Koiladas, East Peloponnese 🇬🇷
This is a very shallow anchorage, but Jim managed to expertly park us just out from the pier so we didn’t have too far to go 😂🤣. We went ashore for a look, and had a nice lunch. On the way out there was a bit of a miscommunication as to who was paying, so we all walked out and the poor guy had to chase us down the road on his scooter. He said the money was “too low”, so we asked how much we were short by, to which he replied “all of it”! 😂🤣. Good guy and honest mistake that even earned him a tip. We wandered around and looked at the big yard for boats on the hard, with a few being worked on getting them ready for the season. We then passed a guy tenderising his catch of octopus by smashing it on the rocks 😳.
Korakonisia, East Peloponnese 🇬🇷
Jim’s two friends (Cathy & Jo) arrived just before 11pm after a long days traveling, but we still managed to keep the girls up til 1am talking over a wine or two. After a bit of a provisioning shop on Saturday morning, we headed north to a secluded little bay for the night. There was a lovely property on shore with a couple of young Greek guys doing the gardening - us girls didn’t sit there with binoculars watching them ... honest 🤔🤣. After a lovely swim in the 22C water, the girls both tried the paddle board and fell off even though they’d only tried it once before - well done!
Porto Heli, 🇬🇷
We’ve come in to this large and lovely bay as we have some friends arriving on Friday night. We met some cool locals, paid the Greek cruising tax (which has just come out and is specifically designed to be as difficult as possible to pay, and also has huge fines if you don’t pay 🤦♀️). We’ll get some provisions Saturday morning and then make our way up the coast which is suppose to have many nice anchorages and then on to Nafplion which is also suppose to be very nice.
Zogeria, Spetses Island 🇬🇷
We have some guests arriving on Friday so have crossed the channel towards a bit bigger port with ferry services to Athens. On the way we stopped in at this little bay and encountered our first “charter boats” - two cats full of loud drunk tourists 🤦♀️🤷🏻♀️. They were entertaining to watch as their dingy floated away, and then a woman finally spotted it heading out of the bay, and jumped in and took about 10 mins to swim to it as it was being blown further away. We were anchoring at the time, so we were a bit busy to help. Another guy then jumped in, and the dingy from the other boat tried to rescue as well, but the outboard kept cutting out every few meters. He finally arrived at the first woman but couldn’t get her on board and she was obviously exhausted. By that point we were anchored and the boys launched the tender to go help. The woman did the biggest splits ever between the two charter tenders and finally got on board, and they towed it back and got the second guy out of the water on the way. They then consumed more alcohol and proceeded to chase each other around the bay in the dingys, pushing bow to bow, and having tug of wars. 🤦♀️ It came time to leave and one nearly rammed the other while they were upping anchor and stormed out of the bay, put their sails up, and then went backwards for 10 minutes 🤦♀️🤦♀️
Another stop on our way up the coast - a very sleepy little village.
Fokianas, Peloponnese 🇬🇷
We headed up the coast a bit past spore cool mountains and scenery, and stopped in a little remote bay with just two tavernas on the beach and a beach bar. It’s obviously set up for the tourist trade and just waiting for the season to start.
Motored up the coast to this little bay. Apparently there’s a rock climbing festival on this weekend. Could be entertaining as the bay is surrounded by huge mountains with steep cliffs.
Arrived in Monemvasia ... wow, just ... WOW! Go to Facebook and look at all the photos that I’ve uploaded. Spent three nights here and helped a fellow cruiser celebrate her birthday.
Weather has finally settled, so left Kalamata, overnighted here, and now off to Monemvasia, which is spose to be georgeous.
After 6.5 weeks at anchor, we are heading into a marina at Kalamata (home of the fabulous olives by the same name). There is some shit weather coming, and might be nice for a change, and we get to use lots of marina electricity and water. Muhahahahaha >:)
Stopped here overnight. Small town but yummy gyros!
