The Holey Coast

September 28, 2010

The "Holey Coast" of Paxos

Yes, it’s a pun – of sorts – but we thought of it as we came round the island of Paxos, just south of Corfu today. The coast is pretty rugged, steep cliffs rising straight up from the sea giving way to a silvery green topped island, covered in olive groves. The holey bit comes from all the sea caves that there are in the cliffs, some of them quite large. Indeed, local legend has it that one (or more) of them were used during the war by German submarines. Having now seen the caves, one thing is quite certain – they’re big but not big enough to shelter a U-Boat. However, just off one of the caves is a rock which, from some angles, bears a striking resemblance to a surfaced submarine and I seem to recall from a book I read that it was attacked several times by allied warplanes, mistaking it for a U-Boat. Perhaps that’s where the legend has its origin.

Right. Enough history for the moment, it’s been about 2 weeks since we last updated the blog, so as it’s a quiet night and there’s time to kill before bed and the internet connection is too slow to be of any use I thought I’d better get on and write something about what we’ve been up to.

Impressive but still not large enough to house a U-boat

In essence, we’ve been making best use of the good weather and cruising around the area, revisiting some places we went to on our Day Skipper course and exploring places we haven’t been to before. Tonight, we’re in a little bay at the southern tip of Paxos, a little island about 6 miles south of Corfu. The bay is called Mongonissi and has a small quay, full of a flotilla of charter yachts, a tavern and that’s about it. As I sit here on Rampage, they’ve just started playing Greek dance music (you know, Zorba the Greek-type stuff) and, I suspect, trying to get the charter people up and making fools of themselves. Never done it myself, you understand, but I think that’s what’s going on. Had to get up and see which way we’re facing, as the wind (what little there is of it) has changed – that explains why the music is coming from the wrong direction – we’ve swung round a bit! Nice as the music is, I trust it won’t go on for too long…

… Now, that was all written 4 days ago, before we tried to have a reasonably early night in Mongonissi Bay. I never actually made it to bed, as a southerly wind at about force 7 came through. The shape of the land round the bay meant that it funneled the wind, increasing the strength even further. With flotilla yachts dragging anchors all round and a large (50 foot plus) charter boat full of slightly inebriated Germans windward of us it was a little worrying. So, rather than sit up half the night waiting to see if the Germans would arrive in our front cabin, we decided to pack up and go – straight back to Gouvia, as we just heard that a friend had arrived there in our absence who might need a hand moving his boat over from Italy.

J admiring the view from the cockpit in Plataria

We had an uneventful night passage back to Gouvia, where we are still tied up to the pontoon, catching up on admin and enduring some truly awful weather – thunderstorms, torrential rain but thankfully not too much in the way of very high winds. Yesterday and today have been better and we’ve been able to catch up on the washing, doing about 7 or 8 loads in our ‘mini twin tub’. We intend to stay alongside for a couple more days, waiting for our friend, James, to arrive from Italy, as he may have decided to park his boat in Gouvia for the winter and, if so, we have agreed to look after it for him.  We’ll then look closely at the weather and decide how long we can toddle off for again before J flies off to the UK next month.

OK, that’s got us up to date – how did we get to the Holey Coast? Well, I came back from UK and a couple of days later, we set off to tour the mainland coast to the east of Corfu. We first visited a small enclosed cove just across from Gouvia, where we stayed for the night before moving down to just north of Igounimitsa. After a night there, we moved again to the small port of Plataria, where we’d stayed while we were doing our Day Skipper course and where we enjoyed one of the most spectacular sunsets we have witnessed to date that evening.

Sunset in Plataria - we're told they are legendary!

We intended to stay there a couple of nights but the morning after we arrived we met up with Steve and Tanya, who run Corfu Sea School, where we learnt to sail. They invited us to join them that evening in a little anchorage called 2 Rocks Bay about 20 miles down the coast, which we readily accepted.

However, when we came to take up the anchor to leave, we found that the anchor winch had decided not to function. After some frantic work, moving wires from one terminal to another I got the thing to work in the ‘up’ direction but the ‘down’ function was bust, so we decided to return to Gouvia to sort out the switch gear.  Having examined the control box, it became obvious that the thing was dead, so I obtained some components and built a replacement. The following day, we cycled into Corfu town to drop off a piece of needlepoint for framing and one or two other little errands.

Fishing boats in Petriti

The following day, we set off once more for a week or two cruising round the mainland coast and the island of Paxos. We spent 2 nights anchored off Petriti, as little village in the south east of Corfu before we crossed to the mainland and spent a night in little cove just round the corner from the town of Sivota Mourtos. It was a lovely little bay with just one other boat anchored there but it was a bit of a challenge to anchor there, as we needed to use both anchors and a line ashore to keep us in position.

By this time, we had run out of food, so we had to move on to somewhere we could buy fresh rations, so we decided to run across to Lakka Bay on the island of Paxos, a sheltered anchorage with a little fishing village at the head of the bay. Again, we’d been there on our sailing course, so knew what to expect and anchored about 150 metres from the village, amongst an increasingly dense crowd of other yachts.

Lakka Bay

We stayed there 2 nights, having a meal in a taverna on the second night before setting off, initially heading for another little port called Longos. As this port was only a couple of miles to the east, we decided to go right round the island to get there and had a pleasant day’s sail with, for once in a blue moon, a nice wind to sail by. In the event, I was looking at the pilot book and spotted another anchorage at a place called Mongonisi, which is where we started this blog!

The very picturesque Lakka village

We’re going to try and update this blog on a more frequent basis, rather than somewhat long-winded articles every two or three weeks. We should be able to do this, as the internet access we have out here is pretty reliable and widespread, so hopefully more but shorter blogs will become the norm!

Once again, Duncan enjoying a beer - this time in Lakka!


One comment

  1. hi I came across this website recently http://www.poseidon.hcmr.gr/index.php It might be of use. I still find it exciting to see that you are both still having a great time.

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