mercredi 4 septembre 2019

Skeletons in Corfu Island

All over the island there are houses that have been started to build and then abandoned for the last 10 to 15 years. It is quite an amazing sight.

a huge hotel construction stopped 10 years ago

Gouvia next to shopping center, wheelbarrows with cement still there since 9 years

dimanche 25 août 2019

Sailing the Northern Islands

The Islands north of Corfu: Erikoussa, Othonoi, Mathraki and down to the bay of Paleokastritsa.

The trip to Erikoussa was almost entirely on engine since as usual the wind was in the nose.
anchored in the smal bay of Erikoussa, swim and went to a fish restaurant, that in the end did not have any fish that was on the menu.

Next morning we sailed all the way to Othonoi island with a nice breeze at 60º, while trying to fish with a drag line. Ofcourse no fish.
We managed to moor at the wooden pontoon with just another 2 places free. All th eother spots were taken by Italian ships on their way back home.
We had a long swim between the rocks littered with any size of fish.
Had a walk in the small village and decided to try another fish restaurant. This time the waiter, George, took us to the kitchen to choos the fish we wanted, we made our choice and it was delivered shortly with vedge and tajiki + 1 l of red wine and ice cubes.
Helene made sure the stray kittens got their share of the fish, which was very nice.
Walking back to the boat we saw the great expanse of the Milky Way, far away from interferring city light. We also met 2 italian kids trying to hike a boat to Italy.

Electric works

Nex morning, nearly all the Italian ships had left very early, we had a swim and mainly motored to Mathraki Island, while fishing and catching zip zero.
At Mathraki we anchored in a blue lagoon.

Early afternoon the wind came up NW and we sailed all the way to Paleokastritsa, where we anchored in a small spot between rocks in a very protected bay, while motorboats were zooming past in front and in the back
Just before turning into the bay we saw a couple of 1m long tuna fish jumping out of the water. Ofcourse impossible to film or photo.
The greek boatsmen know only full speed and stop, nothing in between and fly past at tiny distances from other boats or swimmers. Weaving their way with or without waterskiers or floating mattresses.
Only after 7 the mayhem stops and the water turns flat again.

Next morning we left early to avoid the water racing and the wind in the nose. Only near Kassiopi the NW wind finally came with all its force. So we sailed to a small bay; Kalami.

And the day after back to Gouvia Marina.

samedi 17 août 2019

Syvota Islands

We sailed from Gouvia across to the Greek Albanian mainland and then along the coast littered with fish farms. Arrived at the 2nd bay we found a nice quiet creek to anchor. Except after a while a queen wasp decided that the boat would be a nice nest. A bit of a wasp invasion.

Next day we visited the village in the bay, not very interesting and went on to the Syvota islands. A group of islands separated by small canals with many creeks. A bit full of boats, but we go back there in September when its quiet.

samedi 3 août 2019

Paksos & Anti-Paksos

We sailed from Gouvia to Paksos an island just south of Corfu. Very beautiful with nice bays and deep calanques. Click the map below. Picturesque town and blue transparent water. Wind mostly took us there and back with a strong S wind of 20 kn.
We'll go back out of season and might meet some dolphins and maybe sea turtles.

vendredi 28 juin 2019

The last run to Gouvià Corfu

We left the island of Orthonoi early morning, the wind was blowing hard, 20-22 kn towards Corfu. It was another window not to miss, we did not want to be stuck at the island.
Finally after 900 miles we met three dolphins, Hélène happy.
Off we went on half genua doing a good 4 kn. After 2 hours the wind dropped and back on engine to the first bay, anchor down, swim and have lunch.
At 2 the wind came back again from the W this time and we sailed all the way past Kassiope and anchor in the bay.

In the morning we left for Kassiopei for some shopping, anchored just outside the port and Helene went on her own to get some stuff.
Then off we went around the bend. After a while we moored in a small bay with a couple of restaurants and a little shop. 
The night was loud with music and wavy with taxiboats going full speed through the mooring. After a while we relocated our mooring to have a little peace.
The morning we moved along the coast to find another spot and finally settled for a empty space. Only 20 min later another 4 boats moored around us.
In late afternoon we motored to the bay of Gouvià and moored for the night. Next morning we were getting ou reserved place in the Marina of Gouvia. Then off to do the paperwork.
After 82 days and 980 Nm we arrived at our destination.

