Sailing the Greek islands 2015.
Okay, so virtually retired so we've decided to spend 12 weeks cruising round the Greek islands this time.
Got a couple of colleagues, Graham and Derek, to take Helen and myself to the airport. They will be coming out to join us at the end of June for 10days, so it will be nice to have some different company during our trip. Flight leftHeathrow slightly later than it should - could have spent some more time in the BA lounge, but it made up the time during the flight. Bags collected we went out to be met by Pops Car rental company, having hired a car for a week to get some bits and bobs before the boat goes in the water. Finally got to Kilada by 22.30. My god, the boat was in a terrible mess. All the cabins were full with rubbish, the saloon was the same and the heads were... It took about three hours to get the boat into some sort of shape so that we could go to sleep. But not before a couple of small bottles of Chilean red to wash down the beef sandwiches I had made for the journey.
Up just after 08:00. The guard dog had been barking all night so not the best of sleep. I called in at the office to collect the key card, but no longer needed. I wish I had known that the night before! Showered, back to the boat for breakfast, a cup of Earl Grey and a banana. We needed to get some food and I wanted to paint the anchor chain so we went out to the local supermarket. Everything shut as it was May Day.back at the boat yard I laid out the anchor chain in 5m lines ready for painting tomorrow. I repositioned the newly fitted passerelle I did not want the new bracket to take all of the weight, and it wasn't fitted as per my instructions. Words to be said... Next job was to fit the ankarolina shore line on the port side pushpit. Then the weather station on the solar panel gantry. Needs some batteries, to be bought tomorrow! Tried to sort out the new Honda LPG generator. Followed the instructions, but they had already completed most of the work. Biggest problem is going to find some way of attaching it to my very small gas bottle. Something else to buy tomorrow. Soon be time for supper and then maybe a ride into town to check the emails and a glass or two of Mythos.
Up at 08:00. That pesky guard dog is getting on my nerve, barking all through the night. However it wasn' the dog that got us up, the gas alarm went off! Went into the galley, couldn't smell anything so it might have just been a battery coming to the end of its shelf life. Anyway, as it happens I had purchased a twin channel pilot gas alarm so that's another job for me to do today.
Went to the office to make some complaints and to pay my bills. Closed! Off to the shops instead to buy plenty of tins of spray paint to do the anchor chain, lots of food and some alcoholic beverages. Back on the boat the batteries were installed in the weather station so that's up and running. Primed and painted 30 metres of chain so only another 40 metres to go. Gas alarm fitted but only one channel working. Will need to check this out tomorrow. A quite night in and that's another day completed.
Up again at the same time, but this time with a cup of tea! Breakfast in the cockpit, Greek yoghurt and grapes plus another tea. On to the days jobs. Finish off painting the anchor chain - checked. Find out why only one channel was working on the gas alarm. Checked the wiring and switched over the sensors. Now both appear to be working. Check why one of the replaced cockpit lights isn't working. Tried another light but still no go. Checked back through the wiring and it appears there is an intermittent fault with the wiring connecting it to the starboard aft cabin. Now working. Next task to clean both heads. Started with the worst one in the fore cabin. All thoroughly clean. However, on checking the opening / closing of the sea cocks it would appear that these have not been serviced. Need to check with Evangelos when I next see him. The aft heads next. All cleaned and the sea cocks were easier to operate than the ones in the fore cabin. Still don't think these have been done either? Jobs finished for the day, at 18:10. Another full day's work. Helens cooking supper, salad with potatoes and a boiled egg. Will need to check emails later so a trip to the local is called for.
Up even earlier, at 07:00 but no cup of tea today. Showered then straight to work. Needed to get some anti fouling done on the rudder, as it had been repaired, the prop as it had never had any when I put it on last year and the keel bulb. I had found a tin of rubberised primer so everything that needed doing was given a coat of this. I had ordered a tin of copper coat but it hasn't arrived yet. Not sure if it will arrive tomorrow, if it doesn't I've also found a tin of black anti fouling which I shall use. Sails arrived and the Bimini with a new window installed. Met Phillip, the chap that put on the passerelle, the wind speed and direction indicator and the calorifier. A trip out to Ermioni to try and get a regulator for the LPG generator, some more elastic for the mosquito nets Helen is making, and a few other bits and bobs which are really essential. A nice cooling drink was taken in a cafe overlooking the sea front. Very pretty.Back on the boat the Bimini was put up. The window is looking good, can see the top of the mast now and the wind generator. Very handy. Next job putting up the main sail. Never put it up before but having taken it down last October, it's a simple case of reversing the procedure, isn't it? Oh no. Attaching the top of the sail to the sail hoist, no problem. Had a few issues rating it as it kept getting stuck 2/3's of the way up. Helen required to hold the sail steady while I winched the remaining 1/3 up. Couldn't remember how to attached the feet of the sail but after struggling for at least 45 minutes it was finally stored in the mast. Reminder; there is a hook on the inside of the mast to attach the tack to. The 'eye' of the tack is fed into the mast. Next, attach the head sail. Should be easier as I've done this several times before. Got caught a couple of times when raising it so needed to ask Helen for assistance. Sails now ready for when we get into the water and find some wind. The last few days have been as still as could be! Will need to check emails later so a trip to the pub is called for.
Helens birthday. Up at 06:30. Did my laundry and got that hung out before breakfast. My coppercoat arrived and was delivered to me by Phillip. Went and bought a pot so that I could mix up all the 'ingredients' before applying. Tried using the roller but got it splashing all over the place. Started using a brush and it went on much better. However, not sure if the rubberised primer I put on a couple of days ago works well with coppercoat. I think they started to react against each other as the coats did not go on as well as they should have. Looked blotchy in places. Anyway, several coats later and time getting on I needed to take Helen out to Mycenes so that we could look at the archaeological site there. From there went went into Napflio and had a pot of Earl Grey in the Hotel Grande Bretagne. Back home, moved the ankarolina reel for the third and last time to a spot between the Bimini rails and the solar panel gantry so that a full winch handle could be used if required. Went down to the office to check my emails, 30+ in my in box of which only three needed addressing. A few glasses of the local cheap plonk to celebrate Helen's birthday and then to bed.
Up at 07:10 and off to the shower block. Back for breakfast, an orange and a cup of tea. Yesterday as we were driving toward Mycenes, they were selling 10kg bags of oranges for €4, an absolute bargain compared to prices back home! Waited for Andreas to come, no show. Off to the office to send a couple of emails. No excuse now for going off to the local tavern as I've managed to get connected on site! Emails sent, off upstairs to see Evangelos to settle my bills and to moan about the work done on Electron. The bill was considerably cheaper than I thought it was going to be. Excellent news. Thought the boat was going in the water tomorrow but now it's going to be Friday. I wish I knew that before I sent an email to Pops Car hire as I told them I would be returning the car a day earlier. Moaned about the state that the boat had been left in after they had replaced the teak decking, and the quality of some of the work carried out on the decking. No problem, he would send a technician along in half an hour to sort out the issues I had raised. Job done. Anchor chain replaced in the locker, off to the chandlers to buy another mast light and a new broom and handle. Back on the boat I put a second catch on the helmsman seat to make it more secure. Off to the shops to stock up now that this is the last day of having the car. Just before we set off Andreas turned up. See you in an hours time I said as we drove off to the shops. Most but not all provisions bought we returned to the boat to be followed by Andreas shortly afterwards. He checked the water pump in the aft heads as we had no running water since our arrival. New water pump required at a price of €152, not including the fitting cost! Just as well my boatyard bill was less than expected. Car returned to Ermioni but another supermarket shop to get the remaining provisions left off on the last trip. Even got some large 'U bolts' to replace the rusty old bits of metal holding up the wind generator. These now fitted and it looks a lot better and more secure. Salad supper, time to do the washing up. How lovely to have piping hot water on tap and not have to boil up a kettle! Thing are certainly on the up.
Election Day, well back home in the UK anyway. Thankfully I've not had any sight or sound of British radio or TV so have been spared the right goings on between the two leaders. It was becoming a farce, each trying to out-trump the other. I'm sure it will catch on in the west end theatre! List of jobs that needed doing before the boat goes in the water tomorrow. Started off cleaning the boat from bow to stern. Looks a lot better now. Next was to make good the u bolts bought yesterday to replace the old rusty brackets holding up the wind generator mast. Followed on by tidying up each of the cockpit lockers to make space for the new LPG generator that I had recently bought. Andreas came to collect his money for the work that he had done - new galley tap fitted, new gas lines fitted and of course the water pump that he fitted yesterday. I spoke to him about getting a connector for my gas lines for the generator. He got on the phone and had arranged for a part to be milled that afternoon. Cost €140 but if it means that the generator can be used, worth every cent. All I need to do now is buy a gas bottle that will fit this part. Next task was to remove the old tender and place it in one of the spare cabins. This will need moving once Graham and Derek come out to us. Life ring and light attached to the brackets, new tender inflated and stored on the top deck. Wheel attached at the helm and new electrics checked to see if they work. It would appear that one of the petrol cans has sprung a leak since this morning as the fumes were getting quite strong. Petrol transferred to the outboard and another canister, the split one ready for the dump. A few old items dumped and a couple taken to the sailors recycling station. Here I found some stick on letters, ideal for spelling out ELECTRON, and going on the front of the new tender. My turn to make the 'salad' supper tonight, which we've just finished eating. It's just gone 20:30 so a beer or two more before hitting the sack.
