||West Coast of the Pelopenese from Cape
Akritas to Cape Pappas
Chart S.H.O.M. 3210, 7195
It is around 100 miles from Cape Akritas to the entrance of the Gulf of
Patrasso. The coast, along this route is safe almost everywhere,
but the interesting ports of call here are not as equally spaced as in
the regions previously described. There one is able to linger at
length within the entrance of the Gulf of Messina and Pylos (Navarino),
only 15 miles apart. You will find very several pleasant
anchorages, but further along, the coast does not offer any
attractive anchorages, and the closest port, Katakolon, at 50 miles, is
not worth the trouble of a visit other than for possible shelter (unique
on this itinerary). Over from Cape Tripiti, the western point of
the Pelopenese, the coast is rugged to the north as far as Cape
Glarenza, then to the North East towards Cape Pappas (Araxos) that
defines the entrance to the Gulf of Patrasso. A light current from
the North West goes back towards the Adriatic along the West Coast of
Greece. If navigating by night, care should be taken, because
there are few ighthouses in these parts.
A massive tower on different levels with nearby fortifications lapped by
the waves of the sea; this is how the Venetian Citadel of Methoni
presents itself, constructed on a low rocky point (Soukouli) 10 miles to
the northwest of Cape Akritas .
To the east of the point, right at the foot of the walls of the
fortress, a marina is protected to the south by a breakwater without a
quay, with a lighthouse at the extremity (1.r.3s). To the side of the
lighthouse, there is a little concrete wharf , where is found an
abandoned refuelling station. This wharf, allowing you only
to put your feet on the breakwater, is made of large blocks of
stone piled up that cause you to engage in some acrobatics before
reaching the land.
Some hundreds of metres to the north of the bay, one finds a modern town
devoid of charm. On the beach around the bay, there are several
taverns and small hotels.
350 m south of the tower one finds a shallow region covered with 4.5m of
water that is no trouble with a calm sea. Other than this shallow
section the strait between Methoni and Sapienza Island, 1 mile to the
south is safe.
Arriving from the SE, one must pass broadly to the west of the small
island Kouloura that juts out from the coast 0.7miles to the SE from the
entrance of the port. In the port, the depth, 7m at the entrance,
decreases rapidly towards the west and North. You enter sounding and
anchor according to your draught more or less near to the
land on a bottom of muddy sand that offers good holding.
It requires close attention, especially at night to avoid the
fishermen's anchor ropes with their floating tops, that clutter up
the harbour . It is possible to tie up on the wharf of the
breakwater, better if by the prow, paying attention to the shallows
nearby; also in this case, use the tender for landing.
You will find some shops in the town well supplied to restock your
provisions. On the beach there is a choice of several different taverns.
A water supply point in the corner of the port allows for the refilling
of some tanks.
It is almost compulsory to visit the citadel that has been recently
restored in part, and so also the tower.
Sapienza Island (Sapientsa, Sakiotsa)
Sapienza, 1 mile south of Methoni, is a wild and uninhabited island,
with rocky and secure coasts.
A powerful lighthouse on its southern point (31.b.15s,26M), an octagonal
tower on a house and that on which one lands, arriving in Greece from
To the east of the island is found an anchorage sheltered from all
weather: Baia Longos ( Port Longos). The bay is open
to the east but is relatively protected in that direction by a small
rocky island surrounded by shoals, especially to the southwest, which
partially close the entrance.
The normal access is to the south of the island. The best
anchorage is in the southern inlet, around 100m from the beach in 3 - 5m
of water, a muddy bottom with good holding. You are able to anchor also
to the north of the bay, at the beginning of the pass on a bottom of
light sand. The anchorage of Longos is always quiet (few boats
stop there) and is favourable for underwater fishing. For some years in
summer it is frequented by small boats that come from Methoni to spend
the day here.
Pylos (Navarino, Niokastron)
Pylos (Navarino) is an immense, well-sheltered bay, that was the theatre
of one of the most important chapters of the Greek history: the naval
battle of 1827 that was brought to an end by the Treaty of Adrianopoli
(1829), the basis of which was the autonomy of Greece imposed on the
Turks by the Anglo-Franco- Russian alliance. On the 20th
October 1827, the Turkish -Egyptian fleet (82 ships) were stationed in
harbour. An allied fleet of 27 ships, under the command of Admiral
Codrington, entered " to negotiate". A shot was fired (
according to the British version from a Turkish vessel) and the bay was
transformed immediately into a gigantic firefight. The western
alliance took possession of the place, after having sunk 53 Turkish
vessels, the remains of which are lying on the bottom at 15 - 40m deep.
The bay is closed to the west by the island of Sphaktiria, high and
craggy, separated from the coast to the north by a narrow and
impracticable passage. Two rocks and the island Pylos are
separated from Sphaktiria to the south. Pylos, hollowed out in a
big rocky arc, has a lighthouse (21.b.10s) on its southern extremity.
