Ambrakikos Gulf

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WorldMediterraneanIonian SeaGreeceAmbrakikos Gulf

An online cruising guide for yachts sailing around Ambrakikos Gulf near Preveza, Greece.

Ambrakikos Gulf
There are Port(s) of Entry here
38°58.350'N, 020°58.150'E Chart icon.png
GreeceAmbrakikosGulf h.png
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Chart of Ambrakikos Gulf
Dolphins are common in the Gulf …
… and so are fish farms

The Ambrakikos (or Ambracian Gulf or Amvrakikos Gulf or Αμβρακικός Κόλπος) lies on the Ionian coast of Greece and extends inland for nearly 25 miles from the town of Preveza at its mouth to the small towns and harbours of Menidhion at its NE corner and Amfilokia at its SE corner. It also contains the popular yachting harbour of Vonitsa on its southern coast as well as numerous sheltered anchorages around its N and S coasts. At its widest, the gulf is little more than eight miles from N to S and in many places much less. The gulf is entered via the narrow channel leading up to Preveza (see Preveza page for details) and then via a dogleg leading N and E into the gulf proper.

Several rivers flow into the gulf on the N side, which is low and marshy, and consequently the water is less salty than the Ionian Sea itself and there is a steady current from the gulf past Preveza and out to sea. The area is also rich in bird and marine life (parts of it are a nature reserve) and dolphins and turtles are regularly encountered, especially towards the eastern part.

The area has an important place in history, being the site where Mark Antony and Cleopatra marshalled their naval galleys before the battle of Actium in 31 BC, when their combined forces were defeated by those of Octavian (later invested with the name Augustus as the first Roman Emperor). The Emperor Augustus subsequently founded a major city, Nikopolis, on the NW shores of the gulf, few traces of which remain.

Cruising the gulf is mostly a trouble-free experience, particularly since the shelter is better than along the Ionian Sea coast and good anchorages or harbours can always be found in any adverse weather conditions. The two principal hazards are the shallow depths in many parts of the gulf, especially along the N coast, and the numerous fish farms dotted around. Actual depths are frequently less than shown on most charts in some parts of the gulf, especially along the N coast, where river sediment has built up since soundings were taken. Setting the shallow water alarm on your depth sounder is a useful practice when cruising here.

Charts

British Admiralty
203 Zakinthos to Paxoi
Imray-Tetra
G11 – North Ionian Islands
NOAA
54283 Amvrakikos Kolpos
Greek
21 Ionio Sea - Northern Part Othonoi I. to Zakynthos I.
2131 Amvrakikos Gulf

Weather

The gulf is subject to the same conditions as the Ionian Sea when fronts or depressions pass over, although generally the winds will be less than in the open sea. During normal settled conditions, however, the mornings are often windless until in early afternoon a westerly sea breeze sets in, which can sometimes rise to 15 knots or more but rarely blows for longer than an hour or two. The sea breeze is generally stronger in the western part of the gulf than the eastern.

Overnight, an easterly land breeze off the mountains at the E end of the gulf is common, which rarely rises above 10 knots. In some of the bays along the S coast this wind can come from SE or even due S, which needs to be considered when anchoring.

Sources for weather information:

Currents & Tides

There is usually a slight westerly current out of the gulf (little more than 0.5 – 1.0 knot), but this can be stronger in the narrow channel opposite Preveza, where 3.0 – 3.5 knots is not unknown.

Passages

List popular passages/routes, timing, etc.

Communication

Add here VHF channel for coastguard, harbor masters. etc.

Also see World Cruiser's Nets

Navigation

See Preveza. Once through the Preveza channel, there are two starboard hand buoys to be passed before entering the gulf itself. Note that the second of these buoys marks the N end of a large shoal patch extending nearly a mile E of Cape Akri (the northernmost point of the Aktio pensinula).

Berthing

Ports

The gulf has small harbours at the towns of Vonitsa and Amfilokia on its southern coast and Koronisia and Menidhion on its northern coast. However, only the first two are suitable for yachts and a visiting yacht will need to anchor off the second two. There are also several attractive anchorages around the gulf, mainly on the S side, which offer good shelter in all but northerly winds.

