Freya & Us

Vessel Name: Freya of Wight
Vessel Make/Model: Westerly Oceanranger
Hailing Port: Portishead
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
27 April 2017
19 April 2017 | Sarande, Albania 5,800 NM
17 April 2017 | Paxos, Greece - 5,748 NM
11 April 2017 | Nydri, Greece - 5,698 NM
03 April 2017 | Nydri, Greece - 5,698 NM
02 June 2016 | Preveza , Greece - 5,678 NM
12 May 2016 | Bristol - 5,553 nm
27 April 2016 | Crotone - 5,481 nm
20 April 2016 | Roccella Ionica - 5,413 nm
Recent Blog Posts
14 June 2017 | Messolonghi - 6,189 NM

Muddy Tracks

After 3 nights in Astakos we thought we'd exhausted its possibilities and moved on. Our plan was to head for Messolonghi anchoring for 1 night on the way. We motored (again!) to our planned anchorage but there were lots of fish farms and very little shelter as the land was so flat. There was a lovely [...]

09 June 2017 | Astakos - 6149 NM

Turtle Spotting

We said goodbye to Arran and his charterers but stayed for another day in Fiskardo. Apart from anything else it's such a faff to do the long line mooring for just one night! We had a very relaxing day and walked around the pretty headland passing the ruins of a Venetian lighthouse and a monastery.

02 June 2017 | Fiskardo, Kefalonia - 6,098 NM

A Second Escape from Velcro Bay

After a day to recover we escaped Velcro bay again. We were following Arran's 'flotilla' for a few days. Our first stop (their second) was the small island of Kastos. It was a stunning location in a small bay and we managed to moor side-to on a small quay on the harbour entrance which was very secluded, [...]

02 June 2017 | Fiskardo, Kefalonia - 6,098 NM

A Family View

We spent a little longer in Preveza than we planned. As we were sat in the cockpit watching a turtle surface in the water alongside us, we remembered that Peter on Vital Spark was due back on his boat about now so we sent him text to see exactly when. He replied straight away, Vital Spark had been launched [...]

Muddy Tracks

14 June 2017 | Messolonghi - 6,189 NM
Sunny and Hot
After 3 nights in Astakos we thought we'd exhausted its possibilities and moved on. Our plan was to head for Messolonghi anchoring for 1 night on the way. We motored (again!) to our planned anchorage but there were lots of fish farms and very little shelter as the land was so flat. There was a lovely looking beach a bit further on but it was too shallow to get in behind a hill for shelter - too shallow is a new problem in Greece but we're near a river delta with lots of shifting sand banks. Our last option was a stunning bay on an island - but this time was very deep! Given our new skills in long line mooring we thought we'd give it a go in a corner which shallowed close in. We dropped the anchor in 16m and nervously reversed against it towards the shallow bit and Paul took our lines ashore in the dinghy - it was perfect and we were very proud of ourselves - but as we went to tighten the chain, the anchor hadn't dug in! Very disappointed but impressed with our attempts we headed back to the beach and anchored for lunch.

We decided to head on the 20 miles to Messolonghi on the north coast of the Gulf of Patras where we had to go a long way off shore to avoid the shallow water and moving sandbanks. The town is up a 2 mile channel lined with houses on stilts and passing lagoons which are a national park and wetland wildlife reserve - very different from the very mountainous parts of Greece we've visited so far. We arrived quite late and anchored in the bay which was very sheltered and peaceful - until the club started at about 11.00 and continued all night! In the morning we went into the marina - very odd as the 2 partners have fallen out and rumours abound as to whether you can go in or not, whether you can stay or be thrown out by the port police etc. But it's been fine, with all facilities working and cheap given the problems. The rumours continue in the marina with lots of boats refusing to move in case they aren't allowed back in.

We were pleased to be safely in the marina that first night as the winds picked up (as forecast), but what wasn't forecast was the thunderstorm that hammered the boat for over an hour. The deck needed a good clean and a pressure washer wouldn't have done a much better job than the rain.

Our bikes are out for the first time in a while! We spent a day cycling around the lagoons which was very hard work on the rough tracks. We are definitely here at the wrong time of year for the over wintering birds but we saw lots - most of which we couldn't identify! There were interesting fishing techniques with poles and nets across the lagoons with fishermen from the stilt houses punting in the shallow water. Disappointingly, for a national park, there was also lots of rubbish on the tracks, but this is Greece! At one point Paul cycled on ahead to see if a muddy bit of track was passable, as you can see from the picture, it wasn't!

