Freya & Us

Vessel Name: Freya of Wight
Vessel Make/Model: Westerly Oceanranger
Hailing Port: Portishead
11 October 2017 | Pilos - 6,565 NM
04 October 2017
04 October 2017 | Katakolon - 6,504 NM
27 September 2017 | Ay Efumia, Cephalonia - 6,424 NM
25 July 2017 | Bristol - 6,358 NM
25 July 2017 | Bristol - 6,358 NM
10 July 2017 | Preveza - 6,358 NM
04 July 2017 | Nydri - 6,293 NM
24 June 2017 | Port Athini - 6,255 NM
14 June 2017 | Messolonghi - 6,189 NM
11 June 2017
09 June 2017 | Astakos - 6149 NM
02 June 2017 | Fiskardo, Kefalonia - 6,098 NM
02 June 2017 | Fiskardo, Kefalonia - 6,098 NM
17 May 2017
11 May 2017 | Preveza - 6020 NM
02 May 2017 | Mandraki, Corfu, Greece - 5,950 NM
29 April 2017 | Marina di Orikum, Albania - 5,866 NM
29 April 2017 | Marina di Orikum, Albania - 5,866 NM
27 April 2017 | Sarande, Albania - 5,800 NM
Recent Blog Posts
11 October 2017 | Pilos - 6,565 NM

Cruise Ships and Kalamata Olives

Off to the Pelopennese! Our first stop was Katacolon which is the closest port to Olympia. As we rounded the final point we were greeted by a monster cruise ship dominating the bay - and as we went further in there was another! The little village which was probably a fishing village in its previous life [...]

04 October 2017 | Katakolon - 6,504 NM

Zakinthos, nee Zante, Our Last Ionian Island

From Ay Efimia, we hopped a short distance south to Poros where we sat around all day waiting for the forecast storm - it eventually arrived after we went to bed which in some ways is good but it meant we had a very bumpy motor sail with the wind following us to Zakinthos town the following morning. [...]

27 September 2017 | Ay Efumia, Cephalonia - 6,424 NM

A Very Sociable Return

We're back! After 2 months at home avoiding the Greek summer sun we arrived back in Preveza and to Freya 17th September. All was fine apart from the usual thick layer of dust from the boatyard and so after an uneventful launch we headed to Preveza marina to do lots of cleaning, shopping and getting Freya [...]

25 July 2017 | Bristol - 6,358 NM

Gorgeous

From Meteora we drove to the city of Ioannina. This is a small city built on the banks of lake Pamvotis and is about 50 miles east of the port of Igoumenitsa on the Ionian Sea. Our hotel was in one of its suburbs, Perama. Perama is famous for its large limestone show cave. It was wonderfully cool and [...]

25 July 2017 | Bristol - 6,358 NM

For Your Eyes Only

Our road trip started with a drive to Delphi. On the way we stopped at Galaxidi, a very beautiful village on the banks of the the Gulf of Patras, where we went for a stroll and invested in some very fetching sun hats. We had left ours on the boat and in the heat these were essential. When we arrived [...]

Cruise Ships and Kalamata Olives

11 October 2017 | Pilos - 6,565 NM
Mostly Sunny
Off to the Pelopennese! Our first stop was Katacolon which is the closest port to Olympia. As we rounded the final point we were greeted by a monster cruise ship dominating the bay - and as we went further in there was another! The little village which was probably a fishing village in its previous life was now nothing more than a cruise ship terminal full of shops and bars. At least some of the shops were a bit more up market than the usual tourist tat. The other strange thing was that we'd clearly left the Ionian yacht circuit as there were only a few yachts there. On the motor there we realised we hadn't seen another boat - first for quite a while. Our first evening was spent perusing the shops and wondering at the world of the cruise ship passenger.

Next day we were up early to catch the train to Olympia. It was fascinating, so much history which still forms the foundation of our modern day olympics. I have to say we weren't as blown away by it as some of the ruins we've visited but still amazing. We ran the track (part of it!) run by the olympians of history and imagined the ceremonies the stones had witnessed. That evening, after recovering from our excursion, we thought we'd visit the shops - but there was only 1 cruise ship that day and it had left. The village was closed and the whole place felt like a ghost town, completely deserted! We sat in one of a couple of bars that were open and contemplated what a weird place it was, to be bustling with life one evening and eerily quiet the next.

