Pylos to Limeni
24th Sept - continued... End of day: Pylos
Search for the Kyparissia Eiffel tower. "Wrong town," says the sandwich bar guy, but helpfully provides directions (and a link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBB1Z02RFmA) to the real not-real thing, a few miles up the coast. Excellent sandwiches (I go plural), and nice to exchange a few words :)
I have a contact - Hans Zephyr, in Pylos, who has been in touch - so set sail in an attempt to reach there. Good to have a target! Jagged rocky shore with very few landing places. See a large - mooring buoy sized - turtle. Reach Filiatra - but no landing spot there, so my cultural thirst goes unquenched. Wind comes in better for the last 10nm. Pass through the choppy gap at the north end of Pylos bay into the quiet waters inside. Spectacular natural harbour.
25th Sept to 29th Sept - Pylos
Hans alerts me to some heavy weather on the way: a Tropical-like Cyclone or Medicane. He has guests on his yacht (apprentices Kurstan and Victoria - Norwegian Spaniard mix), but can lend me a friends boat for a few days, so I take very little convincing to stay put - in the marina - until the threat has passed. Pylos is a very agreeable place: a pretty square, bars and bakeries, castle on the headland...
On Saturday morning, a pulse of swell warns of the Medicane's imminent arrival. An easterly winds causes no problems, but then it swings north - onshore for the town - and blows memorably hard for a few hours. The seafront takes a battering as do a pair of yachts who found themselves tied up at the wrong place in a confused chop of 1-2metres. The boats get tangled and end up taking chunks out of each other - steel versus aluminium in an ugly heavyweight bout. With so much water in the air I couldn't video it at its worst, which is a shame, as at its peak the wind was really something.
Hans is a great guy, and a great cook. He informs us that he will live until he is 108, in 35 years time. Seems a fair estimate.
30th Sept - End of day: Neilson Messini beach club, near Analipsa
Wind is fine to sail. Its a bit lumpy which is no surprise, but once in the lee of Sapienza island the sea state is comfortable too. At Methoni the scene is reminiscent of a tidal anchorage - with boats left high and dry by the Medicane. Towards the Cape the wind steadily builds. Fast planing conditions. Spectacular scenery especially when in close under the cliffs. Passing the Cape: very unstable wind with voids, and swirling currents. Need patience to get through it. Past Koroni (nice castle, basic lighthouse) there's a good patch of wind again. Continue into the Gulf with target the Neilson Messini sailing centre - where family friend Moira is visiting her granddaughter Zoe. It's a bit of a detour, but the wind is ultimately kind to make it a painless one. Landfall just after a spectacular sunset. 36nm. Good going.
1st Oct - End of day: Limeni
No wind in the morning. Favourable breeze in afternoon. Pinch a couple of hard boiled eggs from Neilson buffet and set sail. Soon glad for boots and Sealskin winter hat as conditions become lively and wet. Full planing broad reach. Cut corner of gulf, sailing as open as I can, but increasing wind and sea means that to maintain a fully open course becomes more difficult and tiring. Cold setting in. Stop to refuel at limit of what is an acceptable sea state to take a break in. Good move to get energy inside whilst still have that option. Phone says 20nm to beach near end of headland - ninety minutes with a direct course? Breaking waves wash over sun-weakened sail. Time to get moving again. After maybe another 10nm realise wind has really ramped up. Thighs burning and problems sailing deep enough, meaning course increasingly taking me away from land and into stronger breeze. Already 5nm from the coast. A shame to backtrack, but retreat the best option.
Visible behind and to leeward is a settlement. Gybe and head in general direction. Struggle to sail deep enough without burying the nose. Useful to have had some experience of this. Very rare now to find a day that I can't compare with something similar or worse! Today? Yeah, today tricky, but Svaerholt to Honnigsvag was much harder! Nonetheless, a few zigzags later, good to reach the safety of Limeni bay.
A Greek man takes some pictures as I land. I begin shivering, throw wet clothes off and dry ones on. He offers food: big bread rings and feta, then cake. Efcharisto - thank you.
A short while later Kevin and Simone say hello, then offer food and a place to sleep and eat. I re-stick slot flusher, which has come a little unstuck as a result of the day's exertions, then join them for the evening. 27nm to the good. Felt like double that.