Port Appendices
Peloponnisos : Greece

These notes are intended to compliment Rod Heikellís excellent Greek Waters Pilot, without which we would not have been able to properly and so expeditiously explore the Greek waters we love so much; we strongly urge you to buy each new edition as it is produced.† It is never possible for such a comprehensive publication to be totally up to date thus, where appropriate; we have mentioned changes.

This section covers a bit more than just the areas generally known as the Peloponnisos, linking the Ionian, the

Cyclades, the Saronic and Crete.

We make no apologies for the silly comments.

Mainland

Pilos (not to be confused with Polis)

A place steeped in Greek and British history, set in an enclosed bay 3 miles by 2; famous for the battle of Navirinon where Admiral Codrington led his fleet of 26 ships of 1,270 guns into the bay and anchored in the middle of the Turko-Egyptian fleet of 89 ships and 2,450 guns, already at anchor in a three-quarter entrapping circle.† The Egyptians fired and a four-hour bloody battle commenced which Codrington won, clearly demonstrating the superior prowess of European gun crews and their courage to boot.

However, that and the previous Spartan and Trojan history is barely reflected in the tree lined square now filled with open air bars themselves filled with life, surrounded by shops selling all the produce a community could want including the especially sumptuous fruit and vegetable stands full to the brim with fresh local produce.† A place we love to visit if only to sit sipping wine under the centuries old Maple trees in the square, watching the bustle of Greek life happen all around us.

Moor in the marina and make sure you report to the Port Police as soon as you arrive.† They are quite hot here but no problem if you follow that simple rule.† We have found it pretty safe here in all conditions we have experienced.

Methoni

A safe enclosed anchorage off a sandy beach backed by the remains of an ancient fortified headland with an intact Turkish tower at its seaward extremity; well worth the couple of hours it takes to walk round it.

A quaint port steeped in history and somehow still very much alive, perhaps because of the long sandy beach that makes it the perfect Greek summer holiday spot; mainly for Greeks that is.† Walk into the village to find somewhere to eat, itís better than the tavernas on the front.

The protection is good but, in our view, not in any southerly.

Koroni (historically Coron)

Another Venetian fortified headland that was built to protect their trade routes around the Peloponnisos.† An anchorage not unlike Methoni but with the relatively modern village built right down to the waters edge; packed mainly with Greeks but with other nationalities as well: young, teenage and old alike, eating and drinking alongside each other into the small hours in a totally unthreatening environment.† Indeed a pleasurable experience though we are unsure how safe it would be in a strong northerly.

Kalamata

A main shipping port with a small and very friendly marina.† All the amenities you could want are here at half the cost of Corfu or Levkas.

Ormos Krities

Another idyllic spot.† A safe anchorage in settled weather off a small village set under the mountain slopes with just a couple of tavernas and a bar, all at the waters edge.† In 2004 we ate at Mimis ( the only foreigners amongst 100 Greeks); excellent value at Ä20.90 and a superb Greek 3-course meal.

Porto Limeni

An anchorage off a Maniote village that is a little nerve racking, anchoring in deep water that is rarely without some swell and an unpredictable wind.† But there are turtles to spot!† Good fish or nothing at the obvious, if unfriendly, taverna on the waterfront.† Why is it so popular?

Dyros

If Limeni was disappointing then Dyros is the opposite.† The anchorage is generally only safe in the early morning or settled conditions.† Having said that, we rode out a severe north-easterly gale just off the beach near the laid moorings and felt entirely safe.

It is all for a visit to the Caves of Dyros; a mile or more of subterranean passages through which you are taken on a small punt.† There are many caves in the world but of those we have visited these have to be the most spectacular.† The caverns are very small and the water passages tight and that puts you right in amongst the stalactites and stalagmites, some of which are finer than a finger, others as thick as a cathedral column.† The variety of colours are truly amazing; white, copper, bronze, bright orange, blue and black.

