09/08/2012, San Stefanos
As pretty and sheltered as San Stefanos is (and it really should be an idyllic location) I don't think we'll be in a huge hurry to come back. The ferries have slowed down since we were last here (economics not common courtesy) so the swell that nearly submerged the dinghy in our brief five minutes stay last year is much less of a problem. The restaurants are reputably good if more expensive and not particularly imaginative.
The holding seems to be good IF, and it's a big IF, boats can be bothered to put out enough chain and dig themselves in. Therein lies the problem. It's not a particularly big bay and everybody, but everybody, wants to come here.
All day the little rental boats and ribs pour in, most of them not bothering to slow down. Then, in the afternoon and evening, seemingly every sailing boat in the Ionian comes in. There were three flotillas in here last night, in a space that I would have thought would struggle to cope with one. Naturally they were all swinging into each other but nobody was particularly bothered including the lead crews. To be fair, it wasn't just the flotillas.
Today, the afternoon wind played havoc. One Belgian catamaran moved about 100m past us heading for the rocks and then told us it was because our anchor wasn't holding! We must have one of those special boats that move forwards when we drag. Well, there you go.
07/08/2012, Kassiopi, Corfu
Some Scottish children got a rather larger crab than they were expecting to catch thanks to a local fisherman.
The days in Kassiopi really make up for the disturbed nights but we're moving on today - don't know where for sure yet, but it won't be far.
06/08/2012, Kassiopi, Corfu
We see a red moon rising.
04/08/2012, Kassiopi, Corfu
There's something about Kassiopi that keeps drawing us back. There's Vivi and her family at the wonderful Theofilos Apartments (In the Telegraph's top twelve for Corfu - there's an accolade for you: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/hotel/36517/Corfu-hotels.html), of course, who convinced us years ago that there is no place like the Ionian and no place in the Ionian like Corfu. Then there's the harbour which, although it provides limited shelter, means the cooling breeze is as good as being at anchor but with all the advantages of stepping straight ashore.
There are the views from the castle and the sunset on the walk around the headland. There's the variety of restaurants so if you want quality dining, traditional Greek or pie and chips it's yours. It can be pretty noisy, of course, but the fact that we always feel like we're on holiday here ourselves means we tend to join in the hubbub.
You could do a lot worse than Kassiopi and, no, this is not an advert or tourist information. It's what we like. Don't just take our word for it, though. Ask Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton who we spotted here last night. Yes, really.
After dithering around in Vroulias Bay waiting for non-existent wind to materialise, the skipper's frustration gathers.
A HUGE catamaran with fenders dangling approaches.
"He won't be able to get in there."
"There's another catamaran coming OUT!"
"If he gets in there we won't stand a chance."
Skipper takes over the helm. Engine revs go up from 1500 to 2000.
"He's still eating up the land. He's racing us!"
Engine revs go up to 2500.
"He's definitely racing us."
"He's French. He'll give up."
Catamaran flying French flag forces way into harbour ahead of us taking up three spaces. We manage to squeeze into the last (least protected) spot on the breakwater next to him.
Bemused expressions on faces of catamaran crew.
"Well, if I'd know he was Italian...."
The wind that had been forecast for so many days finally arrived on Monday. A constant, hot blast of air from the land, it felt like we were sitting in front of a fan heater on full, something we really didn't need with temperatures in the upper thirties. The setting of the sun did little to relieve the stifling atmosphere particularly down in the cabins which seemed to radiate with a dry heat that took the breath away. It was well after 3am before the boat had cooled down enough to sleep below deck. All this and dragging anchors, too, but thankfully not ours.
Our original plan was to head for Kassiopi today but the weather forecast remained changeable although with decreasing winds. Instead we headed for the large open bay of Vroulias just around the corner from Kassiopi to assess just how settled the weather was actually going to be. Much as we love Kassiopi, our experience last year of the harbour becoming untenable has left us very wary of going in there unless conditions are perfect (see 'The Domino Effect' 27/06/2011).
In Vroulias the largely unprotected bay was allowing the wind to come in straight from the sea. Bliss! It was only about a force 4 and it was cool! We're also the only occupied boat in the bay and, so far, there's been no music blaring out from either of the tavernas. As the wind died down the swell became much more apparent. Not just the bow waves from the ferries but a persistent rolling motion from the disturbed channel beyond the bay.
This morning we await weather developments. One forecaster is predicting a force 5 from the east (not a good direction for Kassiopi) so we'll wait to see if that materialises or not before lifting the anchor. There are clouds and a possibility of rain, even a thunderstorm, apparently. In the meantime we'll enjoy the cool and the quiet. The only sounds here at this time of the day (9am) are the waves rolling the stones on the shore and the dog who barks at passing cars.