Fishing in Mani

By on April 17th    /    Culture, Peloponessus, People    /    0 Comments   /   show comments


It was July and I was in Mani, at the southern part of Peloponnesus. In fact I was at Itilo Bay. Earlier, while I was drinking my morning coffee by the square of Areopolis village I read about the pirate stories of Itilo Bay.

Karavostasi  (the small and unique harbor on the northern side of the bay) once was called “Little Algiers”. Because of its pirates of course…

Jules Verne put the terrifying pirate Sakratif – once a big terrorist of the Aegean sea-  to reside here in this very bay!


Καραβοστάσι, Οίτυλο, Μάνη

Now you are probably wondering if I found any pirates here. No. No. But I found a wonderful man, an old fisherman from Mani, here in Karavostasi.

He stood old as a living fossil, under the shadow of a grape tree, among longline baskets, fishing lines, harpoons and whitewashed stone walls. He was wearing a white shirt and old pants, he was barefoot and with an unfinished cigarette always in hand. His head was bold, bony and bronze from the saltiness and the sun.

He was Panagiotis Giannareas. 94 years old (at 2006!). “I am fishing for eighty-years. Summer or winter I have been always by the sea. All my life I’ve been a fisherman. ” he said.




Καραβοστάσι, Οίτυλο, Μάνη



I asked him about fishing here, about the good fishing spots of Mani. “You have to go fishing with live bait. With small fishes as bait and with a good strong longline you can catch breams, pike, groupers, large fish about 5,6,8 kilos to make a decent meal. “.

Once he  fished in distant places, sailing into unknown waters.

Now he tells me how he fishes in the neighboring surrounding places, at capes and shoals outside Itilo bay, at his very own marks. And almost always he brings back a good catch.

He was a mythical figure in the Gulf of Itilo, everybody used to talk about the “grandfather’s” fishes. He often carried and sold his catch at the “Black Pirate” tavern: huge snappers with rosewood colors and purple spots, big and thick silver amberjacks, black groupers with orange spots and golden groupers with the yellow dot on the side, like mysterious flower…

“I fished even in America. In Panama I used to fish shrimps. I’m thinking of fishing for 100 more years…” he said laughing.

He smiled. The humor was always present at his speech . “Now I am thinking of getting married again. I can see lots of women on the beach…”.

In the afternoon he loaded the large boxes with the longlines and walked to the “Taxiarhis” , an ancient boat, too heavy, heavy after all those years… He was alone. He fixed his tools, untied the ropes, raised the anchor, lighted a cigarette and sailed. In front of him the capes and the coves were waiting for him, as he was  leaving behind Karavostasi, the highly protected from the northern winds port.

I met uncle Panagiotis that July in 2006. We talked by the cool shade of his courtyard, I photographed him and left.

The last time I went to Karavostasi I learned that uncle Panagiotis sailed for his last great fishing trip, straight towards the distant celestial paradise shores and fishing spots of heaven…

And since then I was thinking that I owed him a last farewell …



Καραβοστάσι, Οίτυλο, Μάνη



Where am I?

Karavostasi and the bay of Itilo are located in Mani area, near Areopolis, in Peloponnesus. The quickest way to get there is through Sparta and Gythio.









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