Boat goes in the water today so up at 06:30. Checked the BBC website just for an update on the election news. Looks like conservatives will be back in power. Showered and breakfast had, time to start the jobs before the boat gets lifted. Fenders all set out, electric cable stored and the the folding bike brought back on board. Checked the list of to do jobs and that's all. Waited for the men from the boatyard to arrive, and they did at 08:30. Boat transferred to the 'box', lifted and put in the water. Seacocks checked and watertight. Phoned Dimitris, my engineer, who wanted to come and check the engine whilst it was running. Fine. One of the technicians came on board to check all the seacocks and he was satisfied with their seaworthiness. I went off to the patrol station to buy my bottle of gas, even larger than I had anticipated it being. Wanted 10kg but had to buy 15kg as this was the smallest propane bottle. Once that was on board it was time to move off. The real holiday was just about to begin. We planned just to go round the coast, about 13nm, to Porto Heli. The wind was blowing up to 15 knots, but on the nose. When we were in a position to take advantage of it, it dropped right down to under 5 knots. Same old story! Arrived in Porto Heli and had planned our mooring / anchoring strategy. Found our spot, started to straighten up to go 'med' style, anchor released,can done it hit the sea floor we started reversing. Actually got to the wall of the quay quite well and a couple, from New Ash Green just down the road from us back home we ready and waiting to have the mooring lines thrown to them to tie us off. passerelle unfolded and placed on the quay, everything was looking good. A cup of tea was in order, followed by a walk and an ice cream. On returning to our boat we noticed that the passerelle was going down the side of the wall. No sooner had this been sorted when the wind began to blow the boat against the quay wall. Not happy with this I decided to weigh anchor, move off from our med mooring and return to go side on to the wall. Anchor raised, Helen on shore ready to receive the mooring lines when I returned, I began to set the lines ready for my return when one of my slip on shoes slipped off into the water. I tried to retrieve this unsuccessfully so continued to return to the quay. Again, the helpful couple from Kent came to our assistance and took the lines when thrown to them. Much better side on. The wind was still blowing on shore so I walked around the bay to see if I could recover my shoe. With the help of a boat hook I now have a pair again. Next task, see if I could get the generator to work. Couldn't find the instruction manual so guessed how much oil to put in, slightly more than it should have been. Gas fittings tightened as much as I could - think I could smell some gas(?), read how to start the generator, initially couldn't find the priming button, but once located gave it a go. Up and running, cables connected up to the generator and low and behold, the batteries were starting to charge. Fridge turned back on for 90 minutes, batteries fully charged again, the generator was stored away for the night - but not sure where the gas bottle is going to be kept! Supper (salad) eaten, a cup of tea drunk it might be time to get some internet connection to find out the final scores on the election.
We had planned a leisurely trip around the coast to Ermioni so there was no rush to get up. With the hot water tank working we could both have showers on board. Helen used the one in the aft heads, I used the one in the fore heads. Helen was able to drain her shower tray. When I tried mine it would not work. Oh no, more problems so I called Andreas to come out to fix it. He wasn't able to come before 17:00 so it was going to be a quiet day. I started reading my Kindle again. As my last book was War and Peace I kept with the Russian greats and selected The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky . A trip to the supermarket for some provisions, then I decided to get my dive bottles filled. Back on the boat, dive bottles dug out from the lockers along with the sack truck, I wheeled them up to the shop. Ready at 18:00, a quick trip to the bar to check emails before returning. Extremely friendly bunch, enthusiastic about all things motor sport, but gambling on the football matches. Lost one bet by 8 minutes when Sunderland scored just before halftime. Back to the boat Helen wanted to visit the cafe, so back for another drink. No sooner had we got back on the boat when Andreas arrived. He checked the shower pump and asked me to turn on different switches at the panel. It appeared that my switch list, obtained from Bavaria was wrong. Pump working, just needed to turn it on! Water pump also fine as aft tank had run dry. Andreas didn't charge me for the call out so I've asked him to do some more work for me. Fitting a remote control for the anchor windlass. Not going to be cheap but can afford it from the unexpected savings at the boatyard. Supper had a final trip to the bar was called for before hitting the sack.
With everything working, touch wood, we planned our trip to Ermioni. Breakfast had, an orange and a cup of tea, we set off at 09:30. Once out of the bay and in the channel it was time to get the main sail out. The winds were gusting up to 15kts and swirling between on the starboard beam and starboard aft quarter. Should get some speed up. This was good for the first hour but then we had to charge course, the wind was on our nose and it was getting up to F6 / F7. Sails had to be stowed and we plodded on under engine power. As the journey progressed the wind was getting stronger for longer periods of time and reached F8. Didn't have the waves to go with it but it made anchoring an issue. We found a space to go alongside the quay so no need for dropping the anchor. However, the need for speed to get both stern and bow lines made good needs improving. Had lots of help from on shore but at one stage the stern caught the wind and was heading for the bow and anchor chain of one of the people assisting us. Eventually all was made good and we then prepared to assist others who followed in after us. Two springs and a pair of fore and aft mooring lines with rubber snubbers set, hopefully this will hold us for the next few days. We are staying here so that Andreas can do the work on the anchor remote, and we have been informed that the weather is going to get worse by Tuesday. Should be fun!!! Latest update. After the wind came the surge. The boat was going up and down like nobody's business, so much so that I had to keep adjusting the fenders. Minutes later there was a loud crack, one of the guard rail wires snapped and a stanchion bent double. It never rains but..... Had to move as there was a distinct possibility of further damage to the hull. The boat astern of us had to move, they left and we then came off the quay wall into the inner harbour. Should have come first but thought it would be better alongside. Another lesson learnt.
An update on yesterday's damage. Scuffing to the hull where it rubbed against the wall. The starboard fairlead at the bow has also broken, so will need replacing. Have texted Andreas who is coming out at 16:00 this afternoon. Also been informed that the wind strength is going to be worse than last night! Decided to up anchor and move to the south side of Ermioni where there should be a lot more shelter from the winds. In fact all bar one have made the same decision. Left at 11:00 and all moored up at 11:45. A lot quieter and somewhat warmer out of the wind. Got the bikes out and cycled off to the supermarket. On returning invited by our Swedish neighbours Henry and Pia for a drink on their boat. A Sun Odyssey 43, very nice. John, another neighbour was also on board having a drink. Earlier today when leaving the same spot he caught his furling line round his prop. He thinks he's cleared the worst but I've offered to put my dive gear on tomorrow to check it thoroughly. It's now nearly 17:30 and no sign of Andreas, although it has been raining for the past couple of hours so this might be the reason for his absence? Got a text message much later to say the weather had stopped him from coming. Would see me to tomorrow at 09:00. Supper, some red wine and a book to finish before bed.
Up at 07:00 to the sound of the church bells. Heard them at 05:00 but missed the 06:00 peel. Wind still blowing hard but now swirling. Two more lines attach one on the starboard bow to stop us from swinging to port and one with a rubber snubber on the port stern to reduce the snatching. Andreas should have been here at 09:00 but despite telling him where I was he couldn't find me. Will see me later this evening. Went off to see the chaos on the northern side. Swell quite large and boats being buffeted all over the place. Came back, donned the diving gear and cleared the prop of Johns boat of rope that he had got caught round it. For this he bought me a bottle of scotch. Didn't need to do this. Saw a pod of dolphins swimming in the bay. Invited Henry and Pia for drinks and nibbles. Also invited John but his sleep was more important. It's now 17:30 so am expecting Andreas shortly(!) he arrived just after 18:00, which is pretty good for him. Remote control fitted for the anchor, €270. Was quoted nearly €400 so a big saving. However, that will be spent on getting two new guard rail wires, a new stanchion and a fairlead plus fitting. Weather calming down, the sun needs to start coming out more and looks like two more days here.
Up at 08:00, latest time this holiday. Took a walk to the tourist office to check out ferry times to Porto Heli. Closest is Spetses and will then have to catch another ferry from there to Porto Heli. Options, hire a car or take a taxi. Decided to hire a car for the day but won't be able to pick it up until 11:30. Found the laundrette so went back to pick up all the washing to take back there. Said our goodbyes to Henry and Pia. Have swopped telephone and email addresses as likely to meet up with them in October when we come back out. John came on board for tea before I went back to his boat to check his fridge out. Before getting the hire car we took a walk along the sea front. Checked the hire car for damage and then drove off to Porto Heli to get the guard rails made up. Likely to be about €200. Andreas texted regarding the stanchion, will have to order from Athens. Boat not likely to be fully repaired for at least two days. John has decided to take himself off to the other side of the bay as it's going to be noisy tonight. Lots of racers have anchored up and have started to get in the party mood. Took a drive out around the bay just to kill time and to get away from the crowds. Not much else to report at the end of the second week.
Up just before 08:00. Washed but not shaved - no power in the shaver! Kettle put on for breakfast, a cup of tea and an orange. After breakfast collected the washing from the laundrette. €25 well spent. We drove to Porto Heli to collect the guardrail wires, at a cost of €205. Had to be done. En route back to Ermioni we called in to the supermarket for more water and provisions. Dropped these of at the boat before returning the hire car. Bought a birthday card for my son, wrote it and posted it, hoping it should get to Malta within the week. Back on the boat removed the lines and cleats from the old tender and installed them on the new tender. Tender put in the water to clean the hull from the marks left on her from Sunday nights episode. Tender back on board and repositioned to the bow of the boat. Helen wanted to get a good nights sleep and decided we should move from where we were to the other side of the bay. I think she just wanted to play with the new remote for the anchor. Engine started, generator started to give more boost to the batteries (and to charge my shaver!) I set out removing all of the mooring lines. One bow and four stern lines. One all taken care of it was time to set off. Thought we'd try using the hand held Walkie- Talkies but not very successful. Reverted back to hand signals. Across the other side of the bay, anchor dropped in 4m of water and 30m of chain laid out. Bearings taken, seem to be holding firm. Won't be able to check these once darkness falls but hopefully, if the don't change in the next couple of hours all should be well. Got a text message from Andreas saying that he should know this evening if he can get the stanchion from Athens.
A very peaceful night on the anchor. Calm, hardly any wind. Up at 07:40ish. Bearings checked, not moved at all. Will go back into Ermioni, just to fill up with water and power up and then come back out here. Have fitted the new guardrail wires. Happier as it is now safer. Haven't heard from Andreas yet, but that's typical of him. Left the south side of the bay around 10:45 to go back to the north Marina at Ermioni. Just as we were dropping the anchor I got a text message from Andreas, informing me that the parts would be with me tomorrow at a cost of €185. Fitting costs to be added but cheaper than I thought. We had laid out far to much chain, 40m, but at least it's down. Connected up with power and all sorted for the rest of the day. Another motor yacht came in right beside us, rubbing up against our fenders, despite there being plenty of mooring space. Complained that his steering failed. Met Manfred and his wife. They are also from Kilada boatyard where we first met them and then again in in Porto Heli yesterday when I was picking up my guardrail wires and he was having some work done to his main sail. Once all sorted out we went off to the pharmacy to buy some after sting ointment as I stepped on a wasp this morning, and a few more provisions. A quick call to the bar to check my 30+ emails (of which 30+ were junk) and for an update on the weather for tonight and tomorrow. Calm on both counts.
Not sure what type of winged insect of the wasp species I stood on but it was an irritant all night and has now swollen up. Also, the wind direction is now from the south causing quite a bit of swell, so together, no the best of nights of sleep. Still waiting for Andreas to arrive. Haven't heard from him this morning regarding the parts from Athens. I expect him to appear this evening. Another job for him to check out. We seem to have lost shore power! Well he arrived just after midday when we had decided to move into the inner harbour to get out of the swell. He had the parts but wasn't prepared to put them on as he considered, quite rightly, that it was too dangerous to go hanging off the side of the boat to fit the stanchion and fairlead. I told him I would fit them once things had calmed down. He checked out the electrics and decided a new battery charger was required. Will cost anything between €250 and €500 depending on spec. Shortly after he left we lifted the anchor and motored to the inner harbour and moored up there. Off for a walk (or should I say hobble) to the south side to see what conditions were like there. Calmer and sunnier. We called into a cafe for a drink, a bite to eat and check emails. Once back on board the fore tank was filled with water and I then set about putting the fairlead and stanchion on. All fixed by 19:00, time for supper.
