Part 2: Kythera & Methoni
Our next destination is the port of Kapsali on the island of Kythira. Kythira is a small island off the bottom of the eastern most finger of the 3 fingered Peloponnesus peninsula of mainland Greece. We came around the peninsula when we entered the Med and had planned to go out of the Med via the Corinth canal, which is a significant shortcut. Sadly the canal is closed due to a landslide, so it's back around the peninsula we go in the opposite direction, trying to make some different stops than before. From Milos we had a great sail under gennaker and full main most of the way to our destination until the breeze dropped too low to keep us moving. Sailing always puts a smile on our faces. It is quite a busy anchorage but a powerboat leaves just at the right time and we find a space near some Kiwis in a 52' Grainger cat. We go and say hi before heading out to dinner. They had brought the boat from Brisbane through Thailand and the Suez to get to the Med. They were very curious to know how we had escaped Prison Australia! Apparently Oz has quite the reputation now. Anyway dinner ashore was a real treat as we haven't had goat for a while! We decide to tackle the fort and the Chora (town) up on the hill by foot tomorrow before we leave.
We managed to get him back on dry land before complete immersion and quickly whipped out the phone to dry it off (all good thankfully!) The bread didn’t come out too badly either and as far as the tissues go, time will tell... Oh and Keith was fine, a little rattled and some minor swelling on the ankle. Nothing a gin and tonic won’t fix later on.
Anyway we head out of the port with good breeze, one reef in the main and 1 in jib. We cop some strong wind along the south of the island, with katabatic gusts coming down from the steep hills we climbed this morning. This settles into a steady 18-22kts and we make good progress. The swell on the beam is not great though and is pushing us around until we get further into open water. The breeze starts to drop into the low teens and after applying the 5 min rule (plus VAT) we shake out the first reef. Of course, immediately the breeze is back up to high teens - can you believe it!?
We reach land in great time, having travelled from the southern tip of the eastern most finger of the Peloponnesus to the southern tip of the middle finger. Here I would like to give the “middle finger” to all boats that don’t have AIS. (This is the Automatic Information System that allows boats to see each other in real time on their electronic chartplotters). We had picked out a couple of remote anchorages to take a look at. According to our sources, these are quite small and would only take 2-3 boats. We could not see any boats here on the chart-plotter, but when we arrive there is no room at the inn! Bloody selfish boats in stealth mod have beaten us to the spots you picked out. We have wasted valuable time going in and out of a bay, assessing whether we can squeeze in and still have enough swing room, then it gets later and later as we try to find somewhere else to anchor. We swing by two of these anchorages (Cape Tenaro & Cape Matapan) with no luck and end up in Porto Kagio, which is a drab place that we stayed on our way into the Aegean. Its crowded and rolly but at least it is safe and everything settles overnight. We get away early the next day to head to Methoni.
Methoni is at the southern tip of the western most finger of the Peloponnesus. Again we have been here before but we are happy to return. It’s a lovely wide, protected anchorage and sandy beach but the main feature is a spectacular Castle of Methoni which sprawls over the cape, with a prominent Venetian tower on the southern tip, marking the entrance to the harbour. The Castle, like many ancient ruins and archaeological sites in Greece is normally closed to visitors on a Tuesday. When we were here before, you guessed it, it was a Tuesday! So it is a treat to be able to go and visit the Castle this time. Methoni is mentioned in historical records as far back as 8th Century BC. It was invaded by Venetians in 1125 who razed the existing castle to the ground, presumably rebuilding the stylish tower. They ruled until 1500s when the Ottomans moved in, and it provided refuge for the Muslim population during the Greek Revolution of 1821. We wander through the ruins and out to the Venetian tower, then take a walk along the sandy beach before heading off to Pylos for the night. We had intended to spend the night here and meet team Argonauts here the following day (Rob and Kylie from Sydney who are cruising in their Saona), but you will have to wait for the next instalment to see why that plan didn’t quite come to fruition.
Lynda is slowly getting used to the transition from working to not working and racing to cruising.