02 June 2017 | Fiskardo, Kefalonia - 6,098 NM
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
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
16 April 2016 | Isola Vulcano - 5,295 nm
11 April 2016 | Cetraro - 5,182 NM
10 April 2016 | Camerota - 5,143 NM
07 April 2016 | Agropoli - 5,106 NM
18 September 2019
By clicking on the link below you can load an interactive map to see our route and explore the places we stopped at.
Click here for the interactive map
18 September 2019 | Thassos - 8,190 NM
Lorraine Chapman | Hot and Calm
We spent a day in Myrinas in the spring and now we have chance to explore a bit more. We moored stern-to on the quay under the spectacular castle and although the quay is lined with bars it's very quiet once the evening perambulation has finished. We had quite a few chores to do - another attempt at repairing the dinghy, laundry (in a self service launderette!), shopping - all very exciting. We were very sociable having drinks with Steve on a tiny Westerly Tiger who came via the Danube - he stayed for dinner. We also had drinks with Americans Larry and Linda on their large cat - followed by dinner out. There is another British couple here, on holiday, but sailors in the UK who we chat to regularly. The old shaded shopping street is lovely to wander and there is also a beach for swimming. Unfortunately (or not) after a couple of days the wind and sea have picked up again and so we had to stay a bit longer.........
Larry and Linda had a friend visiting, Debbie and rented a car for a few days and we were invited to join them. Our tour started with wine tasting at the Chatzigeorgiou winery. We were surprised as we arrived that there were no vines on the estate, but were told the Muscat of Alexandria grape is grown in small vineyards all over Limnos and collected for the winery. It's a low growing vine - presumably well suited to the wind. With this knowledge we could then see small fields of them everywhere. We tasted several wines and of course bought a few bottles at a very reasonable price. Next was lunch in Moudros, which we loved when we stayed there earlier in the year. Steve had gone cycling and we found him 40 km away in Moudros and so he joined us before cycling back. We told the group about ruins near by that we'd tried to visit before but had been closed and so we tried again - and they were closed again!
The next morning we tried again - and it was open - third time lucky! The ruins of Poliochne date back to 3,700 years bc, over 5,000 years old and are claimed to be the oldest city in Europe with up to 1500 inhabitants. It was fascinating. The buildings were only foundation level but you could clearly see defensive walls, streets, houses, meeting rooms with benches and storerooms and could imagine life there. So much organisation so long ago! On our travels we passed the village with the stone wine vats in the ground which we stumbled upon in the spring and so had to share it as we knew they would be interested and then a petrified tree on the side of the road. We next found lunch in a small taverna in a village we passed through before heading for another winery. Unfortunately, after trying very hard, we couldn't find it! We kept passing signs for another which didn't have as good reviews but we thought deserved extra points for having directions but when we got there it was closed! Finally, we found a wine cooperative come warehouse- but that was also closed! The others had spotted what looked like a winery across the bay and so we stopped there but - it was closed! There is a church on a hill very close to it and so we went up there and enjoyed lovely views over Myrinas, the bay and the castle. We decided to head back to the boats and try tasting at the cooperative in the evening but when we arrived they weren't doing tasting this time of year! Back to town and supper by the harbour where Steve joined us.
The forecast was saying we could all leave on Sunday when the wind and sea subsided and so on Saturday we stocked up again ready to go. We went to the beach bumping into Linda and Debbie before we all drove to a lovely restaurant out of Myrinas where we had a lovely dinner with a blood moon rising over the sea. After coffee and goodbyes on Harmonia they set off but we received a text an hour later saying they had high winds and rough seas. An hour later another arrived saying it was worse - another night in Myrinas was looking good! But lunch time the following day we did manage to leave and motored to an anchorage on the north of the island in flat seas and light winds where we had the darkest night we've ever experienced at anchor. The stars we're very bright but the rocks seemed to close in around us as they disappeared - a bit spooky! It was a peaceful if a bit of a rolly night though. We left the anchorage early in the morning for a boring 41 mile motor to Thassos. The anchorage we chose didn't offer the shelter we were expecting as the wind was not from the forecast direction. It was also small and noisy and so we added 10 more miles and went around the east coast where we spent a very peaceful night in the large bay of Potimias.
