22 August 2016 | Kalamata
The forecast showed a strong wind pattern coming in in the next few days and as such we decided we needed to get somewhere more secure if there was to be strong winds so we pulled up the anchor at 07:00 the next morning and headed down past the islands of Sapientza and Schiza and up the first inlet of the Peloponese,
We planned to go to Kalamata home of the famous black olives where there was a marina we could shelter in if the weather turned nasty. We sailed up past Kioni and glimpsed the place through binoculars it looked interesting, but we continued up to the head of the gulf to Kalamata. The strong winds were not due till late the following day so we decided to anchor for the night dropping the hook off the tourist beach much to the amusement of the beach goers. Winds that night were indeed light but the exposed nature of the location, a small swell came in meaning a very rolly night. The next day we hauled up the anchor and headed for the marina after first having a pre breakfast swim off the back. This was the first marina we had been in since Reposto in Italy about 6 weeks previously. Marinas give security and the ability to get water and electricity but we both feel its rather like camping in a car-park when being at anchor is much more preferable.
With the provision of electricity and water we set too to do a massive load of washing not just clothes but bedding, towels and cushion covers all went through our small twin tub machine. The little camping washer is great but unlike a normal household machine it is rather labour intensive and can only take 3Kg loads as a maximum, so took some considerable time, Jackie down below with the machine passing the clean washing up to Pete on deck, who hung everything out. By 4pm we had completed the bulk of it and the towels and sheets were up drying when the strong winds kicked in gradually increasing in strength to 28Knots. This might not seem much but Kalamata was forecast to be the calmest place around and we were sheltered in the marina even so extra pegs had to be attached to everything to ensure we didn't loose items down to the depths of the marinas rather murky waters.
Later that evening we cycled into the main town centre to try and sort out Peter's phone. On the way back we stumbled on a small cafe which had two musicians playing Greek music, we not sure if it was traditional or not, but a lot of the patrons obviously knew the songs and sang along. This was not put on for tourists, but a event laid on for the locals. We parked our bikes by a tree sat had a glass or three of wine and ordered some small appetisers which proved more than enough to act as dinner and relaxed enjoying the concert. By 11:45m we were both tired and slightly the worse for wear, so left with the concert still in full swing. Thank goodness the winds had now subsided a bit and that no local police decided to breathalyse the two weary rather wobbly sailors making there way home on bikes.
Saturday was forecast to be fine day but the winds forecast to return the next day and as the marina was quite full of other boats doing the same as ourselves, we didn't want to leave and then find we couldn't return. We enjoyed the city having an alfresco breakfast outside a local bakery, before wandering around the shops that morning. Most Greek shops away from the tourist areas seem to close at lunchtime on Saturday then stay closed on Sunday so by midday we were back on Argonauta wishing we could just drop over the side to cool down, but nobody would want to swim in that water! We ate on-board that night despite the wealth of eateries around us just to try and keep on top of our budget, however we were able to listen to the live music at the marina bar coming over the water.
Sunday the winds blew again as forecast so we cycled down the front and past hundreds if not thousands of beach umbrellas 'till we found somewhere to relax in the pool bar of a very upmarket hotel . Signs clearly stated that non hotel guests could not use the pool but they were more than happy for us to use the big sofas, loungers & rocking basket chairs all for the price of a drink. We made the drinks last as long as possible and stayed about three hours before leaving. Nice to pretend you've got money for a while! Later we ate at one of the tavernas just outside the marina entrance that our friend Jean had recommended following her visit. For 18 euros had a fantastic meal with wine for two.
Monday morning and the gales had past though the forecast for swell further down the inlet meant we planned to stay up close to Kalamata before heading south. However we still hadn't sorted peters phone and needed to get more credit placed on it, so early in the morning we cycled once again back up into town. Everything seemed quiet but we were just grateful for the lack of traffic and thought nothing about it. Stopping at another bakery we had breakfast of pastries and coffee but were stunned at the 12 euros bill. It was there we discovered it was a bank holiday, nothing would be open, with a few exceptions, so the chance of last minute supermarket shopping and sorting out the phone was out of the question. We paid out marina bill 128 euros and after topping up all water tanks to overflowing left the marina. Due to the forecast swell we had planned to stay up close to Kalamata and anchor off the beach again, if condition became bad we could always run back inside the marina. We anchored off a beach on the west side of Kalamata filled with bank holiday bathers and spent a pleasant couple of hours swimming and relaxing.
However whilst the winds were light the swell increased and after a few more hours we found ourselves rolling from side to side. We upped anchor and set off across the top of the inlet to Petalidi where we hoped to find some shelter. Arriving we found ourselves the only boat in the bay normally something we would be grateful for. However given the conditions we hoped that the lack of others wasn't due to something they knew that we didn't The harbour there is only meant for little fishing boats so we would not fit inside. We edged carefully into the bay and dropped the hook in 2mtrs on the echo-sounder. (our echo sounder always shows the depth under the boat not the total water depth) not wanting to risk going any shallower in case a greater swell came in. We still seemed to be a long way from shore even so. The swell died at sunset and we had a quiet night.