The Mani Peninsular - Peloponnese
A difficult few days. Headwinds make even short distances a challenge, the coast is either jagged limestone shore or shear cliff. The very few landing spots require long detours into windless dead-ends. Spectacular and remarkable, but not easy!
Tues 2nd October
For second day in a row I am forced to backtrack from an attempt to get past a mighty lump of rock (the Kipoula peninsula?). A very light headwind, with a choppy sea, is painfully slow to sail against, and deeply painful in every respect to paddle into. Two hours of daylight won't see me past. Retreat takes me to Mézapos.
The village is a mix of ruins and buildings. I wander round to the 'port' - which is a stretch of the definition - and find the tavern owner, who opens up his front room for long enough to overcharge for an underweight Greek salad.
It's difficult to reconcile this place with being in Europe, and a wonder really that it provides to support anybody living here.
The day is noteworthy also for a turtle spotting early on whilst still in the waters of Limeni bay.
Wednesday 3rd October
Remarkably, I wasn't the only visitor to Mézapos yesterday. A yacht slipped in late and anchored with stern tied up to the rocks. They glide away at dawn and prompt me to make an early exit too.
Soon I am into the wind shadow of the big lump of rock, and once through that thumping into a 20 knot headwind. A bit bruising, but a couple of hours gets me round. A rare easy stop is on offer, so I slip into the inlet, which allows for a forecast check (there had been no data connection available in Mézapos), refuel, and reconfigure of clothing, before a relaunch this time in full battle mode. The wind angle is more favourable for the last 6nm to the cape, but the gusts are more extreme. At the end of the headland is where the exposure is greatest: wildest sea, fiercest gusts, least chance of re-connecting with land if there were to be a problem. Zigzags again now - upwind until into the mouth of the next gulf, and an hour further on there's a stopping option behind me. Three days of stress drain away. I look back at this "middle finger" peninsula of the Peloponnese, and out of respect flick a middle finger of my own.
The wind further into the Gulf moderates to nothing. I end up paddling through the slop to reach an empty beach. Recover with tea and dried figs. 2nm further is a village. Fortified, I try to sail again, but a mile of pumping leaves my fingers in pain, and the paddle is the lesser of the evils.
But the move is worth the effort: Kokkala has a shop and a bar/restaurant. And this evening's Greek salad is excellent.
Thurs 4th October
It's nice here in Kokkala, and there's very little wind to accompany that lumpy sea, so I decide to call it a work day, which at least means an update gets posted.