22 August 2016 | Methoni
The next day we sailed for Methoni, again we had a good sail starting in quite slight winds which picked up during the morning. The Tower at Methoni was visible quite some way out and having spotted it it seemed to take a lot of time to eventually get round it into the sheltered bay behind. There were about 6 yachts already at anchor and we slotted in alongside a nice looking blue British yacht. Anchoring in only about 3 MTS depth on a sandy bottom digging the anchor in well we then snorkelled over to check it was well dug in. Later that day we got a e-mail message from a David & Lindsay Inwood on the boat Goldcrest along side us. They had read our web address on the boom looked at the web site & our blog and invited us over for a drink that evening. We accepted and at 6:30 went over in the dinghy for a very pleasant evening, they were going to be wintering in Marina Di Ragusa this coming winter the port we spent the last two winters and had previously wintered in AG Nik on Crete where we were heading so exchanged information on both places.
The next morning we got up early and were one of the first into the castle to look round. 'The heat at the middle of the day means you want to have finished sightseeing by then'. Built by the Venetians in the early 13th century on a rocky promontory, the castle is among the largest ones in the Mediterranean. The lion of St Marc, dominates huge gates and the relics of two Ottoman bathhouses have survived. At the south edge of the castle a fortified islet floats. Bourtzi, as it is called, a prison and place of executions during the Turkish occupation, was built in 1500 and is connected to the sea gate of the castle with a paved tiny road.
It was a fascinating place to explore but we would have appreciated more visitor information as other than a few display boards you were never clear what you were looking at. The Turkish tower at the end of the promontory was impressive and structurally stunning. Needless to say we took hundreds of photos.
After the castle we wandered into the town did a few bits of grocery shopping before heading back to the dinghy and Argonauta for a welcome dip in the sea to cool down. Once again we spotted a poster detailing traditional Greek dancing which was to happen the evening of the following day. After our experiences in Pilos Pete was sceptical of staying for another phantom performance.
However the next morning Pete went ashore early on his own to take some photos in the early light and before the crowds descended on the beach and came across the stage being set up just outside the castle. So at least this time we knew exactly where it was taking place and the time so decided it was worth the risk of staying an extra night. That evening we went ashore and proceeded to the castle lights and speakers had now been set up along with chairs we took our seats and waited. It seemed a lot of locals were also there as well so we assumed this was not something just put on for the visitors but was a local event. 9:30 came and went but still the crowds continued to build and we were glad we had managed to secure a seat with others standing on the grassy bank and on the viaduct that formed the entrance to the castle. At 10:00pm the dancers eventually arrived and there seemed to be about 8 various groups each differently attired. Some groups just female ,some both male and female. Each group gave about 4 to 6 dances and the whole thing was still going on at 01:15am when we decided that we had enough. Also the trees had started swaying with a increase in wind and Pete wanted to get back to the boat to check she was still OK on the anchor. She was fine.