This post is a quick update to share that we have now departed Albania and arrived in Corfu Greece. If you are wondering about our trip to Albania, it was wonderful and surprising and I have much to tell. A review on cruising in Albania will be posted soon, so watch this space.
The morning we left Sarande it was an overcast day with a decent breeze right on the nose, or directly where we wanted to go which was direct to Corfu Greece 15.5 nautical miles away. For non-sailors, no sailing boat can sail directly into the wind so the choice is to zigzag, or motor to your destination. With time on our hands and finally a wind that wasn’t over 30 knots or non-existent, it was nice to sail with full sails up and no reefs. Tacking as it is called, will not get you to your destination quickly though. The sailing can be quick it’s just that it’s similar to descending a winding zigzag mountain road, it’s slow as you have to cover so much distance.
Even though it took all day to go a short distance, I tried not to complain as the Captain looked like a cat that had caught something fun to play with before eating it. Who am I to spoil such fun?
Once we got out of Sarande Harbour and into the channel, about 3 nautical miles in front of us was a monohull, 42 to 45 ft in length, now he wasn’t just sailing he was racing.
Let The Race Begin
My competitive Captain couldn’t help himself and every ten or fifteen minutes or so we would tack or do something important to increase our speed and position. At times he was skipping across the boat to adjust the rope or tweak another, as he enthusiastically shared the why and how best to handle the wind. He explained how Catamarans don’t point as well into the wind in comparison to a monohull . Our secret weapon, OK not a secret, were our dagger boards which we lowered and continued to make ground on our sailing competitor. An unfortunate sail change by the monohull did not help their quest for speed, and each turn saw our girl eating up the distance eventually to have a lengthy lead. The sail change and the bowman at the front of their boat, seemed to also confirm their interest in making the best of the sail and racing us as well. This may or not be true, however on this occasion the Captain’s perspective was the only important one on the day.
To be honest after the first two hours I didn’t enjoy the sailing as much as my Captain and if I had been in charge, I would have just turned the motors on and got there. This point of difference highlights the fact that I am still not a full member of the sailing Miss Catana team. My team is more about comfort and getting from point A to B as quickly and as safely as possible. I will note though that sailing is 100 times better than motoring, and I hate it when there is no wind and the motors are the only option.
So I want wind, not too much and not too little and also from the right direction. Sounds fair and reasonable to me.
A Complicated Check In Process
When we did arrive in Corfu it was 4.30pm and another hour passed as we tried to find a berth that wasn’t miles from the customs and port police offices. In the end we settled at the old dock that has recently been given a revamp. When we entered and tied up we were delighted to find this docking was free even if it meant no services. As a liveaboard, free is fab and highly desirable. Recent use of our anchor is testament to this low expense way of life. From now on bad weather is the main reason we will need to go into marinas and pay expensive fees.
Albania could teach Greece how to check in a sailing boat. When we arrived at Sarande we were met by agent Agim and for 65 euro we had one nights docking at the new wharf, passports stamped and all paperwork done in less than 30 minutes. We had no need to get off the boat. In comparison, when we arrived in Greece the process from leaving our boat to getting back to our boat was 4 hours. It was complicated and involved, a grand amount of paperwork that appears to continue as we move around the Greek islands. It wasn’t all bad though, as let’s face it, we were checking into Greece, this is the stuff dreams are made of. Plus the officials are all friendly and could speak good English so it seemed a small amount of time for the privilege of finally arriving in the land of sailing dream time. Still Albania 10/10 Greece 4/10.
Corfu Is About Moving People In and Out
Each day we awake to see one, two or even three massive ocean liners arrive and off load thousands of tourists, who come to enjoy the sights of Corfu. It is like a tidal wave of humanity hitting the shore and shops and then by 4.30- 6 pm it seems to stop as they all go back to their huge floating castles to drink, eat and be merry. Then get ready to move to the next port. Today we did get an unexpected surprise, a couple came up to the boat and introduced themselves as they were from our home town of Hobart. It was an unexpected pleasure and interesting to chat to them, also to ask how their cruise ship worked and hear how much fun they are having.
Regardless of the how, it’s just cool to move about on the water, in summer time in Greece.
My other random observation is those postcards you see of Greek water, I used to think they were photo-shopped, now I know the colours are true. What they don’t show you are the beaches which so far have been pebbles or rocks….
Below are just a few photos to whet the appetite of those who follow our adventures and those friends who will be joining us sooner rather than later in Greece. We are getting excited to be sharing the boat with others, Captain- Chef is preparing and testing dishes to try out on new Miss Catana crew. Me, I am testing a daily gin and tonic for quality control purposes. Quality is good, yet more testing is needed….
PS Should I mention as well as perfect wind I wish for sunshine and warm weather.