We had one final more relaxed day in Kalamata after all our frantic preparation days. We cycled along the sea front, had an ice cream and a cool drink at one of the beach bars.
We left Kalamata on 16th May at 0645 bound for Methoni on the point of the Western finger. Its a nearly 40 mile day but we managed to sail a bit and dropped anchor at 1500. Unfortunately, although it’s a beautiful place it’s dogged by swell so it was not a quiet night.
I had a swim in the morning but at 15 degC it was still too cold for the skipper to venture in. We got a good sail round the corner to Navarino Bay with its spectacular cliffs. I managed another swim and we had a BBQ. This place has got much busier in the last few years and we counted 11 camper on the beach!
After a quiet night and good sleep we motor sailed to Kiparrisia further up the coast. It was not without some excitement though, as our newly fitted exhaust alarm suddenly flashed at 125 Deg C (definitely too hot!!), so everything stopped while we assessed any potential damage. Nothing was found though and in the end we decided it was a faulty sensor. This became obvious when we set off again and various random messages and numbers flashed up despite the engine running fine! It was enough to provide a considerable stress to the day though.
We arrived in Kiparissia later in the afternoon. The forecast was for very strong winds of 40 knots from the east the next day and we were very glad to come alongside on the big pier facing into the east. More and more boats apppeared, all seeking shelter.
The predicted wind hit during the night, shaking the boat and providing white horses even in the harbour. All the boats were safe though and the fenders did their job.
The wind persisted most the day but the sun came out in the afternoon allowing us to walk up into the town.
We headed to Katakolon the next day (20th May). We decided to anchor outside the harbour as it was a good anchorage and it would avoid the hordes from the docked Cruise ship “Aida Blu”.
Our next stop was a short hop to Zante town where we were picking our friend Paul. Zante town Quay is noisy and a bit smelly but we needed to meet our friend and stock up provisions for the long sail to Italy.
Over the next few days we had a couple of gorgeous meals out in the town and the supermarket was close by and delivered. Our friend arrived in the afternoon of the 21st May and we also got a lovely surprise as our friends Sigi and Brigitte from “Marco Polo” appeared to say hello. We have known them since our Olbia days in Sardinia in 2014! It was great to see them. They now sail in the ionian and had seen our AIS transmission so knew where were!
It took until 23rd May to get all our documents officially stamped for leaving Greece. The beauraucracy has snowballed in greece for us that are no longer in the EU. It’s one of the various reasons for leaving this beautiful country.
We had a 220 miles to sail from Zante Town to Rochella Ionica. It took us only 46 hours in the end though we had calculated on 55 hours. Some sailing, some motor sailing and some motoring. The weather was benign with light but favourable winds and some lumpy seas. It was great to have Paul’s help on the watches (we did 3 hours each in the night). It was cold and damp at night so we needed our oilies and hats. The stars were spectacular, moon rise and sun rise amazing and Andy even had a dolphin display. A great experience.
So now we are here in beautiful Rochella Ionica, feeling tired but pleased with ourselves. A lot of sleeping tonight and washing to be done before we set off for Sicily in a couple of days.