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Our Wakes: 2019

Around the Peloponnese Peninsula: (May-Augustus 2019) 
It was on the 1st  of May that we left Preveza to start our new season in the Saronic gulf and  the Cyclades islands. But first of all we needed  to go around the peninsula of the Peloponnese.   First, we stopped in various ports of the Ionian islands that we had visited the previous season,  such as Vathy ( Meganisi island), Nidri and Syvota. We stayed for several days at the last one  because the weather was not good. Once the forecast had improved, we left Syvota to Effimia  and Zachynthos. From Zachynthos we sailed directly tos the southern tip of the Peloponnese to  the harbour of Pylos. Often the South and West coasts of the Peloponnese experience strong  winds. So it is  very important to check the weather forecast before starting the journey. We  could have stopped at Katacolo, but we preferred to go directly to Pylos  as we had already  stopped at Katacolon the year before. Pylos harbor is located in a very nice bay that offers  good  shelter from most wind directions. The harbour is totally abandoned, and everybody can park  their boat where they like.   The city of Pylos is pleasant but has nothing special to offer. There are some ruins of an  oldcastle that indicate that once upon a time the place was important from a strategic point of  view. Over the centuries, ownership of the castle changed regularly between the Turks,  Venetians, etc.... Not far from Pylos you have other ruins such as the castle of King Arthur or  the castle of Methoni. The last one has a very well-preserved tower. Today the region is visited  by tourists who come by bus most of the time. Once the bad weather was over, we resumed our  trip to the second finger of the Peloponnese. The landscape was nice with a coastline formed by  mountains in which you could sometimes see a small village. We stopped in the little bay of Porto  Kagio were only a few boats could spend the night. On shore there are three restaurants whose  tables they hope you will honour. Otherwise,   they hope some mobile homes will arrive during the day to spend the night. After a break of 24  hours we  hoisted the sails and had a day that started with westerly winds blowing over 20 knots.  It was also raining, but suddenly, when we reached the third finger of the Peloponnese or Cape  Malea, the weather became instantly calm and nice. Cape Malea has a very bad reputation when  the north wind blows. The nautical charts advise « When N and NE winds blow avoid the coast of  Malea. The winds in the area are usually blustering and violent. Sudden gusts come down the  mountain with N winds which are strong enough to rip the sails apart, to break the mast or even  cause the boat to capsize. You should keep a safe distance of at least 3NM from the coast and   be ready to loosen the sails. Steamers should also keep their distance as the waves close to the  coast are irregular and accompanied by strong winds » For us the passage around the  Cape was very calm as the wind had subsided. We then motored  north for 16 miles to reach the city of Monemvasia. At first, it looks like an island, but once you  get closer, you can see that it is connected by a stretch of land to the mainland.Until 1900,  Monemvasia was well-known for its wine. Then the village declined and started to become a ghost  village until rich Athenians discovered it and started to renovate the place, but taxes on the  houses increased and the owners decided to transform their residences into bed and breakfasts  to be able to pay the taxes. Today, the village is absolutely beautiful and has been well-restored.  The city has set strict rules about how to restore the houses. It has to be identical   to the original plans and no electric wires or AC units  can be seen from the outside. As no cars  can circulate in the narrow streets, the village is very quiet. Above the village, is the St Sofia  church that has been restored. It is not always open as only volunteers guard the site. If no one  is available, the church is closed. The view from the church is very nice and worth the  effort.Monemvasia harbour has nothing special, but on the fifth of February 2019 a wave 11  meters high hit the harbour and sank some boats in the port. A strong wind from Crete for  several days created this wave. Boats that travelled in the area sent out a warning so that  everybody moved away from the coast. Luckily, no casualties were reported after this  incident.After a stay of three days in Monemvasia, we decided to move to the bay of Gerakas.  This is a little harbour that is very well protected except from the East and South Easterly  winds. A few fishing boats are based here and there are two tavernas for visiting boats. If you  climb up the hill behind the tavernas you will discover the ruins of an ancient temple. Leonidas  was our next stop. Nothing special to report except that the place is very quiet, and a few  restaurants expect to welcome you for dinner.We then moved northwards to the city of Naplio.  This city is vey impressive when you get closer as it has 3 big fortresses that protect the city:  one at the entrance of the harbour and 2 on the hill located on the south side of the city. The  fortress of Palmidi was built in the 18 century and if you wish to visit it, you can choose either to  use the 825 stairs or the road at the back of the   fortress. Needless to say, it is highly recommended the you  start climbing the stairs early in the   morning when the temperature is still bearable. From the top of the fortress you have a stunning   view of the surroundings. The fortress in itself was built to be invincible and inside the main  walls, there are 7 fortresses next to each other making it in theory impossible to take. However,  in 1715, a few days before the completion of the fortress, 300 Turkish soldiers dressed as  construction workers managed to take control of the building without a fight. Later in 1822, the  fortress was taken over by the Greeks and transformed in 1922 into a high security prison where  prisoners on death row awaited execution. Today, Naplio is a tourist city were tour busses stop  after having visited the nearby sites of Epidavros or Mycene. Hundreds of restaurants are  available in Naplio so the choice is very big and it gives you some idea of the number of people  visiting the place.North of Naplio are the ruins of Mycene, the oldest civilisation in Greece. The  city was very active in the years 1,600 to 1,100 BC and the ruins of the palace can be visited. To  enter the city, you need to pass the famous gate with two lions. The thickness of the walls gives  you a clear idea of how difficult it would have been to invade the city.   Back on Terus, we decided to sail to the city of Porto-Heli. The place has nothing special, but the  bay offers a good sheltered place to park your boat in bad weather. The bottom is of excellent  quality and gives a very good holding for the anchor. In 2018, during hurricane Zorba, many boats  found good shelter there. It is also a good place if you need to go the Athens, as twice a day,  there is a ferry to Athens. Otherwise, you need to go by bus, which is cheaper.The next place  was Ermioni, a nice little harbour that has still some remains of an antique harbour. The main  interest is that you can easily take a ferry to visit the nearby island of Hydra. Hydra is  definitely a place to visit. No cars are allowed on the island; only donkeys are allowed for  transportation.  to carry goods around the island. The harbour of Hydra is very busy with a lot of yachts as well  as ferries. Finding a place in the harbour is like finding a needle in a haystack and if  you manage  to find one, often 3 or 4 other boats will drop their anchors in front of yours.  As long as  everybody stays there for the night, no problem, but when boats are leaving in the morning, it is  a nightmare with  all the boats trying to lift their anchors from the bottom at about the same  time. The language of the skippers becomes very aggressive and it can take more than an hour  before you get free. So, you understand why we prefer to visit Hydra by ferry. Hydra is a very  nice place and many celebrities have a house there. The most famous one is Leonard Cohen who  bought a house in 1960 for 1,500 US$. At that price, there was no water or electric power  connection. Leonard Cohen used to say that this house was the best investment he ever made in  his life. I can also recommend that you to take one of the trails to walk around the island. We  climbed the hill of Hydra and when we returned, a beautiful sunset started to give a unique  golden colour to the sea while the city started to be illuminated: an absolutely stunning view! 
Bay close to Pylos Methoni Pylos Methoni Kagio Malea Cape St Sophie Monemvasia Gerakas Naplio Palmidi Mycene Turtle in Monemvasia Hydra Top of this Page Previous Page Next Page