38:57.20N 20:45.31E Preveza
Tuesday, 9th August, 2011.
We had a very still night at Gaios and we were up early to sail down to Preveza as the wind is forecast to be NW6 by Wednesday afternoon. We motor sailed for an hour or so and then a little breeze started to fill the sails and we managed to sail into the harbour at Preveza several hours later. Luckily we did not meet the strong winds we saw last time we were here. The beautiful blue water is very inviting.
Preveza was once a very important area long ago. After the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44BC a civil war was intermittently wages until 31BC when Octavian’s victory over Anthony decided the fate of the known world. Anthony had assembled his soldiers and ships at Actium intending to invade Italy. Octavian based his fleet at Mitikas to forestall Anthony and all through the summer the opposing fleets waited for the other to move. Eventually Anthony decided to initiate an action by moving his fleet to the mouth of the estuary. Octavian waited for the afternoon NW wind and when it arrived his swifter and more manoeuvrable galleys attacked the rival fleet. The rout of Anthony’s fleet was completed when Cleopatra fled taking her Egyptian ships (Anthony followed leaving his men and ships to be scattered by Octavian).
To commemorate the victory Octavian built Nikopolis (Victory City) which is 4 miles north of Preveza on the site from which he commanded his victory. It soon grew to be the capital for the area and to populate it many of the inhabitants of the surrounding countryside were resettled here. The present walls encompass a city about one fifth of the area of the original city which boasted theatres, temples, baths and three harbours one at Mitikas and two on the Gulf of Amvrakia which you enter just by the harbour at Preveza. Here the Apostle Paul stayed a winter and wrote his Epistle to Titus. Towards the end of the 4th century AD the city was destroyed by Alaric the Goth and though rebuilt on a smaller scale it was soon abandoned in the face of the Slavic invasion from the North. It was finally destroyed by the Bulgars in 1034. The channel at Preveza is called the “Channel of Cleopatra”. Two ruined forts on either side of the straits recall the town’s Venetian occupation in 1499, though in 1798 it passed via the French into the hands of Ali Pasha.
It is now Wednesday and no sign of the winds forecast on several sites but we will wait and see what happens in the next 24 hours.