Cruising through the Peloponnese has been fantastic fun. I think it’s one of the nicest parts of Greece we have visited to date.
It is well off the beaten track for sailors, which makes it super quiet. There are no charter yachts here – only live aboard cruisers. It is rugged and remote but has some of the best beaches I have seen in Greece and to top it all off the people are relaxed and friendly.
Unlike the windswept and often barren Cyclades it is green and lush in this area of Greece with plenty of anchorages dotted around the headlands.
Most of our sailing has been into the prevailing north westerlies which have been blowing up to F3 in the afternoons providing some great sailing conditions. At night the wind has generally eased to nothing, which sounds great, but it tends to mean you end up rolling beam onto the swell, occasionally making for an uncomfortable night’s sleep!
Every headland has an old battlement or castle on it, most of which are still in pretty good condition and make for great exploring. Unlike Australia or the UK where everything would be fenced off, here you can roam the ruins until your heart is content, climbing the walls and battlements or disappearing into nooks and crannies. The boys have had a ball playing knights.
Our route through the Peloponnese took us from Monemvasia down and around Cape Melea into the bay of Ormoros Vatika. Cape Melea has a fearsome reputation and is dubbed the “Cape Horn” of the Med. It is no Cape Horn, but with two weather systems meeting here conditions can change quickly and it is wise to look at the weather a couple of weeks before your passage around the cape to ensure you understand the weather systems and how they interact. The day we rounded the cape it was flat clam.
We spent two nights anchored off lovely sandy beaches in O. Vatilka. On the second night we had a beach BBQ before upping anchor at dawn the following day to head around the cape to Ormiskos Frangos which was a picture perfect bay with warm, crystal clear water and a beautiful white sandy beach. There were some nice walks out to the surrounding headlands too. It’s a must visit by for anyone on a yacht in the Peloponnese.
After playing on the beach in O. Frangos we caught the late afternoon breeze to Porto Kayio. We arrived there at 9pm right on sunset and quickly dropped anchor. That night the wind picked up from the north and we were left exposed to the swell and endured a fairly rolly night at anchor, very close to some nasty looking rocks. It wasn’t the best night’s sleep.
Next we visited the castles at Koroni, Methoni and Palaiokastro near Pilos. The real highlight was the Paleokastro which is perched on top of a hill on the NW side of Ormos Navarinou. We spent two wonderful nights at anchor in a bay below the castle. Dan from Antigoni had done a bit of homework and dicovered that you could climb up to the castle…despite the fact that the signs all say it is closed to the public….The walk to the castle and Nastor’s Cave is spectacular, as is a nice dip in the crystal clear bay just below the cave.
All in all this is a part of Greece that the Greeks holiday in, but seems to remain relatively untouched by foreign tourists….The Greeks are clearly keeping it to themselves as it’s a fantastic place to travel!
As I write this we are moored in the fishing port at Pilos awaiting a F6 southerly tomorrow to blow us the 65NM to Zakinthos…should be a fast sail !!