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10th - 30th June Eastern Pelopponese

We have spent the last 3 weeks touring the Eastern Pelopponese.

After spending an afternoon in a bar with a pool on Angistri uploading our last blog and enjoying a swim we decided it was time to sail south and explore the Eastern Pelopponese. This is new cruising ground for us. Our friends on Kouros were to be our guides!

We have an apology to make to Yacht Kouros before we continue with our blog. Yacht Kouros have transformed how we do our washing (in a bucket) by donating a posser to us. We failed to mention this in our last blog despite the significant contribution it has made to living on Madison. Yacht Kouros we are sorry for our omission.

We left Angistri for an overnight stay in Poros (we seem to spend a lot of time here) and another quick Lidl shop before heading for our first stop of our Pelopponese tour, Ermioni. On the way we tested our cruising chute some more and stopped for lunch in Derrick Bay on the little isle of Dhokas (well we had to as we were sailing with Derrick and Diane). Ermioni is a beautiful village with a lovely big park which, is something we rarely see on our travels. This meant that Smudge could have a great walk and run around off the lead without worrying about cars and bikes.

We are moving on most days, so after 1 night in Ermioni we threw off our ropes and headed west towards Porto Heli. However there were storm clouds brewing with thunder and lightning in the distance. It looked to be blowing away from us, so we crossed our fingers and just hoped it would stay that way …No Chance! The wind changed and the dark clouds came over us and then came the rain. It wasn't horrendous but equally it wasn't pleasant. Smudge was secured below and we had our wet weather gear and life jackets on. The positive was the wind was blowing behind us and we did manage to sail only on our main sail and get 5.5kts. It didn't last too long and very soon we found ourselves in Porto Heli in a few hours and made up for it with a great take out pizza for dinner.

The next day we were on the move south again, this time to a tiny little place called Kiparissi. Yacht Kouros knew a lovely little quay in a cove with a chapel (named, guess what? Chapel Cove) where we could go sterns to and have a BBQ. It was about 1 mile from the village itself and very quiet. The cove was idyllic and we enjoyed a great night around the BBQ, chatting and star gazing. Smudge enjoyed it too as she got prawns, sausage and pork (mostly from Diane). The next morning we took Smudge for a walk into the village on a lovely footpath that led from the chapel around the hillside.

Our next stop was to be Monemvasia and would be the furthest south we were going to go. However we stopped for lunch in the village of Ierakas and we couldn't leave as it was too beautiful a place. Monemvasia was going to have to wait. So we stayed in Ierakas overnight instead. Smudge went swimming with us for the first time. She didn't seem to mind too much. The temperatures here have been around 30-37 degrees so it must have been very refreshing for her. After her swim it was time for her bath as she hadn't had one in over a month (ok time to chuck buckets of cold water over her and shampoo her). There was a lovely climb which we did up to an old mycenean acropolis. We all enjoyed a delicious meal out in Ierakas too. Diane and I shared Prawn Saganaki and Grilled mussels - Nostimou!

Finally on 15th June we had a lovely sail down to Monemvasia. The actual port is called Yefira. Monemvasia is a medieval town on a headland that is slowly being restored to it's former self. We visited there the next day. The fortifications and city wall can be seen from a distance as you sail in and it is a spectacular view. No motorised vehicles are allowed in the city walls so it is a lovely place to explore with it's tiny streets and winding alleys and narrow stairs. We spent a lovely few hours exploring Monemvasia including climbing out of the town to the top of the hill to see the ruins which form the old citadel and upper town. We definitely recommend seeing this place to everyone. There are a few hotels within Monemvasia itself which would be fabulous to stay in.

There were some heavy winds forecast that were to be worse in the south of the Pelopponese than the North so Yacht Kouros and ourselves decided to head north so that we could be away from the worst of it. Our next stop would be the lovely village and beaches of Leonidhion. This was a 30+ plus mile leg so we set out sharp so we would be in for teatime. We got sterns-to no problem. There was a slightly worrying sight as we approached as some of the harbour wall had collapsed. A local later told us that in February 2012 there had been a Force 11 wind that had brought it down. Thankfully that wasn't forecast while we were there. We spent a lovely couple of days in Leonidhion. The beaches were lovely and Smudge enjoyed some more swimming. She's getting very good at it.

We proceeded north for a night in Astrous, which is a big beach town with a castle on the hill. This was another lovely place and we took Smudge for a walk up the hill to the castle in the morning. The views were lovely. We didn't want to get stuck in Astrous so proceeded out to the city of Navplion after only one night. Unfortunately the winds were on the nose and it was anything from a Force 4 - Force 6 and not very pleasant. Thankfully it was only a ten mile hop.

Navplion used to be the capital of Greece a long time ago. It is a beautiful place with a lovely old town. We stayed there forfour days as there was a lot to explore. There is fortification on the hill in the city, called Palamidi, which is nearly 1000 steps to climb so we took the challenge and have done that and spent a few hours exploring it. Diane didn't want to climb 1000 steps so she dogsat Smudge for us. We have also hired a car with Yacht Kouros and we all went visit the ancient ruins of Mycenae (a mere 3000-5000 years old). It was a fantastic day out. It was here that Smudge has also had her hair cut which helps her keep a bit cooler. We just keep throwing water on her to help her out too. We have enjoyed an couple of meals out here aswell as the obligatory socialising on either Kouros or Madison.

After we left Navplion we spent a couple of nights anchoring in Khaidhari and Koiladhia. Both of which are great anchorages and lovely villages. A couple that had chartered a yacht for their holidays, Siobhan and Pat (we had originally met them briefly in Leonidhion) also joined us all for an evening socialisng on Kouros, in Khaidhari and for a lovely lunchstop on Madison and swim at another great anchorage between the two places the next day. The water was so clear and deep and warm it was fabulous. Koiladhia also has a fantastic cave to explore, Francthi Cave. with evidence of people living there from the Paleolithic age and it was fascinating to see.

We then left Koiladhia to head back to Ermioni for a couple of nights. We really like this village and I love the fact it has the park for Smudge to run around in. We had a great sail up to Ermioni too and managed to get the cruising chute out for about half of the trip. We also had a lovely meal in a local restaurant which in return let us hook up to their power (we have been recharging everything like crazy and using our fan without worrying about the batteries) and we can also get their wifi from our boat (bonus). They had rabbit stifado on the menu which I couldn't resist and Smudge didn't mind too much either as there was enough to take home in a doggy bag for her dinner the next day. Whilst in Ermioni a superyacht lost something overboard and Karl offered to scubadive to try and find it for them. He didn't but in return for his trouble the owner gave us two boxes of fish and some beers. So on our final night in Ermioni we had a lovely meal with the fish, calamari and also some chicken souvlaki on Madison with Yacht Kouros and a friend of theirs, Mike (Yacht Atlas) who had just come in beside us an hour or so earlier.

After Ermioni, we made our way back to Poros in the Saronic Gulf. We seem to have been here quite a lot.

So we had a fabulous 3 weeks cruising and enjoyed the supermoon too that was big and bright across Europe. Our plan is now to make our way back up past Aegina/Angistri over the next week and then visit a couple of places on the north west of the Saronic that we haven't been to yet. We will then say our farewells to Yacht Kouros and head through the Corinth Canal and back into the Ionian.

(Siobhan and Pat - if you read this, email us as we have some great photos of you guys sailing)























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