There was the paperwork to be done, first pay the remainder for the port and the 24% VAT and then pay the Tepai the monthly tax for pleasure vessels and than the DEKPA the paper to authorise to sail in Greek waters.
he Tepai has to be done online, I did it all and then the site went bonkers, so I had to use an agent in Corfu, rent a bike, pay the agent 50eu, then with the papers go to the bank and pay cash to the gov 49eu for 3 months, to be redone in October.
With the proof to the marina office pay for the DEKPA 50eu and with the receipt to the Port police. Wait in line for an hour and then they did a 4 page document for another 15eu to sail in Greek waters for a year and then renew.
We got it all done in 2 days!

We got a berth in Gouvia marina... for July and then get lost till mid September, since the port is over full. So in August we`ll go for a sail about.
However after a bit of emailing, they approved a contract for 12 months, which we readily accepted.

Sailing the Med for a mere 1000 miles, we sadly had to discover that the sea is DEAD.
Here an there some small fish, but the seabed is dead. Even here in Corfu. 
Which makes one think how long can we still live...

Still have some water coming into the engine and still have to solve this problem. Gas is difficult, all you can get id Camping gaz bottles, but they are not original, Camping gaz is not in Greece. So they fill up old bottles for a very reasonable price. Difficult though to get your hands on a 2nd bottle.
We are nearly organised and soon can sail to discover other parts of the island and more south also. 

Gouvia Marina

Gouvia Marina

Gouvia Marina the 'little' boats at the entrance of the port

Corfu Town

Corfu Town fortress and port

Corfu Airport between hotels and churches

jeudi 27 juin 2019

La route pour la Grece

Enfin on est parti de Marina di Leuca à 6 heures le matin pile.
Le moteur démarrait instantanément.
En passant le cap le vent nous propulsait vers la Grèce, malheureusement pas pour longtemps, donc on a ajouté le moteur et depuis nous avons fait du motor sailing.
Vers mi chemin nous avons rencontrés une floppé de voiliers allant vers l`Italie.
Une grosse houle de côté faisait le passage moins agréable, mais on était en route pour la Grèce quandmême.
Après une bonne 10 heures (en plus nous avons perdus une heure Grèque) arrivés à l`île de Othonoi, nord de Corfu et en plus trouvé une place au ponton en bois du petit port.
Lessivés et chauds on à commencé par un bain de mer dans l`eau transparente ensuite un boisson alcoholisé.
Demain route pour le nord de Coru avec le vent en poupe.

Dernier vue de Marina di Leuca

Notre premier port en Grèce

Le petit port attaché au ponton bois, parti le matin à 9h

lundi 17 juin 2019

St Maria di Leuca

We sailed from Gallipoli with a nice breeze at 90 degree. We had to do max sailing and minimal engine. Before leaving 1 l of cooling fluid had disappeared and I found 30cl of water in the oil pan. Clear indication of a leak in the head joint.
We still had to do another 3 hours of engine before we lanes in the marina st maria de Leuce.
Next day find a mecano to take the engine apart.

The head off, 3rd piston a bit eaten

The exhaust water exchange destroyed
The pro mechano took the engine head off, however the joint was ok.
Mistery. Later his boss came to show me the exhaust exchange which was "eaten" away between cooling water and exhaust. A big mess and needs replacement.
The cost? 2200€ and 5 days waiting for the spare parts. Stuck in a rut.
Abide time shop and swim and wait.
And now some photos of Marina di Leuca.

This town has tons of private villas and only 3 small supermarkets.

Finally Tuesday 25th at noon the mechanics arrived with the replacement parts and around 2:30 the engine was running beautifully. Paid 2000 eu and now we can plan to leave for Corfu.
Today and tomorrow its blowing at 27kn, but we see an opening for Thursday.