Key to symbols: |Port of entry icon – port of entry |Harbour icon – harbour |Marina icon – marina |Anchorage icon – anchorage ||
  • PrevezaPreveza/wiki/Preveza Port of entry icon – port of entry |Harbour icon – harbour |Marina icon – marina |Anchorage icon – anchorage |
  • VonitsaVonitsa/wiki/Vonitsa Harbour icon – harbour |Anchorage icon – anchorage |
  • AmfilochiaAmfilochia/wiki/Amfilochia Harbour icon – harbour |Anchorage icon – anchorage |

Anchorages

Tracking anti-clockwise from the entrance to the gulf, the main anchorages are as follows.

Anchorage of Ormos Ag. Markou (the yacht is in 8.0 metres)

Ormos Ag Markou

Ormos Ag Markou/wiki/Ambrakikos_Gulf#Ormos_Ag_Markou
Anchorage icon Ormos Ag Markou [[Ambrakikos Gulf#Ormos Ag Markou|Ormos Ag Markou]] 38°56.06′N, 20°52.07′E
The anchorage of Ag. Markou bay lies about a mile NW from the harbour of Vonitsa and consists of a deep and wide inlet sheltered from all directions except E and SE. The depths here are mostly in excess of 10-12 metres and it is necessary to tuck in close to the head of the bay (ideally on the SW side if possible) to be able to drop your anchor in 8.0 metres or so. Alternatively, you can motor as close in as your draft will allow and take a line ashore. Holding here is good in mud and weed. There are a few fish farm remains around the shore and the bottom is foul in places.
Anchorage of Ormos Koukouvitsa looking towards Vonitsa

Ormos Koukouvitsa

Ormos Koukouvitsa/wiki/Ambrakikos_Gulf#Ormos_Koukouvitsa
Anchorage icon Ormos Koukouvitsa [[Ambrakikos Gulf#Ormos Koukouvitsa|Ormos Koukouvitsa]] 38°55.40′N, 20°54.07′E
The anchorage of Koukouvitsa bay lies half a mile E of Vonitsa behind a small, pine-clad island joined to the mainland by a picturesque, Chinese-style causeway. Shelter here is good from all directions except N. Depths are around 3.0 - 6.0 metres except around the edges, where it shoals gradually to under one metre. Holding is good in sand, mud and weed. It is possible with care to take your dinghy under the centre arch of the causeway (you will need to drag it over the shallowest part) to take a shortcut to Vonitsa town. The anchorage here is delightful and very popular during the season.

Ormos Rougas

Ormos Rougas/wiki/Ambrakikos_Gulf#Ormos_Rougas
Anchorage icon Ormos Rougas [[Ambrakikos Gulf#Ormos Rougas|Ormos Rougas]] 38°55.38′N, 20°59.73′E
Ormos Rougas lies just under five miles E of Vonitsa between Cape Volimi and Cape Khaliki. A wide bay, the best anchorages are on the W side, where there is reasonable shelter from the prevailing W/NW winds. Anchor wherever there is space in 5.0 – 6.0 metres. Holding is good in sand, mud and weed. Open N.

Ormos Paliomilou

Ormos Paliomilou/wiki/Ambrakikos_Gulf#Ormos_Paliomilou
Anchorage icon Ormos Paliomilou [[Ambrakikos Gulf#Ormos Paliomilou|Ormos Paliomilou]] 38°53.96′N, 21°01.61′E
A small bay 1.5 miles S of Cape Khaliki, Ormos Paliomilou offers good shelter from S and W but is open N and E. Anchor close inshore in 5.0 – 6.0 metres. Holding is good in sand, mud and weed.

Ormos Loutrakios

Ormos Loutrakios/wiki/Ambrakikos_Gulf#Ormos_Loutrakios
Anchorage icon Ormos Loutrakios [[Ambrakikos Gulf#Ormos Loutrakios|Ormos Loutrakios]] 38°52.78′N, 21°04.23′E
Ormos Loutrakios lies three miles SE of Ormos Paliomilou and offers reasonable shelter in the prevailing winds but is open N. The area is full of fish farms so is not a very attractive spot to anchor. If there is space, anchor in mud and weed in 6.0 – 8.0 metres.

