus far less than we thought.
ATTENTION: from April 2019 further costs and new papers will be added!
We explore further parts of the old town in Corfu, let the professionals Christos Simatis and his brother teach us about Spearguns and buy our first, own Speargun. On the way back to the bus stop we buy a shopping trolley, which we simply call “the Brenner” according to a dear, hungry and very strong friend. ( 😉 Hey there!) in future “Brenner” will carry our many heavy food purchases for us, thanks for that!
Back at the marina we immediately untie the lines and anchor in the bay outside. We don’t want another night in the noisy and expensive marina.
In the next article we go back to the mainland and on the mainland. In a little while I will tell you more...