22 July Zakynthos – Katakolon, 34nm
After our (aborted) trip towards Italy, we are on the way from Zakynthos towards the Peloponnese today.
Katakolon to be exact. The crossing is pleasant, the waves and the wind allow us to sail most of the way. After a long day in Katakolon, even fore-warned by reports from other sailors, we are still negatively surprised. We arrive at a restless anchorage, the ground covered with sea grass. Normally we try to avoid sea grass as best we can. It‘s a valuable habitat for various species and is quickly destroyed by an anchor, taking a long time to recover. Unfortunately there are no sand spots visible and the harbour is blocked by huge cruise ships.
These cruise ships dump their load – around 2000 tourists per ship – on shore, to where a huge number of coaches await. These coaches transport the tourists swiftly to Olympia, where they can fast-forward through the original birthplace of the Olympic Games (which are still popular today), and the associated small museum. Eric and I visited the Olympia last year, together with friends from our home country, and were frankly disappointed. It may have been because of the pouring rain, but we had expected more of such a famed place. 🙂
In the meantime, the engines of the cruise giants continue to run indifferently. At regular intervals they blow black clouds from countless exhaust pipes while we explore the small village. When the coaches return in the afternoon, the human cargo flood the small village. But as soon as all the tourists are back aboard the ships, all shops are closed and within an hour Katakolon changes from a place flooded with tourists into a ghost town. Not even the supermarket is still open!
Against wind and waves we fight our way back to Tiki to an impatiently awaiting Summer & Randy. Nothing holds us here except tiredness.
23-26 July, Kyparissia 29nm
In Kyparissia we find a very well protected harbour. You can anchor in the harbour basin or moor directly at the pier. Here it is free of charge. Unfortunately, this is exploited by some people, and thus there are boats here which have obviously not been moved or cared for in a long time. If these would at least moor stern to the pier, far more boats would be able to moor and it would be a tempting stopover in the Peloponnese.
Nevertheless, we stay 3 nights here and explore the city, always with the ulterior motive that we need to find a place fo this winter for some weeks. The infrastructure here seems to be good, the way to the city centre can be travelled in about 20 minutes (uphill) and in contrast to the very quiet harbour basin, it is very busy here.
Yes, this could be an option for the winter, but we are just at the beginning of our journey around the Peloponnese.
26/27 July, Nsis Proti 16nm
At the most recent stations it was crowded all the time, so we decide to make a stop in the tiny bay of Vourlia, on the island of Proti. Tour boats bring a few bathers and pick them up a little later. Like us, they enjoy the clear water and swim around the wreck, which lies directly under the surface of the water. It is a small paradise, and the night is starry and calm. We lift our anchor in the early morning and set off.
27/28 July Pylos 13nm
The approach is spectacular. A narrow, high rock massif encloses a large natural bay. As soon as you see the land behind, you can see the mighty walls of the Orthodox monastery. Shortly thereafter we drop anchor outside the harbour, which again attracts permanent residents as you can moor here free of charge. In our Bananaboat, we row briskly from the anchorage through the harbour basin and stretch our legs.
At a small chandlery Eric manages to fulfill a small dream, finally persuading me to invest in a cool box. So now our current fridge can be used as a freezer and we can finally freeze something again. Well, in theory at least. After a short time in test operation it turns out that our previous concerns unfortunately still apply. We don’t have enough battery capacity to run a normal cooler. One with a compressor would consume much less, but is far too expensive. Fortunately the dealer takes everything back and even gives us 2 small bottles of his own olive oil. When it comes to generosity, friendliness and helpfulness, The Greeks really are hard to beat. No wonder this place dragged us back!
28-31 July Methoni 8nm
A final short piece of the western Peloponnese still lies ahead of us, from Pylos to Methoni. Accompanied by dolphins, we sail the short stretch and find a huge castle which Eric, as soon as the anchor is set, wants to explore immediately. So, until shortly before sunset we walk around the area which is surrounded on 3 sides by the sea. Satisfied and tired, we return to Tiki where we have to stay on board and wait out a storm for the next few days. Fortunately we topped up our supplies in Pylos, so the only worry is that the anchors of neighbouring boats may not hold. But this concern was thankfully without reason! And so, our time in Methoni and the Western Peloponnese ends on July 31st.