After 3-4 days of crap weather, we are on the move again. This time to a cute little village with an awesome castle called Methoni. Will try to add a photo later after flying the drone.
We moved down the Peloppenesian coast a bit and are now in a huge bay (Navainou Bay) waiting for some crap weather to blow through tomorrow. This bay is famous for a naval battle in 1827 where Admiral Codrington of the Royal British Navy sailed his fleet of 26 ships into a three quarter circle formed by 89 battle ships of the Turkish and Egyptian Navies, whereupon the Brits dropped anchor and proceeded to pound the Turko-Egyptian Naval force into smithereens over a 4 hour period, thus paving the way for Greek independence from Turkey and building a reputation for British Naval gunnery at the same time. Interestingly, at that time the British were not at war with either Turkey or Egypt, but were “keeping the peace” – through superior firepower apparently.
Anchored off a tired little fishing port for the night on our way south. Nothing much to report here, although we did get “big blue” (the gennaker) out for a while which was nice.
Arrived at mainland Greece. Low on internet so about to go ashore to explore, and get a local SIM card.
(Ps also visited ancient Olympia while here - where the first olympics were held 2700 odd years ago - see Facebook for photos and write up!).
We left shipwreck bay and motorsailed down the western side of the island, past more caves, dramatic landscapes, and have anchored in a large bay that is the most important Loggerhead sea turtle breeding area in the Mediterranean. We will stay here a day or two and then head east towards the mainland of Greece.
Shipwreck Cove (Navagio Beach), Zakinthos Island, Greece 🇬🇷
After a lovely sunny day yesterday that saw us all happily harvesting Vitamin D, we awoke to grey skies, and left the anchorage to head north around the tip of the island. There are lots of caves here, called “blue caves”, but you need the sun to be shining for them to show their true potential, so we didn’t stop for a look. We arrived at Shipwreck Cove just as the rain stopped and the sun intermittently came out. We flew the drone but wanted to wait for the sun to get higher so that part of the beach wasn’t in shade. The bay was quite lumpy due to a swell coming in, so we tried our first ever hand launch and hand landings with the drone, which was entertaining. The first one was fine, but the second one the boat lurched up when Steve went to catch it, and got a “drone bite” when his finger hit some of the blades. Luckily the drone quickly recovered and he was able to grab her again without any loss of control.
So, here are some of the images. This lovely deep cove, has a ship wrecked on the beach. The ship was wrecked here in 1980 during stormy weather, and was reported to be smuggling cigarettes for the Italian mafia, and got into trouble while trying to evade the Greek navy. She’s 157ft in length, 26ft wide, had a draft of 14ft, and a GRT of 452 tonnes. She’s now a great tourist attraction, and only accessible by sea.
The other awesome thing about this bay, is the amazing colour of the water. It’s the most bright turquoise colour, almost fluorescent, and it was great to just sit and stare at it. The sheer cliff faces on either side are very dramatic, and made for great photos.
Zakinthos Island 🇬🇷
We crossed from Kefalonia to Zakinthos, and stopped in briefly at Nicolaos for a look. Not much to see here except lots of boats getting ready for the tourist season - they do tours of the blue caves and shipwreck bay. We moved to Alikanas for the night and spent 3 nights there. There was a kiwi boat in the bay with an English couple who live in NZ on board. They have been cruising Greece for 3 seasons, so gave us some great tips. There was not much on shore at this place either - mostly bars and restuarants all water blasting, cleaning, touching up the paint, and generally getting ready for the tourist season to kick off in a few weeks time. Yesterday gave us a taste of summer with a lovely calm hot sunny day - it was fantastic. It also gave us a chance to clean the boat after the previous day’s “dirty rain” - that’s when the desert sands in the atmosphere come down with the rain and cover your boat 😕. After a good day cleaning, we soaked up the sun and almost considered a swim, until we dipped our toes in to find it was still very cold - might have to wait a while longer for that to warm up.
