After a relaxed breakfast we departed Santa Maria di Leuca. As the weather reports were showing very light winds for the crossing, we were pleasantly surprised the winds were a bit more so we could sail the entire trip at 6-7 knots with no waves. Fantastic! We arrived in a very idyllic anchorage, Palaiokastritsa, (the person who named this bay must of been eating alphabet soup at the time) on the northwest side of Corfu. Iris immediately took a swim into the beach. The water was crystal clear and the surrounding hills were green and lush. A delightful welcome to Greece.
Next day we motored around the top of the island and down the east side where the snow capped mountains in Albania added to the beauty of our morning trip. We arrived to Gouvia Marina to take care of the official papers for cruising Greece. Only a DEPKA is required to cruise in Greece. But to get an DEPKA tax needs to be paid. Port Authority charges another 15€ to issue the DEPKA.
This took one day more than expected as it required a taxi ride into the city of Corfu. Roland entered the tax building that was several stories high. All signs were in Greek but he got lucky and headed for the second floor, poked his head in the door and asked where he could pay tax (29 €) for the DEPKA, and it was the office 2 doors down. It took less than 30 minutes. If you are a CE citizen coming from a CE country this is the “only” thing you have to do. No visit to immigration or customs is required. The new cruising tax is not yet a reality in Greece. But accordingly to Port Authority it might be enforced later this year when the on-line “taxis” system is up and running. Many boats are leaving Greece due to the threat of taxation.
We visited the local outdoor market where we sat with all the locals and had a wonderful Greek lunch.
The old town of Corfu is very touristy with many of the typical shops but it is pleasant to just wander around. Roland and Hans began talking with a man outside a restaurant and soon we were sitting in a pleasant setting having afternoon wine and beer instead of coffee. All part of the ambiance of Corfu.
As Hans and Iris were scheduled to return to Sweden in a few days, the next morning we headed to the small island south of Corfu, Paxos. There are approximately 2700 people living on this island. The first night we anchored in a popular bay (Ormos Lakka) with a small village. Very quaint and quiet with several restaurants.
Our second anchorage on Paxos, just outside the main village (Gaios) of the island provided great entertainment as we took a stern line to shore and along the shoreline and rugged rocks were nesting seagulls. We could hear the small ones and saw two of them. It was very interesting to see how the adult gulls have their “watch schedule” all along the cliffs and how they “change the guard”. We did not receive a warm welcome from them when we were preparing the stern line as dozens of them took to flight screaming but once they saw we were no danger they went back to their normal routine. That is until the next morning when I was up early to do my exercises. My orange dumbbells and my arm movements stirred them once again until I set them down and it was life as usual once again.
Our last stop took us to the mainland Greece side and we had a lovely anchorage in a cove with a sandy/pebble beach. The few other boats left so we had it to ourselves for the evening and next morning.
Back in Corfu city, we anchorage in a large bay within walking distance of the old town. We enjoyed our last dinner together in a nearby restaurant that kept serving us so much food. We rolled out of the restaurant and attempted a walk before returning to the dingy. Next morning from Bella Luna, we watched Ryanair lift into the sky returning Hans and Iris back to Sweden.