Got woken up by the church bells sounding at 07:00. Up, washed and kettle put on for breakfast. The fishing boats were returning so I went for a walk to see what they had caught. Not a lot! Checked emails whilst walking back to the boat via the bar. Back on board we prepared to set 'sail' for Poros. Engine started together with the generator to ensure we had plenty of power to raise the anchor, we set off at 10:30ish, only to find that the anchor had well and truly dug itself in. A few attempts to free it, we eventually were on our way. A five hour journey we had wind on the nose for most of the way. It was only when we were about 4nm from Poros did we have the wind with us. A few extra knots of speed, we arrived in Poros just after 15:00. A chap standing on the quayside indicated that he would help us to moor up against the wall. Not thinking any more about it I proceeded to go in, forgetting that our warps had been set for stern anchoring.helen quickly changed the setup just before I got to the wall. Helen threw the lines to this chap and he put it round the ring and threw it back. I did the same with the stern line. He put it round the ring but didn't throw it back! The stern started to drift out and Helen struggled keeping hold of the bow line. He wasn't very helpful! All he was really concerned with was getting customers in to the restaurant he worked at. At least we are away from the smelly part of Poros where I had anchored last October. Once tied up we went for a walk to find the chandlers. I knew of one but there was also one recommended to me by John. Having located this one and chatted about the charger I was told to come back at 08:00 tomorrow to find out what they could get and price. Thankfully they take card. All chores completed we went for a drink. Just before 19:00 I had premonitions that we were going to suffer the safe fate as last Sunday. The boat suddenly, for no apparent reason, began to rub against the wall with the fenders going up and down. I thought about moving but it calmed down again. There was no wind or swell as there was on Sunday so hopefully it's a one off and not going to be expensive! We are going out for a meal later tonight. Lovely meal, far too much food, and washed down with a few glasses of red back on the boat.
Had intended getting up early this morning but slept through to 08:20. Meant to be at the chandlers at 08:00. Took a walk up to Vangelis and ordered a new Victron 12v 40amp battery charger at a cost of €495. All the savings made at the start of the holiday and a bit more have now been wiped out. Should arrive tomorrow between 09:00 and 11:00. We shall see, but it's going to be another night in Poros. We going to go off shortly to find a nice bay to anchor in and have a swim, then return later and find a different place to anchor, just to ring the changes. Set off at 10:45 for Russian Bay. First ones there, dropped the anchor and checked the bearings. Initially these were changing but it settled down and remained constant all the time we were there. Tender lowered, outboard attached, we set off for the beach. Arrived, had a drink and a look around before returning to the boat. A brief swim before upping anchor and returning to Poros and 'med mooring' in the smelly spot which is no longer smelly. A drink in the bar, a quick shop and then supper. The evening was finished off with a game of cribbage and some red wine and watching the greek dancing going on in the taverna on the other side of the road.
The new battery charger was due in this morning between 9 and 11, so up with the bells chiming 07:00. A leisurely start before walking through the town to the chandlers. I was expecting the charger to be smaller that the old one but it was quite a bit bigger. Back on the boat I had to find a new place to put it. Next to the side of the navigation table. Top bracket fixed before the drill ran out of power. New power cables (at €30) installed for separate engine and domestic battery charging, everything wired up and then connected to the shore power. All seemed to work but concerned that the battery monitor was showing a discharge of 0.4amps. Chatting to Vangelis he told me that this was usual, so all is well once again. Everything tidied up and put back to pre-installation state, a bottle of beer was called for to celebrate. The port authority lady will be around shortly to collect mooring fees and use of electricity. Expensive electricity at €6 and €6.36 for mooring. Supper on board, salad with pasta and a bit of red to finish off the night.
Up this morning to check the power situation. For some unknown reason it was showing a charge. Not so long afterwards it began to show a discharge. Need to get this checked out. I did email Andreas yesterday but have had no response. Set a course for Epidavros with the intention of spending a couple of nights there. Set off at 10:40 with a tail wind so headsail out. Speed picked up nicely but as we turned out of the channel the wind was in our face. As we had time we tacked to take advantage of the winds, gusting up to 19 knots. Trouble was that it kept shifting, so any gain was nullified. En route to Epidavros we saw at least 3 dolphins, one very large one that swam close to the boat. Arrived in Epidavros at 15:40, found a space to moor up in, but not shortly afterwards it began to fill up so the late comers were going alongside other yachts. Had a beer in the usual, Posidon Hotel, and checked emails. Will be sending this later tonight. Called in at the supermarket for water and back to the boat. Met the Port Authority lady and paid for two nights and electricity, €23:70, pricier than Poros. Just been asked if we want to go to the amphitheater in the morning with the flotilla company, however, have just heard that they have the required numbers.
A leisurely day today. Got up around 08:30 and sent birthday greetings to my son. Showered, kettle put on for tea, it was time to do some cleaning. Foreheads cleaned, washing done and hung up, next task was to sort out the head sail. Re-tied the headsail sheets as one came off yesterday as I was tacking. Also, readjusted the headsail as it appeared to be twisted on runner. All done. Now just needs to be tested. Bikes taken out of the aft cabin and snorkelling equipment from the locker, it was time to do a bit of swimming over the 'sunken City'. The bike ride wasn't quite as expected, part of the route was shore lined and we had to get into the water and carry the bikes in order to get to our destination. Trunks on we swam over the sunken city, a series of rooms, not more than five or six, in about 1.5m of water. Last year I actually put my dive gear on as I had no idea where this place was or what depth of water it was in! Back on the boat, a cup of tea, a bit of reading and a short snooze. Went out for an evening meal later that night and then an early night, although they all seem to be early!
The church bells always seem to wake me at 07:00, so it was time to get up. We planned to leave around 10:30 to head off to Aegina, so it was a slow start to the day. Connected to the Internet to pay my credit card bill. Then back on the boat for a cup of tea for breakfast. Oil and water checked, mooring springs taken on to the boat and engine and generator started. Lines dropped, anchor raised, we left at 10:40. The weather forecast was checked the previous night. Winds due from the south-East, they were coming from the north-East - head on! It was only when we were about 4nm off shore that they changed in our favour. Got into the harbour in Aegina, dropped the anchor and started to reverse into the only spot available. A great big French yacht came steaming in, shouting that they had to moor thee as they had a 3m draft. I had to concede so anchor up and I started to circle the harbour to find an alternative. Luckily a yacht was just leaving so when it had raised their anchor I went straight in, well, reversed in. Tried to find a place selling electricity cards. All sold out so have to wait until 18:00 for the port authority place to open. Time for a beer and check mail and then back to the boat for a read and a snooze. Off to the supermarket and then hopefully the office selling the electric cards will be open. No, still shut at 18:20 so will have to call them. He arrived about 15 minutes later. €12.72 for the mooring for two night - same price as all the other ports when we've had to pay, and a €30 deposit for the key card, and any unused electricity will be refunded. Just been given a bottle of white wine. The owners of the 3m draft yacht has just handed this over as a 'thank you' for allowing them to have 'my' mooring spot. That'll go nicely with tonight's meal. Better get it chilled. Kept the wine and went over the road and had a beer instead, getting hold of their internet password as I can pick it up from my boat. A further beer on board and then bed.
The church bells were sounding again at 06:00 but managed to stay in bed until after 07:00. Not a busy day planned, a leisurely breakfast of an orange and cup of tea. A bit of reading before walking round the shops to get some shoes for Helen. Managed to find a pair that she likes. Also bought a connector to join two hosepipes together and 1.3m of LED lighting on a strip. Helen decided that she needed lights pointing vertically as well as horizontally, so now all I've got to do is find some way of attaching it to the Bimini. Met a couple in the chandlers who will be coming back to our boat at 18:00 for information regarding boat storage in the area. They live in Dartmouth and have been sailing round Turkey and the Dodecanese. After supper put the light strip up, looks like a nightclub - not that I frequent them. A couple of beers and watching the main strip come alive after 21:00, everyone, from young to old are out. Too much for me I'm off to bed!
A bit of a blowy night last night. Winds got up to (gusting) 23kts. Anchor held and squeezed in between two other boats, we weren't going to move far. Up with the church bells, just after 07:00. Cleaned out the engine bilge, checked emails and put the kettle on. Paid the electric man and returned the key, €4.80 for two days so cheapest yet. Bought some more water as down to six bottles! Decided to stay another night as it looks as though the weather is going to blow up. Went to find some better fixings for the LED lights as last night they fell down twice. Bought some shackles as these appear to be doing the job. Got the bikes out and went for a ride. Came back to see that the F1 was on in the bar over the road so went to see this and have a couple of beers. Hamilton blew it by changing tyres when the safety car came out. Have just been squeezed in by a Greek super yacht, trying to get a quart into a pint pot. His lackies wanted me to move but I was not going to be intimidated by this person. Not sure if I can get out in the morning without some problems but we shall see.
Another blustery night last night, being woken by the creaking mooring lines of the super yacht moored next to us! Anyway, an excuse not to get up before 08:00. Paid the port authority for the night, €6.36 plus another couple of euros for the electricity. Just waiting for the yacht on our port side to leave first because I'm sure the wind will blow us on to their chain if I go before them. Time for another cup of tea. Set off at 10:20 only to find that the anchor windlass wasn't working. Mooring lines put back on the cleats and remote found. This worked so we set off again. Anchor raised we headed for Perdika. Wind with so out with the headsail and off we sped. Arrived to find a charter yacht had pulled up not only his chain but a couple of others. We had to circle round for at least 40 minutes until they had freed it. Every thing ready I headed in. By the time I was at the pontoon a couple of people had come out to help tie off the lines. Boat sorted, I then found out that only 9m of chain had been laid. Not enough, especially as the wind was blowing us back onto the pontoon. Helen stayed on the pontoon, raising the anchor while I remained on the boat to take her further out to set down more chain. Now over 25m were laid. Should be sufficient. A cup of tea and then a walk. If anyone is in need of a very quiet relaxing place to stay this is it. Idyllic. Some ice, as no shore power, and beers bought it was back to the boat. Need to visit a bar later to get wifi connection as I have to check the wiring of the electric windlass. Contacted Andreas instead and he confirmed my wiring thoughts. Wired up, checked, swopped over two wires as it was going down when it should be raising the anchor, checked again and all fine. However, still need to visit a bar to check the weather for tomorrow. If we leave earlier then we should benefit from the wind. Called in to a couple of bars, first one had wifi but not working, second one did. Off to mainland Greece tomorrow, AK Sounion, where the Temple of Poseidon is situated. Early night called for.