Ormos Karvasaras

Ormos Karvasaras/wiki/Ambrakikos_Gulf#Ormos_Karvasaras
Anchorage icon Ormos Karvasaras [[Ambrakikos Gulf#Ormos Karvasaras|Ormos Karvasaras]] 38°54.22′N, 21°07.64′E
Ormos Karvasaras consists of a series of small coves in the approaches to Amfilokia, which offer reasonable shelter from the prevailing westerlies but would not be very comfortable with anything N in the wind. Anchor wherever you can find suitable depths. The holding is good in mud and weed.
Yacht anchored off Menidhion small craft harbour

Ormos Kopraina

Ormos Kopraina/wiki/Ambrakikos_Gulf#Ormos_Kopraina
Anchorage icon Ormos Kopraina [[Ambrakikos Gulf#Ormos Kopraina|Ormos Kopraina]] (Menidhion) 39°02.23′N, 21°06.70′E
Depending on the wind strength, one can anchor either on the E side of the bay off the town of Menidhion or on the W side. Holding on both sides of the bay is good in sand and weed. Menidhion has a small harbour, which is unsuitable for yachts, but a good taverna in the harbour itself. The anchorage off here is comfortable in the prevailing winds so long as they do not exceed 10 knots. Any more, and you are better off the other side of the bay.
Koronisia harbour entrance (less than 1.5 metre depths)

Koronisia Bay

Koronisia Bay/wiki/Ambrakikos_Gulf#Koronisia_Bay
Anchorage icon Koronisia Bay [[Ambrakikos Gulf#Koronisia Bay|Koronisia Bay]] 39°0.69′N, 20°54.54′E
There are several places one can anchor around Koronisia. If the usual W/NW winds are forecast to exceed 10 knots or so, you are better off anchoring on the E side of the Koronisia peninsula in depths of 4.0 – 5.0 metres. The holding is good in sand and weed. In winds of up to 10 knots, one can anchor with care within 100 metres of the town of Koronisia itself in 3.5 – 4.5 metres. Again, holding is good in sand and weed. There is a small harbour here, but depths in the entrance are 1.5 metres or less and it is not advisable for any but shallow draft vessels to enter.

Nisos Vouvalos

Nisos Vouvalos/wiki/Ambrakikos_Gulf#Nisos_Vouvalos
Anchorage icon Nisos Vouvalos [[Ambrakikos Gulf#Nisos Vouvalos|Nisos Vouvalos]] 38°59.24′N, 20°54.92′E
Nisos Vouvalos is the largest of the cluster of islands S of Koronisia. Depths are shallow around and between the islands, ranging from 4.0 to less than 3.0 metres in places. There is a good anchorage on the E side of Vouvalos Island, tucked as far in as your draft permits to the bay on the SE side. The anchorage is best approached from the S side of the island, checking depths carefully as you go.

Ormos Salaora

Ormos Salaora/wiki/Ambrakikos_Gulf#Ormos_Salaora
Anchorage icon Ormos Salaora [[Ambrakikos Gulf#Ormos Salaora|Ormos Salaora]] 39°01.56′N, 20°46.61′E
Ormos Salaora is the wide open bay at the NW end of the gulf, off the ancient site of Nikopolis. The area around the bay is extensively used for fish farms and the anchorages are not always very appealing as a result. However, it you can get close inshore near the site of Nikopolis, you can anchor in 5.0 – 6.0 metres and go ashore to visit the site. Holding is good in sand, mud and weed and the shelter is also good as long as there are no fresh to strong E winds forecast.

Tourism

See individual ports, anchorages, and islands.

Friends

Contact details of "Cruiser's Friends" that can be contacted for local information or assistance.

Forums

List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)

Links

References & Publications

See Ionian Sea.

Comments

We welcome users' contributions to the Wiki. Please click on Comments to view other users' comments, add your own personal experiences or recommend any changes to this page following your visit.

  • We spent five days in the gulf in late September 2012 and saw fewer than twenty other yachts over the whole period. While the water is a little murky to enjoy swimming very much, we saw quite a few turtles and more dolphins than you could shake a stick at. --Athene of Lymington 12:25, 30 September 2012 (BST)


This is a usable page of the cruising guide. However, please contribute if you can to help it grow further. Click on Comments to add your personal notes on this page or to discuss its contents. Alternatively, if you feel confident to edit the page, click on the edit tab at the top and enter your changes directly.


SailorSmiley.gifContributors to this page

Names: Athene of Lymington


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