Rounding Cape Maleas

Written by Pieter Jan on Sep 28, 2019 — 3 min read

From: Velanidia, Western Peloponnesos, Greece
To: Island Elafonisos, Southern Peloponnesos, Greece

Here’s the thing with industrial little harbors: kids don’t mind it one bit. For them it’s just an oversized playground. As soon as Andreas laid eyes on the looming mass of concrete blocks, he said: “I want to climb that”. We couldn’t hold him back. He was ready to jump overboard and swim to shore if need be. Naturally, the other two kids wanted to climb too.

A tug, a barge and Vite & Rêves
A tug, a barge and Vite & Rêves

We figured, why not? The kids had been on the boat the whole day before, so there little hyperactive bodies needed the exercise like a desert island castaway needs fresh coconuts.

Climbing!
Climbing!
Rusty machinery!
Rusty machinery!
Lots of concrete!
Lots of concrete!

We left Velanidia without looking at the wind forecast. It’s always wrong anyway and I prefer to be pleasantly surprised by reality instead of bitterly disappointed by a forecast. Today, I was pleasantly surprised.

We started off with a light but steady 7 knot north-easter on the beam. Then the wind briefly fell away but picked up again to 10 knots when we neared cape Maleas. The charts warned about cape Maleas:

“Note 1: When NE winds blow, avoid the coast of Malea. Sudden gusts are sent down the mountain with NE winds, which are strong enough to rip your sails apart, to break your mast or even capsize your boat. Keep a distance of at least 3 miles.”

A little apprehensive, we rounded the cape at about 40 meters distance.

What we expected:

What we expected
What we expected

What we got:

What we got
What we got

Whew. Bullet dodged.

The rest of the trip was extremely enjoyable. The wind shifted to the south after the cape and we were going west now. 9 knots on the beam, 5 knots of boat speed, no waves. This is the kind of sailing you wish would last forever. We arrived in Simos bay on the island Elafonisos around 2PM. The beach is one for in the magazines. Azure water, yellow sand, very few people around.

Simos beach
Simos beach

While I was scrubbing the bottom of the boat, Barbara met Sarah, another sailor mom with 4 kids (ages 8, 5, 4 and 2). They’re also travelling the world on a catamaran. Their boat, Blue Griffin, is about thrice the size of Vite & Rêves, but for the rest we had a lot of things in common: teaching kids on board, fear of rounding capes, surviving high winds, the plight of boat moms. The kids enjoyed each other’s company building a huge sand city.

The sunset and the night were again heavenly.

Sunset in Simos bay
Sunset in Simos bay