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Koroni – We’ve Lapped the Aegean

We venture through the ruins of an ancient Venetian castle with impressive views over the bay

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All night sails are a commitment of time, and energy as well as having trust in your equipment and ability to work as a team. After setting off earlier than planned due to the unexploded bomb near our anchorage in Monemvasia as in our previous story, we decided to make the most of the forecast favourable winds and advance as much as we could toward the Ionian Sea.

A castle arch with a great view

As a result, we have banked our first all-night sail of the season which was lit with the beautiful blue light of phosphorescence rushing down the hull which is one of the huge rewards of night sailing. The night was a waxing crescent moon so we had little light and arrived in Koroni just as dawn was peeping over our shoulder. We have spent the last couple of days here, – on the southwestern peninsula of the Peloponnese.  And we are finding it a rather beautiful spot to be after we went 36 hours without sleep in flukey wind conditions.

Koroni bay is shallow, and we are anchored in just 4 metres of water.  Excitingly, our arrival here means we have now officially circumnavigated the Aegean. We are in the Ionian sea and have arrived back to where we began our race across the Greek Islands last year.

One of three churches on the castle hill

Koroni town was founded in ancient times, as is almost everywhere here of course, and there are many historic reports of many temples to Greek Gods such as Apollo. Koroni was a Venetian stronghold for at least 300 years, as is evidenced by the seventh century Castle of Koroni that we ventured out to today.  

The ruins are colourful and impressive overlooking the bay, accessed by a walk that takes you through snaking narrow streets and layers of whitewash edged stairs, located just one block back from the impressive boulevard waterfront laden with restaurants.  The fortifications are impressive with their location and architecture and encompass houses and churches.   

The steps that lead through alleyways up to Koroni Castle

There were fields of wild yellow daisies with grazing goats, olive groves, fig-trees, an occasional red poppy, a few churches and expanses of ocean that we have either already sailed or are about to sail.

The Venetian Castle of Koroni – a feast of history and colour

A more modern take of the town and of particular interest to me as a space junkie is that there were a series of sounding rocket launches made from here, between 1966 and 1989 with a total of 371 launches. These launches were originally instigated as investigations into an annular solar eclipse, and latterly Russian meteorological M-100 rockets.  But there are no installations that stand in recognition of the space race, as the castle stands proud today.

We finished our circumnavigation of the Aegean and the castle grounds with a pizza and beer on the waterfront. A well-earned treat and the opportunity to imbibe and intake the beauty of today.  We are likely here till Tuesday, waiting for a change in the favourable winds we need to go west.

Pizza and beer, our reward

Today we feel like a little guitar-centric sound is appropriate, and so here’s a modern minstrel, Ed Sheeran, with Castle on the Hill

And I’m on my way
I still remember these old country lanes
When we did not know the answers
And I miss the way you make me feel, and it’s real
When we watched the sunset over the castle on the hill
Over the castle on the hill

Ed Sheeran, Castle on the Hill

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