Up at 06:15. Washed, kettle on, and off to the Famous Grouse cafe to check emails / weather again. No changes to the weather from last night. Got the boat prepared for leaving whilst Helen was having breakfast. Thought I might have to go for a swim when raising the anchor as lots of chains could be seen on the seabed. Not required, anchor windlass still not working properly. Goes down but not up. Back to the remote. Just as well I bought this! Left Perdika at 08:00 and headed for AK Sounion. Sails out and good speed but didn't last too long, a couple of hours before wind speed was down to least than 4kts. Engine on again. Got to AK Sounion just before 14:00. Bearings taken and seem to be holding two hours later. Staying on board tonight as all amenities appear too far, and also can't be bothered to get the tender and outboard engine set up. Another early night then. Rain, thunder and lightning bringing with them confused seas.
Tossing and turning all night long, and that was just the boat! Pitching and rolling, you would pay a fortune at Thorpe Park for that, and all it cost me was a good nights sleep. Up at 06:10 to get an early start. Bearings checked and all held well during the night. Anchor up by 06:50 and we set off for Kithnos, a journey of 26nm, with winds currently against. Plenty of commercial ships and ferries around but not many sail boats. Mind you, it is still early in the morning and people are on holiday. A pleasant crossing of just over five hours and moored up on the outer wall of Lutron harbour. Small, quaint with a few fishing boats. Will need to visit the taverna later this evening to post this. Until then, some more reading, another Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment, and maybe some zzzzzz's. Had both and then went for a swim close to where they have a hot spring going into the water. Lovely. Got chatting to someone with a 50ft. motor yacht from Cheltenham. Very friendly and has provided me with the password for the wifi from the local taverna. Might scupper my chance of a beer later!
A peaceful night compared to the previous night, so actually had a lie in. After showering, Helen informed me that the two British boats next to us had gone inside the marina as the weather was going to worsen, and wanted us to do the same. Mooring lines taken in, passerelle raised, generator started, we raised the anchor and reversed into the inner section of the marina. Anchor dropped, we were assisted by the same Brits who got in before us. Clothes washing done they were hung out to dry. Bikes taken out of the spare cabin, time for a ride to the next town for provisions, about 5km away. We had got about 80% there but the hills were too much for someone, so we turned around and went back. Called in to the local shop and paid over €18 for a chicken, six eggs, a pack of water, a pack of nuts, a pack of mini sausages and four bananas. Expensive to say the least. Had to bring the washing in as it started raining and the winds, as forecast began to pick up. Found some old sun blinds and made a windbreaker out of them by stretching them across the stern of the boat, using the framework of the solar panel gantry. Only problem, blocked the exit to the passerelle! Rain stopped and the winds have died down, but we are going to stay another night as winds (meltemi) returning tomorrow with wind against waves. Should be better on Saturday so will be heading east for the island of Siros.
Another lie in! I'm missing the church bells to wake me up. Weather is poor, raining and cold. This can't be right for Greece? Not a lot to do inside the boat in these conditions except check emails and read. Confirmed berthing requirements for end of June at Olympic Marine in Lavrion, a bit more shopping and Sunday roast on a Friday. Put another spring line on to move the boat away from a blow hole in the wall as the water was gushing over the swim platform into the cockpit. Another quiet evening.
Up before 08:00 and began to prepare boat for leaving the mooring to head off for Syros. Planned route on the chart plotter, springs and shore power cable taken on board and anchor strop removed. Chatted with a couple of neighbours regarding our and their moves before topping up the stern water tank, starting the engine and generator. Set off at 09:15. Wind from the beam but waves going against, which was different to predicted forecast. Anyway, good progress made and we entered Syros Marina just before 13:00. Directed to a mooring spot by the harbour master but he and his partner both walked off as I approached the quay. I thought they might wait, catch our lines and pass them back. Not very helpful. Luckily there was a Brit on had to assist. Went to the office to pay but obviously Greek lunchtime. They'll be back after 18:00! Have decided to spend another day on the island and to explore it by scooter. Helen on the back of a bike for the first time in nearly 25 years!
Another peaceful nights sleep. What bliss. They describe Syros as one of those islands that people just sail by on their way to the next bigger island, Mykinos. Suits me if it remains this quiet. Got ready to set off to explore Syros by scooter, heading into the other Marina, Ermoupolis. Much larger than Finikas, where all the super and mega yachts moor, with the odd yacht of my size moored there. Very busy and noisy with many cafes and restaurants lining the waterfront. Had a good look around before buying a cheap pair of deck shoes and then having a drink in one of the waterfront cafes. Bought a card and posted it for mums birthday next week. Should arrive in time. Back on the scooter to go up the windy hill to Ano Syros. Fantastic views from here, overlooking the bay. As it was Sunday, popped in to a couple of churches, one an extremely small cathedral, the other built around the 6th. century. Back on the bike and off to the beach of Gallisas for a swim and the beach near the naval harbour at Posidhonia for a spot of soaking up the sun. I had to return the scooter by 18:00 so I dropped Helen off back at the boat before taking the scooter to the rental shop. A good day out. The French, moored next to us in the marina! Decided to leave and head off somewhere. But in doing so they took up our anchor chain with theirs and caused havoc as they left. Rather concerned that when they lifted my chain it had reduced the holding capacity as I had to take in quite a bit of slack. Other than that a quiet evening again and an early night.
Our intention was to head off to Mykinos, leaving about 09:00. Having reduced the amount of anchor chain that was laid out my concern was that I would be blown side wards onto the yacht next to me as we lifted our anchor. I could see a laid mooring line in the water so I used this to pull us away from the yacht, so when we left I would have a bit of room to manoeuvre just in case. All mooring lines prepared for leaving I went to start the engine. It wouldn't. Put 20 litres of diesel in the tank, thought I had bled the system and tried it again. Still no joy. Could think of anything else to do so went up to the harbour master to get him to call out a marine engineer. He said he would come and look at it but had to wait until the other yachts had left. That was over an hour ago and still waiting. Looks like it's going to be another night here? What a star this harbour master is. I think he had forgotten about my problems but when I caught him as he was passing by he came on board and showed me properly how to purge the air out of the system. No19 spanner on the fine fuel filter first and use the lift pump to get the diesel flowing though. Then open each of the injectors with a No17 spanner and turn the engine over to get fuel running through these to the engine. After about five minutes all was well again. I had filled up the diesel tank last October so I can't understand why there should be air in the system or the tank empty. Will put another 40 litres in before I leave and then fill up everything once we're in Mykinos. So it is going to be another night here, which isn't a problem as it's so peaceful with a beautiful outlook. A quick trip to the supermarket to buy some provisions and a bottle of wine for the harbour master. During the course of the afternoon we assisted other yachties to moor up by catching the lines. Someone tried to come into the inner harbour, proceeded to get all caught up, tripping over our anchor chain and others, and then came side on to all the yachts as he tried to get out of the mess. (I know what that's like from personal experience!) Keep checking the weather forecast as the winds are picking up even more and the next five days gusting up to 30kts! Looks like we are staying, at least for a few days until the winds (meltemi) calms down.
Another peaceful night. Quite a few yachts are leaving this morning. I suppose if they are on a charter boat then they will want to see something other than Syros during their weeks holiday. Me, I'm quite content having a lazy time here, although I have done my washing and hung it out to dry. We've decided to go for a bike ride along the coast so bikes have taken out of the spare cabin, assembled, ready to go riding. We were going to have a drink on our return journey but all the tavernas seem to be closed, well at least the two we ventured into. Back on the marina lots of people were watching an octopus crawling along the wall. Then someone brought out their fishing line and within seconds had caught it. Supper for that boat tonight. Have just paid the harbour master for another three nights here. Will hire that lovely scooter again on Thursday and get a ferry to Mykinos and hopefully a water taxi to explore Delos. The marina is full to overflowing tonight. Plenty of yachts started coming in early, and have received reports from sailors coming here from Mykinos and Tinos of wind speeds between 37 and 44kts. Just as well we didn't leave for Mykinos this morning!
All the keen sailors are getting an early start this morning, some leaving before 08:00. Others, the party animals, are clearing away their empties before they go. Got the hoover out to give the boat a good clean, inside and out. Wind speed has picked up and is now pushing us back on the wall. Thankfully the laid mooring line is holding, but I decided to start the engine, put her in forward and give us a bit more clearance at the stern whilst tightening up the line. Anchor not doing much use as there's only 15m out and it's been lifted twice since we've been here. Scooter booked for 09:00 tomorrow so we can catch the ferry to Mykinos. A bit of a lazy day, a walk to the supermarket is probably the most exercise I've done. Sanded down the entrance to the companion way and have given the wood a good soaking of teak oil. Will need to have at least two further coats. Bikes brought back on the boat. Managed to find a free VPN app so Helen can watch the Murray v Ferrer match.
Up early as expecting to get the bike for 09:00. However, Greek time meant he got to the marina just before 09:30. No rush then! Better little scooter than the last one with a bit more power. Went back to the marina to pick up Helen before heading to Hermioupolis. Bought the tickets for our cruise to Mykinos via Tinos. Return fare for two, €46. Not too bad. As we were early, time for a cup of hot chocolate before catching the ferry at 11:30. Arrived at the new port in Mykinos just after 12:30 and caught the water bus to the old port and town. Intended to take a trip to Delos but the next boat to Delos was at 17:00 and our cruise ship back to Syros left at 18:20. Another time. So we ambled through the many backstreets of Mykinos, covering the same route more than once before settling down for lunch at a local taverna. Mykinos town has all the tourists shops but also many of the high end shops such as Gucci and Prada, etc, so there must be money coming into the island. Shirley Valentine was filmed here but I think it's lost some of its sparkle between then and now. Back on Syros we returned to the boat, and with three 20 litre+ Jerry cans strapped to the scooter I took the bike back to the hire shop. 70+ litres of diesel purchased the hire shop drove me and my fuel back to the marina. An excellent result. Route plotted for tomorrow. Heading to Naxos, a journey of 30nm. Hopefully the wind should push us along at a fair rate of knots.
