37º 19.39 N
23º 09.13 E
The crowds were out in Kalamata for the Easter festivities. Shops closed, the restaurants were full to overflowing so we ate on board, caught up some chores & round tuits & explored the town either on foot or by bike.
Tuesday (21stApril) we started on the formalities for our & the boat’s
it was obtain diesel – very necessary after our marathon motor on the crossing
Overnight there was a terrific thunder storm with lots of rain. We had intended to do a walk in the hills on Wednesday, but that morning the clouds were so low you couldn’t see the hills even if you wanted to ‘swim’ them.
it was a wet bike ride along the coast to the gas supply depot where we watched
our camping gaz bottle refilled.
Definitely different from the
Back on board Charles, from ‘Flicka’, the Parker 31 berthed next to us, arrived with a bottle of wine to share, as the best way of passing such a wet day! Very nice of him.
Thursday the heavy showers continued, but we partly dodged them, & walked up to the castle, via a park on the site of a disused railway line. It is full of old railway engines & rolling stock, which you can walk around or climb in/on at will. Unfortunately they also seem to be a target for the graffiti artists.
Not much remains of the castle but a tumble down gatehouse, but there were good views over the town & bay.
24th April with better weather we decided to leave. This meant another visit to the Port Police
to ‘check out’ (forms), but what we didn’t know (new this year we are told) was
that that meant another trip to Tax office (to pay 88cents departure tax!) then back to Port
Police with receipt to get the ‘dekpa’
exit stamped. Finally just before
midday we left Kalamata heading south down the coast. With a light wind we had a mix of sailing
& motoring, we saw some distant dolphins, the snow covered mountains
(Profitis Ilias 2400m high in the Taygetus range) were hiding in cloud &
Doug fished – usual result,
nothing. Early evening after 23.5nm we anchored close to the quay in the
The next day, Saturday, we made a prompt departure in a light wind to carry on south, & round Ak Tainaron, the cape at the southern end of the Mani peninsula, just after noon. Then it was a short sharp sail north to anchor in the bay at Porto Kayio.
A few Greeks were out fishing & walking to the headland of the bay, & we were amused when a Greek man & his daughter swam out to the boat & asked if they might come on board to jump in, as it transpired that they had left son on the beach, who hadn’t wanted to swim with them, & they wanted to wind him up! They certainly achieved that with cheerful shouts & laughter from us when we realised their plan.
We went ashore & had a very nice fish supper, at one of the beach tavernas, having been virtually highjacked by the lady proprietor.
we went for a walk back along the coastal hills towards
at the boat we found the forecast had changed from its settled prediction to a
lot of wind. Indeed this picked up
during the night, as forecast, so at first light (27th April) we
upped anchor & headed for a cove in the NE corner of the bay that the pilot
book recommended. We re-anchored mid morning as we suspected the anchor was
dragging. But it was a very
uncomfortable day as a ravine ran down to the cove & the wind gusted down
this causing the boat to shear around a lot.
At dusk we set anchor drag alarums on the electronic chart in the hope
of getting some rest, but about 11pm off they went & yes we were
dragging! Doug headed the boat away from
the shore, while I got the anchor up – relief, it was still attached to the
chain. We sorted ourselves out as best
we could in the dark, & headed back close to our original location on the
southern shore near the little hamlet.
There we anchored yet again, but took it in turns to monitor the
position for the rest of the night & into the next day, as we were now on a
lee shore. Finally late in the day
(Tuesday 28th April) the wind subsided & we were able to relax o
So on Wednesday 29th April we made a prompt start from Kayio for the 22nm to Yithion (Githion). The wind was still gusty (4-7), varying in direction, & there was a large left over swell, so it was a mix of heavily reefed sailing, supplemented by the motor in the lulls.
At Yithion we used the anchorage as the harbour was a jumble of fishing boats. Had our first dip of the year as Doug dived to check the anchor, I wonder why, & I was sufficiently tempted to swim round the boat a couple of times. Ashore we did some provisioning, & some reconnaissance as to how best visit Mystra, & had another supper out so Doug could have octopus.
Thursday 30th April it was another early start, this time to catch a
at the lower entrance, & lower town we made our way up & through long
abandoned houses, churches, monasteries & convents. Most of the churches had at least some
remains of the frescos that originally decorated them, while a number of
buildings had been or were being carefully restored. Reaching the upper town we found the Palace
swathed in scaffolding, so that was out of bounds, then it was on & upwards
for the final steep ascent to the Kastro, with commanding views of the land
& town down below. Returning down through the beautiful buildings we
wondered why it had been allowed to fall to ruin – too steep & too narrow
roads for modern wheels perhaps? Then it was refreshment in the village below
& bus back first to
1st May, another festival (& bank holiday) - we did some chores
then went round to the fishing boat area in the harbour to fill the water
tanks, so it was a late morning start.
The wind picked up as we cleared the harbour, we unfurled the genny
& as we were doing 7 knots & towing the dinghy, left the main
alone. We continued with wind from a
westerly sector & varying strengths & sometimes some rolls in the genny
past the lighthouse at Ak Zovolo & then gybed to pass the Monastery &
Saturday 2nd May – One yacht left so we moved into that spot, alongside on a concrete pontoon. We did a provisioning run to the little town & were amazed to find what we would consider old fashioned traditional butchers. The meat was cut & dressed to order, straight from the cool room & there were huge wooden slabs for the actual cutting.
it was across the causeway & up the hill, where the residents have to park their cars on the road, to the
mediaeval gateway guarding the walled
The next day (3rd May) the wind was picking up & forecast to get more so we put the dinghy away & left Monemvasia. We were sailing close hauled & the wind was quite gusty (hills again!) close to the coast. Later as we got further north & away from the coast it dropped completely. So we continued with a mix of sailing & motoring. Mid afternoon we had the best sighting of dolphins that we have had in the Med. We reckoned about 20-30 were around the boat at one stage, & there were more travelling in all directions, presumably fishing, for quite a distance, so a total of perhaps a 100. Lovely. So early evening after 43nm we arrived at Porto Heli, where years ago I worked teaching dinghy sailing for a summer, & anchored in its large bay.
4th May was grey & wet.
We seized a break in the damp & headed ashore, & along to the
Hotel Rozos, where the sailing of 20+ years ago had been based. And yes they knew Brian, my ex boss, &
were able to give me his phone number.
Later I contacted him on the phone & we met him & his lady,
Linda for supper, & caught up the news of years. They had only returned from the