Our friend Paul arrived on schedule on 4th June and Andy picked him up from Kalamata in a hire car and brought him to Vaila in Navplion. We had an early start the next morning and had to motor for a couple of hours before putting sails up. The wind steadily rose but with reefed genoa and main sail we beat comfortably and we were berthed in Leonidhion by 1530. We introduced Paul to Margaret’s Taverna and we got a huge bag of tomatoes and cucumbers “for our friend and the boat” as well as a lovely dinner.
The forecast was favourable for the next few days so we left early on the 6th to get to Monemvasia . A sailing holidays flotilla of 12 boats was in the wee marina so we managed to get a space alongside the old ferry pier where 4 or 5 other yachts were already tied up. We walked up to the old town briefly and luckily the large sailing cruise ship, anchored off, left so it was quiet. When we got back to Vaila we saw that several yachts had been chased away by a huge motor boat that was now stern to just beside us! Lucky we were away when it came in, otherwise we would no doubt have been made to move as well! It turned out to be a noisy night, with the Greeks in full party mood on the motorboat !! Thank goodness for earplugs.
Because the forecast looked a bit more settled we decided to spend the next day exploring Monemvasia with Paul. It’s such an amazing Byzantine town which has been partially restored. We were there 2 years ago but it would have been a shame for Paul to miss this world heritage site. Despite the heat, we walked all the way up to the restored church Agios Sofia and the castle ruins.
A delicious lunch followed, taken in the shady taverna next to the main square. When we returned to Vaila the motorboat had gone so I managed a swim in the beautiful clear water, before an early night, as we were planning a 6am start to get the 50 miles round Cape Malea and into Porto Kaiyo .
Just as well we had decided to leave early, as a small cruise ship was coming in to dock on the ferry pier and we would have had to move anyway. It would have been a rude awakening for the other yachts berthed there.
It turned out to be a fairly calm passage round Cape Malea with a lot of motoring, but there was a lot of large shipping passing by and a ferry needed avoiding action, so we had to be aware. We did eventually get the sails up for a wee bit and by time we got to Porto Kayio it was gusting 15 knots. There were 7 boats in already but we found a spot on sand and dug the anchor in. A night of sitting outside and checking transits in the big gusts and watching a 110 foot racing yacht “Barong D “,with Luxembourg flag, tucking itself into a wee inlet and taking lines ashore. Easy when you have 5 crew and dinghies!!
The wind dropped by 1130 and we had a quiet night after that and another early start the next morning as it was another 50 miles to the next place. The forecast was not good for Methoni so we opted to go straight to Kalamata marina where we will keep Vaila while we go home. A long day motoring with a bit of exciting sailing in the last few miles. The skipper did a great job reversing into our berth in a strong wind (practice makes perfect). Luckily there are lazy lines so no need for an anchor. It was all familiar as we had been here 2 years ago. The hot showers were much appreciated too.
In the next few days we took day trips to Methoni and ancient Olympia in a hire car to show Paul some of the sites.
Paul flew back on the 13th and we are now doing chores and getting Vaila ready. It’s now roasting hot so we tend to work in the mornings and then take it easy in the afternoons . There are beaches and nice ice cream shops within cycling distance so it’s great to cool off.
We fly home on the 18th leaving Vaila in the water and are really looking forward to seeing family and friends again. It’s been a very mixed 7 weeks since we launched, with more settled weather only appearing recently and changes of plans frequently required. That’s Greek sailing for you! The next instalment will be in September when we come back to Vaila.