Just when you think everything is fine some problem raises its head. We were going to leave for Naxos this morning. Went to start the engine and it was proving difficult to fire up. Obviously not wanting to have this problem out at sea when approaching a marina I've asked the harbour master to call a diesel engineer to look at it. 11:30. Have noticed a Volvo Penta mechanic working on a boat just down from mine and have left a note on his car. 11:45. Someone came on board to sort out the problem. Seems to think it could be the battery is too weak, but it's a brand new one fitted this year! Wind has picked up again, gusting at around 30 kts. Not predicted to get this high! Another engineer came on board. He bled the system again, (not sure why there should be air in it?) and the engine fired up. He suspects that the glow plugs are not functioning and will call an electrician to check if they are. He wouldn't accept payment as he said he didn't do anything! The same engineer called me back later that afternoon to let me know that the electrician will be with me tomorrow morning. Another very helpful person. The afternoon was spent helping to tie up yachts as they came in. The evening was spent trying to find a free VPN for my laptop as the Finnish couple on their yacht want to see the women's tennis final and watching it on my iPad isn't the best way to see it. Plenty about but none that actually worked (for me!)
The electrician arrived very early this morning, just after 08:00. Tested the engine battery. That was fine. I managed to start the engine for him and he then looked at the glow plugs. After cutting through the wire and putting a meter on the end he could see power was getting to the plugs. He then took out each of the plugs and tested these on his meter. All failed. He then removed the relay and tested that. It also failed. He didn't have the parts in his shop but might find them in Hermioupolis. If not they will have to come from Athens and that might not be until Monday at the earliest. Never mind a few more days here won't hurt. The super yacht that arrived last night left, picking up the Aussie's anchor as it raised theirs. They then had to reset their anchor again, but when they went out to do it they lifted the anchor of the Finns next to them. All this in a very strong F7 wind! The harbour master came round to secure those boats that had been left unattended and gave additional lines to those with skippers on. The electrician returned, fitted the glow plugs and relay, checked the wiring and asked me to start the engine. It did, as sweetly as it did before the problem. Cost for the glow plugs, relay and work, €160. Great, we can now move on - once the meltemi has died down. My weather forecasts didn't show this so, again, had we left, the seas could have been quite rough, although are heading in the direction of both wind and waves. The Finns came on board to see the Murray match but there were problems with the Internet connection and the VPN on the laptop so in the end we resorted to looking at it on the iPad! I think they left a little disappointed but later I managed to get all working and watched the ladies final on the laptop. Later that evening I tried to get the F1 qualifying on both the iPad and laptop. I think so many were accessing the Internet at the time I had an extremely weak signal and saw the last 2 minutes of it!
The Aussie's left this morning for Kythnos. Weather beautiful, winds have died right down and sun is beaming. Not perfect sailing weather but great for topping up the tan. Started the engine just to confirm all was well and we can leave tomorrow. Boarded the Finns boat with my laptop. They have a TV screen on theirs and wondered whether I could connect the laptop to their TV and run the tennis through that set up. It worked and I left them watching live TT motorcycle racing. Will return later this afternoon to watch the men's final. Chatted to someone fishing close to our yacht. He is a PE teacher for secondary students. He was telling me that his salary had gone down from €5000 per month to €1000 per month since the start of the Greek economic problems. He still managed to be cheerful. I hope he's able to catch something for his supper! Back on the Finn's boat to watch the men's final. All went well to begin with but then, because of the weak signal and / or bandwidth, there was a lot of buffering which means sitting for minutes waiting for it to start up again. The result of all of this was that we got to the point where Wawrinka was serving for the game at 40 - 30, more buffering, missed the next bit of play but saw the score was deuce, more buffering, and when it came back on again, Wawrinka was walking off the court! We had decided that for the F1 Grand Prix we would go to a bar and watch it there, which we did. Live but with no audio. Had there been sound it would probably have been in Greek! Two good wins, Wawrinka and Hamilton.
Lovely morning, up at 07:00 as we had a long journey to get to Naxos before all the other yachts make it to the marina and there are no spaces available. Said our goodbyes to the Finns, who were setting off for Kythnos. All the additional mooring lines that I had set out were taking in. Next problem was the anchor as our chain was under someone else's. I had to edge our boat out from the pontoon, whilst ensuring that I didn't lose the stern in what wind there was. Up and down the yacht, metre by metre until the anchor was at a point where it was just under the other chain. Fortunately I managed to free her without having to go for a swim. Off for Naxos. Weather forecast had indicated winds and waves to be in our favour and both travelling in the same direction, more or less. That was the case for the first hour and then the wave direction turned and were hitting us broadside. Helen was not amused. She wanted me to alter course, to go more with the waves. Now heading for Sifnos. After about 30 minutes the wave direction changed again. Another altered course, this time for Paros! It was a bumpy old journey, things falling off the shelves and crashing on the floor, but after another four hours we finally made it in to Paros, in the marina, moored up ready to explore the town. We found the last remaining space inside the marina. Provisions from the supermarket, another pair of beach shoes for Helen and a visit to the local cafe to check emails. Drinks bought, wifi not functioning. Back on the boat waiting for the meter man to come round so we can get some power for the boat. Until then, back to the books. Update on these, finished Dostoyevsky's 'Crime and Punishment and also Pasternak's 'Dr. Zhivago, and now back to Dostoyevsky's 'The Idiot'. I think that must be me for reading it! A large catamaran has just moored up on the end of the quay, causing problems for me, as our two sterns are very close to each other's, and another yacht that was forced to move one of his mooring lines. Let's hope the wind direction doesn't change during the night. Have paid for two nights electric so will explore the island tomorrow. No charge for the mooring. Excellent.
A relaxed start to the day. No need for any rushing around as we are staying here for another night. Washing taken care of and hung up, Bimini windows cleaned to get rid of the salt spray on them and then a rest for an hour before heading off for a walk around the town. First stop the ancient (8th C. BC - 4th C AD) cemetery were 140 Warriors were found buried, a look inside the local churches, a browse along the back lanes of shops before calling into the chandlers to see if they had any gas bottles left. None for the next two days. Visited the next chandlers, they are expecting some in later today. Whilst there bought some plastic clips and elasticated chord to tie on to the ends of the fenders, so when they are brought in they can just be clipped to the guard rails. A quick trip to the cafe / bar to check out the Internet before back to the boat. A bit more reading, another trip to the supermarket and back on board for the night.
Up just after 07:00, kettle on for a cup of tea. Chart plotter switched on to set the course for Sifnos. Off to the chandlers to see if they had any gas in and to buy some more bungee chord for the remaining fenders. No gas, but at least we have a spare full one. Left Paros at 09:50 for Sifnos. A small amount of wind, in our favour, so both sails set. A pretty uneventful crossing, a few boat seen but nothing passing close by in either direction. We were aiming to anchor in a bay 'Ayios Yeoryios' but once we got there and dropped the anchor it failed to dig in, too much weed, and, as we were the only yacht there, I decided that we would lift the anchor and head further south to Kamares, another 3nm. Managed to moor up by the quay, stern to, just waiting for the man with the key to the electric and water to come by. In the meantime we've had a short walk around the place, a delightful little bay with a lovely beach. Looks like we could spend several days here, especially as the wind is due to pick up by the weekend. Just met up with the electricity man. €5 per night but if we stay here long he will make it €3. We will stay here long!
Decision made to stay here for about five days, until the forecast high winds have died down, there was no need to get up early. On deck by 08:00 with a cup of tea. Met the water man and filled up the stern tank. Told me I had put 85 litres of water in, which was about right. Cost €1, a bargain. The Brits next to us we leaving, heading for Paros. As they moved out they picked up our anchor chain. What is it with helmsmen not being able to lay their anchor in a straight line? (Better not say too much just in case I do it one day). Anyway, the tangle that they got in I decided to don the swimming trunks, put on the flippers and jump in to help them. My swim had come much sooner than I had expected. Anchor free from their chain, I wished them a safe journey to Paros, swam back to my boat and dried out. Hopefully our anchor will hold good despite it being lifted. An hour or so later we headed for the beach for a proper swim and a bit of sunshine. Lovely hot day, however, the wind started picking up so we headed for the local bar for a drink. Back on the boat we had 'lunch' for the first time this holiday, albeit at three in the afternoon. A walk to the local motorbike hire shop to sort out our transport for the next two days and then called into the ferry booking office. Earlier we had spoken to the ticket agent about catching a ferry to Santorini, telling us the times of the ferries. When I went to book the tickets it turned out that the times he gave were departure times from Sifnos and not departure and return times, so no trip to Santorini this time. A couple more boats came in and one moored up beside us, dropping its anchor at an angle over my chain. Typical Americans (from California) they said it isn't a problem! Maybe not for them but it will be for me if, as they take in their chain, they begin to drag mine back with them.
We must be spending too long in one place. Got up this morning and immediately did my washing and hung it out to dry! All but one other yacht and ourselves are left in the marina. Thankfully when the Americans left they did not pull on my anchor, a relief. Another sunny start to the day with only the odd cloud in the sky. Have picked up the scooter for our use for the next two days. Forgot to get a map but we can pop back to the hire shop when we pick up a second helmet to see if they have one. Their map was an outline of the island with the 'major' roads identified, nothing else. At least there were some signposts that had the towns in both Greek and English so we were able to get to where we wanted. First stop, the medieval town of Kastro and a walk around the walled town and a visit to the museum. A drink in the cafe before heading to the capital, Apollonia. For the capital there was very little see. Off to look at the anchorage and bay of Vathi. When we got there we met up with Roger and Kat and helped them to moor up on the wall and had a cold drink with them. They must be following us from island to island because we assisted them in Syros and Paros! Leaving them we returned to the boat. The winds were gusting and pushing the boat towards the quay. The options were to; dive in and see if I could attach a line to a concrete block I could see in the water about four metres ahead of us in a depth of 5 metres. Put on the diving gear and do the same or reset the anchor. I took the simplest option and dived down to the block with my line, pushed it through the ring and attempted to bring it back to the boat. Problem, the rope was too short. Another rope was used and success this time. The wind is still gusting but we are not getting pushed anywhere close to the wall.
Up a couple of times during the night to stop the squeaking of the ropes at the bow as they tightened and loosened when the boat moved back and forth. Not very successful, the headphones came into use and the music turned up! Another lovely day, the aft tank has been topped up, tea has been made and drunk and now just waiting for Helen to decide when to get up before heading off on the scooter to explore the remaining part of the island. Set off about 11:00 and headed for Faros, considered to be one of the nicest beaches on the island and site of a very old monastery on the headland. A couple of small yachts anchored in the bay and a very large three masted schooner. We could see the monastery and walked across the beach to the far side where we could pick up the footpath along the coast to it. About 45 minutes later we arrived at the monastery. However, had we looked at the basic map we had we could have avoided the walk and taken the scooter by road right up to it! A walk around it and a few photographs we proceeded on our route back, stopping off at the closest restaurant for lunch. An hour later, back on the scooter we headed back to the boat. Scooter returned to the hire shop, a trip to the supermarket for more provisions, solid and liquid, and assisting late comers to moor up. The electric man came on board carrying a bag full of courgettes for us that he had grown. They will go nicely with the chicken that we have just bought for tomorrow. Later that evening a very large Greek registered super yacht came and moored next to us. Not a problem until their smelly diesel generators were left running. The fumes were coming into the cockpit and into the saloon. I had asked (nicely) if they could switch them off but was informed they had to be on to power the lights. The boat was lit up like a Christmas tree, which I pointed out to the captain. No one was benefitting from having all lights on. He conceded, switched some off and switched over to a smaller generator. Still smelly but not as noisy!
