This is a very tedious paragraph so, if you have no appetite for a rant against bureaucracy, skip to the next para.
So, having failed to register to pay the new Greek cruising tax (since May this year and called TEPAI) on line, we went to the Harbour Authority Police at 9am. Thankfully there was no queue at this time and we were told that there was a problem with the system and we would have to use an agent, indicating (50 Euros fee) the company next door. They tried to re-establish my unsuccessful registration but failed to do so. We needed a different Email address so we utilised my satellite address so I had to return to Hejira to acknowledge receipt. We proceeded to make (120 Euros) the payment (back on board) but they needed my IBAN number – does anyone know their IBAN number? My bank manager very kindly returned my call but by that time I had activated the banking app, found my IBAN number and things had encouragingly begun to proceed. Despite only planning a short Greek visit, we unfortunately spanned two months so that, should we stay beyond the end of July there would be a further 120 Euros to pay. This helped make up our mind that, with the weather pressures, it would be best to leave Greece on the 31st. Emailing to the agent a copy of the confirmation of my on line international payment for the TEPAI tax, I was then able to take the agents compilation back to the queue for the marina office staff to issue the DEPKA (51 Euros) cruising certificate. This done, there only remained for the Port Authority Police to do loads more form filling for the sum of a further 15 Euros, checking us both in and out of Greek territorial waters so we could leave before the end of the month deadline. Needless to say, there was another queue. The whole process had taken us 4 hours which we will never get back.
Moving on – having done all the necessary paperwork, wouldn’t it be a shame not to sample some of what Greece has to offer, all be it in a very superficial way.
The next island south of Corfu is Paxos and the nearest anchorage on Paxos is a bay called Lakki. All of the information about Lakki warned of how crowded it became in the afternoon with it being a charter boat favourite destination. Our arrival at 6pm found the bay rammed with the certainly of sleepless nights for those anchored in the middle of the bay as they swing and bump into each other and the perimeter pretty well jammed with yachts with lines ashore to keep them in position.
Amongst the heavily populated perimeter there will inevitably be crossed anchor chains and the carnage that ensues when a yacht leaves setting off a literal ‘chain reaction’. Had we had a conventional fin keel yacht I would have headed off to find a more deserted if less picturesque location to anchor but we have a swing keel yacht with the ability to reduce the draft from 3 metres to just one metre and this enabled us to ghost into the shallow water off the beach, drop our hook away from any others and take a line ashore and secure it around some rocks.
Spectators on the surrounding yachts watched with dropped jaws as the manoeuvre proceeded as though we had carried it out dozens of times instead of it being our first.
The location is idyllic, not only can we just walk ashore, we are well away from the masses of yachts (at least 50), we are next to the swimming area with great views (!) and right outside a Taverna.
Dave right Writes:-
One can completely understand the problems the Greek economy has through the lens of the procedures that a visiting yacht has to endure on entering a Greek Marina. Even the Port Authority chap was both fed up and embarrassed about the procedures – I assume he takes some stick about it every day. Using the broker to complete the Tepai procedure for a 50 Euros fee was slow but we got there in the end. Whether Nick muttering darkly – “We’re members of the EU – didn’t we bail the Greek economy out to the tune of billions of Euros?” – actually helped speed things up we will never know. I won’t recount any more of this tale as if you have got this far and read Nick’s account above you are probably losing the will to live!
Although it looks as though in Greece everything moves at a slow pace (it is hot and that does slow you down) Nick has decided that the time keeping in Greece is not to his liking and has unilaterally declared Greece to be on CET (its actually CET plus one hour). His one man attempt to change the time in the whole Greek country is not going so well but we will be gone tomorrow and we can get back in sync with the rest of the Europe.
Mooring in Lakki was a triumph for the crew! Seamless interaction between crew and skipper saw us moored within 25 feet of the Taverna – see below taken from where I am writing this in the saloon.
Two days ago I was bitten by mosquitoes in the night and have well over 100 bites. Fortunately the itchiness is diminishing and the little buggers cannot get me offshore so the two day passage to Sicily starting tomorrow offers a sanctuary! Looking forward to it.