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   Corfu Dolphins and Whales

 Related Site Topics

Corfu Travel Guide with tips advice for this Greek Island. The December newsletter - Christmas and Dolphins

During the summer, our boat taxi is kept at the little harbour of Kouloura, but in the winter it is lifted out of the water. Theo and I set off one November morning to take the boat to Corfu town. The day was warm and glorious.
Corfu Travel Guide with tips advice for this Greek Island. The December newsletter - Christmas
 
We spotted four dolphins playing in the water. They were some way off, and can travel at up to 30mph, making a clear photo difficult - especially as they move so fast.

Corfu Travel Guide with tips advice for this Greek Island. The December newsletter - Christmas

During the summer months, we often see them. You may remember from previous newsletters, that occasionally a whale is also spotted.
 

Corfu Travel Guide with tips and advice for this Greek Island. August newsletter.
 

Last July we saw two whales swim by - closely followed by the Greek coast guard! I took a picture of them spouting, but it seems they were too far away for the resolution of my camera.

 

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  Sarava

Prepare yourselves for a romantic adventure! Take a large glass of wine and immerse yourselves in the Durrel like stories of our  friends, Jani and Jeremy who spend long lazy summers on their much loved catamaran 'Sarava'.
30th May 2001
After spending the day at Anti-Paxos, snorkeling in the clear turquoise water, we had our first sail of the year without engine power. The wind, for once, was in the right direction, a gentle westerly blowing us towards Cavos and the Southernmost tip of Corfu. We hoisted the 'yankee' and switched off the engines. Sarava glided effortlessly over the waves and the only sound was the soft swishing of the inky blue/black sea against her sides and the slight movement of the sail.
Catamarans do not, thank heaven, roll from side to side like monohulls, but seem to surf the swell very akin to riding a swimming horse coming into shore on the incoming breakers. Occasionally the twin bows would break into the water and splash up onto the sunbathers on deck, the sudden shock on the hot bodies, making the water feel icy, causing shrieks from the victims! Suddenly the dolphins  appeared, as if out of nowhere, like shiny grey torpedoes zoomng through the water just fractions of an inch from our bows. They criss-crossed in front of the boat then leapt out of the sea in a dripping, glittering arc over the starboard bow, plunged into the water and out again to dive over the port bow then disappear under the bat. One small show-off practised his circus act alongside shooting up out of the sea like a rocket, turning in mid-air and diving straight down again with hardly a splash. having amused themselves and us for a full ten minutes they left, as a group. as quckly and silently as they had arrived and headed off to Albania.
As we rounded the cape, our speed of eight knots suddenly fell away with the loss of wind and we had to revert to motor-power again until we reached our destination for the night, a great favourite, the tny bay of Agni. Exactly as we had dropped anchor, close to the shore, the sun dipped belw the hills above the bay, casting a deep, cool shadow over the water. The land rises steeply behind the bach and is thickly wooded with a huge variety of trees. Silvery green olives, short, round and bushy, extremely tall, slim cypresses , now black in their stiff silhouettes against the evening sky. Almost lime green Mediterranean pines, their umbrella shaped branches in contrast to the cypress, scenting the air drifting towards us from the hot land. Tufts of Spanish broom dotted the hillsides and cliffs, bright yellow flowers with their heady scent of coconut and honey, the sea around us was dusted with their pollen. Christmas tree shaped conifers with perfect marble round cones, large bushy bay trees and the occasional stately and immensly elegant eucalyptus with its fish-like shimmering leaves and peeling papery bark.
Of the three small tavernas on the white pebble beach the one on the right, as viewed from the sea, is our favourite, Taverna Agni, a stry in itself.
It was obvious from our first glimpse that some sort of party was in progress. The customers were dressed in their best, lightweight clothes to suit the balmy evening, but definitely much smarter than the usual clientele. Anther clue was the pontoon belonging to the restaurant. Normally just a simple wooden jetty, a few of its planks having seen better days, old car tyres, painted white, dangling at the sides to fend off approaching craft. (Typres in which enterprising sparrows buid their nests, safe from marauding cats, just above the water line, tucked neatly into the cleft where the metal wheel rim would fit.) Tonight it was transformed with a strip of bright green carpet and two dainty arches constructed with tufty pine branches festooned with delicate pink ribbons. Small boats were arriving at intervals and depositing guests. One charming group consisted of some angelic-looking small girls in pastel party frocks, white ankle socks and bar shooes, who skipped along the pontoon to join some even smaller boys in very clean white Bermuda shorts, on the beach. It was a scene straight from the pages of Euid Blyton. The children were far more entertaining to watch than the adults and seemed to belong to no-one as they were left to their own devices, while grown-ups talked and drank on the taverna's terrace. They say merrily on the beach in a line with total disregard to the odd globule of tar, legs outstretched, and began the time-honoured game of lobbing the smooth white pebbles into the sea. Quite suddenly, after about five minutes of peaceful stone throwing, one little girl in a sugar pink ensemble, decided to liven up proceedings by lying on her back and bringing her legs up over her head to touch the beach behind her with her toes, displaying to all and sundry her matching pink knickers. We waited for the cries of horror from a mother along with the expected admonishment but none came, perhaps this was her usual party-trick and had all been seen before!
The salmon pink sunset faded and, as the sky turned a deeper purpley-blue the myriad stars appeared, the taverna lights were reflected in the calm water and the guests were seated at long tables under the canopy. The enticing smells of delicious cooking wafted over the water. Charcoal grilled prawns, fried kalamari, oven-baked dished such as stifado with its red wine sauce flavoured with cinnamon, the baby onions snuggling up to the melt-in-the-mouth pieces of beef. The small traditional Corfiot fishing boat which acts as a ferry to the taverna and operated by Eleni's father, fetching customers from nearby villas and hotels, puttered out into the bay past Sarava and the one other yacht at anchor. Just as it neared our starboard side we heard a female voice tremulously but loudly warbling a song from a well know opera, followed by scales and vocal exercises. "Greta the goldfish has gut in her gills" stood out as one I remember being embarrassed by at school choir practice. It was so incongruous in such a tranquil setting that we spent about fifteen minutes trying to work out what or who it was. We thought it must be a CD aboard the ferry - but then, with the aid of binoculars Miranda spotted a lady in a soft peach trowser suit, standng in the prow, her arms waving dramatically, singing into the night air for all she was worth! Could this be one of the harpies? The local siren troupe, we asked each other. Was she perhaps the pemptress of sailors, luring them with her sweet songs to flounder to their doom on the jagged rocks. After a couple of turns around the bay the bat and singing cargo returned to the wedding party. The diva started her repertoire which included, "Oh my beloved father" and ended with, "Ave Maria" and was met with rapturous applause and standing ovation. We added our approval by giving a short blast on the ship's foghorn, quickly imitated by the other visiting craft.
Jeremy's suggestion (he hates opera) t put in a request for, "Yellow Submarine" was quoshed. We were merely bystanders, eavesdropping on their special day, nevertheless we charged our glasses and toasted the happy couple wishing them health and happiness in their future life together.
The golden moon rose over Albania and still the party went on until the early hours. Opera was replaced by Abba and people danced under the stars. As we drifted to sleep, lulled by the warm airs wafting into the cabin windows, we were rocked gently by the rise and fall of the water, the breathing of the sea.
 
Jani Tully Chaplin.


 

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