Another glorious day. Not yet 10:00 but temperature is over 30 (degrees C). Will do some washing and then go to the beach for a lazy day of swimming. The smelly super yacht has upped anchor and has decided to move on. Nice and quiet now. Dostoevsky"s 'The Idiot' has been finished. Thought about starting the authors of French classics, but have decided to start 'I Robot' by Isaac Asimov. (One person should know the significance of reading this book). Walked down to the beach and took my snorkle and flippers. Waste of time really as nothing to see. Nice safe beach and a good swim. Returned to the boat mid afternoon and started preparing the evening meal. Decided to roast the courgettes along with the chicken. Very tasty courgettes, pity I couldn't say the same about the chicken. Very busy this evening with boats trying to moor up. All spaces taken and those that stayed had to anchor in the bay.
Off to Serifos today. Only a short journey so no need to rush about. By the time we were ready to leave all the other boats bar one had gone. Water and electricity paid for, €20 for five nights, so I gave him €25 as he supplied the lovely courgettes. Went to start the engine and guess what, it wouldn't. Went through all the usual procedures, bled the system again, still wouldn't go. Checked the fuel, nearly a full tank. Nothing else for it but to call out an engineer. Spoke to my friendly meter man and he call up someone. Won't be able to get here until after midday. Not a problem. Cleaned the outside of the boat and gave the cockpit a thorough clean as there was an accumulation of sand and grit building up. Started to dry out the bilges but no sooner had I taken the companionway steps away for access to the engine bilge when the engineer arrived. He checked the engine when I turned it over on the starter motor, bled a pipe near the injector pump, squirted some 'easy start' in the air intake and took readings from the battery and the glow plugs. Must have spent no more than 15 minutes with me and charged me €60. The engine starts but I am not convinced he has done anything to resolve the problem. Not good value for money but at least we will be able to move on tomorrow, hopefully. Roger and Kat have arrived and have moored up beside us. As we were chatting away Roger mentioned that his tri-colour light at the top of his mast was loose and likely to come down. I offered to go up the mast, in the bosun' chair to try and sort out the problem. We must have spent the best part of five hours trying to fix the problem, but as always, more problems appeared. First time up the mast I couldn't get high enough to reach the light. Back down again we decided to use the topping lift halyard. When we tried to release it we noticed that it was caught stuck fast at the top of the mast and couldn't be freed. (Second problem). Next suggestion was to use the Genoa halyard. The head sail was taken down to free the halyard and when I started going up the mast the second time we noticed the halyard twisted and was making it difficult to use. (Third problem) Down I came again, this time back to the spare halyard (the one used the first time). Back up the mast, freed the Genoa halyard. Down again and attached to the Genoa halyard to be winched again. No joy, too difficult still. Back on the spare halyard, up again and the topping lift halyard freed. Still unable to reach the light which was the reason why I went up the mast to begin with, but at least two other problems that they didn't know about have been sorted. Head sail put back on and all back as it was. Given a bottle of wine for my troubles. Building up a bit of a collection! It now 21:09 so I might as well have a drink, I think I deserve it.
Decision made last night to move the boat to a proper Marina so that someone is able to look at the problem regarding starting the engine and can come up with a solution other than squirting 'easy start' up the air intake. That means either going to Olympic Marine, which we have already booked up when Graham and Derek come out, heading back to Kilada where my mechanic is based or Aegina, where the mechanic Roger and Kat recommend. Either way it's going to be in two legs, and dependent on the engine starting of course. Whilst waiting for Helen to get up I finished cleaning the bilges that I had started yesterday. Tried starting the engine at 08:30ish, and eventually it fired into life. Not perfect but at least we can move on. We're off to Kythnos, on the other side of the island that we had visited a few weeks back. This time anchoring in Sand Bar bay. Hopefully, having run the engine all day it should better starting tomorrow. Don't know what to do if it doesn't and the wind is blowing in the wrong direction. Anyway, arrived at the bay at 16:50 and, having dropped the anchor, had to take a long line ashore. Should have planned this beforehand! Tender taken off the boat and put in the water. Didn't put the seat on the tender, nor the outboard so tried to row ashore kneeling down in the tender whilst belaying the long line out from the yacht. Got about 20 metres from the shore and found that the long line wasn't quite long enough. Back to the boat for another length of line and to put the outboard on. Back to the shore this time a lot quicker than last time. Managed to turn the stern of the boat around and, with the help of a couple on the beach, found a large enough rock to wrap the line around. Hopefully secure for the night. Bearings take and they are constant for the first two readings. Seems to be holding after three readings now. A quick swim and a visual check on the anchor. Appears to be bedded in well although not in a straight line. Have sent a text message to Olympic Marine to see if they have moorings for the next few nights so that I can get somebody decent to investigate a resolve the engine starting problem. A gold coloured super yacht has arrived in the bay, loud music blaring out of its speakers. American registered with foul mouthed Americans (or one in particular) bringing the peace and quite to a halt. Jet skis and fast tenders pulling an inflatable sofa at the back of it. Thankfully after and hour or so they upped anchor and left to spoil the tranquility of another bay!
The day of reckoning with the engine. It had to happen, it didn't want to start, so tool kit open again and the complete system bled for the umpteenth time. Finally it fired into life, thankfully. Into the tender to bring back on board the long line and the outboard and tender. I had made a decision last night that if I had not had a response from Olympic Marine in the morning then I would take the boat back to Ermioni where I could get my mechanic to check her over. No response so we set course for Ermioni, a distance of 52nm. Weather fine, winds light, occasionally in the right direction. Once out of Sand Bar bay it was the same heading right to the marina at Ermioni, so not a difficult passage, only a long one, time wise. Only point of interest along the passage were the 'leaping fish' seen with the sea birds trying to catch them. Lots of cups of tea later we arrived in Ermioni. On arrival at the mooring spot, next to large catamaran, a couple from Finland came and helped us with our lines, only to be shouted at by the skipper of the catamaran to put my ropes underneath his. Not having this I told the skipper that they were good enough to help, something he didn't offer to do and not to have a go at them as we would adjust them once all tied up. When it came to shore power my cable and that of the cat were not long enough to reach the power box. As it happened the Finnish couple offered us their extension cable so now WE had power but they didn't. The moral of the story is......... An update. Their catamaran was being pushed against the wall so, as good friendly sailors,cue helped them to sort out their problems, and didn't complain that their mooring lines should have been beneath mine as they 'technically' arrived after me!
Rather annoyed last night. Received two text messages from my mechanic at 22:00 saying that he wasn't able to get to Ermioni to come out and sort out my engine problem and could I bring the boat to Kilada. One reason he gave was that it was too far. From Kilada to Ermioni by car it's 10 minutes max. By boat from Ermioni to Kilada five hours! Had I know earlier I would have come straight here. Need to remember not to go on the outside wall. Last time it damaged the stanchion and guardrail wires. This time the surge was pushing the boat back and forth, getting closer and closer to the quay. Only precautions taken were to put out two stern fenders and rubber springs on the mooring lines. They helped. Woken up at 06:15 by someone walking along the roof of the boat. Looked out from my hatch and could see the boat next to us has lost its stern line and had drifted across my anchor chain. The other chap tried to raise the owner of the boat who eventually got up to see the problem. His line had slipped undone and all that needed to be done was to throw it to me when I was on the dock, pull the stern in and re-tie it. Job done. Next job was to bleed the fuel system. Once this was done I tried to start the engine but it wouldn't. Bled the system a second time and still no good. I was anxious to move from the mooring because the swell was getting worse. No other option but to try and buy some easy start from somewhere and give that a go. Third shop, a supermarket had a can. Back to the boat, system bled again, a squirt up the air intake and she started. Roll of electric cable returned and thanked them for its use, generator started to help with lifting the anchor, lines taken up we moved off without further ado, heading for Kilada. Enroute we saw a seal, quite rare in these waters, and a turtle, quite common in Kilada.vtried to tie up to a mooring buoy but after the third attempt and dropping a boat hook into the water we decided to drop the anchor instead. Got here just ahead of the rain. Phoned Dimitris and asked him when he would like to sort out the engine. Initially he said in half an hour but then phoned back to say, as it was raining, he would see me tomorrow, and would like me to get alongside the quay. Understandable if he has his tools with him. Not a great deal to do on a boat when it's at anchor, so tender put into the water, outboard attached and off to land to buy some petrol and gas. After supper it was back in the tender to visit the local for a quick drink and to check emails.
A peaceful night in bay. This morning Dimitris is coming to look at the fuel problems. In preparation for his phone call all fenders moved to the starboard side, tender to the port side and, once again, the fuel system bled and a squirt of 'easy start' to get the engine running. It works. Had to go side on to one of the yachts but he had his outboard engine attached to his tender and it was too difficult to bring the boat alongside. Next attempt was to go alongside an old fishing vessel. This wasn't a problem, only getting on and off the shore is, as we need to clamber across the decks of two fishing boats and then a drop of about three feet to the shore. Not too bad getting off but I think I will need to find a wooden box for Helen to step up on when we get back on to our boat! With Dimitris checking out the fuel system and another turtle swimming in the bay, there isn't much other going on for the time being. One frayed fuel line has been replaced, system bled and the engine started without any problem. However, as the engine is still warm from this morning the problem still might not be fixed. I will leave it now until tomorrow morning and try it then. Dimitris did say he put the old fuel line under pressure and could see some bubbles coming out. I've finished reading I Robot and Forward the Foundation by Isaac Asimov and have found another Russian classic, One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, so have started reading this. A visit to the shops is required to fill up with provisions and an excuse to visit the local to check out the emails. Got one from the Finns, they are in Kilada at this very moment so will meet up with them tomorrow some time. Have been invited for tea tomorrow at 17:00. Lovely, (with a reminder to bring our Earl Grey tea!) another turtle swimming past the stern of the boat, raising its head above the water line as it goes on its merry way.
