Saturday, May 21, 2011

Onto Corfu May 14

Corfu harbor

Corfu town square

Achilleion Palace, summer home of Empress Elizabeth of Austria

Onto Corfu May 14
Corfu is our last stop in Greece before heading to Croatia. We have been stopping overnight at sheltered anchorages, sailing 40 to 60 miles by day, and dropping anchor by late afternoon at the usual picture-perfect Greek islands. Typically there’s no wind in the morning, so it’s time for the iron-sail (engine). Wind comes up enough to sail by early afternoon, and then by 4:00PM the wind screams at 15-20 knots. This is a beautiful sailing area, sheltered from the open Adriatic by groups of islands with tall mountains, which contributes to the thermal wind that builds up in the afternoon.

Lakka Ormos (Ormos means ‘bay’) on Paxoi is one of these beautiful anchorages we dropped our ‘hook’. We were motoring against the prevailing north-west head wind at late-afternoon. Once we turned into the bay, the wind and waves completely stopped. We were greeted by a calm bay surrounded by olive-clad hills. You can see the white sand in the bottom through 10 meters of wonderfully clear, turquoise water. We anchored next to several other sailboats, and took our dinghy to shore to explore the village. To end the day, we enjoyed a delicious meal of curry chicken on the boat, under a full moon shining on the sparkling water.

We reached Corfu the next day and checked into a large marina, as we needed to go through customs and port procedures to check out of Greece. We rented a car to explore this popular island. Over the centuries Corfu had been under the control of the Corinthians, Byzantine, the Romans, the Venetians, the Turks, the French, the English, and then finally Greece. Today Corfu reflects many of these cultures and architecture. We had an enjoyable walk through Corfu old town. The temperature was still at the cool side at around 20C, but very comfortable to us Canadians. Greek women were walking around in jackets and high boots in this weather. Flowers were blooming, vibrant colors. The tourist season has not quite started yet, and it’s mostly local people milling about the streets on this Sunday afternoon. One could see fashionable young couples strolling through ancient alleys and parents pushing baby strollers through the city square, which faces a 500 year-old Venetian fortress with shop keepers trying to entice passer-bys, politely and not overly aggressive. I think I will stay here for a while.

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