There is a 5km causeway between the channel and the lagoons linking Messolonghi and a small beach village. We cycled along it for lovely views of the lagoons and stilt houses and sat on the beach for a while - something we don't do very often. On returning we cycled into Messolonghi and found The Heroes Garden commemorating the war of independence in the 1820s. There is a statue of Byron as he was instrumental in the uprising and died of a fever here. There's nothing else of great interest in the town but it is very nice, with a pleasant square to people watch over a drink.

Today we're having a domestic day and may go to the beach later. I think tomorrow we'll continue out travels........

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

Turtle Spotting

09 June 2017 | Astakos - 6149 NM
Sunny and Still
We said goodbye to Arran and his charterers but stayed for another day in Fiskardo. Apart from anything else it's such a faff to do the long line mooring for just one night! We had a very relaxing day and walked around the pretty headland passing the ruins of a Venetian lighthouse and a monastery.

The following day we motored the 10 miles to Ay Efumia and moored on the quay. There was the usual line of Greek tavernas and a few shops but it had a very nice feel. We decided to stay a couple of nights and hired a car to explore Kephalonia. We had a lovely, if long day. It started with looking at the huge turtles in Argostoli which was very exciting. We passed the ruined castle on the hill at Kastro on our way to Myrtos beach which was stunning and then to the Venetian village of Assos. We had to take a detour over the mountains due to earthquake damage on the coast road, which was really pretty with its coloured houses and castle on a peninsula creating a beautiful sheltered bay. Next stop was the Mellisanni submerged cave near Sami where there wasn't a lot to see but was still very interesting. We'd seen the sea water run into a tunnel underground near Argostoli in the morning and this takes 2 weeks to run into the cave which is totally full of lovely blue water with the sun shining through it as the ceiling collapsed hundreds of years ago.

We decided to head back to Kastos for my birthday as it was both beautiful and peaceful. We were disappointed that there was already a boat on our preferred mooring but we did another long line mooring - becoming quite the experts now - and settled back for our afternoon's entertainment as other boats attempted it! I had a lovely birthday starting with pressies and tea in bed, poached eggs and mushrooms for breakfast and a hot but stunning walk around the east of the island - not sure quite how we managed to walk so far on such a small island! Before getting back to the village we stopped for a swim (not Paul!) in the turquoise waters of a deserted beach - perfect! The evening started with cocktails in a converted windmill and dinner in a taverna with stunning views - the food wasn't that great but it's all about the view. A perfect day.

In the morning we motored to Astakos on the mainland and moored on the quay. It's so different to the islands - a pleasant sea front, a bit run down but a real town. We really like it. Paul's new best friend, Yannis unofficially helps the boats moor each afternoon and assists with whatever else is needed. He seems so excited to have someone speaking Greek on a foreign boat he calls on Paul to give him a hand and they chat away while waiting!

We aren't really feeling the love for the Ionian! There are so many boats compared to our other destinations - and it's only May! The islands are stunningly beautiful - but they're holiday destinations and not somewhere to spend a lot of time. Most of their history has been destroyed by earthquakes over the years and so it's all about the scenery and the beautiful turquoise, crystal sea. I never thought I'd say it but we need more than that and there is a limit to how many times I can say "look at the colour of that sea"! Lots of planning............

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 Second Escape from Velcro Bay

02 June 2017 | Fiskardo, Kefalonia - 6,098 NM
Sunny and Pleasantly Hot
After a day to recover we escaped Velcro bay again. We were following Arran's 'flotilla' for a few days. Our first stop (their second) was the small island of Kastos. It was a stunning location in a small bay and we managed to moor side-to on a small quay on the harbour entrance which was very secluded, quiet and peaceful. It was a bit of a scramble over rocks to get ashore, but well worth it as the village was pretty and the views from the headland stunning (again). We invited Arran and his co-skipper, Kitty, onboard for dinner but soon the party grew as we were joined by three others who were making a promotional/instructional video for Nissos, the company Arran works for. They were a fun crowd and we had great night.

The following day we headed off to Kioni on Ithaca island. The plan was for Arran to show us how to anchor using shore lines, long ropes taken ashore to prevent the boat swinging in a tight anchorage. But when we arrived in Kioni it was very busy and we decided to leave Arran to focus on his clients and we moved on to Vathi a short way along the coast where we had a lovely night at anchor after bouncing about a bit in the usual afternoon wind and swell.

The next day we rejoined Arran in Polis Bay on the other side of Ithaca and had our lesson. You reverse back towards the shore dropping your anchor until you reach the required distance from shore. Leaving the engine in slow reverse pulling against the anchor, Lorraine rowed ashore with a long rope and tied it onto a convenient rock or tree. The other end is tied to the stern of the boat and pulled tight. You then repeat the process with a second line from the other side of the boat and after pulling up on the anchor a bit to get everything nice and tight, voila! all done and the boat is secure. Easy when you know how.

