After picking up our discount tax-free diesel, we continued our journey south towards Corfu. Our late start meant we would be out 2 nights, arriving in Corfu the morning of the third day.
Leaving the Gulf, the winds were initially good and we looked set for a nice first night of sailing. There was no moon but otherwise we made steady progress through the night. The morning started okay as well,albeit the wind a little on the nose.
Then it started to build and we started to have to tack our way south along the Albanian coast. By 3pm it was getting to resemble a washing machine as we reefed down and started to struggle to make head way.
We were passing Vlore at the time and the weather looked a bit ominous so we made the call to go and have a look at Albania. The bay looked really protected and a lot more attractive than spending a night battling into a strong headwind, current and swell.
So in we turned, straight over a disused minefield that the guide book said was okay provided you didn’t try and anchor. We didn’t try and anchor. Instead we headed for Vlore, where we could check into the country before we coud head to Albania’s one and only marina 7nm away. Now I’ve got to say that Vlore Harbour has seen better days. In fact, Albania has seen better days. Anthony informs us that 70% of Albanians recently lost their entire life savings through some pyramid selling scheme that scammed them.
We finally got someone on the radio who told us to pull onto the crumbling jetty between the ferry from Bari and a tug. We made sure we had lots of fenders out to keep us off all the jagged bits.
Eventually a guy jumps on board and we start filling out forms. It turns out he is a shipping agent who disappears with our passports and forms. He comes back after a while nd asks for 75 euros for his services. We eventually get him down to 70. Bit hard to negotiate when he has your passports. He takes the money – no receipt, no paperwork exchanged. Welcome to Albania!
Then we head for the Orikum Marina, the only real marina in Albania. Its now getting dark so we charge over there, both engines running. We get there just on dark and tie up stern to. 14 euro a night is pretty good. /and the internet is not bad either. Other than that, its pretty quiet.
Next morning, we are up early and on our way. We have to head back to Vlore to check out. We get close and call up the port captain who refuses us entry. Umm. We sy we will stand off waiting for authority and he eventually calls us onto the jetty, where upon our agent reappears and clears us out. This time we get some paper work. And we are off once more to Greece.