We were going to stay another day and walk around the headland but there was a storm heading our way and we realised if we didn't leave today we'd be stuck for a while. Off we went, motoring on an eerily flat sea to Kyparissias where we moored along side a wall in the fishing port. On route we were delighted to see a pod of dolphins following behind a local fishing boat. We have definitely left the yachty route behind as there was only one boat there in Kyparissias. The town isn't pretty but is in a lovely spot creeping up the side of a mountain and with beautiful beaches each side of the harbour but not at all touristy. It has an interesting and 'real' high street and a square with a few bars - we managed to arrange fuel to be delivered to the boat from a local garage which arrived in cans - the downside of not being in a yacht harbour with people to organise these things. We had a very nice meal in a small restaurant near the harbour. It had no menu and the waitress did her best to tell us what they had. She insisted on doing it in English and we didn't understand a word! We ordered what we thought we'd heard and ended up with a very strange combination - a bean stew, fried cheese and chicken in tomatoes with chips which all arrived together. It was delicious if a little odd and with wine only cost 20€!

On the second night a few more boats arrived looking to hide from the storm and this time it really did arrive with torrential rain and high winds. We were protected from the wind but not the surge coming into the harbour and Freya bounced and surged around all night. We put snubbers on the lines but she still surged around to the limit of her lines and jumped back with a huge jerk and creak all night - not a lot of sleep! In the morning the rain had gone and the winds died down but the surge continued to make things very uncomfortable. Freya was safe and so we escaped to explore the castle and old town of Kyparissia.

There isn't much left of the castle but it's in a striking position way above town (we got a taxi up!) with amazing views. We could clearly see the island of Zakinthos about 50 miles away and Katacolon, our last port, 30 miles away but what was particularly noticeable was a cruise ship still clearly visible in port! After exploring the castle we wandered down through the old and new towns to enjoy a lovely (and again cheap) lunch in what looked like a pretty taverna but once inside it seemed to be owned by the Adam's family! Our suspicions were confirmed when we spotted a family portrait on the wall that we sure was of Gomez.

We decided to stay another day as we desperately needed to do some washing. With our chores done we packed our lunch and walked along the coast - but very quickly ran out of road! There was a footpath heading inland with a blue arrow sprayed on the ground - we thought it must be going somewhere. We walked along lanes through beautiful old, gnarled olive groves and we soon became expert at differentiating between the Kalamata Olive trees and the standard ones - they have slightly larger and darker leaves. After an hour or so we were wondering whether we were actually going anywhere, as we were still following the blue arrows, but then we found a sign post to "Paraylia", the beach. On we went and we came out on the most lovely, completely deserted beach. Perfect for a rest and lunch. When we got too hot we explored the rocks and sat in the shade at the entrance to a cave before heading back to our roast chicken dinner.


The link to our map seems to be stopping people leaving comments on the blog, so I've removed it from these posts for now. I will be keeping it up to date so simply go to one of the special map only posts and click the link there to see it

Zakinthos, nee Zante, Our Last Ionian Island

04 October 2017 | Katakolon - 6,504 NM
Sunny with a Few Clouds
From Ay Efimia, we hopped a short distance south to Poros where we sat around all day waiting for the forecast storm - it eventually arrived after we went to bed which in some ways is good but it meant we had a very bumpy motor sail with the wind following us to Zakinthos town the following morning. First impressions were good and we weren't disappointed as we explored. The town was destroyed in an earthquake in 1953 and so it doesn't have the quaint old town we've come to expect but the rebuilding was very pleasant and nicely done. The church of Agios Dionysios is probably the most impressive Greek Orthodox Church we've seen with every wall and ceiling elaborately painted and with a huge gold screen at the front.

We found a really good market - a first in Greece - and had fun buying some fruit and veg in the morning. We stopped for coffee on the way back and had a lovely view of Freya from the other side of the bay. We could see that our neighbour was leaving but then they seemed to stop in front of Freya. We began to realise he had a problem and that he had probably picked up our anchor while trying to pull his own in. We had been a bit concerned when we moored as his was clearly laid at a bit of an angle. Coffee finished we hurried back to find him gone and our anchor chain very loose and doing not a lot! Luckily we had a lot of chain out and so we pulled it in hoping it would dig in again before it all came up and we had to reset it with the dinghy - phew, it finally did!

