Gulf of Amvrakikós
14 July 2019
39 02 81N
021 06 02E
Date of arrival 4th July
GULF OF AMVRAKIKÓS
We spent a day anchored outside the marina to catch our breath and also make sure our newly fitted solar panels were fully working. Had there been a problem we could just nip back into the marina and see the engineer who fitted them. They work perfectly so next day we waited for the wind to kick in, which it did at 1 o'clock, and we had a lovely gentle sail into the Gulf of Amvrakikós and headed for MENIDHION in the north eastern corner. We saw several turtles - who pop up, see us and promptly disappear again. Unlike dolphins, they don't want to play. We also saw a couple of pelicans just bobbing along paying no attention to us at all. We anchored off a very quiet beach and the first priority was a swim as it was so very hot. The water temperature was 36° - we used to get excited when it got to 18° in the Solent and positively ecstatic if it got to 21° - only then would I swim!!!! A lovely anchorage, with just 2 other boats anchored way off from us.
Next morning, several groups of "yaya's and papou's" arrived and spent a couple of hours swimming and chatting in the flat calm water, enjoying the coolness of the early morning. That's the Mediterranean way.
We left at 1pm with very little wind, fearful that we would be on the engine for the 8 mile crossing to the other side of the gulf but as is the way here, early afternoon it kicks in and we had a very sporty sail across the gulf arriving at our next anchorage in ÓRMOS PALAIOMILOU. We were the only boat and the beach was deserted. What looked like a taverna was closed and the row of static umbrellas had no takers. Total peace and quiet and we so love it when we have an anchorage all to ourselves. More swimming from the back of the boat and lots of chilling.
Our next stop was VONITSA a beautiful town totally unspoilt with a certain sophisticated charm. We dropped the hook just outside the harbour in the shadow of the castle. A small town, with a long narrow beach backed by several tavernas. We needed to replenish fresh supplies and Mr Google told me of an AB supermarket close by. We had shopped in the AB Preveza, but this one was not as big and to our amazement did not sell fresh bread or meat. We have since learnt that in a very small town none of the local supermarkets sell either, thus ensuring the prosperity of the local butcher and baker. Something we shamelessly let go of in the UK some years ago. So we found the local butcher, his assistants being his two sons, and bought 4 of the biggest pork chops I have ever seen, 8 lamb cutlets and when I asked for chicken breasts, he brought 2 chickens from the fridge and sliced off 4 enormous breasts. They were fascinated by Andreas switching from speaking excellent Greek to them and then English to me and even more so when we explained we had sailed here from the UK. The bill came to €22 for what would be 5 meals and they threw in 3 very long home made spicy sausages as a freebie.
Next stop the bakery for fresh bread and pastries. Yum Yum.
We decided, to eat ashore in the evening and just as we were preparing to leave the boat, we heard 'kali sparea' from the back of stiletto. To our surprise, in their dinghy, were Hans and Andrea, a lovely German couple who we spent the winter months with in Marina di Ragusa. They had already eaten, spotted us and called by. We explained that we were going to eat and they suggested joining us for an Ouzo. We had a fab couple of hours with them catching up on where we had been and where we were going and as their passage plan is pretty much the same as ours, we have no doubt we will meet up again.
Next morning we climbed the hill to the castle. Even at 10am it was blisteringly hot but the view of the Gulf from the top was worth it. The castle, built around 1070 by the Venetians, was very much a ruin but in its time was clearly very majestic standing in complete harmony with the landscape.
So we sailed out of the Gulf, back through the Levkas Canal and did an overnight in Nikiana. You may recall this was the route we took in May just before departing for our UK visit.
We had wanted to catch up with Robin and Helen who were close by. They had made the agonising decision to sell their boat, Sundowner, after 10 years of sailing the Ionian, and were having a final sail to all their favourite places before handing her over to her new owners. We were also planning to meet up with friends Nigel and Charmian who were having a 7 day break on Zante but our plans didn't go to plan- as you will find out in my next post........
Muse for this post: "Its hot tonight, I think I will sleep with the window open".
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14 July 2019 | We really liked Vonitsa. Totally unspoilt, quiet and sophisticated. They go to great lengths not to turn it into a tourist trap which would be very easy given Preveza airport is a 10 minute taxi ride away
14 July 2019 | The anchorage
14 July 2019 | The church sits on a tiny islet and is accessible via a cute bridge which at night is very subtly lit by green lights.