Kalamata via Koroni & Petalidhion
37:01.465N 22:06.257E Fri 29th Jul 2016
We stayed 10 nights in the glorious anchorage at Methoni in the end and relished the chance to slow down for a while in such a pretty and peaceful spot. We appreciated that peace all the more when we moved on to Koroni a 3 hour motor away around the corner in the Gulf of Messina. It too has a magnificent Venetian castle/fort and beautifully clear waters off the town but is much more busy with tourists from all over. The result is more choice of places ashore to while away the hours, but the downside is the noise coming from some of the waterfront bars right through the night. It is difficult enough to sleep in 35C heat without loud music to add to the problem! Most boats seem to move on much more rapidly from this anchorage as did we, which is a shame. The water was great for swimming and warmer than in Methoni which was a bonus for the wusses amongst us.
Koroni does have a long, unspoilt beach just over the headland which we walked to on our second morning there. We discovered that it is one of Greece’s 3 important turtle nesting sites and, as it is the season at the moment, the beach was punctuated with sticks and warning signs in the sand marking the location of dozens of nests. It is good to know that there are still some places in the Med where turtles can come ashore to lay their eggs relatively undisturbed. The other highlight of the place for us was a wonderful old bakery producing pies from a traditional oven presided over by an enthusiastic old lady - the best we’ve ever had in Greece. Lindsay was also entertained by a very high tech toilet in one of the cafes which included a seat that revolved after flushing as cleaning fluid was dispensed over it! It seemed an unlikely location for such a sophisticated bit of kit.
Koroni’s sea front:
We moved on again after 2 nights up the relatively green and low-lying coast of this first “finger” of the Peloponnese to Petalidhion. It was another short hop and we were delighted to be able to sail gently for an hour in the afternoon breezes. We anchored with only four other boats this time in a spot we didn’t visit in “Red Panda” and were glad we stopped here this time around. The place didn’t look very promising from the water with a rather run down seafront, but when we went ashore later, we discovered a busy and genuine Greek town. There were several open spaces with café tables under big shady trees and tavernas with gardens, a very friendly ambience and good local food. The next morning there was the bonus of a weekly market set up all along the front and we wandered past the stalls admiring all the fresh produce brought straight from the hinterland. It was difficult not to buy too much fruit and veg with such abundance, but fruit goes off so quickly in the heat and we are not cooking much in the evenings as it is so hot on board.
Petalidhion, shady café and street market:
We left this spot after a last lovely swim and motored the 1½ hours across the Gulf of Messina to Kalamata which we visited at about the same time of the year 6 years ago. We knew it would be extra hot in the marina here, but after 16 days travelling or at anchor, we needed to replenish water and fuel supplies for the next few weeks. It was also a chance for first mate to use a washing machine after wrestling with sheets and towels in a tub! Kalamata has the Taiyetos mountains as a dramatic backdrop to the city and of course gives its name to a variety of black olives.
We will move on tomorrow but possibly not much further afield this year as we have committed to a winter based in Ragusa in Sicily and have work to do on the boat back in Malta en route there. We may spend some more time in Methoni on the way north and explore a bit more of the Gulf of Corinth before heading west. At the moment it’s mainly a question of trying to keep cool enough, drinking lots of cold beers and lying about feeling very lethargic!
Mountainous backdrop to Kalamata marina: