Eastern Peloponnese to Cape Malea
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