Today's the day to find out whether the replaced fuel line has solved the starting problem. Well it didn't start under normal starting procedures. Next step to bleed the main fuel filter. Seems fine with little or no air coming out. Still didn't start so resorted to the 'magic' spray and it fired into life. Will keep the engine running for an hour or so to heat it up so we can have some hot water and to have the fridge back on. Have phone Dimitris and he will think about the next route to take and will see me on Monday. The Brits are leaving their mooring spot on the quay at around 13:00 so they are going to let us know when they go so we can take their place. Much better than being rafted alongside two old fishing boats! They gave us a shout just after 11:00 to say they were leaving to anchor in a bay for a spot of swimming. Tender moved from my boat and tied on to the fishing boat, I left Helen on shore (so if no one was around to assist she could catch the ropes) and slipped the mooring lines ready to reverse into the vacated spot. Lined up ready to reverse I asked Helen to drop the anchor, handy these remote control gadgets, and backed into my new berth. As it happens there were two French men willing to assist. Once all the mooring lines had been secured it was time to hook up with electric. Will sort out filling up with water later. A trip to the bakery to buy some cakes for this afternoons tea and meals for the weekend.
Not going to bother about trying to start the engine this morning. No point, I know what will happen so I might as well leave it until Dimitris comes tomorrow morning. Haven't done any washing for several days so that was my first job. Next was to give the top of the boat a good clean. The Finns came along to say good morning after their visit to the mosque. We shall meet up with them later to watch the F1 in the local bar. Finished reading 'One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich' and have started to read 'A Briefer History of Time' by Stephen Hawking. From what I've read so far a very easy to follow and understand book for those who are scientifically challenged. Andy Murray is playing in the Queens tennis semi and Final today so it's off to the other local to watch it on my iPad. As luck would have it, and for the second time on this trip, the Internet connection was lost just as he had reached 6-5 in the second set. Off to the other local, where we were going to meet the Finns, the iPad was connected to the Internet, only to find that, this time he was successful and had made it to the final. F1 time and Terttu and Heiki arrived. A couple of beers later, with Hamilton only able to make second place, we went back to the first bar to see Murray beat Anderson in the final. This time the wifi remained connected. Back to the boat to bring in my washing and supper. Have been invited back to Terttu and Heikki's boat tomorrow for a Finnish equivalent game of Pétanque.
Up during the night as it started to rain and all the hatches were open. Eventually got back to sleep and up again just after 07:00. Dimitris is expected and he's likely to be here around 08:30. Punctual as ever, we tried to start the engine. As per usual it didn't want to go. This time he bled the system. No air coming out which wasn't looking too go as I was expecting there to be some. Now it wasn't going to be a simple fix, like another fuel line or replacement lift pump, it was going to be something more expensive, affecting the compression, like the valves or the piston rings. A squirt of 'easy start' and she fired up. So now a discussion was had as to what to do next. There wouldn't be a problem continuing with our journey, knowing that the engine would start with the 'squirt', and any repairs could be done after the boat is taken out of the water, between July and September. Happy with this we agreed to this solution and we would leave Kilada on Wednesday heading for Olympic Marine, to arrive there by the 28th. If weather is fine this shouldn't be a problem. However, this afternoon we had an almighty thunder and lightening storm. So close that one flash of lightening and clap of thunder were simultaneous and blew out the electric at the meters. Thankfully it was just a case of going across to the cafe (where they sell the meter cards), informing the manager of the issue and he went to the main electricity box in the high street and reset the trip switch. Power back on. Not a lot has been done today. Helen has cleaned the inside of the boat. I've taken the outboard engine off the tender and hooked it up to its bracket on the boat. Filled up the tank with 30l of diesel and finished off reading Stephen Hawkings 'A Briefer History of Time'. Recommended. Now on to Nelson Mandela and 'The Long Walk to Freedom'. Thought I had previously read this when out in South Africa or just prior to going out there?
Trip to Athens today. Taking Terttu and Heikki to the airport. Hire car company are coming to Kilada for 10:00 so need to be outside the boatyard just before this,cgi vine me time to check any emails. Started the engine this morning. No bleeding of the fuel system, just a squirt of easy start, and off she fired. If it remains this way for the next four weeks then that will be great. Hire car came 15 minutes late, after I had to call them. Then on the way to their office in Ermioni the driver got a call on his mobile asking if I didn't mind turning back to Kilada and driving one of their other hire cars back to the office! I should have charged them. Anyway, as it transpires I shall be leaving the car in Kilada tomorrow instead of returning it to Ermioni, so that saves me a bit of time when we plan to leave tomorrow morning. Had a second trip back to Ermioni to provision up for the next three days and to get some more diesel and gas for the boat and petrol for the car. Back on the boat both water tanks were filled up and bikes stored on the deck. Hopefully they have been secured sufficiently to stop them moving around. Just waiting now until 18:00 when we meet the Finns at the boatyard and drive them to the airport, a return trip of about 380km. Returned just before midnight, in time for a beer and then to bed.
Will be sending this early, ie, now, as not sure where we'll be tonight and may not have access to the internet if at anchor. Hire car returned, electric credit put back on the card. If we get to Ermioni (not on the outer wall) I can use it there. Replaced the springs with slip mooring lines ready to go. Passerelle folded away, tender brought back onto the boat and Helen ready to raise the anchor as soon as the word is given. We left Kilada at 09:45 and with some helpful winds arrived at Ermioni just under 4 hours later. I had decided that we would anchor in the bay as this would give us the quickest means of leaving to get to Poros the following day. Anchor dropped, bearings taken, we seem to be holding tight and set for the night. A bit more reading, a clean up of the stern fenders, as they had got very dirty and greasy and a beer or two as a night cap.
It was going to be an early start this morning so up at 06:00 as I wanted to be in Poros before the crowds. Left Helen asleep whilst I prepared getting everything ready for leaving. A quick spray in the air intake and the engine started. Generator running to help lift the anchor and we were away by 06:45. En route to Poros we saw some dolphins, not seen them for a few weeks. Wind assisting we made good time and were in Poros before some of the boats had started to leave. Found a space next to a motor yacht with a British flag. Thought they might come out and help take our lines but they were obviously more keen on their breakfast. As it happened some others arrived to help so all was well. It wasn't too long afterwards when the place started to get busy. We were helping people with their lines and met two British yachts that we had seen previously in Kythnos. Another chartered yacht arrived with four British people on board, a couple I thought I recognised. I asked if they had skied in Whistler, and although they ski said no. The wife did say you might have seen him on TV, he was a contestant on 'Who wants to be a millionaire', and won £16000. I had to say that I didn't recognise him from that programme. Later that evening who should also turn up, and, jokingly, said we didn't help them with their mooring lines, but Roger and Cath, who seem to be following us around! A beer with them and back to our boat for supper. The four British people next to us were leaving their yacht for a few days, two going back to the UK for a wedding, and the other pair looking around the island. They gave us a bag of food, mainly cheeses and dips, which was very nice of them. The following morning they also gave Helen a full bottle of milk, so she was happy as she's not keen on cheese.
Another early start as a long journey to Kea, 42nm. Everything planned for a prompt departure, emails checked, one from Henry and Pia (Swedish couple met in Ermioni) including photos, weather forecast checked, all fine, and we said our goodbyes to our neighbours and set off at 08:45. Caution around the channel between Poros and the mainland as shallow in parts. Once out of the channel and heading for Kea headsail out and making good progress. Forecast wind not accurate and blowing up to 20kts. Waves a bit larger than Helen likes so sail reefed and course changed. Now heading for AK Sounion. Lovely bay looking up to the Temple of Poseidon, arrived and anchor set at 13:15. Bearings taken and will be checked over the course of the next few hours. Busier than last time we were here. Some of these will leave before night sets in. Let's hope that the swell is not as bad as last time! Oh dear, I shouldn't have mentioned swell. We had been at anchor for a few hours and the bearings taken indicated that the anchor was holding fast but, like last time, the boat began to rock from side to side, with Helen complaining "I don't like this". At 17:30 it wasn't the best time to start thinking about moving, and where to? There were only two choices, Lavrion or Olympic Marine. With the anchor raised I headed for Lavrion. A bit further to go but cheaper than Olympic Marine. We arrived inside the marina and I got on the VHF radio to the port authority to request a berth for the night. Despite repeated requests they didn't get back to me. I circled the marina looking for a place to moor but it was full of charter boats. What few places there were, when asked, they replied with an emphatic NO. Not the friendliest of places and one I wouldn't recommend visiting. So off to Olympic Marine. I had already pre booked for the boat to come here from the 28.06.15 through to 04.07.15, so a couple of extra nights ought to be possible. Once at the marina I got onto the radio to the port authority and asked for mooring and they said no problem (not surprising at the prices they charge!) and someone came out in a tender and told me to follow him. Plenty of spaces available, even at 19:45, and we were moored up on a 'finger' pontoon. Waters much calmer inside than at AK Sounion so Helen was happy. Not long afterwards another sailing yacht arrived and moored next to us. The skipper and two crew were from Poland. The crew were going home the following day so they had a bit of a farewell celebration and were up most of the night chatting, quite loudly. Needless to say I didn't hear this, just reported back to me by Helen and a Brit on the other side of us. I was fast asleep....
Well I thought it was a peaceful night but others didn't. Off to the shower block - cold shower. Not a very good start. At 10:00 I went to the office to register my stay here with all of my paperwork, and to complain about the showers. They said they would turn up the heat, so I shall find out tomorrow morning. Complained about the wifi as well. The signal keeps dropping. They said they could do nothing about this. Went across the road to book a hire car for Monday, for four days. I can then collect Graham and Derek from the airport when they come out on Monday and we can use the car to explore Athens and further afield. Next stop the chandlers to purchase some fiddle blocks with clam cleats so that I can organise a method of raising and lowering the Passerelle in a more efficient way. They needed to order them and would be in by Wednesday. No rush then! Bikes taken off the boat, assembled and a trip into Lavrion to get some provisions. Once back on the boat it was a case of chilling out and reading for the rest of the day. Finished reading 'The long walk to Freedom'. Another book that I would thoroughly recommend. Having visited Robben Island my impression was that he was incarcerated here for most of his years, (which he was) and in particular his final years, and it was from here that he was released. This wasn't the case, but I'll let you read why.
I'm informed the neighbours were noisy again. It's surprising what a glass or two of red does to your hearing! Got a lot of cleaning to do today, laundry and the boat. Took the washing to the laundrette and whilst waiting for the cycle to finish we had a drink in the cafe / bar. Lovely view over the marina and bay beyond. Back at the laundrette someone had kindly left some time on the dryer so we thought we'd take the opportunity to try to dry the washing before returning to the boat. After about 30 minutes Helen got bored with waiting so damp washing folded up and hung up back at the boat. The chrome work hadn't been touched for several weeks and was looking the worse for wear so polish and a couple of rags, and several hours later all was done. The washing had dried so this was taken off the line, folded up and dropped through the hatch into my cabin. Next, the inside of the boat. Helen had taken care of all of this apart from the navigation table so this was cleared. The cockpit was hoovered and the mats shaken to get rid of the sand and dust. That's taken care of Sunday so now it's chill out time.
