On the 20th of July we departed for Greece; first we had to head down to the bottom end of the Straits of Messina and then go around the boot of Italy. We had a favourable weather window that would hopefully allow us to comfortably get to Corfu in Greece, in four stages.
Stage 1 - Departure at 7am, leave Reggio Calabria for a stop at the marina of Roccella Ionica. This is our 5th visit to this port. Our first time was in 2009 when the marina was finished but had no staff and we stayed for free! Today, it's the 'Porto Delle Grazie' and everything is organized, the capitainerie, the port police, even a laundry and showers and now it costs €65 a night. It's a transit marina and the only available stopping place on this stretch of coast but they are trying to make it more attractive for boaters to stay longer. Unfortunately it's miles from anywhere; the village is 5km away and there is nothing around except the big pizzeria which serves pizza by the meter, 50cm per topping, super good - we paid homage to it again!
Stage 2 - Departure at 7:15 for Crotone, sea beautiful but contrary currents. Crotone is also a transit port, a cross roads on the corner of Italy. We arrived in the middle of the afternoon and a nice harbour master gave us a 'special price' of €45 instead of the normal €72. Then we enjoyed a good walk around the town and a last shopping in Italy.
Stage 3 - Departure at 6:30 for Santa Maria di Leuca, our last stop in Italy before crossing to Corfu. No wind, calm sea but as usual a contrary current. It was very hot so we stopped midway for a quick swim to refresh. Santa Maria de Leuca is right at the end of the heel of Italy. It's not an interesting stop and unfortunately there was too much swell to stay outside at anchor, so we had to find a place in the marina. This time we had to pay full price of €81 and no negotiation possible, so to justify this expense we put both air-cons on Destiny all evening and washed the boat down with fresh water. As a final insult, we were on a pontoon outside the marina proper, so not really protected from the swell. Really not a nice place at all.
Stage 4 - Finally, on July 23 at 7:20 ‘Destiny’ left for Greece in a choppy sea with contrary currents and a cross swell.