I have been reading “Darkness at Noon”. The 3 hour crossing to Corfu from Igoumenitsa passed quickly with cockpit discussions about Number One’s great purges in the 1930’s. It is ancient history for my young Muscovite crew, who lack the fascination we Westerners have for the terror.
Corfu Island is high, rocky and quite beautiful. It contains many pale English tourists. Our marina had 1,000 shiny, white, sterile, identical charter yachts, and at EUR 60/night it was just not our kind of place. But the showers were hot and the facilities good. We found privacy at the outer spiral arm of the marina galaxy, where immediately behind us there sat a ramshackle village with battered fishing boats and crowing roosters. It could have been worse.
Maxine arrived from Moscow, frazzled and tired. It is wonderful to have my old Russian crew reassembled. Even if the cockpit chatter is once again incomprehensible, their laughter is in a universal language.
The Achilleion Palace, built by Austrian Herzogin Elisabet in the late 19th century, sits in lush gardens atop a steep peak out of Corfu town. The views east across the strait and north to the old town are quite splendid, even if the romantic architecture of the palace seemed indulgent, almost vulgar to me. Corfu old town certainly retains charm although I couldn’t help wishing I’d been there 50 years ago. Now though, 2 days is enough.
We cleared customs and left for the 30 hour passage to Montenegro with light headwinds and sparkling blue seas. At times only 3 miles off the steep and mountainous Albanian coast, we were not troubled by navy or coastguard.
With sunset the arrival of a cold katabatic land breeze brought hopes of a fast reach north, but as usual the promise was not fulfilled. Mr Ford was called into service and has been purring now for 28 hours. Montenegro is 13 miles ahead and we should enter the landlocked Bay of Kotor after dark. Another night landfall – it is so often the way.
For now, Maxine is rebuilding the forward cabin to her own eccentric taste and vacuuming the saloon (that Hoover is a dangerous weapon and should be licensed – Farida, Chris and Maxine have all wielded it like an arquebus). Tatiana is in the galley doing wondrous things and Pasha is prowling round looking for jobs to do. I sip on a dry white in the cockpit as the sun sets.
All is well in Tainui.