East­ern Pelo­pon­nese to Cape Malea

Yachting Monthly - - EXPERT ON BOARD -

From the Ar­golic Gulf down to Cape Malea, the high moun­tains of the Pelo­pon­nese pro­vide a dra­matic back­drop to the seascape and chan­nel heavy gusts off the slopes when the wind is east­erly. For the first half of the coast the wind is the Bouka Doura from the south-east. If the Meltemi is in full flight you can get strong north­east­erly winds down this coast, par­tic­u­larly at Cape Malea where the sea piles up when the Meltemi is blow­ing.

‘ The moun­tains of the Pelo­pon­nese pro­vide a dra­matic back­drop’

Ki­parissi – A large bay sur­rounded by moun­tains with sev­eral an­chor­ages around it de­pend­ing on wind and sea. The un­spoilt vil­lage nes­tles un­der steep slopes and is a jewel with sev­eral good tav­er­nas to choose from.

Ier­aka – It is dif­fi­cult to see the cleft in the cliffs that is the en­trance to Ier­aka un­til you are right up to it. You then wind around to the quay and the ham­let hid­den in­side the fjord­like in­let. It re­ally is a hid­den lit­tle com­mu­nity in­side here and there are some good tav­er­nas.

Monem­va­sia – You can’t mis­take it. As you ap­proach it the great lump of rock rises sheer out of the sea, a sort of east­ern Gi­bral­tar. On its south­ern flanks is the Byzan­tine vil­lage that now has a his­tor­i­cal preser­va­tion or­der keep­ing it just like it was some 1,500 years ago. Cars are not al­lowed into the old town and ev­ery­thing has to be trans­ported by don­key. If you are in the ‘ma­rina’ or an­chored off on the

south side of the promon­tory you can take your dinghy across to a lit­tle stone jetty just un­der the gates to the old town. One other thing: in Ye­fira, the vil­lage on the Pelo­pon­nese side, the butcher makes ex­cel­lent sausages with orange peel in them. Just a thought!

To Ela­fon­isos – At times you will be blown away down to Cape Malea by the meltemi and on other oc­ca­sions you will mo­tor round in a near calm. On the cape there is a small Her­mitage with a cou­ple of monks and you should give them a wave for luck. From Malea it is 12 or so miles to the wide bay on Ela­fon­isos. The sandy bay on the south side of the is­land is a good place to stop for the night be­fore con­tin­u­ing around the Pelo­pon­nese.

Around the Mani

The pre­vail­ing wind here is from the north-west and west. Ba­si­cally, it blows north-north-west to north-west around Methoni and curves gen­tly down to blow from the west around the Mani. For­tu­nately, it doesn’t usu­ally get up un­til late morn­ing or mid­day, so if you get up early you can mo­tor­sail for a goodly time.

The Mani – the mid­dle fin­ger of the Pelo­pon­nese – is a wild place with a par­tic­u­lar Man­iot ar­chi­tec­ture: ba­si­cally, for­ti­fied tow­ers so that the feud­ing in­hab­i­tants were safe from one an­other. It was never con­quered, not by the Ro­mans, the Turks or any­one who had a go. Up in the gulfs on ei­ther side there is won­der­ful cruis­ing, which I won’t cover here. At Kala­mata, the city at the head of Messini­akos Kol­pos, there is a ma­rina with good fa­cil­i­ties and all you need from a big city.

Porto Kayio – A large bay on the south-east end of the Mani that makes for a com­fort­able stop. The hold­ing here is un­cer­tain so make sure your an­chor is well dug in. Ashore, in the south­ern dog­leg, there are a cou­ple of tav­er­nas. On the western slopes there are a clus­ter of typ­i­cal Man­iot houses and on the north­ern side are the re­mains of a Man­iot monastery.

Sur­rounded by moun­tains, the un­spoilt vil­lage of Ki­parissi on the east­ern Pelo­pon­nese is a spec­tac­u­lar spot

In Monem­va­sia old town the only trans­port is shanks’s pony and don­key

The her­mitage on Cape Malea – do give the res­i­dent monks a wave for luck

Kala­mata Ma­rina is good for fuel and pro­vi­sions, with a great Ital­ian res­tau­rant nearby

Monem­va­sia: look­ing down from the sum­mit to Ye­fira on the Pelo­pon­nese

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