Trip on Bohemia II starting 2014-09-01 in BSAOct14
Corfu 1 – 9 September2014 – report by skipper Phil Steele
Phil Steele (shout a lot skipper), Bob Hayes (where are we Pilot and mate), John Hartland (master helmsman and tour guide), Jane Coombes (Princess and swimming queen), Paul Johnson (Quartermaster and animation officer), Geoff Louch (sail trimmer and cocktail waiter)
Chartered through Nautilus and managed by Kiriacoulis, ‘Bohemia II’, the 5 Year old Bavaria 43 was in very good condition with everything working properly, which is a relief after last year’s Kos trip heads’ problems. The boat had an in-mast reefing main and furling genoa, both of which were like new. Both heads were electric and the chart table area had two radios with their own chargers and batteries.
After the handover session we decided not to set sail due to the torrential rain and the very electric thunderstorms that continued from the previous night so one day was lost from our 8 day itinerary. The yacht base advised that our planned route anticlockwise around Corfu heading out to the NW islands may be uncomfortable for a couple of days so we changed plans to stay to eastern waters and include mainland Greece but still aim for the southern islands Paxio and Antipaxio.
The next morning we set off from Gouvia Marina motoring with lunch underway and sailing afterwards to Plantarias on the mainland, anchoring off the beach. Although we had had mixed weather the wind was not strong and the holding was generally good. This set the pattern for the whole week not requiring use of the kedge at all apart from one night where it was set ready to deploy but not actually used.
The weather from then on improved creating a lifestyle motoring in the morning followed by swimming and lunch in a picturesque anchorage, with good afternoon sailing then anchoring for the night. The electric anchor windlass made life easy and was very much appreciated when it took three attempts on one occasion and another positive experience was the reliability of the outboard motor for the tender although the automatic clutch made landing a bit tricky especially when towing another boats tender with a faulty engine.
Thursday we set off from Plantarias stopping at Nikolaos before continuing to Parga where we were accosted with offers of water taxi services. We elected to have a meal ashore at this quiet anchorage using the taxi which took us around a citadel perched on a high cliff to the next cove to be confronted by a very lively brightly lit waterfront. This was very attractive but we explored the back streets to find an open air beautiful garden taverna. After a lovely meal we explored this lively area with ice cream in hand.
From Parga we made way to a very blue water bay (Emerald Bay) on Antipaxos before circumnavigating the island, (all bar 200 metres sorry Bob), the very disappointed Bob then navigated us to Gaios on Paxos. It’s worth a comment at this point that Paul’s catering was superb enticing us to hardly eat ashore so it would be fair to say that we all ate and drank too much requiring a period of dieting. We did not enter a harbour all week because of this but anchored away from the competitive cacophony music. A shore visit offered a treat of street entertainment containing music, acrobatics, low wire music playing and juggling with fire. A nature foot note at this stop was the site of fish surrounding the boat at about midnight swimming on the surface with the top half of their bodies out of the water all under a terrific moon.
Saturday was planned to be a leisurely start with an English breakfast brunch and swimming. Worth mentioning at this point the swimming was enhanced by the amount of fish in the shallows attracting comments of “it’s like swimming in an aquarium.” The sail to Mourtos via another swim stop at Sivota provided a highlight of dolphins travelling parallel to us for a short time.
On Sunday we agreed a short early morning journey back to Nisos Sivota (Blue Water) for the keen swimmers which made us the first and only boat at the cove before other boats both small and large joined us and even better before any tripper boats. It’s worth mentioning that the fish population in this area includes flying fish that glide some distance at sea and a shoal of them was with us during the swim and gave us a great display. With a good wind we arrived at Petitri which was cause for concern due to its poor shelter despite assurances from the yacht base. By about 22:00 the moderate wind abated allowing for a quiet night.
We awoke where we had anchored adjacent to the hazardous rocks and wrecked yacht that had been there for some time. Because of the calmer conditions we undertook a lengthy trip ashore with our now trusty outboard full of confidence. Bob was keen to do this because the village has a reputation of “seldom visited by road” but was found to have continual traffic on the roads in and out of the place. Julia and Chris had written about its extensive fishing activity and sure enough the harbour contained many fishermen mending nets. We set off before lunch and dining under way arriving and anchoring outside Corfu main town for the last swim. Then returning to Gouvia Marina expertly piloted by Bob to fuel up at 16:15 before hand back. We all had supper at one of the Marina restaurants, as we did the first night, which provide excellent food at very reasonable prices.