A quiet night, reported back by all persons, so it wasn't just the drink! The previous two mornings the showers had been cold but, as there are few people on the marina I had a lovely hot shower. Hire car booked for 09:00 so got there promptly. After last nights decision by the Greek government to close all banks until after 05.07.15 I had to pay part of the hire costs in cash. Not a problem - at the moment! Picking up Graham and Derek from the airport at 12:00 so left the marina at 11:00. Queues building up at the petrol stations so thought it wish to get some petrol before it's too late. First garage I called at would only accept cash for fuel. Sign of things getting worse? Got to the airport before 12:00 and only had to wait a few minutes before they turned up. Bags loaded into the car and back to the marina. Each shown their cabins and given a run through of a few safety aspects whilst on board and how things function. A trip into Lavrio to get some some food, water and drink and the back to the boat. Provisions packed away it was off to the cafe / bar for Helen to get an update on the tennis and the boys to get a cold one. Whilst in the bar we could see a couple of Dolphins playing by the entrance to the marina. A couple of drinks later it was back to the boat and supper. A bottle of wine followed, one that was kindly given to me in Aegina, which went down nicely. A bit of chatting and then an early night.
An early start to the morning, I'm not too sure why! After breakfast we had a trip to Sounion to visit the temple of Poseidon. Nice little walk around the site that killed a couple of hours. Back on the boat and a cup of tea / coffee before preparing the boat for a trip across the bay. As the wind was blowing the boat onto the pontoon it was necessary for Graham to try to push us away as were moved out of our berth. Out of the marina we got the head sail out and cruised our way towards the island on the other side of the bay before returning. We did this a couple of times so that Graham and Derek could get use to the boat on the water, under sail and to experience what the conditions were like under light breeze. Although the wind and waves were going in opposite directions we were travelling at right angles to them so there was very little rocking movement of the boat as we were sailing. An hour or so later we were back in the marina all tied up. It was Wimbledon time so a visit to the bar (for Helen) was required. Just a beer had and then it was back to the boat. We would return once Murray was under way. Pleased to say that Murray did win his match but unfortunately my VPN is not connecting so unable to see it live. Will keep on trying.
Into our last 'month' of sailing, or more correctly, motor sailing as most of it has been! Another washing clothes session and hanging them up before a trip out to Athens. Called into the office to extend our stay at Olympic Marine by another four days as the weather is getting windier towards the weekend. Asked about their 'best rate' and will call back later to find out what they can offer. All in the car for a day out in Athens. Took the coast road. Very easy drive and much prettier than the autoroutes. Arrived in the centre of Athens around 11:00 and then had to find somewhere to park. Got some underground parking pretty close to the centre so not too much walking! Visited the tomb of the unknown soldier first. Got there exactly at midday, just in time for the changing of the guard. A stroll through the the park and next stop was the 1896 Olympic stadium. Photos taken, off to Hadrians gate and then the Acropolis and finally the Agora. We didn't actually go in any off these except the Agora. Helen and I had seen them all before on our last trip to Athens. Derek and Graham were quite happy to get photos of the sites. An ice cream was had before we returned to the car. We returned along the coast road, passing through a heavy downpour and then stopping several miles ahead of it for a spot of swimming. Whilst out we bought some more provisions and back to the marina. Called in to the office to find out their best rate, 5% discount. Better than nothing. Will get a quote for annual mooring as it might be more convenient here rather than Kilada, especially as we want to explore more islands this side of Athens, to the east and further south. Went to the bar on the marina for some beer and food. Had the beer but no food available. Walked into Lavrio town to seek out the restaurants. First one had nothing Helen liked so moved on to the next one. Plenty of choice on the menu for all to sample, although no hot chocolate for Helen!
It was a walk back from the restaurant last night, accompanied by a dog most of the way back to the marina. A bit of a late rise this morning, after 08:30! After showering went to the office to pay for the extra nights mooring at the marina and to the chandlers to collect the items that I had ordered. The weather was blowing more strongly now so not the best of sailing conditions for Derek and Graham. A ride around the marina, assisting with finishing one of the Sunday Times crosswords that Graham had already started and then it was brunch. Graham and Derek went off to explore whilst I swopped over six air vents (one was broken but it would have looked out of place just doing the one) and putting on a pulley system to raise and lower the Passerelle. Much better now that before. Swimming costume on and off to Lake Vouligmeni, about 50km from the marina. Helen had read up in the 'Best of Athens' guide about the place, a combined sea and fresh water lake heated by a thermal spring, claimed to have healing properties, so it was worth a visit. €9 per person for entry, not cheap, but if you made a day of it it isn't so expensive. Lovely place and plenty of sun loungers, chairs and tables for all. People pay a fortune to have small fish nibble at their feet when they have a pedicure. Here, you have it free. A weird sensation which I tried to avoid. Others were quite content having, not only their feet, but legs and chest attacked! Left at 18:00 and returned to the boat. The winds had calmed down but will return tomorrow and are predicted to be stronger. After supper a visit to the bar was called for and then an early night?
An early start today as I need to return the hire car but also go into town to do some shopping and take Derek and Graham round the bay so that they can take some photos so up at 06:30. Trip to town to buy some provisions. Car dropped off at 09:00 and keys put into their key box as no one on site. Called into the office to find out times of ferries to Kea. Got the times but told need to buy tickets in advance. Another trip into town. This time a walk of 45 minutes to the ferry port. Tickets bought and then into town for an ice cream. More shopping and then back to the boat. A very hot afternoon so a good excuse for a couple of beers. Back to the boat (again) for supper and a further nightcap before retiring for the night.
Another early morning start - 05:50. This time to catch our luxury cruise liner to go to the island of Kea. Winds still very strong during the night, which is quite surprising as they normally calm down after 21:00, and still blowing this morning. Left the marina just after 07:00 to walk to the port of Lavrio. Our ferry departs at 08:30 but we were informed to get there 30 minutes before departure. As it turned out we didn't need to. The crossing is expected to take just over an hour. Arrived just after 09:30 and took a taxi up to the chora, in search of 'the lion of Kea', a 6th. Century BC carving in the rock, somewhere in an olive grove. It was eventually found after asking two locals, a walk in the wrong direction and a drink. Having taken our mandatory photos of it, it was back to the square and a taxi ride back to the port. A short stroll along the beach to build up an appetite for lunch. Beautiful meal of local foods including Kea sausage (a milder form of chorizo) and Amberjack fish, washed down with a couple of beers. Chatting to the restaurant owner and staff he was saying that the Athenians were staying at home ready to vote in the referendum tomorrow and all four we spoke to would vote 'No'. Back on the ferry for our return to Lavrio, a taxi ride to the boat and a couple of beers and a 'nightcap' before bed.
A lazy start to the day but the clothes washing had to be done. One of the crew on a large motor yacht berthed further up the pontoon from me asked if he could borrow my bike to get into town to buy some food. He comes from Zanzibar in Tanzania and is on the boat on his own. How could I say no to him! A trip up to the bar for a drink and to find out if they had a TV hidden somewhere so that we could see the F1. No they didn't, so a bike ride into town for us was called for. The first bar that I went into had a TV and would put the Grand Prix on, so several drinks later and a Hamilton victory we cycled back to the marina. A late lunch / early supper followed with another visit to the bar for a few games of cribbage. Time for bed!
Surprisingly, the wind has dropped quite significantly, which was not forecast. Should be a good day to leave here but we have Graham and Derek still on board and they don't leave until tomorrow. Checking the weather forecast it still shows very strong gusts for tomorrow and Wednesday, which is the day we have got the marina booked up to. We might have to leave tomorrow if we are to avoid the stronger winds coming back from Wednesday through to Friday. We shall see, but I'll keep checking the forecast for any updates. A very lazy day today. Cleaned the bilges and that's about it. A trip to the bar in the afternoon so that Helen could get a better signal for the wifi connection to see how Murray was doing in his fourth round match. Might return later this evening to have another thrashing of crib.
An early morning as our friends Graham and Derek are returning back to the UK. Saw them off at 08:30 when their taxi came to take them to the airport. Decision made to move out of the marina today and head for Poros as it appears that the weather should be better today than tomorrow, which is our final day here. Set off at 09:00 and quite choppy just outside the marina entrance, which was to be expected as the wind funnels it way between the mainland and the island opposite. Once we turn towards Poros at AK Sounion we should be going with both wind and waves which should give flatter seas. Not quite! Initially it was fine but then the wind started to pick up and was gusting up to 30kts. Helen had me turning in all directions to try to find a route which gave a calmer passage, and at one point the only land immediately ahead of me was the island of Crete. Now that's one place I wanted to go to. My course was changed several times and finally, instead of going to Poros we ended back in Ermioni. A much longer passage but the best one for Helen. We went straight to the south side and there were spaces along the harbour wall where we moored up in May. Everything prepared, or so I thought, the anchor was dropped and I reversed back to the wall. There to collect my mooring lines was one of the restaurant owners, but he kept me coming back before he would catch the ropes, resulting in me going back too far and hitting the wall with a jolt. Now I find that I hadn't put out the stern fenders to give that added protection just in case you do hit the wall!!!! Another lesson learnt. No water or electric facilities here so need to be a bit careful, or run the engine occasionally to keep the batteries topped up. Fridge has been switched off and bags of ice purchased to keep things cool. Will probably stay here a few days.
Quite an entertaining night last night. The boat moored next to us has a load of Norwegians on board and they were having a good old sing song. The bottle of scotch that was given to me in May was finished and so it will be back to the beers tonight. A very hot night last night and the temperature at 09:00 this morning is recorded as 40 degrees C. It's going to have to be a swim later this morning. A trip to the supermarket to buy some provisions, some plastic padding or similar to put on the previous bump on the stern and a puncture repair kit for Helens bike. Tried to repair the inner tube but it has far too many holes in it. Cheap Chinese rubbish, need to get a replacement. Next a stroll down to the beach for a lovely cooling swim. Murray is on at 15:00 (Greek time) so off to the bar with a TV screen to see if they have it on. Have got my iPad with me. Not on Eurosport so VPN working and seeing it on the small screen! Two beers and a club sandwich later Murray wins in three straight sets. Can't find anywhere in Ermioni that will sell an inner tube for Helens bike. Not sure where we can one on our route back to Kilada. Could be a noisy night tonight as the remaining yachts moored up next to ours are all crewed by the younger set! We shall see.
For some reason this appears to be missing. Trip back to Kilada, boat lifted out, cleaned and ready for my return in a couple of weeks time for when I take 'Electron' back to the UK to sell her.