Exploits of Captain Ginger
We spent our last few days at Corfu in Mandraki Marina on the north side of Corfu Castle, a pleasant spot and right on the edge of the old town. We were berthed on the outer wall and therefore a longer walk to get ashore. Not only that but because of ballasting on the harbour wall we were berthed bows to with a log plank to get ashore – thank goodness we didn’t have strong winds!
Leslie joined on Monday 30 May bringing with him a courtesy flag for Montenegro which I had been unable to get before leaving Leros. As my Croatian insurance did not cover me for going to Albania, as originally planned, the following day we took an organised day trip instead. This was excellent value and for €53 had a boat trip across to Saranda, coach trip to Butrint, a World Heritage Site followed by lunch then back on the coach to see Blue Eye a fast flowing crystal clear river with the most wonderful blue and green colours created by different rocks and vegetation. Included was the services of a Guide and by the time we returned it had been a twelve hour day.
The following day we moved to the old Port to another new but unfinished marina where we had a free mooring. Here we did a major shop for provisions, visiting the wonderful open market with its colourful array of fruit and vegetables and cleared out of Greece. In the late afternoon we took a local bus to visit the Palace of Achilleion, conceived by Elizabeth, Empress of Austria in 1888. After her death it was not used much and was purchased in 1907 by Kaiser Willelm II as a summer residence. It has had a chequered history being used as a Military Hospital in the First WW a Military HQ in the Second WW and in between times an orphanage, a casino and various government offices. The Palace and Gardens are now a Museum and a popular tourist attraction.
My itinerary now had a gap so instead of going to Albania we set off for the islands of Erikousa followed by Othoni to the north of Corfu. Two very contrasting islands, we anchored at the first and moored inside a new harbour on the second.
Each displays a strong Italian influence both in the architecture and the inhabitants. At Eriklousa we had drinks in a small boutique hotel built by and Italian couple from Genoa, everything including the stone was shipped from Italy. In Othoni most of the inhabitants seemed to be Italian and the restaurant menus were in Italian!
From here we continued the Italian theme by crossing to southern Italy to spend thee nights in Otranto. A longish passage, we left at 0600 and it was over twelve hours later when we moored stern to on the Piccolo Yacht Club pontoon. Otranto is a charming town with a castle on the promontory and old walled town but it is also a tourist resort with a seafront and promenade. The following day we took the train to Lecce, which in itself was an interesting experience. The old walled city was but a stones throw from the train station where we did all the tourist sites and had a very relaxing lunch. It is the main town of the Puglia Region and its architecture has earned it the title of “the Florence of Baroque Art”
That night we had strong winds so decided to stay for another night which gave us time the next day to have our morning coffee in a café, catch up on internet and for lunch we just had to have a pizza – we were in Italy after all.
We continued to have winds gusting 30k during the night but by early morning they had died and we were able to leave at 0700 for the 130 mile passage to Montenegro. We had anticipated 30 hours but did it in just over 25 hours with much of it under sail. As we headed out of the harbour entrance we were met with a lively sea and a wind that within the hour needed a reef but as the day wore on the wind dropped and we had to turn the engine on.
This was to be our only overnight passage and by 0250 the wind had picked up and we were sailing again. This took us right up to Bar, our Port of Entry into Montenegro. Checking in took almost three hours and we were pleased to leave Bar, a large commercial port and follow the coastline for a lunch stop and siesta in a quiet bay before picking up on a mooring buoy for the night at Bigova. The following day we went ashore with the hope of getting a local bus to Budva but no buses served this little village so we contented ourselves with buying fresh bread, tomatoes, cheese and ham for a picnic lunch and set off to explore the island. A fascinating walk through a fertile agricultural plain and round the coastal path to the headland. We passed several derelict houses, a bar/restaurant and a disused military establishment presumably a relic of the 91/92 war. On the way back we picked small yellow plums, encouraged by a local who showed us the best ones and ended up with 3 kilos!
The following day we continued our journey along the coast and into the inland sea which consists of three separate bays of Hercegnoski, Tivatski and Kotorski. We had seven nights in Montenegro, having purchased a vignette for that period and spent the time visiting the pleasant little harbour of Herceg Novi with the old town on the hill. Kotor with its fortress on the peak of a hill and battlements leading down to sea level. The climb was not for the faint hearted and took a couple of hours. Then it was on to the old naval harbour at Tivat, which has been developed into an up market marina for superyachts. The facilities and service reflected its status and so did the prices!
Here we said farewell to Leslie and had a day of the usual domestics including a cycle ride to a filling station to get a gas bottle refilled for the amazing price of €4, in Greece a replacement bottle would have been around €15 and in UK even more.
Jutta joined us mid afternoon and we left our berth to refuel, check out of Montenegro and start the next leg of our adventure.
Below are chartlets in three stages of this leg.
Corfu – Otranto (Italy)
Otranto – Bar (Montenegro)
Bar – Tivat (Montenegro)
: 28th Jun 2016 08:43:00
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