Where the hell is the ambrakian gulf?

Where the hell is the ambrakian gulf?

This was a common question the last days when we talked about our sailing plans for the next days. The ambrakian gulf is a rather big enclosed bay in the Ionian sea in northwestern Greece. It is separated by a small inlet channel next to Preveza city.

We have sailed in and around the gulf for a week. A really quiet and nice area. There is a steady northeasterly wind which sets in the afternoon and it is quiet at night – nice for a good night sleep at anchor. It is surprising that there are not many sailors in the gulf despite it being such a nice area to sail. Maybe the reason is the crystal clear waters outside the gulf and a greenish colored water inside? There were strange noises in the first bay we anchored: A grunting, snorting sound…. Yes, pigs at the beach. We also saw turtles daily who briefly stick their heads out of the water to check out the life above water. And furthermore, we saw some small stingrays when snorkeling. And yes even dolphins showed up once again!

Rally nice sunsets in a lonely anchorage

Sailing itself was quite easy going inside the gulf, so we had action from somewhere else: A loud beeping sound from inside our boat. Something is wrong… Which one of the plenty of alarms is it? Gas? Fire? We have fitted the boat with a lot of different alarms, so it is not easy to tell them apart immediately. Turns out it was a water sensor in the water tank bilge. A hose came loose in the pantry area and the pressure pump continued running and pumped fresh water into the bilge – not a lot because of the fast reaction on our side to turn off the water pump immediately. The water alarm was a good investment! The alarms are small battery powered devices (battery life 10 years) glued onto several bilges in the boat. You can get them from Amazon, called “Sebson water alarm set”. Pumped the water out, dried the bilge, reconnected the hose and done…

It was time to test our “Catch and Lift”man over board rescue system. A calm day in the gulf gave us the perfect opportunity. This system uses a sea anchor to get the person back on board while slowly motoring. Turns out this is not easy and requires practice as you need to keep steady speed, use the correct circle diameter etc. At least we have seen it basically working, however it will need more training.

Adventures on land led us to a small fishermen village called Koronesia and to Vonitsa. Here we visited the old fortress. Not really worth the entrance fee despite the nice view above the city.

Chibi oversees Vonitsa from the old fortress

After spending the week in the gulf, we again moored in Preveza marina. Marina days are working days: There is laundry to do, the boat has to be cleaned, bunkering food and several things have to be bought (in tis case a new electric piano). We also had service technicians on board to check the fridge and the motor. The fridge was filled with new coolant, the motor seems to be in good shape, however some things need to be done during the next refit.

We sailed further south from Preveza again. The heat wave during summer in Greece was in full swing, so we cooled ourselves down in the sea, lots of ice coffee and other cool drinks thanks to our icemaker on board!

Any news from “Sailor Chibi” our little pangolin on board? If we meet other cruisers, we are asked all the time what the boat name means, It seems not a lot of people are aware of the endangered species and lots of more awareness is needed. Whenever we tell others the story, we try to encourage donations to conservation funds to make a difference!