The hill up to the Venetian fort looked a bit steep and so we took a taxi! The views over Zakinthos were stunning but although only 14:30 the fort was closed for the day! We had a lovely walk around the hill and back down to town though, finishing with an ice cream by the sea.

We needed to explore the island and so hired a car - loose description as what arrived was a very rattly, battered Kia but it was cheap and we didn't need to worry about scratching it which was just as well given some of the "roads" we found. Our first stop was down the Vasilikos peninsula and the turtle beaches which were beautiful. There were lots of turtle nests clearly protected by cages but no turtles. The babies would hatch at night but then all the beaches were out of bounds! We followed the bay around the horrendous holiday spot of Laganas to Keri where we had lunch on a white cliff top with stunning views over the rocks and turquoise sea. The drive over the mountain was lovely but didn't offer the views we expected. We stopped at the very pretty Vromi Bay on our way to the lookout over Shipwreck Bay - again stunning views over the sea but not sure what all the fuss over the rusting old ship on the beach is - it was probably the most crowded beach on Zakinthos with all the tripper boats! Our final stop was Ay Nikolaos again very pretty. It was a long day and Zakinthos is definitely a very pretty island but I don't think we were blown away.

We decided to keep the car another day and have a day on the beach. Our favourite spot the day before had been the turtle beaches where there were tavernas (but nothing else) on the beach offering free sun beds. We stayed all day enjoying the best food we've had on Zakinthos for lunch, reading and swimming - even Paul - a lovely relaxing day.

The swell in the harbour had kept us awake most of the night and so our next stop was supposed to be the mainland but as we were leaving we decided the direction of the swell wasn't going to reach the pretty anchorage at Keri and so we had a change of plan on route. As we rounded the point the swell changed direction and we were very dubious but thought now we're this far, we have to give it a go........ We anchored, had lunch and then launched the dinghy for its longest trip ever - to the blue caves 1.5 miles away. There are lots of blue caves around Zakinthos with lots (and lots) of tripper boats visiting but we thought it would be more fun to do it our way. Our old outboard made lots of strange noises on the way but made it to the caves on turtle island where we switched it off and paddled in. The noise of the sea inside and the swell was a bit scary but very dramatic. We sat on the tiny beach next door before the trip back to Freya. Thankfully the swell disappeared and we had a very peaceful night at anchor - our last night on Zakinthos.....

The link to our map seems to be stopping people leaving comments on the blog, so I've removed it from these posts for now. I will be keeping it up to date so simply go to one of the special map only posts and click the link there to see it

A Very Sociable Return

27 September 2017 | Ay Efumia, Cephalonia - 6,424 NM
Warm and Changeable
We're back! After 2 months at home avoiding the Greek summer sun we arrived back in Preveza and to Freya 17th September. All was fine apart from the usual thick layer of dust from the boatyard and so after an uneventful launch we headed to Preveza marina to do lots of cleaning, shopping and getting Freya ready to go - but we didn't know where.......

It was lovely to be back in the sunshine and exploring the now familiar Preveza. We spent a lot of time reading pilot books and debating whether to head north, to Croatia or south, to the Peloponese after a trip to Nidri to catch up with family and friends. We decided in the end to go south as we didn't really have enough time to do Montenegro and Croatia justice before the winter. All cleaning, recommissioning and shopping done a storm arrived and so we stayed a couple more days!

While in Preveza and in preparation for L's Atlantic crossing this winter, we took an off shore first aid kit list to a pharmacy as all medical things are so much cheaper here. They were really helpful and we collected it before leaving at less than half the price of the packaged kit! We headed off for the 13:00 bridge (boat) swing in Lefkas - only to discover (along with a dozen other boats) there isn't a swing at 13:00 and so we dropped the hook and had lunch while we waited. Once through the canal we sailed with just the jib at up to 6knts to Nidri and anchored in Tranquil Bay - which really was quite tranquil this time.

Then followed a very social few days. We started by meeting Arran (L's nephew) in the wine bar followed by a gyros. We then went to find Josie (L's cousin) and her boyfriend for a drink. The following evening we had drinks with Rob and Beccs from Miss Chips followed by another gyros. After 2 nights in Nidri we motor sailed to the small island of Kalamos, explored the very pretty village and then had dinner with Arran who was working there. Finally to Ay Efimia to meet friends, Andy and Jan who just happened to be here on holiday staying in a villa with with amazing views over the bay. Phew! I think we need to relax for a few days.........

