We left Paxos and sailed north to Corfu (or Kerkyra in Greek) where we anchored on the south east coast in the small fishing village of Petriti. There is a harbour with colourful fishing boats and a five tavernas on the sea front all specialising in seafood. Being just a small harbour without any nice beach areas, it’s not so popular with tourists, it has a very old traditional Greek feel to it, there is space on the quay for a few boats and some space to anchor, the restaurants rely on passing trade from the boats that visit.
There was more unsettled weather and storms to come, therefore we needed to find a more sheltered spot, so we pre-booked a space in Mandrake harbour which is a small Venetian port in Corfu town below the old castle walls. However, when we arrived they said we were too early (2pm) and to come back in one hour which we did but unfortunately they still didn’t have space for us and said to try again the following day!
With our options somewhat limited and time running out, we decided to anchor in Potamus bay which is a large bay next to the ferry/cruise ship harbour. This turned out to be a good choice as there was only a couple of boats here and so we were able to anchor with plenty of chain out, the depth was only 5 meters, but we put out 45 meters to ensure good holding.
We stayed on the boat for 2 days as the storms passed through, we were then running low on food and drink. We got Fred and Ed out and took a ride up a small river and tied up next to a large supermarket where we were able to restock.
Later we took Fred and Ed to town to have a look around. The town is full of history and has been influenced over time by Venetian, Italian, French and English styles. A popular area for tourists is the Liston Paved Avenue, it has imposing buildings with arches and walkways below which are full of cafes and expensive restaurants, all overlooking the old cricket pitch.
Would not want to park your car around here!
The town is separated into two, the old town lies on the northern side and the new town to the south. Each area has a Venetian fortress which were used from medieval times up to 18th century to protect against pirates and the Ottomans. Apparently the only place in Greece to be protected in this way, which helped to make it the only island to successfully defend itself from multiple attempts of occupation by the Ottoman Empire. More recently Corfu has been made famous by The Durrells TV series, unfortunately we didn’t have time to visit them!
The ‘old’ fortress (built in the 15th century)
The ‘new’ fortress (built late 16th century)
We planned to travel across to Italy, due to current restrictions we needed to have a COVID-19 test done, and then be in Italy with a negative result within 72 hours. We had a good weather window to make the overnight passage so found a clinic in the town who would do the test (for 100 euros each), and then we had to wait 24 hours for the results!
We took the opportunity to sail up to the small island of Erikoussa which lays approximately 8 miles to the northwest of Corfu while waiting for the results.
Erikoussa is only 2 square miles and was named after the plant ‘Heather’ (a member of the plant family Ericaceae) that grows everywhere on the island.
There was a large bay to anchor here which we have stayed in before, but with a steady 15 knot wind blowing down from the Adriatic, even with the protection of the island, there was an uncomfortable swell. Fortunately there was space in the small harbour, which was well protected enabling us to get a good night sleep, ready to set off for Italy early the following morning.