Greece here we come.

The trip to Greece was 250NM and as we thought we would be motoring most of the way, we decided to break the trip into two, calling into a fishing town called Crotone. Leaving Taormina, late in the afternoon we had a visit from a turtle at sunset and a lovely night passage, with a spectacular full moon rise at about 11pm. At about 8am the following morning we got a radio call from Calyxa. Her Engine had failed. After much communication, it turned out that they miscalculated their fuel consumption and had run out of fuel. They only had a spare 20 litres, which was nowhere near enough to get them to Crotone. We were about 15NM ahead and looked for marinas where they could get fuel on the way…there were none. The south coast of Italy is really quite remote. There was no wind, and none forecast…so we diverted, to an anchorage called La Castella about 20NM before Crotone. We hoped to source some fuel for them, or at worst, syphon some from our tanks to theirs when they arrived. La Castella, had no yacht refueling point…but there was a garage 5 km down the road. It was a small town, and after some asking around the friendly locals managed to show us where to buy a 20L jerry can. They even leant us a car so we could drive to the garage and pick up the diesel! I don’t think I have ever arrived in a town and been lent a car in less than 1 hour. There in no way that would have happened on the west coast of Italy. So when Calyxa arrived 5 hours after us, we had a jerry can of fuel that would get them to Crotone. After a great meal and a few beers we all feel asleep and the next day we headed off for our final leg to Crotone. The forecast was for no wind. But we had 25 knots, on the nose. Go figure, although we have learnt now, that forecasts in the med bare little resemblance to the actual conditions encountered…so really it shouldn’t have come as a surprise. We had left our anchorage early and hadn’t really got the boat prepared for life beating into 25 knots but after a 5 hour slog, we arrived into Crotone Harbour wet, bruised, battered and glad of the shelter. When sailing in the Med, it’s not really the wind that is the issue, but the sea that builds up with it. We had to punch into steep and nasty 1.5m white caps all the way. Every one jarring the boat, reducing our speed and giving us a good soaking. Crotone was another super friendly town, no tourists, just Italians doing their thing. The people we met all along the southern part of Italy were fantastic and happily, a real contrast to other parts of Italy. While in Crotone we met another cruising family on a 38 ft Catameran, called Per Caso. They were equally battered and were heading in the same direction as us. They had 3 kids, 11, 8 and 5 so now we had three boats in convoy for the final 115NM leg to Nisoi Othoni north west of Corfu. The passage was chilled and calm, we had 15 knots on the beam for the last 6 hours and arriving at 7am and anchoring in 2.5m deep crystal clear water. We arrived slightly after Per Caso and Calyxa came in a few hours after us, having spent the night surrounded by massive tuna. We spent 5 days between the Islands of Othoni and Ericoussa enjoying their shallow anchorages with clear, warm water and the chilled tavernas ashore. The eight kids ran free and we didn’t really see them for days. At night we all ate aboard Par Caso, as they had the most space…cooking for 14 on a boat is a challenge, but with a will there is a way, and we ate well. Marc and Sabrina from Per Caso had scuba gear on board and took the kids down for their first scuba lesson, a real highlight and another great experience for the kids – thanks guys! After the Islands, we headed for Gouvia Marina in Corfu. Our fridge was not cooperating and Per Caso was having engine difficulties, so we had a mid trip maintenance 48 hours in Gouvia Marina. Luckily, the Marina had a pool and the kids spent their time eating ice cream and jumping in the pool, it’s a tough life. After Gouvia the three boats went their separate ways…Per Caso bound for Istanbul, Vega to collect my parents in Corfu town leaving Calyxa to chill on the hook around Corfu. But we will meet again…

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