The link to our map seems to be stopping people leaving comments on the blog, so I've removed it from these posts for now. I will be keeping it up to date so simply go to one of the special map only posts and click the link there to see it

Gorgeous

25 July 2017 | Bristol - 6,358 NM
Cool and Sunny
From Meteora we drove to the city of Ioannina. This is a small city built on the banks of lake Pamvotis and is about 50 miles east of the port of Igoumenitsa on the Ionian Sea. Our hotel was in one of its suburbs, Perama. Perama is famous for its large limestone show cave. It was wonderfully cool and full of the most beautiful stalactites and stalagmites which didn't need embellishing with tales of witches and the like to amaze us.

In Ioannina itself we explored the old walled town visiting the fort and the tomb and mosque (now a museum) of Ali Pasha before heading down to the lake to catch a boat for a trip to the island in its centre. We spent a pleasant couple of hours circumnavigating the island and having a drink while we waited for the boat to take us back.

The next day we visited the ruined Sanctuary of Dodoni, where yet another Oracle did their stuff. Here the priests interpreted the rustling of the leaves on a sacred oak tree to deliver their prophecies. The most impressive building at the site was the amphitheater, which could seat 40,000 spectators. Before returning to our hotel we decided to drive around the lake. The lakeshore was lined with cafes in the city, but soon we were driving along the shore looking across the waters through gaps in the very tall reed beds that lined the banks. We were lucky enough to spot some pelicans at one point and we really enjoyed the day.

The following day we headed north into the Pindus mountains to visit the Vikos Gorge. The gorge is about 20km long and 1600m deep at its deepest point. According to the Guinness Book of Records its the worlds deepest canyon in relation to its width, but this apparently is very controversial. Thankfully it was much cooler when we set off, but the clouds soon thickened and we were driving through the mountains into the clouds and rain. Between the showers we did manage to walk to the various viewpoints without getting too wet, but the views were stunning and the low clouds just added to the atmosphere. At times the showers were torrential making driving all but impossible. We timed lunch to sit out one of the worst downpours and ended up in a wonderful restaurant that specialised in mushroom dishes. While we ate our wild mushroom pasta and truffle risotto we watched the lightening work it's way through the mountains and wondered if our car insurance covered bodywork damage caused by the marble sized hailstones that fell for a around 10 minutes.

Before the modern road around the gorge was completed (sometime in the 1960s) many of the villages that cling precariously to the sides of the gorge could only be reached by foot. Some were linked by steep stone staircases carved into the mountainside which would challenge even the fittest amongst us. The foot paths crossed the rivers that run through the gorge on arched stone bridges which seem to blend into the natural landscape. The gorge was a beautiful and stunning place, so different from the coast and the sea which is the picture of Greece most of us have in our heads. It was my (Paul's) favourite part of Greece.

After a final night in Ioannina it was time to return to Freya, but of course there was more to see on the way. First stop was the coastal town of Parga. We nearly stopped here with Freya when we returned from Albania in May but chose to anchor in nearby Mourtos instead. Parga is a beautiful bay almost totally enclosed by low lying rocks and a small island, but the village is now a large and buzzing tourist town with hotels and bars aplenty. Its more a package tour destination rather than a quaint fishing village, but it had a certain charm nonetheless. We walked along the seafront, around the ruined fort and had lunch in a taverna with fabulous views and mediocre food, before heading back to the car.

Our final stop was at the town of Arta. Arta is not really on the tourist trail, but does have a pretty medieval bridge and a very neglected fort to look at. There were a number of other buildings and ruins to see, but as we were there on a Monday they were all closed. So after a quick wander through the town centre we headed back to Freya.

We spent the next couple of nights sleeping aboard Freya on the hard, which always feels very strange, boats should be in the water not propped up 8ft above the ground. We did some socialising with friends, did a little maintenance work and put Freya to bed before flying back to Bristol for the rest of the summer.

The link to our map seems to be stopping people leaving comments on the blog, so I've removed it from these posts for now. I will be keeping it up to date so simply go to one of the special map only posts and click the link there to see it

For Your Eyes Only

25 July 2017 | Bristol - 6,358 NM
Cool and Sunny
Our road trip started with a drive to Delphi. On the way we stopped at Galaxidi, a very beautiful village on the banks of the the Gulf of Patras, where we went for a stroll and invested in some very fetching sun hats. We had left ours on the boat and in the heat these were essential. When we arrived in Delphi we checked into our hotel, which as advertised had fantastic views, if you ignored the electricity pole and transformer which was right in front it! We sat out the worst of the afternoon heat before venturing out for a stroll in the evening. The village really only exists as a tourist base for visitors to the ruins, but it was a nice place nonetheless.

We spent the next morning exploring the ruins which were walking distance from our hotel and they were as impressive as we had hoped. The Oracle of Delphi, was a woman who, in the Temple of Apollo, sat above a fissure in the rocks, through which (in ancient times) gas escaped from deep within the earth. If this wasn't enough to send the woman into a trance (mad?), she was dosed up on three plant extracts including cannabis. She would babble incoherently and priests, who sat a safe distance from the fissure would interpret her ravings into prophecies for the visiting nobles who paid handsomely for the privilege. The ruins where quite large and in addition to the Temple of Apollo there were temples to other gods, Treasuries, built by most of the Greek City States that contained expensive gifts and statues to curry favour with the gods and the Oracle. There were also buildings to house the priests and visitors and a large stadium and amphitheatre that hosted the many festivals that were held in Delphi. After a visit to the thankfully air conditioned museum, we returned to our hotel to sit out the heat.

The next day we drove north into the region of Thessaly to Meteora. Our first stop was to visit the Corycian Cave on the slopes of mount Parnassos. Excavations in the cave have determined that it was inhabited in Neolithic times and that it was sacred to the ancient Greeks. It was a site for astragalomancy - annimals were slaughtered and their knucklebones were looked at to determine the prophecy. Around 24,000 knucklebones were excavated from the cave in the 1960s. We parked half way up the mountain and walked the two miles to cave. The cave was enormous perhaps 50m across, 30m deep and 6m high. It was quite awesome and very atmospheric.

On the boat we occasionally watch DVDs and like to watch films based where we are. A few days before we left we watched The 300 Spartans. Back in the car, we realised that our route to Meteora was going to pass quite close to the pass of Thermopylae. This is where King Leonidaes of Sparta led a force of 300 Spartans (and 700 Thespians) against an immense Persian Army. They managed to hold the pass for three days against overwhelming odds and so we had to stop and pay our respects. Too much of a coincidence so we had to go, although there isn't really much to see.

In Greek, Meteora means literally the "middle of the sky" or "suspended in the air" and Meteora lives up its name. It is an area full of immense monolithic pillars (hundreds of metres high) and huge "hill like" boulders which look really alien.

There is evidence of human habitation here from around 23,000 years ago, including outside a Neolithic cave, a stone wall which is claimed to be the oldest existing human construction yet to be discovered. Unfortunately when went we to see the cave and wall it was closed due to "technical reasons".

Monks and hermits lived in Meteora from as early as the 10th or 11th centuries but in the 14th century, to escape ever more frequent raids from the Ottoman Turks, the monks moved their monasteries to the tops of the pillars. Initially the only way to access the monasteries was to be winched up in a basket, but now they have carved (a lot of) steps into the mountainside to reach them. The area is truly stunning and the views from the top are well worth the climb. One of the monasteries featured in the James Bond film "For Your Eyes Only" where Roger Moore climbed up to the top and after killing a few baddies lowered the basket to his waiting colleagues where they went on to save the world (again). We clearly had to watch this film (again) when we got back to the boat.

We spent a couple of days touring the area and visiting three of the monasteries and also walked into the hills to visit some of the caves/hermitages used in the 11th century. Walking back down a steep rocky path from one of these, Lorraine lost her footing and fell somehow landing upside down across the path. She was quite shaken and had a number of scrapes but luckily no bones were broken. She did however knock her head quite badly and the right side of her face had a very impressive bruise on it for a while.

The link to our map seems to be stopping people leaving comments on the blog, so I've removed it from these posts for now. I will be keeping it up to date so simply go to one of the special map only posts and click the link there to see it
Gallery Error: Unknown Album [1:]:20807
Freya of Wight's Photos -

About & Links