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From Kythera to Granvousa - Creta

Kithera

Kythera for Venetians "Cerigo" reserves interesting surprises, one of which is the encounter with a direct descendant of the Venetian family Da Ponte, who arrived in Kythera in 1306 following a shipwreck and settled in the island up to the present year, Nicholas Da Ponte then returned to his homeland, he was elected Doge of Venice in 1578, while Mr. Bayron Da Ponte today is a brilliant seventy-six man, that proudly displays the emblem of wisdom and "casada" and takes us to visit two Venetian fortresses Milopotamos and Avlemonas, respectively located in the center in the West and East coast, unknown but of considerable importance because the first came to us almost intact and can be visited in the urban structure and social with lion, churches, mills and grinders. At the wheel of his car, Byron Da Ponte tells us of another Venetian family, the Venier, settled in Kythira in 1206, showing their first home monastery-fortress, with a strange overlook above the main door entrance that was used to overthrow from water and oil boiling in defense of the raids of pirates and Ottomans. Let the sea at dawn in the absence of wind, to Crete (Candia) to 120 °; three-hour ride and drive along the east side Antykhitera (Cerigotto), barren island with a lighthouse on the south, a few houses, in the only passable by jeep dosale; after eight hours of engine approach with the North West side of Crete is by setting piratical, we enter the scene surrounded by high cliffs peak, dangerous cliffs and caves along the water until you get into a large bay-colored lagoon a disarming beauty of turquoise, crystal clear water and captivates us like a siren and we dive above us stands the imposing Venetian fortress of "Granbusa", the only one never conquered by the Ottomans, we moor stern on the pier foot of the great fortress.

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From Monemvasia to Kithera

Kithera

Monemvasia, for the Venetians "Malvasia" is a pearl of the Peloponnese, unfortunately we can not visit the fortress at the top because of the restoration in progress, right there is the old building of the administrator from Mar Serenissima, is it good motivation to return here. We take the sea in the direction of 140 ° with a destination 43 miles Kithera (Cytera) for the Venetians Cerigo, is an island located south of the tip of the Peloponnese, the last bastion Venetian watershed between two seas, the Ionian, the Aegean and Candia (Crete), from whose waters are said to have been born Aphrodite, goddess of beauty and love. The crosswind from the west at 11 knots, pushing Arina at 7 knots to Cape Maleas, considered the head of the Mediterranean Horn, a beacon clinging to the rocks indicates the extreme point south in the third finger of the Peloponnese, nestled between rocks and a clump of green you can see a white convent overlooking the sea; in the background you can see Kithera south, in the haze of scorching heat, some merchant ships at sea crossing our route to the Straits of Suez. We continue with course 198 ° for 15 miles along the east side of Kithera, at the height of Diakofti the remains of a cargo ship that seems to get back on top of the rock on which it was stranded; the wind from the N-Owest is felt just passed Ak Kapello south of Kithera, gusts and rough seas we undertake in the last 5 miles that separate us from the harbor of Kythira, at 15.30 we throw the anchor and we are in another beautiful sheltered bay, perched above us to dominate the horizon from a height of 200 meters, is located in the Venetian fortress founded in 1316.

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From Yerakas to Monemvasia

Monemvasia

We leave the fjord Yerakas imagining the Mycenaeans who settled in this tiny bay, because they found the essential resources to support and defend themselves; out at sea the wind at 15 knots allows us to sail at 6 knots at 175 °, in 3 hours we are near Monemvasia, a fairy and fascinating place, from the first impact is touching the beauty of the promontory on which stands the walled city with a single access by a bridge; was an ancient Minoan and Mycenaean settlement, then became Byzantine and used as a basis by the supervisors of the Venetian Serenissima who renamed it "Malvasia", was later torn by the Turks in 1540 and subsequently applied by the Venetians (1690-1715) who from here have contributed to the spread wine, bringing the screws from Monemvasia around the Mediterranean. In the square next to the church of Christ in Elkomenos there is a door with a winged lion, walking just walk through narrow streets climbing up the rock labyrinth and lower porticos, chimneys and round windows reminiscent of Venice. Due to strong wind from the west, we are obliged to remain in dock for two days, the katabatic wind down from the mountains close to the port, press Arina on the dock and forces us to strengthen the moorings, our fenders are at the limit of the explosion.

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Leonidhion - Yerakas

Yeraka

Leonidhion is a small village dominated by towering cliffs, very evocative place, the two streams that flow into the tiny bay make the water crystal clear and have created the pebble beach; we leave the dock at 9:00 in the direction of 140 °, just out, 10 knots of wind from the south allow us to raise the sails; Parnon is the mountain with rugged and precipitous walls that plunge from 600 m. Stay at anchor in the bay of Okiparissi large, framed by the mountains it offers us spectacular scenery for a swim and lunch; we start sailing with Yeraka destination, perched on the coast stands the monastery of Windmills white. Yeraka develops within a fjord surrounded by high cliffs so well sheltered from the wind, ends with a lagoon and a small island in the middle with some cypress; along the north shore is a small fishing village; tourism here has not yet affected the lives of the people, but there are early omens: the British BBC is doing the filming for a documentary on the typical dishes of the Peloponnese. The comfortable dock where we moor has many resources nearby, a cave with stalagmites and the remains of a large Mycenaean acropolis that dominates the entrance of the bay.

