I would love to spend some more time in Monemvasia with its ancient town, but the easterly wind beckons to round the ill-famed Cape Maleas in favourable conditions. Since the predominant winds are from the northeast this southern tip can be a rough spot as documented by Odysseus, and I don’t want to press my luck with Aiolos.
All goes well and, with hardly any swell yet some 5 Bft., we are racing towards Elafonisos, a charming little Island where I drop my anchor in a beautiful sandy bay. Time to try out my spearfishing gear! Soon I realise that I have to choose between the savage seafarer’s beard that I have been cultivating for the past weeks – or a watertight diving mask. Consequently I have an awkward barber’s session on the aft deck, certainly looking peculiar as I shave in full scubadiving outfit. After three hours snooping into caves and crevices I start to consider how I can combine the pantry’s frugal provisions into an acceptable dinner, as I can’t find any fish even close to the size of my frying pan.
The following days along the southern Peloponnese via Porto Kayo, Koroni and Methoni are quite relaxed and the engine has some work to do as there is hardly any wind to speak of. Turning north after Methoni I feel a little explorational and choose a promising little bay for my next stop, Ormos Vromoneri. Tiny and the shape of a kidney it seems like good shelter, but there’s little information on it in Rod Heikell’s Greek Waters Pilot. I will soon know why: lovely as it looks on the chart I feel uncertain about the depths and the holding, and there appear to be random rocks dangerously close to IDA’s shallow draught. With the sun about to set I rush to put the diving mask on and, once under water, the whole scenery gives me the creeps: the bottom looks like a scrapyard with a multitude of lines, anchors and chains of all shapes and dimensions criss-crossing the seabed, with a caterpillar’s tracks thrown in for good measure. On top of all that the wind has decided to turn unexpectedly and blows straight into this frigging death trap, but as it is too late now to sail on to somewhere else I decide to use this underwater chandlery to my advantage. Grabbing a long line attached to IDA’s bow I dive down to the biggest anchor I can find and attach IDA on a short leash that will restrict her keels from getting between a rock and a hard place. With my own anchor up I actually feel rather save now, being moored to a piece of iron junk that probably weighs more than IDA herself.
No tears of farewell are being shed as I leave the next morning to Kiparissia and Katakolon, the last stop on the way to my next photographic target: Zakynthos!
And it turns out to be yet another truly enjoyable day full of surprises: with a friendly breeze from a blue sky and the sun warming IDA’s decks and her skipper we are cruising at a relaxed four knots towards this most southern of the Ionian Islands.
While under deck preparing lunch I am suddenly startled by yet another a new noise, as if from a ratchet. Or a fishing reel. My fishing reel! Shortly after I land a feisty yellow fin tuna onto IDA’s aft deck, thereby fulfilling one of my more socially acceptable boyhood phantasies. The aft platform soon looks like the set for a cheap splatter movie and it takes me more than an hour to clean the crime scene. Simultaneously happy (because I caught a fish) and sad (because I killed it) I enter into Zakynthos port, where I find an inconspicuous yet excellent little tavern that agrees to take the fish in return for three free dinners. They really know their craft, and especially the oven-variant with tomatoes, onions and herbs is as delicious as it can get!
What an excellent start on Zakynthos, the island that I want to explore photographically for the next days to come!