Mezapo (Frying Pan in Greek)

So named because of a small sand cliff bay of that shape within the larger bay.† Not a safe anchorage in our view unless in flat calm conditions but an enchanting spot whose villagers are reputed to have made their living from smuggling and piracy.

Porto Kayio

A safe if very windy anchorage that is difficult to avoid if you wish to round the southern end of the Peloponnisos.† Hardly a charming place but fascinating because of its existence at all so far away from civilisation and apparently only a few passing summer yachts to support its economy.† But to eat in the taverna backing the beach proves there is some other attraction as it fills with Greeks from one knows not where.†

Be absolutely sure your anchor is well dug in before you go ashore or go to sleep; the holding is uncertain in places!† After seven attempts at anchoring off the taverna beach, we put up into the western most corner where our anchor held all night in an F7 and surprisingly pulled out whilst we were drinking our morning tea when the wind had dropped somewhat.

Yitheon (Githeon)

The major town at the northwest end of Lakonikos Kolpos.† A safe harbour in all conditions and a town where all provisions can be obtained and where eating out and evening drinkies are an absolute pleasure; both available along the extensive water front.† The Port Police were found to be a bit brusque and unhelpful.

Plitra

An apparently attractive bay that is disappointing mainly as the quay in the little harbour is completely occupied by local boats.† Not worth the visit.

Paliaokastro

Frankly, a ghastly uninteresting but very safe unfinished little harbour where we comfortably rode out a south-easterly gale with the wind blowing us on to the quay.†

There are no facilities here though there a half-hour bike ride away in Neapolis.

The ferry referred to in the Pilot no longer seems to run from here and the one abandoned here some years ago has also been moved though larger fishing boats seem to use the inner end of the quay for loading and unloading so it is perhaps polite to use the outer end of the quay.

Elaphonisos

A small island with many shallow and sandy bays for daytime and overnight stops.† Which bay depends upon which way the wind is blowing.† Many yachts that are found here are waiting the right conditions to round Ak Maleas, famous throughout history for stormy conditions and lost ships.† There are two visible and recent wrecks of modern ships in the vicinity, one on the southwest tip of Elaphonisos and the other on Makronisos.† A good spot to stay a day or two.

Ormos Levki

Our preferred anchorage though whilst the obvious target for an anchor is in the SW corner, the holding there in a south or westerly wind is abysmal; very soft sand through which anchors easily pull.† However, as the Pilot suggests, move east a little to the silver sand sub-bay and the holding is firm in 5 to 8 metres.† Fairly well protected in a NWíly though we would then anchor in the NW corner.† The bay is lethal in a NEíly.

Kithera

Kapsali

A surprisingly attractive port on the south side of Nisos Kithera and a popular tourist spot for Greeks and some northern Europeans.† There is a wonderful chora above the port, itself capped by an ancient fortified village that is slowly being renovated; both justify the effort of climbing the steep windy road to get there.† Try breakfast in Hotel Margarita, the bread, croissant, cake, pickles and jams are freshly made by the proprietors (and chefs) two enchanting French gays and the view is stunning.

BUT, it is a risky place to be in any southerly of any strength over about Force 3 and it can be difficult to moor-up with the winds from elsewhere without assistance ashore.† It strongly recommended you do not do the obvious and moor-up alongside in anything other than flat calm as a surprising amount of swell makes its way round the end of the quay and along its length resulting a fair amount of graunching that is difficult to counteract and make it thus unwise to leave your yacht and go ashore.

We have anchored quite happily in the bay but heed the warning in the Greek Waters Pilot and obtain Port Police permission first, whether actually needed or not.

Dhiakofti

Tried it, like it but are not quite sure why.† We could find no space on either quay as the spot recommended by the Pilot is permanently occupied by what appear to be a couple of abandoned working boats though they may be employed in what appeared to be the breaking-up of the wreck just outside the harbour seen by us in 2005.

The holding is good and we happily rode a south-westerly Force 6 whilst discussing where to go next having had a great sail up from Crete.† No sign of facilities though we did not go ashore.