Updated: Aug 11, 2021
We finally did it!
Achieved our goal to sail the Greek Islands on our own yacht. This has been an especially complicated year with Covid regulations and restrictions which have challenged our planning along the way.
Two months ago we departed our winter home in MDR Sicily and headed east. Passing Mt. Etna erupting in the night sky, we sail along the south coast of Italy, around the “heel” and the set our sights to the Aegean Sea. We visited Montenegro, Croatia before our arrival in Greece. Events in each of these locations justify their own blog post in much more detail, but the highlight was the shared celebration of my 65th Birthday together with Aina, Matt and Jane.
The goal for my next chapter in life is to commence writing a journey blog of our adventures. So here we begin.
Dawn arrived an hour later than we have been used to as Greece adjusts their clock an hour later than do countries immediately to the north. Today we formally check into Greece. A multitude of entry procedures await.
We are heading to Corfu Town on Corfu to commence. The morning is bright and hot. We anticipate a full day of activity.
It took 5 hours, but at the end of our ordeal we have successfully checked in to Greece, had our passports stamped and have been issued a Transit Log. This must now be stamped in and out of every port we visit in Greece over the length of our stay.
Our arrival and anchoring near Corfu Town raised our anxiety as it was blowy and the harbour seas were quite choppy. I suggested that using our bikes may be a good way of getting around in town and generally they are. However, getting them to the dock this time was a bit crazy. Finding a good dinghy tie up was a challenge. Nonetheless, we perservered. The sudden jolt into Corfu traffic chaos added much excitement to our travel. Our final arrival to the port police office in the down side of town did little for our first impressions of this historic town. Also is was HOT. Real Hot. Seriously HOT!
Surprisingly the check-in process was different from that which was recently described by sailing our friends. Apparently the rules had changed just days ago and all our documents were to have been emailed ahead of time to the port office. We were ushered away and told to come back several hours later after doing so. We did, but first it was time for a cold alcoholic drink. An attitude adjustment if you will. During this time the port police staff shift had changed and the new police lady was quite accommodating. She copied down all our email submitted information by hand and afterwards we directed to passport control. The customs office was some distance away. Glad we had our bikes - remember - it was HOT.
On to customs, where we awaited upon their the issuance of our Transit Log. It took an hour or so for the customs officer to manually transcribe all the same information that we previously emailed. Documents are issued in triplicate (copies by carbon copy paper) including forms and receipts for transactions. Crazy indeed - but all good in the end. The process was only completed once we revisited our first stop at the port police where we acquired our first official stamp of check-in to Greece in our Transit Log. YAY!
We wandered into Old Town and enjoyed a lovely dinner spot which Jane sourced from her secret book of best locations. On the menu? GREEK Salad of Course! Our afternoon stress melted away with each glass of wine consumed. The saunter back through the town park was a calmer exit from town than was our entry.
Back on the boat, the seas have quieted down and with a gentle rocking - we fell softly asleep. The distant roar of jet plane engines continued long into the night as they shuttled summer tourists for their taste of Corfu.
Our next adventure started bright and early as we wished to make way before the land breeze strengthen. We sailed north along the coast to the lovely bay of KALAMI, home of Lawrence and Gerald Durrell and their crazy family of animals. Living the literature of the land by reading their books makes one appreciate the early days of this wonderful place. Of course dinner (and breakfast) was enjoyed at THE WHITE HOUSE from where we watched the comings and goings of daily visitors. We loved the bay so much that we stayed another night making new boat friends and visiting with old ones. All the while finding some refreshment by jumping into the sea on a whim. Life on anchor is peaceful indeed.
Kassiopi is a cute little Port village at the base of a Byzantine Castle (circa 600). This town beckoned our curiosity and was a surprising lunch spot the next day. Old School souvlaki was presented in style.
As sometimes happens, the wind shifted so that our chosen anchorage was no longer safe and we hastily raised anchor and made way for a more sheltered bay. This afternoon we enjoyed conversing with family and friends along our journey, thankful for the achievements of modern technology.
A last stop for fuel, laundry and water replenishment allowed us to enjoy a golden evening along the shores of Gouvia before our morning customs check out from the Harbour Police in Corfu. This place holds many mysteries, but we have concluded they best be discovered by others, and not by these two Epicurean Sailing Adventure Travellers.
We set sail for the horizon heading south, but not before stopping for one last fish lunch at a quaint local fishing village - Petritis. Fish, fresh off the boats and onto your plate! A local farmer peddles his fruits up and down the main street from the back of his van. Fresh and Local!
Then, onto to distant shores beyond.