3. Diving, Dekpa and Tepai

We left Cavtat at noon and arrived at Erikoussa, a small island north of Corfu just before sunset the following day. We had anything from no wind to 30 knots as we approached Greece. We used all sails, in combination and on their own and motored parts of the trip. We basically watched both series of the ‘Extras’ and snoozed in the cockpit. A nice way for Justin to become a Blue Water Sailor. In Erikoussa we anchored, swam around the boat and slept. We did not go ashore and stayed under the radar as we had not yet sorted out our Greek taxes and cruising permits.

First Mate
Deck Hand
First night sail of the season

I had my first proper diving experience the next morning. Not Jacques Cousteau stuff maybe but I impressed me. And my son. When I had my morning swim, I noticed that we had lost a part of the ladder at the stern and I could see it on the sea bed some 8.5 meters below. I had pretty much written off the prospect of being able to retrieve it as I am not sure that I have even touched the bottom of the deep end of an Olympic swimming pool. My ears always told me to stop after a few metres. But I decided to give it go anyway. If I was going to live on the ocean, I should be able to retrieve stuff that I can see from the surface. I armed myself with the largest fins we had on the boat and after equalizing pressure three times I was back at surface level with the missing piece of the ladder. Or rather, I hit my head on the underside of the boat before I could get to breathe again. At the end of the day, it was quite easy really and I am pretty sure I will be able to go deeper. Certainly over 10 meters.

I spent the rest of the morning admiring a solar panel arch at the back of the neighbouring boat. It was an Oceanis 41 with a French-Canadian live-aboard couple on it. They had the arch built in Turkey and were very happy with it. I took a number of pictures and sent them to the boat yard in Tropea to prepare them for what I wanted to talk to them about in a few weeks.

French-Canadian arch

We lifted the anchor around lunch time and motored to Gouvia Marina just north of Corfu Town. We had stayed there for six nights when travelling in the opposite direction three years earlier. A great place to charge batteries, fill tanks, repair stuff and just relax by the pool or take a short taxi ride to Corfu Town. And to pay the much discussed and recently introduced Greek taxes, Dekpa and Tepai. With the support provided by the Port Police at Gouvia this was quite easy once you got through the two-hour long line of fellow sailors trying to get the same paper work sorted. There had been a lot of discussions in various sailing forums regarding these two taxes, but we found it cheaper than Croatia. We stayed three nights at Gouvia and paid around €60 per night. Well worth it for a top-class marina.

Gouvia Marina, Corfu

During the last night we experienced a power outage over large parts of Corfu. Which meant that nothing worked on the island. It was sad to watch all the restaurants and shops in the marina clear out refrigerated food and we were happy that we had provisioned and filled the water tanks the day before. The only thing that we were missing was to fill up with diesel and the local gas station could not operate without power. The tank had not been completely filled since the year before so I was unsure of how much we had left. The gauge was showing well over half tank and the tank holds 200 litres so we should easily be able to reach the filling station at Lefkas some 60 Nm to the south. The only problem is that the tank is not symmetrical in shape. The top part contains a lot more than the bottom part which has a cone shape. This means that the gauge can be deceiving as the needle falls rapidly at the end. On our way out of the marina though, we noted that they had pulled up a fuel truck next to the filling station so we were able to fill our tank directly from the truck even though the rest of the island had a complete black out. I got 115 litres into the tank so there would have been no problems to reach Lefkas. Going forward, I decided to reduce the engine revs to 1800 rpm and to monitor the fuel consumption more closely.

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