Sunday, 31 August 2008

Pilos and ABR

Hi from Clare, Sunday 31/8

Photo 1 - First view of Pilos fort
Photo 2 - A church within the fort
Photo 3 - The fort walls
Photo 4 - View of marina from the fort

When leaving Monemvasia on Tuesday we had a window of opportunity in the weather to travel around the bottom of the Peloponnisos peninsular and up the west coast to Pilos before the prevailing n/w wind came back. (Our plan is to travel back s/e slowly with the wind behind us). The trip took three days, sometimes the sailing was a good 6-8 knots on a beam reach, sometimes we had to motor due to lack of wind and when coming around the bottom of the peninsular, which is notoriously windy, we had two reefs in the mainsail and30 knots of wind.

We anchored the first night at Elafonisos which reportedly has the clearest water in the Mediterranean. Andrew didn't need to swim out and check the anchor set. From the bow of the boat, we could see the anchor and chain quite clearly nestled on the sandy bottom in seven metres of dazzling aqua water.

The second night we stopped at the small town of Porto Kayio (the main street is the beach). The town lies in a small bay surrounded by steep hills denuded of all vegetation. I remember stopping here in 2005 on our way to Turkey. Usually, I don't easily recall the anchorages from past years but this one stood our in my memory. When last here the locals were shooting pheasants on the hillsides and I kept my head down imagining bullets whistling everywhere. I half expected to be shot or at least have some bullet holes in our lovely new boat. This time however, with no pheasant shooting, we spent a peaceful night at Porto Kayio.

We arrived at Pilos late Thursday, anchored out for a swim and then moved into the marina Friday morning so we could explore the town. Pilos was largely built by the French in the 19th century. It has elegant buildings around a large shaded square with the usual outdoor cafes and restaurants. It also has a fort dating back to the 17th century, built by the Venetians and added to by the Turks. The fort is an impressive sight when approaching the town by sea. However it seems that every town has a fort and each town claims that 'their fort' is of particular importance in history. All true I guess but after a few years of tramping around many sites, we have nicknamed them as ABRs, (Another Bloody Ruin).

Since we have been here the wind has gathered to full strength and eased off. Looks like our plan is working and over the years we have learnt something about the wind Woo Hoo! We will leave Pilos tomorrow morning and make our way back stopping off to check out another town and ABR.

All is well on board and we have settled back into cruising life enjoying every day and the many people we meet.

love CANDY