Our next stop was Nafpaktos, with its’ beautiful medieval harbour, fortified initially during the 5th-4th century and the fortifications were designed by the Venetians. Nafpaktos is a beautiful town and also boasts two Blue Flag beaches, plenty of tavernas and cafes and a stunning castle overlooking everything!
We arrived after a short sail from Trizonia and anchored outside of the medieval harbour. The harbour is extremely small and if we had attempted to enter there would have been no ‘going back’ had we found that there was no space on the Quay! The maximum recommended length of vessel for ease of movement inside the harbour is 40ft – Money Penny was definitely safer outside on anchor!
We took the tender into the harbour to explore. Lunch was amazing in a side street just off the harbour area – Captain Cooks Restaurant! We then decided to take a walk up to the Castle.
We walked through cobbled streets and up narrow staircases, passing ‘interesting’ and stunning properties along the route. In the afternoon heat, the distance to the Castle was a lot further than we had estimated and we were not even sure if it would be open when we arrived. We seemed to be the only people heading that way! We arrived at a roadside restaurant and decided to take a coffee break and soak up the view. During coffee we made a decision to head back to Money Penny and continue our journey instead of staying overnight in the anchorage. The wind had increased making the sea state a ‘little rocky’, we may not have had a comfortable night. We were pleased we had stopped at this picturesque town and harbour.
Money Penny at Anchor in the distance
At 15.52 we departed the anchorage in front of the Medieval harbour of Nafpaktos and began our sail westwards to Messalongi 25 miles away. The wind was 15kts gusting 20kts making for a wonderful sail.
The Rio-Antirion Bridge is one of the world’s longest multi-span cable stayed bridges and longest of the fully suspended type. It crosses the Gulf of Corinth near Patras linking the town of Rio on the Peloponnese peninsula to Antirrio on mainland Greece by road. It opened the day before the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics and was used to transport the Olympic Flame. 7,808ft long (approx 1.8 miles) it now allows direct access by car between the mainland and the Peloponnese, however, the ferries are still in use as we found out on our approach. The waterway was extremely busy as they manoeuvred back and forth.
Having radioed the Bridge we were given permission and instruction as to which pylons to pass between. As always when passing under a bridge in Money Penny (even after doing our sums), we held our breath as we proceeded under this masterpiece!
Messalongi is a major fish production centre and we approached the long entrance canal to a stunning sun set. The canal is set amid shallow salt marshes and it was important to keep to the marked channel as we made our way inwards towards the Town. On either side of the canal there were pretty little fishermen huts/houses built on stilts, it reminded us of Florida.
The town is built between the lagoon of Messolonghi and the one of Kleisova at the estuary of Evinos and Acheloos river. ‘Messolanghi’ meaning ‘town between two lakes’.
There is a marina, a large town quay and a basin at the entrance to both where it is possible to anchor. We chose the Quay but with approximately 13000 inhabitants, who all seemed to be out and about as we arrived at 20.15, we regreted not anchoring in the basin! There was certainly no Covid19 distancing as the nearby restaurants were packed to capacity and music and noise continued late into the night.
The following day (14th September 2021) we departed Messalongi and headed towards ‘Big’ Vathi on Ithaca to meet up with Anthea & Paul from our home town of Tenby and rejoin Dave and Carolyn off Dulcinea.
Little did we know what lay ahead of us over the next week.