Zante – Shipwreck Bay, Navagio and the Venetian Fortress at Bohali

Shipwreck Bay, Zakynthos
Shipwreck Bay, Zakynthos

We all have our bucket list and one item on ours was to visit Shipwreck Bay, officially Navagio Beach. We were not expecting the right weather to sail to Shipwreck Bay and it is too deep for most yachts to anchor. It has been blowing Norwesters (30 knots) every afternoon, much like a Sydney Southerly Buster and we didn’t want to join the wreck. We tried to book onto a catamaran tour for the morning, but we could never raise the charter company. In the end, we spoke to Yannis and took a car up to the viewing point to get an aerial view of the bay and a tour of Zante Island. We weren’t disappointed with our aerial viewing, we had it on good authority “le water is colder than zee witch’s breast”.

one Bay North of Navagio Beach
one Bay North of Navagio Beach

The blue milkiness of the bay is from Limestone ‘pearls’ creating a swirl of aqua water, so the water is more translucent than clear. The colour is certainly one we think of when we think of sailing azure seas.

For future reference, if it was warmer and you wanted a swim, our mate John from Zante suggested we drive to Porto Vromi and take a small boat to nearby Shipwreck Bay. If you are 21-30 take a party boat, but take sunscreen and a hat because it’s a long day.

Heikell says the Shipwreck was a cigarette boat, a smuggler’s boat to bring in tax-free cigarettes, which wrecked while evading the Coast Guard in a storm. John, Greece’s biggest Cat’s fan, says it might have been set-up to glamorise the most beautiful bay in Greece for tourism. It is so stunningly beautiful, it is hard to imagine they needed to improve the story line.

We came back past olive trees, that were almost 200 years old, rustic villages and pine forests. We stopped for coffee at the top of another wonderful bay. The view and colour of the water were remarkably brilliant.

Another beautiful bay
Another beautiful bay at Kambl

We finished the day at the Venetian Fortress at Bohali. We expected the Fortress/castle to be a small hill-top ruin but it is extensive and both the British and the Nazi’s had taken the Venetian’s work and reused it. We saw evidence of a British football pitch and the Venetian’s garrison prison and many wells. There was a large bastion overlooking Zakthynos Town but from every side of the formidable fortress walls, the views were extensive. It is well worth a trip.

Bastion of the Venetian Fortress
Bastion of the Venetian Fortress

We went for a walk after dinner and said goodbye to our friend, John. He asked us to let the Cats know he was barracking for them. So for John, ‘Go the Cats’.

Let’s talk about the Geelong Cat’s in Zante

First, I will explain we are in Zakynthos, which is called Zante in Italian. It is a captivating island with a small marina on the Town Quay, beautiful coastline and an animated nightlife.

The View from the
Zakynthos Harbour

Cameron, Leeanne, James and I decided an authentic gyro would be the go for lunch. The night before Leeanne and I had walked past a cafe on our walk and the aromas were enticing, enough to convince us for lunch.

The Lavocca (spelling is in Greek letters) gyro cafe is on Maiou St, Zakthynos about three blocks away from the harbour in an area where locals and Athenians eat in delightful cafes, restaurants and bars. There are interesting, arty shops in these streets too.

The owner comes out to take our order, we ask where do you come from in Australia. He laughs and says Melbourne. Then he asks if we saw Friday’s Cats-tastrophe game. We said no but we had read that the Geelong Cats had a bad night. For the next hour, we ate delectable, flavoursome gyros, with John talking to us about The Cats, Australia and His Cats. We were amazed at his passion for the AFL, but I have a few friends- David, Jo and Melissa, who I would like John to meet. They should definitely put the island of Zakynthos on their bucket lists. This island is a splendid mix of natural beauty and magnificent coastline.

The Crew with John & Denise from Zakynthos
The Crew with John & Denise from Zakynthos

John told us we should venture up to the Venetian Fortress (aka Venetian Castle), so we walked up to Bohali – quite a steep walk. Still the views were incredible across the island, indeed across the bay to Kefalonia to the North and Pelaponese to the east.

We visited a fascinating church, the church of Agios Georgios Filikon, icons and murals filled the church.

We walked up to the Venetian Fortress and found it was closed and went down to Diethones, a magical place with porch swings and views over Zante. They have enticing gardens and comfortable chairs and couches with views of the harbour, so you are never bored as you watch ships, ferries, yachts and party boats come into the harbour. Have a look at the photos and tell me if you think Zakynthos should be on your bucket list?

The outlook from Diethones
The outlook from Diethones

Big Happy Birthday to Richard (YB), hope you had a great day! We miss you.


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