Sami, Kefalonia Island 🇬🇷
We motored around the top of Kefalonia, and went in to Fiskardo Port for a look. It’s another cute little fishing village that apparently survived the 1953 earthquake. We needed to head further south to Sami to drop our guests off at the bus tomorrow, so continued on down the coast. We stopped for a while for a look at some dolphins hanging around a fish farm, and then continued on. A thunderstorm developed around us, but it mostly passed before we arrived in Sami. We did, though, get poured on while tying up to the pier in Sami. Ten minutes after we tied up the sun came out, which was most welcome! Sami is another cute little village, which seems to rely on the tourist trade. There’s some underground lake caves an easy bike ride away, so we’ll hopefully check those out on Wednesday when they open. There are two other cruising boats tied up beside us - one French boat who are keeping to themselves, and a couple of German guys who we had a great chat to. It’s always nice to meet new people and hear their stories and about their lives.
Assos, Kefalonia Island 🇬🇷
Late on Friday night we had two friends turn up to stay for a few days. On Saturday it started out very windy and rainy, but cleared enough for a look around on shore. The next day the wind was gone, but it’s still overcast. We motored around to the cutest little village you’ve ever seen called Assos. After flying the drone for some photos, we walked up the hill to a Venetian Fort for a look. It started drizzling on the way back so it was a movie night on board while listening to the rain.
We anchored up in Greece safe and sound at about 10 pm last night. We have cleared customs, got our transit cruising log, and will have two guests joining us tonight for a few days. Unfortunately the weather for the next few days is rain. 😢
After motoring from Tunisia to Palermo, and then most of the way around to Siracusa, we finally had an awesome sail from Siracusa to Kefalonia, Greece. We had the big shhhhh 🤫 sail up and were doing 8-9 knots most of the way, with speeds increasing as the wind did, allowing us to finish in the 9-10knot range, and a top recorded speed of 12.9knots! By our rough calculations we did a 198nm day - so close to the magic 200nm! To top it off, we landed a nice sized tuna. About 4 hours after we arrived the wind got up, and it’s blowing and raining here today, so we timed it perfectly.
It may sound strange but it’s starting to feel like we actually cruising. It’s starting to warm up and we’re also starting to meet and see other cruisers. We met an Aussie couple (on “Bilby”) in Siracusa who we briefly met way back in Monastir in Tunisia. They’d been from Tunisia to Malta, and then anchored up next to us one morning in Siracusa. Needless to say there was much talk, beers, and we got taught to play Mexican Train Dominoes. They are a lovely couple and also have a dog on board - Sally the whippet, so we got plenty of doggie loving 🥰. Unfortunately, we experienced some of the bad side of cruising in Siracusa. The first day we decided to lock the tender to the dingy dock, someone got on board and stole our 20L of spare fuel. We were pretty pissed, but the next day, Bilby had their whole dingy stolen! We were gutted for Liz and Rob, especially since they had locked it, but the thief had cut through the handle the dingy was chained by. The local marina had footage of the perpetrator, so they gave all the info to the local police. Unfortunately I’m not sure what their chances of recovering it are. The insurance company of being assholes too, saying they have to pay 20% of the replacement dingy & outboard cost, plus wait 3 months before they pay out in case it’s recovered. What they don’t realise is that without their dingy, they have no way of getting from their boat to shore to take Sally to the toilet, so have to pay €100 per night for a marina (which the insurance won’t pay for either). But don’t get me started with insurance companies just at the moment (just renewing ours for Seaforth .... they really do exclude all sorts of risk and won’t cover Steve’s guitars, but then claim to cover you for silly things like cutlery and food that no one would bother claiming for 🤬😡).
Anyway, enough of that. It’s a good reminder for us to be more careful, and we have modified the way we do things with regards to security.