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Nafplion - Leonidhion

We leave by engine propulsion, Navpilos port (Nafplion) 33 ° 34 'N and 03 22' 47 '48 E, at 9.00 AM, after a crew turnover and a water supply, we sail close to Bourtzi fortress island, its sea waters were defended by the imponent Palamidi fortification, that is located 216 m above sea level, the imposing structure was built between 1711 and 1715 by the Venetian Provveditor Agostino Sagredo, at the end of the second period of the Venetian Republic, it was later conquered by the Turks; entering Argolich Gulf with 5.3 knots speed, along the promontory of Akronavplia, boat direction 180 ° South, the wind come from South West grows to 15 - 18 knots, allows us to continue by sail tacking 6 - 8 knots rate; Henry the captain, had wisely decided to replace the jib with a smaller one, allowing us to easily navigating on South; the earth landscape is beautiful, pristine hills that descend steep toward the sea; at 12.30 in 270 ° West direction, on the top of a hill, we approach the medieval fortress of Astrous Poralion, with many caves at sea level; we landed at 15.00 for a short break in the Makronis Bay; sheltered from the winds, is surrounded by steep green hills, we continue the navigation, our destination is Leonidhion, we arrive at 20.00, after having covered a distance of 35 miles, it’s a small picturesque bay where two streams flow to the beach and a picturesque village along the Bay.

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Canal of Corinth

Sunday we pass through the canal of Corinth, next Saturday I will be in Nafplio. We start to have some problems, the many miles done and the age of Arina are arising: the starting engine sometimes does not work, and therefore I need to anticipate with some trick when I need the engine power. In Nafplio Roberto should bring the spare part to solve the issue. The automatic pilot has broke the belt and therefore no modern assistance, we always stay at the steering.

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Ay bay

Ay bay.  Ioannou gulf of Dobrena on the route towards Corinth, a deviation in a forgotten place.

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Lepanto

Lepanto

We left Zakynthos and its fortress, we made a stop off in Patra for a turn-over of the crew, we reached Nafpaktos/Lepanto in the evening of Tuesday during astorm, we had strong winds, we haul down the sail and we start the engines and afterwards we enter the fortified port. Since several years Arina returns to Nafpaktos and the port is more and more buried and the boats usually make a safe anchorage out of the port, but we Venetians we know it very well and we drop the lenght of the chain cable close by the entrance access facing the main dock, two ropes on the pier, that is all for us. We have navigated for 57 NM, nowadays Nafpaktos is a tourist fascion location, wondering how it was in the past , surely charming as nowadays in consideration that it has valued a famous battle, and we will concede an earned rest at the middle of the VeRoTour travel.

 

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Sami

Sami

we stay in Sami, a tourist port, with a fishing boat of Chephalonia. Tomorrow route towards Zakynthos, 35 NM variable weather, strong winds.

 

Parga

Parga

We left yesterday Corfù, route 140 towards Lefkada, overnight stay in Parga, 15 knots West wind, sailing athwart we proceed at a speed of 6,5 knots, we made 76 NM.

Corfù

Corfù

We arrived to Mandraki Corfù at 01.00 pm, the last two days we had a SE wind 8/10 knots, we had a close-hauled navigation also in Otranto canal, night overstay in the Island of Erikussa, very warm weather.

 

Brindisi

Brindisi

Arrived in Brindisi, today stay in the port for very rough sea. Tomorrow weather forecast strong NW favorable winds.

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Trani

Castello di Trani

Stay in Trani with a day trip to Castel del Monte, a Swabian castle of the thirteenth century, that has the peculiarity to be seen from the sea, despite being located 30 km in the inland.
According to the people of Trani, it was a "lighthouse" for the sailors of that age.
Tomorrow at sunrise departure towards Monopoli, the weather should be good.

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From Korcula to Trani

Trani

After the night thunderstorms we left with good weather at 06.15 am. Route 225° with engine propulsion towards Lastovo, one of the most Southern and far away island from the Croatian mainland.

At 02.15 pm we reached the border point of Lastovo, but we had to wait two hours for the coast guard staff and policemen for finalizing the papers before leaving the Croatian territorial waters towards Pulia. Finally a Mistral moderate favourable wind 18-20 knots. We succeded to navigate direct route 190° with only sail at a speed of 6/7 knots until 05.00 hours until the sunrise with the view of Trani. We entered the port at 08.30 am. We reached the assigned pier at 09.30 am, after 16 hours of navigation of crossing of the southern part of the Adriatic sea.
Finally few days of rest with a stay of Arina in Trani until Tuesday 1 July for a partial turnover of the crew.

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