Its been a little up & down this past week and I'm not just speaking of the roll in some anchorages we've been in like the one we're in now, on our last night in Greece. We are checked out of Corfu and are headed to Italy tomorrow morning, 190 miles to our first port- Rocella Ionica, which is sort of on the ball of the foot if you're thinking of the boot of Italy. Our friend Tim stopped there on his way through and there's an Italian place (of course) that sells pizza by the meter & beer by the liter- that'll do! From there we'll go to Sicily. I truly can't believe this is happening.
Our daily boat life has us doing everything that is bad for a back. Winching up the dinghy, hauling it up on beaches, crouching over a bucket of laundry (yup, hardly anywhere to do laundry here), hauling fuel & groceries- its not all about margaritas in the cockpit. So a bunch of cumulative insults topped off by foolishly lugging a dozen 5 gallon waterjugs to the boat from shore, strained my back. The last bike ride didn't help either. So I have been hobbling around this past week trying to stand upright to see things but also heal. And Jon's back, well, it is always on the edge so we are quite a pair.
From Greek Islands
When we pulled in to the main harbor on Corfu- Corfu Town, we looked at the anchorage and thought it was just perfect. Plenty of room, protected, a lovely rounded pedestrian promenade, a great view of the fort and the old town buildings- we were so excited. Due to the heat and the long days, no one eats till 10p- restaurants offer happy hour from 8-10p. And when we're home on the boat, all the hatches are open and we're hanging out in the cockpit for dinner where its cooler. Well little did we know that first night that while we were enjoying the cockpit, hoards of mosquitoes were rushing inside the boat to greet us when we retired for the night. Never, in all the tropical areas we've been have we ever had the bloodbath we had that night. We spent a long time going around trying to kill all that we could find. And it wasn't much better the second night even though we buttoned up early because we still had a lot of leftover mosquito friends from the night before. We even took the time to look up what the heck they do all day and it is called torpor. They don't actually ever sleep, they lapse into a slowed state called torpor for their form of rest so they can be all ready to bite you all night long. By the next day, we both looked like we were going through puberty again for all the red bites on our faces. Not healthy.
From Greek Islands
Mosquitoes aside, we had a pretty good set up in Corfu and enjoyed exploring the old town and a few decent museums. Funny that their most famous museum is one of Asian Art. And another named Mon Repos which is an old mansion filled with Corfu history set in a decent sized park. The old town was the largest we'd been in with many blocks of tan colored buildings with tiny porches way up high and numerous storefronts & tavernas and shiny stone sidewalks in between. There was a great deal of British influence here and you can tell by the architecture as well as the focus on this island of arts & literature. There is a college of music actually within the old fort! We had a nice, home style Greek lunch one day and on others, a good stand-by gyro did the trick. The big fort looks the most impressive from a distance. It has two mounds and one is even capped by a lighthouse.It also has a substantial moat around it. Like some other Greek points of interest, maintenance of the site seems to be lacking. It was big, but too many areas were closed off or in disrepair. I understand that many countries in the Med are having issues with trash collection & disposal. Corfu is apparently having an issue right now- I got whiffs of news that there was a strike- so there were mountains of trash piled around. You know how the Greek villages have all the whitewashed houses and buildings? Well, we saw several whitewashed trash piles too- for real!
