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The land behind the lagoons of Messolonghi is wild. A rugged, steep, partly karstified, partly volcanic mountain range with immense rockfalls, vertical cliffs and gorges. We drove to Kato Retsina, a tiny village on a rocky ridge above Messolonghi (see also 'Interesting facts'). Already here you have a tremendous view of the plain, the lagoons and the sea, of course also of the Varasova mountains opposite Patras. We have already been here, because Anatoli has a restaurant here, right on the edge, with this incredible view. 

This time our marina neighbours Tony and Pat told us about a Wanderflugs round Trip, so we drove from Kato Retsina even further up into the mountains, with wild gorges and often distant views of the sea, the southernmost Ionian islands of Kefallonia and Zakynthos. The roads were narrow and not in good condition, but that was just a foretaste.

Beyond the top of the pass a huge green valley opened up, bordered by steep green slopes, one feels reminded of Ticino or Piedmont., with old oak treues an früher down chestnut trees. Small villages, goats crawling up the slopes, and the roads getting narrower and narrower. Sometimes the curves right next to the road go down vertically, several hundred metres deep, you almost get dizzy while driving. Of course, the signs are not always very clear, so we turned around several times, because we had serious doubts whether we we were on the right way at all. 

To the wide plain with two inland lakes below us we spiralled down in wild serpentines. But this was not the end of the spectacular landscape: After we reached the bottom, we headed southwest again, into a gorge. Redish-white vertical cliffs bordered the road that led through the gorge, which really puts the landscapes of the Karl May films in the shade. We often stopped to take pictures, also because the evening sun created a wonderful strong reddish light. 

After a sailing season there is a lot to do to make sure that the boat with everything on and in it is well looked after and maintained for the winter break. The sails are well packed. On deck all metal parts are cleaned and polished. The wood also needs care. However, we save the oiling of the teak deck for spring. The anchor has probably scraped rocks from time to time. So its tip is rusty and has to be sanded down, reprimed and painted. Dirt and dark stains are removed from the hull. Everything is checked for small damages and the functionality. Especially the engine needs attention. The two diesel tanks should be almost full and a remedy against diesel plague should be filled in. Oil filter and oil are changed and the V-belts are tensioned. A small leak in the cooling water system must be sealed. John, the sailmaker, comes from Prevezza to take the necessary measurements for a new headsail. And a bigger washing action is due. Luckily, even in the second half of October the sun often shines so intensively that everything dries within a few hours. It's a bit like a big cleaning action at home. You sit there afterwards with a glass of wine and are happy about your shiny home.

High above Patras lies one of the most famous vineyards in the world - Achaia Clauss. It is named after the landscape Achaia of the northern Peloponnese, and its founder, the Bavarian Gustav Clauss, who originally wanted to establish a fruit export company here. But wine went better, and so he founded the winery in 1861. It has been closed since March because of Corona, we were told. But when a sliding gate opened at the stately park and a car came out, we drove in before the gate closed. 

From the residential building you have a gigantic view of Patras, the fertile plain, the gulf and behind it the wild mainland mountains. The villa looks like a Byzantine fortress, very solid and luxurious. We have never seen a larger winery - and this although we know many in the Palatinate.......

So we drove up and met a winemaker who explained that it was closed, but who showed us around - exclusively! - and explained everything. 

The black Daphne (19) is said to have worked in the bottling plant, Clauss fell in love with her and named his first wine after her - Mavrodaphne. Mavrodaphne is not only available as a sweet, dark red, heavy dessert wine, but also as a dry and white wine. Other classic grapes are also cultivated, in addition to Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet, Cinsault the autochthonous Greek ones such as Moschofilero, Roditis, Athiri and Mavro. 

Many celebrities have been here or have had wine sent from here: Franz Liszt, the Austrian Empress Sissi, Bismarck, Josefine Baker, Gary Cooper - also Vladimir Putin. 

From Trizonia we continued along the north coast of the Gulf of Corinth towards the Gulf of Patras, first to Nafpaktos. There we were - but without a boat - one year ago with Beatrix and Peter and admired the wonderful little town, the Venetian fortress and the spectacular little harbour, for more details see "Things to know".

Nafpaktos was - Saturday evening - totally full of mostly young people, the cafés and taverns filled to the last seat. Here you didn't notice anything of Corona except for the masks of the waitresses and cellars.

There is now a floating dock outside the city wall where you can moor up, because the harbour is so small that you'd rather not go in - at least not with a boat of our size. The pier has the disadvantage that it is completely unprotected from wind and swell, which we clearly felt. In the afternoon a strong wind with a strong swell came up, the boat was dancing up and down, lines and fastening cleats were at their limit, fortunately the spectacle calmed down in the evening.

On Sunday morning we set off in the calm, further west. Entering the Gulf of Patras, we crossed under the spectacular Rion Bridge, which connects the Peloponnese near Patras with the mainland. You have to contact Rion Traffic on channel 14 and indicate the height of the mast. The height is 15 metres in our case, no problem with a maximum possible passage height of 45 metres in the middle. Nevertheless it is a queasy feeling to be directed a little further away from the centre and the distance between the top of the mast and the bridge is maybe 5 metres, exciting to see from below.