That evening we joined Arran and Kitty on one of their client boats, Hestia, for a barbecue. Thanks to Gerry and Ash for the invite and the wonderful food and company.

The following day, after an early morning swim (just Lorraine) in the beautiful and irresistible (clearly not!) still, clear water, we motored the 4 miles to Fiskardo on Kefalonia, where we anchored with long lines once again. This time we had no assistance and it was my turn (Paul's) to go ashore with the lines. It all went very smoothly, although we perhaps dropped our anchor a little late and ended up with less chain out than would have been ideal, but it was enough and our first solo effort was a success.

Fiskardo is a picture postcard town and beautiful, if very touristy but still lovely. We had a final meal out with Arran and Kitty, in an excellent Thai restaurant, before saying goodbye. They are heading North, taking the flotilla back towards base, but we intend to carry on south 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

A Family View

02 June 2017 | Fiskardo, Kefalonia - 6,098 NM
Sunny and Pleasantly Hot
We spent a little longer in Preveza than we planned. As we were sat in the cockpit watching a turtle surface in the water alongside us, we remembered that Peter on Vital Spark was due back on his boat about now so we sent him text to see exactly when. He replied straight away, Vital Spark had been launched a few hours earlier and was at anchor half a mile away. The next morning he joined us on the town quay and the following day his wife flew in. It was a bit of a baptism of fire for Sue after her 5.00am flight as we had been joined by Robin and Becs on Miss Chips and that always involves lots of socialising. In between the eating and drinking we did manage a very nice walk to a large castle at the entry to Preveza bay.

After a few days we headed off through the Lefkas canal to Nydri where Lorraine's brother, sister-in-law and Mum were coming out for a 12 day holiday. They were joined for the first week by two of Lorraine's cousins, Josh and Josie. We arrived a day before them which was just as well, as it took us a while to get Freya all shiny and clean and to arrange for a repair to our windlass.

Our visitors duly arrived and we provided lunch on Freya for seven people which was a bit of squash but very welcomed by our tired visitors. Their flight was scheduled to leave the UK around 5.00am but was rescheduled at the last minute for 2.00am so it would arrive before the Greek Air Traffic Controllers went on strike. Mum, Gary and Caroline initially stayed in a hotel on the beach, but Josh and Josie stayed on board Freya with us. At the weekend we all moved to a large villa on the hills above Perigali, (1 mile from Nydri) which had the most fabulous views of Nydri Bay and the islands. We all really enjoyed staying in the villa which was quite luxurious even if the pool was a trifle cold and we never tired of the amazing view.

Our visitors were here over mine and Arran's birthday, so after pressie's in the morning and a few drinks in De Blanc, Nydri's upmarket wine bar, in the early evening, we were intending to have a family meal in a nice restaurant before meeting up with Robin and Becs and some (lots) of Arran's friends and colleagues in a beach bar. However drinks ran on and we only had time to grab a quick Gyros before we were due at the bar. It was a great night, finishing for us around 2:00am, but for Arran around 4:30 am with a big splash. He fell off the gang plank getting back onto his boat!

We hired a car to explore further afield and to show Mum around the island. We did another tour of Lefkada visiting many of the coastal villages and the mountains. We found, what appeared to be a stone age village on top of a mountain but after some googling we think it is later and called Voltis. The buildings were used by the farmers of the staple crop of lentils in the area. Very interesting. In the same area was an abandoned American listening station from the Cold War with 4 huge dishes and fab views of the whole island.

On another trip around the south of the island we visited Porto Katsiki where there were lots of cries of 'look at the colour of that sea!' Which was the most amazing turquoise against the white cliffs.

We also spent a few days on the mainland visiting Preveza and the nearby roman ruins of Nikopoli which were interesting but very spread out and needed a lot of imagination. On a separate day we headed back to the mainland to visit yet more ruins at Paleros. These were Greek and again needed considerable imagination but were in a spectacular position on top of a mountain.One of the highlights was getting Mum out on a sailing boat. We took Gary's boat, "Maybe", out for a gentle motor around the islands including lunch at anchor! Denise seemed to enjoy it and didn't look the slightest bit green (it was a very calm day!).

On the family's last night in Nydri, we had an early birthday surprise for Lorraine. Caroline had ordered a bottle of champagne from De Blancs which they delivered to the villa that evening where we shared it drinking in the view for our final night. We had a slap up meal in a restaurant by the beach and were surprised again when they brought out a birthday cake, thankfully there were no candles or singing. Thank you. We enjoyed spending time with the family and it was sad to see them go, but we will be back in the UK in about seven weeks so we will see them again soon.

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
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