For the Greek sailors amongst you, you might recognise the view of Myrina in the photo. It's on the front cover of the Hiekel pilot book, but he hasn't got Freya in his picture
Going Where the Wind Takes You
09 September 2019 | Marini, Lemnos - 8,123 NM
Lorraine Chapman | Hot and Windy
Sigri is very interesting as it's the site of a petrified forest created millions of years ago by a volcanic action. We visited the museum in the spring and discovered they ran boat trips to the island just offshore where there are lots of examples but it hadn't started running yet. We thought we would be able to go this time - but no, it's too windy! Never mind there is a park with more examples on the hill a short walk from town and so off we went - closed! But it does apparently open on Wednesday (this was Monday). Never mind it was a nice walk which we finished with a walk around the very pretty village, a drink in the bar overlooking the bay and a swim. We finished the day with one of those perfect evenings which is what our life style is all about - we sat in the cockpit with a nice dinner and a glass of wine as the sun set over the island and the stars all come out while listening to Pink Floyd. So peaceful, stunning.
Day 2 in Sigri was very hard - sat on sun beds on the beach which was more sheltered from the wind. We did manage to solve a mystery from the spring though. While sailing along this coast we heard a huge explosion making Freya shake and us run around looking for damage and wondering what had happened - apparently nothing! While sitting on the beach it happened again making all the happy sunbathers jump and sit up. It was a sonic boom as a Greek fighter jet broke the sound barrier and was amazingly loud. Mystery solved. The day finished perfectly again.
On our second attempt the Geopark with the petrified trees was open. There were a couple of amazing specimens - the root and base of a laurel with a 16 metre circumference, just imagine how tall that would've been and a 14 metre trunk on the beach going out to sea. There were lots of tree bases all looking very similar but it did give more of an impression of the original setting being a vast forest. Really interesting and worth the walk up hill and the 2 euro entry fee. A shopping trip followed which is very limited in Sigri. We found a very small fruit & veg shop which amazingly had most of what we wanted plus a mini-market - sorted for a few more days. After lunch in our usual bar, where they kindly let us fill our water carriers, we headed back to the boat for a relaxing afternoon of reading, painting and swimming. It's the first time I've looked at Freya's bottom this trip and have never seen her so dirty - not weed but a complete, hard covering of crust! Just as well she's coming out in a November. Finally, another of those perfect evenings.
Our final day in Sigri and we went for a walk north around the coast. They're doing a lot of building on the harbour and so it's very dusty but we followed the road around the bay stopping to watch windsurfers enjoying the breeze and then a little inland where we climbed the steps to a pretty little white church with stunning views over the islands, bay and Sigri. As it was our last night we thought dinner out was called for.
In the morning we were up early, lifting the anchor at 7.00 am. We motored out of the bay setting the sails as we left the narrow north channel. For the first half an hour we had a lovely sail at 5 knots in a flat sea but then the sea began to build and the wind went further forward until we were in a very rough sea and fighting to keep to course close-hauled. We realised that if we came off the wind a bit we would arrive on the island of Agios Efstratios and have a more comfortable sail. Good plan but unfortunately the wind moved further round again and so we ended up in the same situation. The journey was 51 miles which we did in 8.5 hours sailing all the way but we were exhausted when we arrived in the pretty little port and discovered all the sheltered berths full! We ended up mooring on the outside of the fishing harbour which was still inside the breakwater but there was a really uncomfortable swell making us roll and the lines snatch. We couldn't be bothered to cook and so had a wander around the very small, pretty village and enjoyed a delicious dinner before realising all the rolling and noisy lines were not enough to keep us awake!
Agios Efstratios is a tiny island, just 5 miles long and 3 miles wide at its widest point and has a population of just 300. It's very brown and barren with little to offer other than the port but we explored further in the morning finding an amazingly well stocked little shop and a small Democracy museum, as this was one of the islands where political prisoners were imprisoned until as late as 1964! Interesting. Later in the day we walked up the hill overlooking the harbour and village to explore the ruined castle - which turned out not to be a ruined castle at all but the remains of a very grand church with marble pillars and floors destroyed in the earthquake of 1968 and surrounded by the ruined village which had been largely rebuilt in the valley below.
We left the next morning and did a very bumpy motor sail into the wind for 24 miles. Very uncomfortable! But now we're moored on the quay in Mirinas, Lemnos.
Everything is Leaking!
02 September 2019 | Sigri, Lesvos - 8,049 NM
Lorraine Chapman | Very Hot and Very Windy
We arrived back on Freya in Mytilini, Lesvos a week ago on Saturday evening. All was remarkably well - just a fine coating of dust. Our first day being a Sunday, and in Greece, meant we couldn't do any shopping and so started with a very nice breakfast in the marina restaurant. We then gave Freya a good scrub so that she looked totally shipshape and Bristol fashion but we were totally unacclimatised and it was so hot and humid we needed to hide from the sun. Not a lot else happened until later when we ventured into town for souvlaki on the harbour.
