August 4, 2017
You’re visiting the stunning cruising grounds of Corfu; it’s of course Gerald Durrell country, but still just as charming. Your heart sinks as you contemplate hours of travel to a faraway location to see a yacht that’s of interest. In Discovery 55 BLUE COWRIE’s case, viewing is really not so difficult. Her owner explains why –
‘One of the great things about Corfu are the transport links. There are 2 direct flights from London Gatwick North to Corfu every day. So in theory it is possible to set off from Gatwick at 05.55 am (or 16.55 pm) and arrive in Corfu at 11.00 am (22.05 pm), this is only available as a direct flight until the end of October. There is a flight departing Corfu at 23.40 pm which arrives back in the UK at about 00.55 am. The flight times are 3hrs and Corfu is 2 hours ahead of BST. From the 1st November to 1st April you do have to fly via Athens.
Marina Gouvia is 20 minutes from the airport (past 2 Lidls!). It is home to approximately 2,000 boats and it has very good marine services available – which are pretty efficient and fairly priced.
Corfu is an amazing cruising area and if you haven’t been there you should; the weather has always been set fair when I have visited. There are occasional storms but in the summer the temperatures are high and the seas reasonably flat. I am usually able to sail for at least part of the day during the summer months.
There are many good anchorages and small marinas (I prefer to anchor) but some of the places I have enjoyed are anchorages at Corfu Town. Corfu Town is a smashing spot most particularly the fort area, Liston’s Cricket Square/Rue de Rivoli lookalike. There are quaint streets, and I’m told some good shops! There is nothing finer than drinking cocktails and people watching in Corfu as the sun goes down.
Agni Bay – not far from Gouvia, has at least 3 splendid restaurants.
In the south of the island we have enjoyed some excellent fish in the restaurants at Petitri, a small fishing village. There is an anchorage and a harbour wall berth.
Opposite Corfu is mainland Greece and we like to anchor at Mourtos and Parga – both interesting towns and excellent swimming from the boat at anchor.
The next island south from Corfu is the small island of Paxos and there are 3 wonderful anchorages there. You could easily spend a week there. Lakka has gorgeous turquoise water, with a sandy anchorage: Gaios is the busy capital, extremely colourful and offering a wide range of shopping and restaurants. You can easily tie up in the town wall where water power and fuel is available (berthing is usually for free in Greece, except electric and water which you have to pay for).
In the south of the island is Monganissi this is a tight anchorage; also with a wall to attach to. As I remember there are 3 restaurants, but I usually go to the first which has an amazing fire dancing display on some evenings and dancing for you after the show, and a very pleasant restaurant overall.
Close to all of these anchorages is Antipaxos, the very small island with simply the best beach you will find anywhere. It’s a sandy bottom with a white pebbly beach, it is amazing but get there early.
Further afield, is Lefkas – the next island southwards, and the glorious Lefkas canal. Ryanair fly to the island airport at Preveza on Sundays. Lefkas canal is quite an experience. I haven’t been to the large marina at Lefkas but I understand that there are full amenities there too; it’s about the same size as Gouvia, with an interesting town.
Beyond the canal is a magical cruising ground with the islands that used to belong to Mr Onassis (Scorpios). Probably my favorite anchorage is on Katomeri Island, where there are many places to choose from and a good town. There are other interesting anchorages at the South end of Lefkas.
Surely everyone must love the island of Kefalonia and its magical town Fiskardo – where Captain Corelli’s book is based and is every bit as good as you could imagine.
We have done a trip to the Corinth Canal. You can see Corinth and probably more exciting still is the archaeological site at Olympia. I haven’t yet cruised around Athens but I was looking forward to doing that if things had turned out differently. I can thoroughly recommend the Ionian Sea which I found friendly, beautiful, convenient, interesting and relaxing.
A trip to Italy is easily possible too with Brindisi being only about 120 miles away from Corfu.
Before that BLUE COWRIE had been in Croatia for 4 years. Earlier on she completed the ARC’.
Andrew Clague RIBA
For more information about BLUE COWRIE visit http://www.berthon.co.uk/yachts-for-sale/blue-cowrie-cruising-sailboat-discovery-55-232072/.