“So much wind, much more than predicted!” Ivar shouts while our boat lists and a large wave washes through the gangway. “Let’s put another reef in the mainsail.” For our crossing from southern Italy to the Greek island of Corfu, we need to pass the Otranto Strait. Both sides of the narrow strait are mountainous, which causes the northern wind coming from the Adriatic Sea to accelerate significantly. Even with our reefed sails, we list considerably as we plough through the waves at high speed. Water flushes over deck. Still, we are not too worried, because our sturdy steel boat can handle this. Yet it sure isn’t comfortable.
We don’t catch any meaningful amount of sleep, so we are both exhausted when in the morning we see the mountains of Corfu slowly getting bigger. When we get close to the island, the wind and waves first diminish and then disappear altogether as we enter a sheltered bay. The water is azure blue and so clear that from the deck we can see our anchor falling on the sandy bottom. The white beach, the bright green mountain slopes and multi-coloured houses make us quickly forget how tough the sailing trip was. We have arrived in the Ionian Sea, an area known for its sunny and windless climate.