Corfu, our first taste of Greece

Apologies, I’m playing catch-up on our blog – I’ll get up to date over this winter…

As described in our last post, we checked out of Croatia at Cavtat on the 12th of July 2018 and set off on our 214 mile trip to Gouvia on the island of Corfu.

We had been advised to head to Gouvia as the check in process could all be completed at the marina. Gouvia has an excellent anchorage just outside the marina and we joined around 50 other boats there. We headed into the marina in our dinghy to complete the check in to Greece. Unfortunately we had (mis)timed our arrival for a Saturday. The port police were working flat out to complete the change of skipper forms for 200+ charter boats which would be heading out the next day. After a wait of a couple of hours, it was my turn. The police were incredibly helpful given how busy they were and after checking all of our boat papers, insurance and qualifications they gave me a slip to pay €50 at the marina office. Upon returning to the police with my receipt they handed over my DEKPA with strict instructions to renew it before the expiry date

Dekpa-1

Gouvia is a large marina and one of the main bases for the many charter fleets that operate in the Ionian. It’s pretty much impossible to find a berth here Thursday through until Sunday due to the number of charter boats which doesn’t really worry us as we tend to avoid marinas, preferring to stay on anchor.

gouvia.jpg

We took the opportunity to top the tanks up and headed back up the coast to Agios Stefanos, a pretty bay that we’d passed on our way to Gouvia. It’s a delightful bay with room for around 15 boats to anchor and several tavernas ashore.

AgStef-1

And of course we had to visit one to check out the beer…AgStef-2

After a beer and a wonderful beef stifado we returned to Coriander for what we hoped would be a peaceful night. The astute amongst you will realise that it wasn’t to be. Several boats had been arriving throughout the day and the anchorage became very busy with some anchoring very close. one of the last to arrive was a large charter catamaran which headed through all of the anchored boats and proceeded to drop the hook next to the beach. Most of the ‘crew’ had jumped in for a swim before the anchor hit the bottom. Around 3am we were woken up to shouting and when we got up to investigate another charter cat had dragged onto a small yacht that had been there for a couple of days and managed to get their anchors tangled somehow with the result that the boats were resting against each other.

It took around 50 minutes for them to get free and we were just about to head back to bed when the large catamaran that had anchored just off the beach started to drag onto the boats behind them and also towards us. We spent what seemed like ages with foghorns, searchlights and shouting to get someone from the catamaran to get up, realise what the problem was and start the engines to raise the anchor and safely re-anchor. After this we spent the rest of the night in the cockpit and waited for dawn before checking that everyone on the boats that had tangled were ok and heading back for a couple of nights in the Gouvia anchorage.

Gouvia is a village and resort situated around Gouvino Bay. It is situated around 8km (5 miles) North of Corfu town.

Gouvias position in a natural harbour made it an ideal location for a shipyard, this was exploited during the Venetian occupation, when they built their arsenal in the village.

From Gouvia, we sailed the 17 miles past Corfu Town to Petriti. The town and anchorage under the fortifications at Corfu looked very inviting but we were on our way south to meet up with friends.

Petriti is a small village in a very large bay. The first night we anchored just off the village, and of course went to a taverna for our first souvlaki.

With the wind due to turn to the south we moved to the south end of the bay for our second night. After a quiet night, we left Corfu and headed over to the Greek mainland. More of that next time. Our first impression was of a wonderful place as long as you chose the less popular anchorages, or checked and went to places when the charter fleets were elsewhere.