The north coast of the bay, low and sandy, has some lagoons in the
In the southeast corner, one finds the charming village and the marina
of Pylos, overlooked to the southeast by a Turkish fortress, right at
the entrance to the bay. At the centre of this, there is the
island of Khelonosi with a lighthouse. (1.b.r.3s)
From north or from the south, the
arrival at Pylos is always very interesting: the high cliffs of
Sphaktiria, the French castle constructed on a spur around 150m high to
the northwest of the bay, the Turkish citadel at the entrance, make for
an exceptionally impressive scene, where you are able to stay several
Access and Anchorage
The access to the bay is perhaps safer by day than by night. The
normal entrance is between the Pylos Island and the Turkish fort with
The port is a small basin protected from the west by a breakwater, the
extremity of which has a lighthouse (f.v.) The basin with 8m of
water, inside of the breakwater is very often cluttered with service
launches that shuttle the cargo of ships anchored in the harbour, and
replenish their supplies. There is rather little water in front of the
east basin, that seems nevertheless to have been constructed for cargo,
and the southern part of the basin is encumbered with deep water
The anchorage in the harbour is more tranquil. You will choose one of
the following points:
if thinking of going into town,
anchor just to the north of the port in 8-12m of water , bottom of
seaweed and mud.
To the east of the bay, you are
able to have a depth almost everywhere of 4-8m of water, bottom of
seaweed, and so also in the north east corner to the south of the
village of Gialova.
In the north west corner of the
bay, near passo Sikia, there is a good anchorage on a bottom of
sand, in 3 - 10m of water. Watch out! The bottom shelves
abruptly from 3 to 1 metre nearing the coast.
From this last point, you will be able
to go up to as far as the French castle (Paleokastro) and to the grotto
of Nestore (see also further, Voidhokilia Bay)
Pylos is a port of entry where you are able to have issued the transit
log. The Port Captain is found at the start of the breakwater.
On the quay of the breakwater there is a public tap at the start and a
water point at the extremity, beside the diesel oil station.
The person in charge of the diesel and water has a shop in the town
above the piazza, in the south east corner (service station).
The shops are well stocked and you will be able to completely restock
Pylos is connected to Patrasso and Kalamata by bus.
There is a Post Office and Telephone ( take the road to the right above
Making a port of call at Pylos, go and see the little museum,
where you will find all the explanations about the battle of 1827,
before going up to the walls of the citadel to contemplate the theatre
of operations and to try to imagine in situ the development of the
Bay of Voidhokilia (Voidhokilia)
Just to the north of the bay of Pylos, the curve of Voidhokilia seems to
be traced with a compass from the two rocky promontories that define the
entrance of it. It is surrounded by a magnificent beach of light,
fine sand, and the crystalline beach invite one to go swimming.
Immediately to the south, the Paleokastro (old castle), whose
exterior walls are perfectly preserved, overlooks it around 150m
above. This anchorage is able to be utilised only with good
weather; in such case it is a ideal point for stop for some hours.
The entrance is safe, passing to the north of a rock that stretches out
from the southern point.
You must anchor just inside it, to the south east of the rock in 4m of
water, since the bottom rises abruptly further on. A path in the
southern corner of the bay goes up to the castle to which you are able
to go for a walk, following the path around. From here the glance
is directed to the magnificent bay of Navarino and to the surrounding
land. You can distinguish the village of Pylos, also dominated by its
On the same path, halfway up, you will
also visit the grotto of Nestore, a great chamber extended at the
top by a chimney that emerges 30m higher than the sides of the mountain.
The grotto is easily seen from the anchorage.
8 miles to the north of the last anchorage, Protis is a wild islet, with
rocky and steep coasts. It is separated from the mainland by a safe
channel on whose coast there is a beacon ( Marathos Point 1.b.1.5s).
You are able anchor provisionally in an inlet of the east coast,
very near the shore, to go and explore the island near the ruins of the
castle a little more to the south. On the opposite coast, in
Marathopolis Bay, an angled breakwater to the north of Marathos Point, a
marina accommodates boats of low draught (1.5m)
This port situated 29 miles to the south-east of Katakolon, is not very
interesting. It is created by a long breakwater, 300m, orientated first
north and then north-east. The breakwater, to which one is not
able to approach, shelters a wide stretch of water from the west,
but offers little protection from winds from the north-west
that predominate in summer causing high surf . Access is
possible only by day. One must go round by the far end of
the jetty until 100m to the north of the dangerous shallows surrounding
it Anchor downwind of the jetty, in 8 - 4 m of water, on a bottom
with good holding.
There is a tavern on the port, a service station, post and telephone.
Bus service to Kalamata and Patrasso.
More than 700m, with a lighthouse on the point (sc.r.) Inside, a
big jetty, recently constructed, permits the approach of cargo vessels
that come here to load phosphate and grapes from Corinth.
