Off to Koroni
25 August 2016
We woke the again to another glorious day but Argonauta was rolling in a persistent swell. So upping anchor we set off for Koroni. Inside the bay there was no wind and we thought it would be an engine run. We were wrong, as we rounded the headland so we picked up a good breeze, we hoist the sails and shot across the bay. It was one of those days sailors dream of, good winds, right direction, warm sun and a calm sea!! Wow!
Having arrived in excellent time we anchored fairly close to the moorings near the harbour wall, this we thought would afford us excellent shelter from the rolling sea coming across the bay. The wind picked up in the late afternoon and by early evening we saw about 22 knots of wind. The water was splashing up the walls by the restaurants and our trip ashore consisted of me hunkered down in the dinghy with the umbrella open and over the front to stop me getting wet, unusual but worked well and drew a few looks and smiles from the diners. We motored to the far end of the bay and found some good shelter meaning getting out the dinghy was easy. A wander round, evening drink and back to Argonauta.
Unfortunately our plans of good shelter backfired when the wind turned and we again had a bit of a rolly night. So next morning we upped anchor and set off for the far end of the bay where we were treated to calm clear water once again.
Koroni is another town with a fort, so to try to beat the heat of the day we set off early to explore. A steep incline after numerous steps got us to the castle gate entrance, no charge, that makes a change. We followed the road past small houses with plots of land that were dry and stone filled, however the olive trees were thriving. They say the poorer the soil the better the olives.
The castle meanders the coastline, most of it ruins but some still very impressive. I have added some pictures to show the scenes. Pete was in his element taking photos in a concentrated and methodical manner whilst I snapped away happily.
Within the castle walls is a monastery. As you enter they have racks providing skirts and shawls as sleeveless tops and shorts are frowned upon. Lucky Pete had long shorts and a tee shirt, whereas I was in a vest top and shorts, so I donned the wrap around shirt and a shawl and we explored. Phew it was hot and made worse by the skirt and shawl. However it was a beautiful and tranquil place. The small gift shop was run by two nuns, who gave us cold water and some sweet similar to Turkish delight. Of course we felt obliged to buy something so an olive wood bottle stopper sufficed ( it was that or some very ornate crosses and the stopper is more useful!).
After exploring for several hours the heat was getting to us so we slowly made our way down the cobbled streets and white painted steps and back to the harbour. We chose a seafront restaurant that seems to be popular with the locals and had a well deserved cold drink with some Mezes. Returning to Argonauta we collapsed into to hot heaps for about an hour and then jumped into the cool clear water for a swim.
I noticed the prop had snagged some fishing line, so Pete dived down and cut it loose. We also snorkelled to check the anchor, blast! the chain had wrapped around a rock. Again, deep breath and Pete dived down, I was amazed he not only reached it, but yanked it off the rock, he then surfaced, swam to the chain and pulled himself downwards pulling back on the chain and moving it away from the rock, clever!!!!
That night was a fiesta of candlelight. This was to celebrate the fact that the town has electricity, evidently relatively new. The Greeks have a fiesta for anything!!!! So with high hopes we dinghy-ed ashore again. Walked along the harbour wall, nothing other than a whole pig skewered ready for roasting. Then I noticed flickering lights at the far beach under the castle, we followed the lights along the new harbour walkway under the castle walls to where the crowd gathered. To say it was a disappointment is putting it mildly. The crowd gathered around a priest who seemed to be promoting a book. That was it. A few lights in paper bags, hole punched with a flower pattern, half a dozen oil lamps on bamboo canes and nothing else. Not a fiesta I will make the effort to see again.
We completed both our day and stay in Koroni by having a pitta gyros and then buying a selection of small cakes which we took back to Argonauta and enjoyed with some fresh coffee. Thankfully the night was calm and before too long I was ready for bed with aching knees and legs.
Next day and everything in Koroni we had wanted to do was done so again we set off, this time towards Limeni. Unfortunately this trip was a total engine run with flat calm waters and no wind. We motored around the small headland and into the bay of Ormos Limeniou, Limeni on our starboard. Once again there was a threat of bad weather so as we still want to see the caves of Dirou we decided to check out the harbour wall at the head of the bay at Karavostasi.
As we approached it was so tiny it was hard to tell if there was space. The pilot guide said moor along side but the ribs and fishing boats were stern too. So deciding we should do the same, we slowly motored in dropped the hook and backed to the wall. A fisherman kindly took our ropes and we tied up uneventfully. Shortly after catamaran Came along side. There was only room for about three quarters of its width but they came stern too anyway. When the day boat next to us left John the captain asked us to shuffle along. Easier said than done and in the heat I struggled with lines loosening and re tying as Pete was out exploring. He arrived home just as I was tying the last line, of course I was sweaty and out of puff, he advised I should have refused or told them to wait for his return, but still it was done so no worries. John and Erin asked us aboard for a drink so after a short swim we spent a couple of hours hearing each other's stories and suggestions of places to visit as we were each travelling in the opposite direction.
We cooked on board and again had a quiet night if a bit squeaky from fenders rubbing between boats.
The bay of Ormos Limeniou is surrounded by steep hills, the architecture here seems to be based on a castle theme. Evidently there is one hotel and apartment complex that is new but built in the Maniore style. The actual town of Limeni (we motored the 20 minute ride across the bay in the dinghy) is a mixture of old and new buildings. Again all in the same style, there were no shops, four restaurants and nothing else. The water was clear and the tones of green into deep blue against the ochre of the buildings made it look and feel like a film set. The place was crowded with families enjoying the water, tavernas and cramming against the rock edges for relief from the sun.
By the way, we did set off to cycle the 4 km to Limeni but within about 800 metres I knew there was no way I would make this distance. I was hot, out of puff and wobbly after going up what was the first of a couple of hills. So we turned round, headed back to Argonauta and prepared the dinghy instead. (this did mean the following actions in one short space of time..... Remove BBQ, shopping trolley and cameras from the bunk bed cabin. Lift bikes off shelf into main cabin, lift same bikes up the steps to the cockpit. Then carry bikes across paserelle, un-fold and pump up tyres. Set off. Turn back and do the reverse of the previous actions.
THEN... Lift dinghy from water as there was lots of water in it, empty out the water, re launch dinghy. Undo the 4hp engine from the storage block at, the port stern of the boat, carry it along the deck, attach halyard and lower slowly into the dinghy where Pete was ready to attach to the transom. Refill the engine with fuel, refill the spare fuel can. Prepare the padlocks and chain to enable us to secure the dinghy when we leave it (we lock every time after having had one stolen in Spain). Finally ensure we had keys, locks shoes, bags etc to set out again.) Hmm no wonder the skipper was a bit miffed I gave up on the cycling!!!!