Peloponnese Blog 6 (written much later)
17 January 2020 | Preveza
Patras was not a place to linger longer, so we set out for Messolongi which is a marina down a long canal with salt pans on either side. The Marina is run by a Dutch guy who has been struggling to get permission to run it for several years and has been sending us e-mails for the past two years. In summary, I was not particularly impressed, it is an OK place to spend a day or two but when I queried the over wintering prices they were more expensive than Cleopatra and the lift out and other long term facilities were not great. There was a nice restaurant and kind-of chandlery and OK showers. If you go there for a night or two, there is not a lot wrong with the town quay on the east side or the bay and it is closer to town. We took a ride into town in the morning and found a surprisingly vibrant and bustling place with lovely town squares and interesting streets.
In the late morning as the wind showed, we headed out. There was dredging going on in the channel but we sneaked past heading for Petalas Bay. It was a beat and it seemed as if we sailed half way to Cephalonia before we got an angle on the wind to get us around Oxia and out of the Gulf and into the Ionian again. Petalas is a spectacular bay with steep cliffs on the western side that apparently house some European Vultures in a cave that is clearly visible. It is shallow and we went into the northern area where long keel boat dare not stray, putting out 30m of chain in very gloopy mud. I would second the opinions that this would be a good safe hideaway when things get hectic.
The water was not clear but we did some exploring on the SUP. The next day I spied, on Google Earth, what I thought could be a hidy-hole on Drakonera but it did not work so we pottered to another anchorage on the mainland, which was described as idyllic in CaptainsMate. We dragged anchor twice and during lunch I was not comfortable that we were secure but mostly we had the most epic yellow coat invasion ever. The wasps drove us out and we headed for Kastos, a favourite spot of mine. As in the previous year some super long lines were required and we put out a lot of chain. The girl from Fish Hoek was there and their new shop in the old olive pressing barn was looking brilliant. She looked at Veronica’s black eye shiner and cast an eye on me. Veronica explained about her fight with the companionway door but I am not sure that helped, I suspect she had that Susan Vega or the Tracey Chapman song echo-ing in her head and it was one of those situations where you are not sure saying more or less is more helpful, so I said nothing and smiled. We did some walking and ate in the restaurant departing the next day for the uninhabited Atakos 10Nm away.
We had made a loose arrangement to meet an old Capetonian Sean at One House Bay, when we arrived the bay was rammed with boats. We tried to weave our way in and go shallow with the centre board up but there was no space. As we were leaving, there was an epic anchor tangle amongst 4 boats caused by Captain Chaos who was driving around with his anchor dragging on the bottom and picking up anchor chains. We watched from a distance bemused by the amount of shouting and no one being able to slow things down and take the heat off, so things could get sorted. It needed someone in the water looking down to understand the tangle and then directing operations. I considered going in the water with a snorkel and flippers to help but the thought of more than one Captain Chaos motoring over me rang my self-preservation bells. We decided to bail and went to Cliff Bay where we found this amazing spot under the white cliff amphitheatre. It did involve dropping an anchor in about 30m of water. Crystal clear water for snorkelling and the SUP and with lines to the cliff, it was a special place but it took a bit of extra care to get secure. That evening we motored across the bay in the dinghy and had a fantastic braai on Sean McGrath’s boat.
We had never been to Sivota on Lefkas before although we had heard good things. We had perhaps forgotten that we had arrived back in the Ionian in the middle of high season. We arrived at 11am and the place was choka-block. Every jetty we sidled up to had a chaser protecting the rights of some flotilla that was showing up later. We anchored mid-bay in 25m dropping 50m of chain. It worked for lunch but then it got more chaotic and I decided to bail. We headed for Ormos Desimi, which had a poor review in CAptainsMate but turned out to be idyllic. We just tucked into a different corner on a different weather day. It is a fantastic place to SUP around and great Tavernas on the beach.
Another mega-Anamos was predicted and we chugged around to the Vliko Bay, seeking shelter and a gloopy muddy bottom. We arrived in the super sheltered bay on Lefkada and some fried ostrich egg like beasts, Phacellophora camtschatica, were spawning, literally thousands of them drifting by and getting tossed around in the tenders outboard wash. It somehow had this “War of the Worlds” feeling about it. It put the First Mate off her naked midnight swim, she is not a fan of the Placozoans.
Interestingly the mega-Anamos never arrived and it was dead calm all night but 20Nm away back at Atakos, Sean, family and friends were having a torrid time dragging anchor in 30 knots and eventually going out to sea for several hours of motoring around in circles until the sun rose.
We had a night back at Meganisi and then we met up with Mike and Sarah for a night in Ormos Marathius and a night at anchor just north of Ligia. Interestingly I had been there with Clive the year before and deemed the place to be of little merit, this time we were north of the town, close to the submerged wall and we found a fantastic restaurant and nice surrounds onshore.
The days that followed were pack-up mode, a night on the Levkus town quay where we started taking down foresails and spent time finding a guy to make a winter cover for the boat. Back in Preveza we went on the town key and took down more canvas. We lifted and had two nights in the marina accommodation before heading home. It had been a brilliant season and a mini circumnavigation that I can highly recommend. Two months was the perfect time allocation for it.