After the bridge there is already the steep Varasova mountain, so to speak the local mountain of Messolonghi. Then the huge, wide lagoon landscapes, where the water depth abruptly drops to 30 cm. When entering the canal you have to be careful, because it is dredged and next to the fairway are the herons and the flat boats of the eel catchers. The bathing beach Tourlida and the pile dwellings of the fishermen (see also the article in "Things to know") are meanwhile familiar to us and soon we are in the marina and mooring. Again directly in front of the bar. Mimis, the barman, is happy to see us again, and so are we. Also Dimitris, "our" electrician is there right now, both are friends. Their sons go to the same school class.

Citywall of Nafpaktos
Nafpaktos: Entrance into the harbour
And so it looks from outside, where we moore with our boat.
Do you see our boat?
Heading Rion-Bridge
Entering the Channel of Messolonghi
It‘s beautiful here. We like Messolonghi.

Trizonia is a tiny island directly opposite the northern mainland in the Gulf of Corinth. It is so small that there is only one small shop that closes at the end of the season. Then you have to take the small ferry boat five minutes to Glifada on the mainland to do some shopping. You hardly see any cars, because there are almost no roads. At the small market place there are three taverns and two cafés and like everywhere else they are populated with countless cats. In the harbour at the back of the island in a small bay, there are boats that you get the impression that they will never leave here - as well as their owners who live on them. 

That it should be beautiful here can also be seen from the fact that the European long-distance hiking trail E 4 runs across the island. There are various hiking trails to the capes, from which you have a wonderful view of the Gulf and the opposite Peloponnese with its steep, massive mountains. 

The colours, we found, are particularly intense or particularly good to experience and enjoy here. Rusty brown tones on the paths, from the clay on the white karst rock, but also from marble terraces. White the rocks and also the little houses. Dark red - there is a "Red Beach" here with dark red pebbles, bauxite-containing rock that is mined a few miles further east on the mainland. 

Blue - turquoise - green in countless shades the sea, depending on the incidence of light and the condition of the ground. 

Other shades of green are formed by the fresh pine trees, which stand close together in some places. 

Other shades of green and also silver dominate in the interior of the island: Countless ancient olive trees with their silvery green leaves and the silver-grey gnarled trunks. 

We have managed to get away again - because we still have a lot to do here in Greece.

In the south of the Peloponnese we noticed it at some point - we haven't had any shore power for four weeks!

The many electrical consumers already need a lot of power - from the 12 volt battery. Pumps for the running water supply, lighting, navigation instrument display - and of course the refrigerator, the biggest consumer of electricity (besides the hot water boiler, but you don't need that anyway at 35 degrees outside temperature).

In addition to the separate starter battery, there are two service batteries that operate the system, with a total capacity of 670 ampere hours. When the engine is running, it charges the batteries of course. And when we are in port and have shore power, the batteries are charged via the permanently installed computer-controlled charger on board. If not, we have four solar panels that we can fold up so that they are optimally aligned with the sun.

This means that if we are lying at anchor and have the fridge on during the day to have cool white wine in the evening, the system loses about 2 percent. If we then fold up the panels the next morning - and the sun is shining - it takes an hour or two to get back to 100 percent. One should not underestimate solar power!

That's why we didn't even notice the four weeks without shore power - we are curious to see how it will be in autumn with less sun.

In July, August and September we experienced almost only hot days here with temperatures that were almost always above 30 degrees during the day, often up to 36 degrees. Now, at the beginning of October, autumn comes here too. In the evening it cools down pleasantly. A few days ago we put on (light) long trousers for the first time in months. Maybe we'll soon need a pair of socks in the evening too? In which schapp did we put them when we arrived?

We experience the October weather here in the Gulf of Corinth in a Great Varieté: an alternation of overcast skies, mild light, bright sunshine, light wind or even calm and sudden strong winds, mostly from the west. And from time to time rain and thunderstorms. But even the sun still has power. Our solar panels still charge so well that we can get by largely without electricity from the land.

We also clearly notice that the season is over. The harbours are rather empty. The many charter sailors have disappeared (although this summer there were not as many as usual due to Corona). The tavernas are gradually closing and in those that are still open there are only a few guests. Everything becomes quieter. A mood aptly sung by Gilbert Bécaud in the beautiful song "C'est en Septembre" about the end of the season in France.

So now we can enjoy our cosy boat more and more below deck in the evenings. A few bottles of good red wine are also stored there. They will probably not be taken on board for winter storage.

It gets dark sooner and the sind rises later. That's where the nice big sleeping bunk in the stern beckons.

Before it gets really uncomfortable here in November, we want to take good care of our boat and prepare it for the winter. There is still a lot to do. So we are now on the way to Messolonghi, our starting port and boat quarter for this winter and are looking forward to meeting the friends we have there in the meantime.