Places to Paddle tm
Canoeing - Kayaking - Rafting


Navarino Bay, Messinia, Pelopponese, Greece

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The arch called "Tripito".
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Our Route Summary

  • Submitted by: Kevin Dyer
  • Date Submitted: 9/2002
  • Location: Messinia, Greece near Pylos or Pilos (36=B0 55' N 21=B0 42' E Nautical chart "Navarino bay, sheet 221/3)
  • Class: 2 - The prevailing winds are NW and the wave action can be very impressive on the seaward side of the island. There is no safe landing point on the seaward side if conditions worsen while you're out.
    The port authority in Pylos can supply weather forecasts, though not very early in the morning. The wind tends to get up around 8 or 9 in the morning. While I was there it was usually force 6 Beaufort, sometime 7 or 8.
  • Distance Paddled: 14 km
  • Water Level: not applicable
  • Water: salt
  • Wildlife: Sole, Ray, Sea urchins, crabs, tortoises, chameleons, Cicadas, Cicadas, Cicadas
  • Special Regulations: none known

Entry & Exit

  • Directions: To reach Cape Korifasio, drive north from Pylos to the village of Gialova, turn left at sign "Golden beach and archeological site" follow road to bar on beach left. The road forks into two gravel roads, take left fork and follow it to it's end at about 1km. (Alternate put-in or take-out: just about anywhere around the mainland side of the bay is acceptable for a put-in.)
    Marine charts and other goodies are to be found at Fotis' shop, from Pylos square, direction Methoni, 150 metres on left from square.
  • GPS: N 36 degrees 57' E 21 degrees 40'
  • Fee: None
  • Description: Sandy beach, some rocks
  • Parking: Gravel and sand parking adjoining the beach 40 metres carry or access to waters edge with four wheel drive.
  • Facilities: No facilities

Cape Korifasio, Sitkia channel on left, put-in dead ahead.

Navarino bay, Gialova lagoon, Romanou and Crocodile island.

What We Saw

Navarino bay is largest natural harbour in the Pelopponese about 6km north to south and 4km East to West. The bay is protected from the Ionian sea by the island of Sfakteria, which leaves as access from the sea the Pylos channel about 1.5 km wide at the southern end and the Sikia channel, about 70 metres wide at the northern end.

The bay is occasionally used by large ocean-going shipping for shelter. At the southern end of Sfakteria are some small islets called Tsichli-baba and the Koutsounes.

The prevailing winds are NW and the wave action can be very impressive on the seaward side of the island. There is no safe landing point on the seaward side if conditions worsen while you're out.

The initial route was to exit Navarino bay by the Sikia channel and circumnavigate the island of Sfakteria. Wind and waves not permitting the Sikia channel route, I paddled down the bay to Tsichli-baba and back via a small islet called Helenika.

The put-in is a soft sand beach on cape Korifasio. From there, head 180 (magnetic) Sfakteria island on right.

There is a tiny harbour half way along the island, perfectly sized for kayaks. Watch out for sea urchins on the bottom of the harbour if you go barefoot. 50m walk will take you to a wooden Russian church and memorial.

Take-out after headwind.

The Sitkia channel.
Leaving the harbour, head SSE 150 degrees (magnetic) another 3 km to find Tsichli-baba on right. The islet has a natural arch, not navigable except by dead calm due to partially submerged rocks and strong current.
Between the Koutsounes rocks and Sfakteria is a small natural harbour, with calm water for shelter. There is also a sea-cave.
Heading into Navarino bay, Sfakteria on right, Pylos town dead ahead.

Tschichli-Baba and the Koutsounes

Depending on conditions head back directly to take out on NNW 340(magnetic) or NNE 20 (magnetic) around 5km to the islet of Helenika. There is a British memorial on the islet.

If conditions permit, you can paddle through the Sikia channel and head North around cape Korifasio about 3km further on to Voidokilia bay, the most beautiful beach in the Pelopponese or further North to Romanou beach.

Be careful at Romanou, there are serious dumping waves on gravel and rock shore.

10 km further will take you to "crocodile island" (it really looks like one!).

Take-outs are possible most of the way along.

The scenery is all around you and breathtaking.

In dead calm seas you will see wrecks on the floor of the Navarino bay from the 1827 battle of Navarino, which won independence for the Greeks.

To the North is Gialova or Divari lagoon. Bird-lovers should go here in winter, it being a major wintering place for migratory birds from the Balkans.

Pylos channel, the southern end of Sfakteria

From left: Tschichli-Baba, Koutsounes, the face of Poseidon.

Under the pointed mountain: Helenaki. On the right: Big companion.