When we left in May we discovered our port water tank was slowly leaking causing a puddle in the bilges for some time - mystery solved. Stratos, in the marina chandlery, thought it could be welded and so we left it with him. We sent him an email a week or so a go reminding him and letting him know when we were returning and he replied letting us know it was ready. We could now see nothing had changed! First job on Monday morning was visit Stratos - 'no problem. Will be done today'. And it duly was but when we got it back it still leaked. The welder was duly summoned - the next day it still leaked! We concluded that it was just too old and the stresses of us carrying it around and being welded was just too much for it and we were just creating more leaks. Paul smothered the problem area in sikaflex (solution to most boat problems!) and its now back in place - still leaking but a very slow drip and so it's on the list of jobs for the winter.......
The rest of our time was spent sorting out Freya ready for sea and a visit to the beach. One of those jobs was to get the dinghy out of the forepeak and inflate it. This is always awkward but went to plan apart from finding part of the floor completely unstuck and until we realised an hour or so later one tube was leaking badly! The next day it came off the davits and we spent some time crawling around with brush and soapy water finding the source. It was, of course, tucked away in a difficult corner which we patched as best we could and stuck the floor back together again. We then had to leave 72 hours before inflating........
We went out late one afternoon in search of wheat free food which was surprisingly easy to find. Even the supermarket had a section! The evening ended with dinner at Nan, a non profit restaurant run by locals and refugees cooking dishes from their home countries. It was delicious.
Despite the high winds (which at least made it feel cooler!) we decided it was time to move on. Our first stop was Scala Loutra where we've been before. It's a beautiful, peaceful, sheltered bay but this time it didn't offer the shelter from the winds we expected although the sea was calm and to add to that there was a wedding party in a hotel on the beach. It looked lovely with fairy lights in the trees and white table cloths but the music (very loud and lots of base) went on until 5.00 am! Very bleary eyed the next morning we set off again to Kompos Kolloni where, again we we've been before. It was 34 miles and forecast winds gusting 25 knots on the beam and so we left with both sails reefed. We had a fantastic sail although it was very gusty and so we sailed at anywhere between 3 to 7.5 knots! We had a very peaceful night just inside the lagoon - which we needed after the night before! The final leg brought us back to Sigri. The forecast was the same as before and so we left for the 20 mile trip with both sails reefed but once out of the lagoon the winds were so light we were struggling to keep the sails filled as we motored the first hour. As we approached the first headland the wind built and we had a lovely sail but it kept building as we neared the far west of Lesbos until we had gusty 25 knot winds and a 2 metre swell. All very exciting for a while! Our anchorage is very protected thankfully. It's still windy but the sea is flat as we're well protected by the castle right in front of us.
We could now inflate the dinghy which hopefully meant we could go ashore. It was quickly obvious that the floor repair was unexpectedly successful but the tube not so. Before going out in the evening we pumped it up again - but took the pump with us just in case! We had a lovely evening wandering the narrow streets of Sigri, having a beer overlooking the bay and Freya and yummy dinner in a restaurant again with views over the bay - and WiFi we can pick up from the boat. We managed to get back with a saggy dinghy and I think this may be a theme for the next few weeks!
21 May 2019
By clicking on the link below you can load an interactive map to see our route and explore the places we stopped at.
Click here for the interactive map
19 May 2019 | Mytilini, Lesvos - 7,977 NM
Lorraine Chapman | Sunny, warm but no wind
With a flight home booked in 10 days from Lesvos and the weather so unsettled it was time to head back or risk being stuck on the wrong island and missing the wedding! First we needed to visit the Port Police again to pay our fees - so much form filling, it takes ages but all very friendly. Next coffee and then a 3 mile motor to a sheltered anchorage which made our 50nm passage the next day a little shorter. The anchorage was lovely and totally undeveloped and peaceful. Unfortunately it wasn’t as sheltered as we’d hoped. It was rock solid and sheltered from the swell but the wind, which wasn’t that strong, accelerated down the hills and howled through the rigging all night jerking the anchor chain - not much sleep!
We’d been worried about the reported sea state the next morning but the updated forecasts looked OK and as we raised the sails and left the bay all looked good. Venturing out of the shelter it got more and more uncomfortable and the wind dropped so that we could only motor sail. We were both feeling a little sea sick! But after a couple of hours the wind on the beam picked up and things looked better as the engine was turned off. It was still rough but we were now sailing at an average of 6.5 knots and in the right direction - much better. We headed for the small village of Gavathas on the north west coast of Lesvos where we anchored in the bay and had a good night. In the morning we were hoping to head around the coast towards Mytilini but Freya had other ideas! We pressed the button to start the engine and just got a click and a whirring noise! Sounded like the starter motor and so Paul hit it with a hammer a few times but no change. Luckily we had a spare on board and so he managed to change it quite quickly - but still it just whirred! We were then at a loss and so rang Arran and after a long conversation he realised it was a battery problem. Turning to the engine battery the engine it started first turn. Phew, but we now had a power issue to sort which sounded expensive!
