After four hours or so walking around Corfu Town we were ready to go back to Kalami so we strolled to the harbour and waited for the boat. As we sat and looked out to sea the small day trip tourist boats reminded me of a previous boating experience in Corfu.
Towards the end of a holiday in 1984 we went on a day trip which turned out to be one of the highlights of the week, a full day on a Greek boat with a Corfiot skipper full of mischief and fun, a beach barbeque and plenty of alcohol.
This was George’s boat and at mid morning we joined about thirty other holiday makers when we arrived at the concrete quayside opposite the hotel and were welcomed on board by George himself, a man with a big smile and a flamboyant sense of humour who worked hard to get us all to enjoy ourselves before casting off and steering the brightly coloured boat with the steady rhythm of its chugging diesel engine away from Corfu and out into the Ionian Sea.
As soon as George had completed the tricky bits and negotiated his way out of the harbour the fun began when the razor blade wine in unmarked plastic containers was opened and passed around and drunk from plastic cups and he began an amusing narrative and a stream of jokes, which were corny to begin with but got ruder as the wine flowed and the day progressed.
Eventually someone had to be the first to use the on deck toilet which was located within a sort of canvas modesty tent and this was the moment George was waiting for because as soon as they were inside he scooped up a bucket of sea water and then to everyone’s amusement (except the young girl in the loo) he poured it through the open top and drenched her. Her shrieks could probably be heard on the mainland and the whole boat was in fits of laughter.
After this there was no stopping George and his next party trick was to scoop up more water and then discharge this over unsuspecting people minding their own business and sunbathing on pedalos bobbing gently on the water. HELLOOO! he shouted just as he emptied the bucket load all over them. Some thought it was funny but some, it has to be said, didn’t share the joke. Everyone on board found this hilarious and encouraged George to repeat it over and again at every opportunity. George naturally obliged.
He took us first to a remote beach that was inaccessible from the land and he dropped anchor and invited us to jump from the prow of the boat into the warm crystal clear water below and we stayed there for a while swimming and diving and then sitting on deck in the sunshine drinking more wine.
After the swimming break we set off again for a stop at a small village for a barbeque lunch of fish and salad and yet more local wine.
It wasn’t the best wine I’ve ever tasted but it was ok in an emergency and sitting by the water with a cool breeze rippling the sea and the table cloths it was delightful and we could easily have stayed much longer than the time allocated and before we were really ready we had to set off on the journey back with more wine, more japes and a thoroughly good time.
I’ve googled and checked and thirty five years later George’s boat is still running:
Some more of my boat journeys recorded in the journal:
Rowing Boat on Lake Bled in Slovenia
A Boat Ride with Dolphins in Croatia
A Boat Ride with Dolphins in Wales
Gondola Ride in Venice