Heading back to Italy - well trying but failing spectacularly - 3 Times !
17 October 2020
Real Time - We are now safely tucked up in our Winter Marina In Italy, but Wooh - it was a long time coming ..
We spent the last 2 days of September trying to get back to the marina in Italy and on both occasions turned back...
Tuesday 29th September
12.30 pm -We left Iggy Creek in glorious sunshine . The sea was calm, predicted winds and swell looked good - we had snacks to grab if it got a bit lumpy. The trip was just over 200 miles so we should be back in marina in Italy Thursday morning - Yes!
Actually No! As we rounded the tip of Corfu into the more open water the huge swell and wind hit us, but like the 'hard arsed sailors' we believed ourselves to be, we soldiered on for another 4 hours, bashing into the swell and wind, assuming it would eventually die down. Enough at least to be able to go down into the cabin and get a warm coat or dare we even dream - make a cup of coffee? This was just not happening. It was like sailing in a washing machine, set on a cold wash, as every so often a wave would decide to break on us, showering us with horrid cold salty water!! I felt like darling Trueman in the scene at the end of the movie where he tries to sail to Figii. I felt sick (unheard of by the way!!) and the thought of this weather carrying on all night made me cry, (not unheard of) .. so we decided - enough was enough and turned back towards our friend the safe haven, 'Iggy Creek.'
The trip back, despite the long distance and time it took, was slightly better as we were riding the waves. We arrived back at 25 minutes past midnight - cold, exhausted, but relieved. A 12 hour round trip! One I did not want to ever repeat. How crazy to have put ourselves through that ? We should have known better - the swell takes time to settle after the awful weather we'd been having lately.
Wednesday 30th September A new day, the sea would be calm and instead of going offshore - non stop for 200 miles, we would do 'day hops' all the way back to our Marina in Italy:
Day 1 up to the Island of Erikoussa - 35 miles (a walk in the park.)
Day 2 Across the small stretch of sea to Italy, to the inside of the 'Heel of the boot' ' (Santa Maria di Leuca) - 58 miles - doable.
Day 3 Across the bottom of the Bay of Taranto to Crotone - 70 miles - long day, but Ok Then finally ...
Day 4 across The Bay of Squillace (translated means 'Bay of Squalls' so don't wish to dwell on that for too long) just 62 miles to our marina at Roccella Ionica. A plan - sorted! Yes!
We headed out - got as far as the tip of Corfu and the seas had not calmed and the winds were no where near those predicted, so we turned back - again!
This time we decided, for a change of scenery, to try out Stefanos. This was a well protected bay on the NE side of Corfu. It was a pretty harbour and as we were looking for a place to anchor a lovely old Greek gent called us over to his pontoon. It was, what an estate agent might describe - 'A Des Res.' We had prime position, our very own pontoon which had a Taverna at the end of it. What more could we ask for? As with many private pontoons, there is no charge, but there is an expectation that one might eat in the Taverna and who wouldn't when it's on your doorstep (well it would be if we had we had a doorstep!)
We did get a little anxious when we saw the owner laying a romantic table for two on its own, actually on the pontoon. Didn't fancy eating my moussaka there, even if it was the best seat in the house. There's social distancing and then there's actually outside the restaurant in full view of all the other customers. Fortunately, we were left to choose our own table. We had a very Greek, 'Grandma's recipe' meal, a couple of beers and complimentary orange cake pudding. All rather lovely. When we finally left I felt ridiculously posh in my Tesco shorts and flip flops, as we walked down our exclusive pontoon, and climbed onto the boat. I say posh, but actually I felt a bit daft. I imagined that the other patrons of the restaurant would think we'd had a few too many shots of ouzo and instead of leaving by the main entrance we'd gone the wrong way and were going to step off the edge of the dock into the sea and end up on a YouTube video.
Thursday 1st October .
We left Stefanos the following morning and headed back to Platarias, where we spent a really relaxing week before setting out again to Italy. We kept an eye on the weather, in between beach walks, swimming, watching the charter boats trying to anchor, reading, shopping, baking cakes and of course Netflix. Finally a weather window ...
Wednesday 8th October
We decided to head to the island of Paxos, South of Corfu and leave the following morning on a non stop offshore passage all the way back to our Winter berth. We would not pass go we would not collect £200! The weather looked good, it would take us just shy of 44 hours. We were primed !
We set off with hardly any wind, but by the time we had passed the protection of the Corfu coast .. Lordy Lordy the wind had crept up to 20 knots plus, with gusts of 28! The swell was confused (yachties term for all over the place.) Rest assured it wasn't the only one confused - This was not meant to happen. We were so pleased to finally anchor in the sheltered, almost land locked bay of Lakka. We stayed for two days but our weather window had once again gone. We had once again failed to get to Italy!
To add more insult to our bruised egos - next weeks weather forecast was awful, wide spread rain and thunderstorms. Only one sensible thing to ..
We sailed back to Plataria and booked into the marina for another week.