Corfu to Santa Maria di Leuca
Having spent four happy seasons in Greece, we decided that the time had come to move on. Knowing that we could not afford Croatia (otherwise our first choice), we opted for Sicily, partly because over-wintering in Ragusa and Licata is relatively simple.
From Corfu we set out first for Othoni for our last night in Greece. That was fine except that at 4a.m. we could see nothing when leaving and there was another yacht nearer than we would have liked. Our Italian landfall was planned for Santa Maria di Leuca – the obvious choice. Maritime traffic was enough to keep us on our toes, but overall we spent a boring, uneventful day chugging along partly under sail and partly under power.
Used to Greek port pricing and the plethora of anchorages, we were painfully aware of what awaited us at Santa Maria if we went into the marina. Shock #1 was that what was given as an anchorage just before the marina was manifestly quite unsafe, so marina it was. Shock #2 – Italian restaurants go into meltdown after the end if August, so our pursuit of guide book recommendations was thwarted by serial closures. In practice this probably did us a good turn because we ate well at moderate cost not far from the marina. Snag is we can’t even give them a credit here because we didn’t take a card. Shopping was however miles away – a big negative.
We could find nowhere of interest by way of lunch stop, so we headed up the “boot” towards Gallipolli. Heikell and other sources suggested that it was well worth a visit but that Otranto was to be avoided like the plague that it is.
This gave us our first exposure to the way things work in Italy. In Greece there is a marina or a town quay or whatever and that’s that; Here in Italy there are three or four competing operators in the same location each offering different facilities and prices. In the end we opted for Marina Blue Sorrento who offered us a berth at €50 a night on the visitors pontoon visibly a bit exposed if the wind got up – it did, but not dangerously so.