The village that surrounds the wharf, made of square, aligned houses,
and warehouses, has the air of being on top of the world.
In summer, it comes to life every evening, becoming the strolling spot
for the inhabitants of Pyrgos.
Access and Anchorage
Cape Katakolon is bordered, until 400m to the west, by dangerous
shallows. Arriving from the west, one must wait until the
lighthouse on the breakwater abast the beam by 10deg before turning
towards the port.
Inside, you will tie up on the wharf to the north of the jetty,
where one finds an out of order provisioning station.
Katakolon is a port of entry where you are able to have the transit log
issued. (released?) The Harbour Master (Port Captain) is found in the
large modern building opposite the jetty.
There is a water point (for the police, but one is able to "come to
an agreement") in the northern corner of the wharf.
It is difficult to get fuel on the wharf. In town you will find
limited choice of provisions, but instead there are numerous taverns
along the beach, surrounded by trees and little summer houses.
From Katakolon you are able to go to Olympia, one of the most grand and
beautiful of the archaeological sites of Greece, 35 km away. There
is a bus service to Olympia, but one must change at Pyrgos. The
excursion will take all day, and you can also hire a taxi.
Gulf of Messinia (Messiniakos, Kalamata)
Chart S.H.O.M. 7195
B.A. 682, 207
The gulf of Messinia, that opens in the south coast of Peloponese from
Cape Tenaron (Matapan) and Cape Akritas (Gallo), 35 km to the Northwest,
is much less welcoming than that of Laconia. Almost all the bays
of the West coast of Mani, open to the west, are often
impracticable and the big modern port of Kalamata to the North does not
have much of interest. Instead, on the west coast of the Gulf, you
will find Koroni, one of the most beautiful towns of southern
Therefore,if you do not have a particular reason for stopping at
Kalamata, avoid this 35 mile deviation and go directly to Koroni.
Cape Tenaron, that separates perfectly the eastern Mediterranean from
that of the west, terminates with a rather low peninsula, with, on its
extremity, a powerful light on a square tower with a house.
Going back along the coast of Mani, exceptionally desolate, you
will notice the fortified villages, characteristic of the region.
The coast until Kalamata is safe, except in the vicinity of
Stupari Point, 29miles to the north-north-west of Cape Tenaron, from
which a dangerous rocky reef juts out 600m. It is overlooked
everywhere by high mountains that culminate with Mount Taygetos, 2400m.
Going towards the north, the landscape becomes covered
progressively with vegetation until it is somewhat green in the vicinity
of Kalamata. The north coast of the Gulf that coincide with the
rich plains of Messene, is low and sandy.
The west coast is bordered by a rocky reef until Koroni, and some
isolated rocks stretch out a small distance beyond the reef. Cape
Akritas (Gallo) is without danger; the island Venetiko, 1 mile to the
SSE has a lighthouse on the northern extremity surrounded by a rocky
Gerolimenas is a little fishing village, situated at the edge of a
unique …caletta… best protected of all the west coast of Mani.
The Bay is found 6 miles from Cape Tenaron, in an arid and stony sector.
The west coast of the bay is without danger. That of the east is
bordered by some rocks. In front of the village, a small wharf has been
constructed . A second, private one is found on the west coast.
At the western entrance, a lighthouse (1.b.1.5s) on a small rocky point,
allows approach with ease. The depth decreases regularly until a
beach of pebbles at the extremity of the …ansa
Access and Anchorage
The entrance to the bay is easy, becoming somewhat constricted towards
the west coast. Anchor in front of the village, mooring to
the little eastern jetty, or to the rocks. The jetty has little
water at the shore end, but the depth increases rapidly to 1.7m.
If you can, tie up your boat preferably by the prow.
At Gerolimenas, there is nothing great, but you are able however to find
a few provisions and to dine in the little tavern on the jetty (fish
almost a certainty among the plates of the day). Telephone
and a bus connecting with Kalamata.
Mezapo Bay and Limeni
Mezapo Bay, situated 10 miles NNW from Cape Tenaron, is moderately
sheltered from the southern winds by Cape Tigani.
The fishing village that is found inside of the bay has a small
port accessible only to the local caiques. It is possible to
anchor in front of the village, but it is not prudent to remain for the
night because the bay is open to the thermal night breezes that often
rise there from the northern sector.
Around 10miles more to the north, Limeni Bay is open to the WSW between
rocky coasts, The southern entrance point has a lighthouse
(1.b.1,5s). The depth of the entrance is ample and decreases regularly
towards the east until an underwater obstacle …spiegata…
The town of Limeni is found in an inlet on the south coast and it
has a small jetty accessible only to small boats.
Another village is found in the vicinity of the eastern beach.
You are able anchor, either in front of Limeni or near the beach, in
4-10m of water with a bottom of pebbles and sand, but you must
stay ready to set sail rapidly if a wind from the west rises.