Captains Blog 26 – Oo Wee Ooo, Poo Poo Pee Do!

We left Reggio Di Calabria at 1pm and as we turned out of the marina the sails went up. We cruised south out of the Messina Straits on a broad reach with a following sea making good time as we rounded the toe of the mainland. Eventually the wind faded and the engine went on. Then off as the wind built, and then on again, before going off and then on as the wind went over 30knots in the dark and we dropped the sails. We sailed and motored over the next two nights. We were around 40 nautical miles from Corfu as the sun rose on the 3rd day.

Lightning strikes were a constant, if distant, feature of the second night. The sky would illuminate with afar off incandescent yellow glow. As the sun started to rise, the dark sky behind us refused to give way and the fading darkness called a halt before looming up towards us at an alarming rate. Lightning strikes surrounded us as the rain started to fall and a small startled bird joined us for some shelter and a rest before heading off. Thankfully we didn’t suffer any direct strikes, though we did lose our wind instrument and have since found that our radar has packed up!!

The last 3 hours of the journey were a joy as we sailed on a close reach towards a bay on the N/W of the island, where we planned to anchor. We had it pretty much to ourselves, which was rare on Corfu as we’d find out.

Next day we sailed out of the bay and tacked towards the N/W tip of the island. The further we went the more the wind built until we were clinging on regretting that we’d not reefed earlier. I blame the first mate, who’s normally very insistent/ vocal with her reefing “suggestions.”  Thankfully we made it onto the north coast unscathed. We sailed beautifully on a beam reach that turned to a dead run as we moved onto the east coast, outrunning a cat in the process. Ha! ya double hulled dodo!!

We eventually dropped the sails as we headed into our chosen anchorage. No room whatsoever here. No problem we’ll nip into the next bay along. Ahh, no room here either, or the next or the next! Each bay was the same until we eventually reached Ormos Agni, where we snuck in and managed to anchor not far off the beach.

The leisurely sail from the anchorage to Gouvia Marina was a joy as we ambled at around 3 knots for a couple of hours. We moored up and immediately thought shall we just stay here! It was a fab spot at a lovely marina with Corfu town a 20-minute bike ride away.

It turned out that our friends Ken and Pam were also there so we headed over to say hello and had some of the best entertainment we’ve ever had, on a Friday afternoon, on a Greek Island. The wind had progressively built throughout the day and the charter boats were returning en masse. There’s nowt better than watching the panic and desperation of returning charter boats as they try to park their fully crewed vessels, against a wind that doesn’t want to play, while under the watchful eye of every other boat crew in the immediate vicinity.

After a few days it was time to explore, so we headed out to the bay, next to Corfu Town, before heading down to Petriti. It was a lovely anchorage outside a small village with two taverna’s right on the sea front. We opted to stay for a couple of nights and enjoyed both the food and company at Maria’s, the right hand one of the two Tavernas.

We set off for Paxos, just south of Corfu next and headed into Ormos Lakka a lovely sheltered bay with good anchoring and a good selection of Tavernas and shops to enjoy. Our first full day was spent the village, the N/E coastline as well as the neighbouring village. It was very relaxing and after a drink at one of the taverna’s we jumped into Hannibal and headed back to the boat.

The increase in anchored boats was significant. A 40-foot charter boat had anchored right next to us. A little too close for my liking, so I pointed out that they may be nearer than they should be. “I’ve been keeping an eye on things and I think we’re fine” said the Skipper. “How much chain do you have out I asked?” “Oh, about 15 metres” came the response. It was a similar amount to Gianti so I didn’t insist that one of us needed to move, but agreed we’d monitor things.

At 3am I was woken by a screeching sound and immediately stuck my head out of the open hatch. Sure enough, the swim platform of the charter boat was scrapping along Gianti’s bow. “Hello” I shouted, “hello,” in a calm and friendly manner!!! “Yes, yes” came back a slightly agitated ladies voice and before too long there was more activity than is welcome at that time in the morning.

I checked for damage the next morning but could see little more than a few light scratches right on the front. The skipper from the charter boat and his wife appeared on their tender a little later. He was very apologetic and concerned that Gianti had been damaged. We had a good chat and they left relieved although I’m sure they’ll re-think the amount of room needed to safely anchor in future.

Time to head over by the mainland so the Sivota Islands were our next stop. We found a tiny bay to anchor in. We were just in time as two more sailing boats appeared with the same idea. We faffed and farted about so much that one got fed up and left and the other, slipped in behind us and got anchored and secured back ashore, while we were still trying to set the anchor! The anchor finally held and for the first time we took a long stern line back ashore and secured to some rocks with a length of old anchor chain.

It was bliss, with just us and the Italian boat. We chilled and enjoyed the evening and next morning had the bay totally to ourselves. We didn’t want to leave but we had friends arriving imminently and there were jobs needing doing before they arrived. “Head north” I cried out in dramatic fashion to the first mate, while striking an heroic pose in the direction to head and shielding my eyes from the sun. “You’re driving aint ya?” came the response. So, I started the engine, lifted anchor and set of.

The anchorage outside Gouvia Marina was our destination and we arrived late afternoon, with the intention of heading into the marina around 12 the following day. The idea was to get the boat clean and fix the crossover valve from the toilet to the waste tank.

Fifteen years’ worth of urine and poo, that’s where the problem lay. Fifteen years’ worth of urine infused limescale caking the inside of the Y valve. It’s no wonder there was often a niggling fear that what you’d just gifted the pan might nod you a wink as it passed you by while you were taking a refreshing dip. Anyway, it was eventually sorted and the poo now has no potential escape route available.

All this talk of human waste has left me feeling quite grubby so I’m off for a shower and we’ll carry on with Corfu next time.

You can watch the video Here


Captain Mac

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