From Greek Islands
From Greek Islands
On one of the days we were being tourists, a water bottle leaked in the backpack and our phone got wet and it killed it. Too bad, I really liked that phone. We wanted to get it replaced right away that day but you can't because for the cell phone places, the workday ends at 3p. So Jon researched the phones that night and since we were sick of the mosquitoes buzzing around our screens we moved over to the Gouvia Marina complex & anchored because we had a few things we needed over there. But first things first, we still needed a phone. So we walked in the next day to get some exercise with 2 phones picked out that would work for us. Waited in a very long line of people at Vodaphone only to find out they were out of stock of the one we wanted to get from them. In Greece, everyone has to physically come into the office to pay their phone bill. Hence the line, and the madness. We hobbled over to the other phone company and they had one we wanted so we bought it and sat down with a gyro for lunch while we got it going. The problem was it wouldn't go- it was a lemon, bad right out of the box. So back to the phone store to get a replacement. Only problem was, they didn't have any more. OKKKK, so we asked for a refund and we would go elsewhere. Not OK, there were no refunds. What?! Bite your tongue. We had to pick out another phone but there weren't any that had the specs or price that we wanted. They said to come back tomorrow as they were expecting a shipment. We had a most uncomfortable bus ride back to the marina in a stifling hot bus and decided we needed a new mode of transport for any more trips to town. So yesterday we went back in using our fast dinghy and had a cool breeze the whole way. Although the phone place hadn't gotten any new stock in, Jon spotted an ad on a wall TV that mentioned a new model that would work well for us and they'd forgotten they had it in stock. We got it. The clerk said there was only one problem; she couldn't give us a receipt since the computers were down, could we come back tomorrow? Not likely! Its nice to have a phone again. On the way back in the dinghy, we stopped at Vido Island which is a park and walked around the loop trail in the shade. My back is healing up slow but sure.
We got a whole bunch of laundry done by the marina to save our backs, got more filters and topped up with fuel. Jon got the generator running with a new filter for that but we still haven't finished with the tank sludge issue. We now think there is something plugging the fuel pick-up that requires the polisher pump to be on to help lift the fuel past it. We are making progress though.
Next order of business was to check out of Greece. We got our papers together and went to the Port Captain at the marina to hand in our Transit Log. He started looking at it and said "this is all wrong", we didn't have enough stamps from various ports and the ones we had weren't right and whatever else, we don't know. We didn't get a lot of stamps because supposedly you only need one when you're tied up and we anchored out a lot. We paid an agent a lot of money(not by choice) to get this document done right when we entered. He said he could fine us 1000 Euros for something or other but he was very polite about it. I started to ask what the problem actually was and Jon looked over to me with that look in his eye that said "bite your tongue!" So I did. And the Cap said he would fix it for us, that we didn't have to stress, and he proceeded to make more stamp entries in our logbook that looked official. All the while, we were listening to the classical music he had playing and we knew it was doing him and in turn us, some good. He said he'd had an awful day because the computers were down and he couldn't process passports. Really, our day had been so great! Then he handed it back to us and said to go to Customs to hand it back in, back at the main port. So we got in the dinghy again and made a cool breeze back from whence we had come earlier in the day- it's 3 miles each way but it is the best way to travel around here because the water is always calm. We got in with the customs official and I swear, he looked at our logbook and said the very same words "this is all wrong; I could fine you 1000Euros for this" even though it was a completely different issue this time. Something about the way one of the previous officials had completed her entry. I let Jon go with this one too and he sweet talked his way out of this predicament with sheer fabricated empathy toward the officer. By the time he got out of there they were buds and we were checked out! Problem is, we have near zero tolerance for this sort of thing anymore. It isn't funny unless you're doing it with other cruisers, it isn't fun to be traipsing from one office to another putting your brain on a shelf because none of this makes any sense and biting your tongue to get through it without having to open your wallet for some fine for something you never did. Good thing we have about another 10 countries to check in to before we get home.
We motor sailed over to Anti Paxi to position ourselves for tomorrow's overnight & its one of those anchorages where the water drives you crazy. We're the only ones here because all the day boats have gone for the night. We did one last swim and had an easy evening aside from some rolling. I suppose it is good practice for tomorrow night. We have wind forecast from all 4 directions.
This past week has been frustrating but also our experience in Corfu wasn't as great as we'd expected. We found it to be a little rough around the edges. We'd even planned to rent a car to tour the island but it sort of lost its appeal. And we know that part of the reason we have had such a nice time in Greece is because we have sort of stayed on the sidelines and done our own thing. We've had a lot of freedom. As soon as you start leaning on the system, it gets frustrating. But I guess its like that everywhere; we're just tired of it in general. But Greece overall was a great experience and we enjoyed it very much. Hopefully this cloud that has been hanging over us will pass and the sun will come back out again!
With any luck we'll be in Italian waters by tomorrow night. And the best part is we get to go check in again. I wonder what offenses we will have made? I hope the punishment doesn't involve cement shoes!