At the same time we arrived in Kefalonia, two big boats arrived. One was a giant gin palace, and the other a strange looking boat covered in smaller boats and a helicopter! Turns out the second one is the “toy carrier” for the first - Ace & Garçon (4 Ace). Imagine the money you’d have to fork out to have a completely separate boat to carry your toys! Jim was talking about getting Steve to drive the tender with the paddleboard and drone in it behind Site Office where ever we go. 😂🤣
Farewell Sicily/Italy! It’s been an awesome 3 months, but time to move on. Ciao!
This is a well protected harbour that once rivalled Athens as the centre of the Greek empire. It consists of a large bay with an island (Ortygia) extending out from one headland and halfway across to the other headland. it is separated from the mainland by a narrow canal, but the differences between the two are striking. The mainland (apart from the archeological park .. more on that later) is just a busy city. Ortygia though, is a step back in time as you wander the narrow alleyways and streets. It is surrounded by sparkling waters and drenched in sun, so no wonder there has been evidence of humans here from 2000 BC. There was lots of turbulent history here, thanks to fighting with Athens and Carthage, and it finally fell to the Romans around 211 BC (followed by the Arabs, and then the Spanish I think, then the Austrians, and finally Naples before the unification of Italy). There are, as always, amazing old buildings, ruins, and lots to see. I’ll write a separate post on Facebook on each place as we go along.
Taormina, Sicily 🇮🇹
We arrived and anchored about 2pm and discovered some nylon trailing behind one of our sail drives. With fingers crossed, Jim plunged into the jellyfish infested waters, wearing his long John’s and long sleeve thermal top to avoid being stung. Jim reports that it was still b*$*y cold. I stood by with the boat hook ready to remove any jellyfish - or was it to agrivate them into stinging? 😂🤣. Luckily it turned out to be a simple piece of nylon on a prop blade, and not wrapped around anything. Once that was sorted we high tailed it to shore and started the 55min climb up the hill to the town of Taormina. It’s the cutest little town you’ve ever seen, with only pedestrian streets, full of touristy stuff and cool old alleyways leading to little Ristorante’s. We were short of time so headed straight up to the theatre before it closed. I’ve loaded lots of photos including the text explaining a bit about it. It started life in the 2nd century BC as a Greek theatre, and was rebuilt by the Romans in about 2nd century AD. It’s had quite of bit of restoration but is still pretty cool. Apart from the one in Siracusa, this one is the second largest in Italy and North Africa. Tomorrow we head south to Siracusa, which rivalled Athens as the centre of the Greek empire. Looking to visiting there!
Have left Aeolian Islands and started first of 3 day-hops to get to Siracusa. First stop tonight in Scilla - a very pretty little fishing village. It marks the first time we have been on mainland Italy, and also the first time since Port Ginesta (south of Barcelona) since we have been on mainland Europe.
We headed around the western side of Lapari but couldn't find a suitable anchorage for the forecast SE winds, so are back in Vulcano. When the weather improves we will hike up the volcano for a look, and hopefully hire a car and go for a drive around the island. See Facebook for photos!
We went to panarea for a day trip and it was lovely. Unfortunately there's some SE winds coming so we headed back to Vulcano.
Moved to the island called Volcano 🌋. There is, surprise surprise, an active volcano right next to the anchorage, and about 6 other islands around us with active or dormant volcanos - including Etna - Europe’s biggest active volcano. What can possibly go wrong?
Time to move on! After 2 months wintering over in Palermo, Site Office is finally ready to get going again. Jim spent most of that time back in NZ, while Ade & Steve did some travelling around Europe via cheap flights on Ryan Air. After a week of sorting a few jobs on board, we left and stopped overnight in a lovely little quaint fishing village called Cefalu. It?s cathedral dating back to the 11th century was cool to see, along with the centuries old buildings clinging to the rocks on the edge of the sea. The backdrop to the town was the huge cliff face of a rock jutting out straight up above the town. See FB for photos - very pretty place.
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