Anyway, moving on while analysing the problem, we headed into our 2nd and the biggest lagoon on Lesvos, Kolpas Kolloni and after negotiating the buoyed channel anchored in a pretty, sheltered bay just inside. We paddled ashore and checked out the taverna on the quay. It was closed and so we thought we’d be eating onboard but as we left 4 women flew around the corner in a small battered car leaving rubber on the way and screeched to a halt scared that they were losing customers and said they’d been to church (while crossing herself) and would be open shortly. After a walk along the coast we had a dinner in the taverna by the bobbing fishing boats.
A 4 mile motor across the Kolpas in the morning took us to Skala Polichnitos where we anchored just outside the fishing harbour. Such a lovely place, we fell in love with it after a walk around the village and then along the coast. On the edge were salinas and the huge piles of salt in the distance. A perfect place for flamingos we thought - and as we said it we could see 2! Seconds later there were a huge flock, bright pink with black wing tips flying overhead calling to the 2 in the salinas who quickly followed. They did a circuit and then all landed close by. Amazing! Wandering back we found a taverna who happily put the tv on so that we could watch the Grand Prix- we had the time wrong and so ended up staying for hours and having dinner. When we got back to Freya we were a bit worried about the sloppy sea building up but we had a lovely evening watching the view in the sunshine as the sea settled down for a peaceful night. We realised the batteries were now failing fast and keeping the anchor light on all night was going to be an issue. We had to use the lantern we’d bought for that purpose back in Swansea when we the anchor light had broken.
Moving on again and with no wind, we motored to Plomari on the south coast. Everything we’d read said the the harbour was only tenable in very settled conditions but luckily, or so we thought, that was what we had. We moored alongside the quay and went to explore. As we’d approached the town it looked stunning winding up the steep hill with pretty pastel coloured houses and, of course, the big cathedral. It didn’t disappoint, we loved it as we walked around the narrow cobbled streets with balconies almost meeting in the middle. There were so many empty and sometimes derelict houses too - by the time we’d finished we’d almost moved in! We were joined by a few other yachts in the harbour and we all dutifully visited the Port Police in the office as seems to required in these islands. He was very nice and friendly and all was sorted, inefficiently as always, but with a smile. Later in the evening he came back and told us all we couldn’t leave until we’d all registered for the new cruising tax, recently introduced. We explained that as we had 10 days to do it we’d planned to do it when we got back to Mytilini where we would have better internet on board but this wasn’t good enough - it had to be done now! Paul went back to the office and after lots of phone calls by the policeman they eventually managed to complete our online form. We then had to wait for a number via email. Once this arrived he went back to the office to be told the advice he’d been given was wrong and we didn’t need to do it now and it could wait until Mytilini! Having got this far with the process we thought we may as well finish it which we did meaning all we had to do now was go to a bank to handover the cash which we duly did once we got to Mytilini. It was now almost 11.00 and so off to bed - at about 2.30 the wind picked up to a huge 5knts, nothing, but the swell rolled into the harbour and we rocked and rolled all night! In the morning it had become almost untenable and very uncomfortable. We’d planned another wander and a visit to the bakery but we just got up and left. The harbour is very new but seems to have been built facing the wrong way and with no protection - only in Greece!
And so back to Mytilini for a few days where Freya will stay for a while as we fly home for Lucas’ and Hannah’s wedding. The first job was getting new batteries ordered which we did - but they haven’t arrived! We need them to ensure the automatic bilge pump works if necessary and so the guy in the chandlery is going to fit them after we’ve left - he promised as Paul is his friend! Other than that we did lots of socialising as Gordon is still here with Lily mog plus a German couple we met on route and our new neighbour Ross. Ross has been working as a volunteer at the refugee centre for the last year and offered to show us around. It was really interesting, not least because it’s called One Happy Family and surprisingly it definitely has a happy feel given the dire circumstances of many of the refugees. There were lots of facilities there including a school, clinic, and vegetable garden all run by NGOS plus a kitchen, workshop, gym etc. Definitely food for thought. Just before we left it was Paul’s birthday. We had a very pleasant, relaxing day (mostly waiting for the batteries that didn’t turn up!) including posh birthday breakfast, a huge ice cream on the harbour and a lovely dinner by the sea - clearly mostly eating!
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