I had a great time with Ruth onboard, the small fire leaving Sivota wasn't on the plan at all. I have to wonder how long it would have been before I spotted the smoke. The usual practice for me is to put the autopilot on asap, and get in all fenders and ropes. It doesn't take long, but when you have wiring burning and shorting out, I guess that every second counts!
I was lucky, and as Ruth said, we had a very small stern wind and I managed to nurse Nanjo back to the jetty. It was a one shot deal, and it went perfectly. When Ruth mentioned that we had no engine to the guy taking our bow lines, his reply was that "he had screwed up badly coming in under engine, and maybe he should turn it off next time". The wiring had shorted out along it's entire length, from the control panel and back to the alternator. The culprit was the twat who decided that it would be a good idea to hide the wiring behind an overhead panel, held on with nine screws. But to pass the wiring behind the panel, he had cut off the Yanmar connectors, pushed the wiring through, and then used a bunch of chocolate box connectors to join it all back together again. It could have been done a long time ago, but eventually the thick positive cable connector had chaffed through it's nearest neighbor and caused the short and small fire. The pictures show the problem. It took me a few hours to splice in a spare piece of wire I had in my "wire bag" and connect it all up. The engine ran, but I had no tacho or engine warning lights working.
Because of Ruths flight in a couple of days from Sami, we headed of straight away for Vathi on Ithaca, to help break up the trip back. We had a very choppy trip over from Lefkas to Vathi, but once in the lee of Ithaca things calmed down a bit. We were soon tied up, bow on in Vathi, and having a beer. I had been checking on the wiring every 30mins and it was all cool and no sign of any problems. We had a lovely meal in town, and I went to bed thinking I had sorted the problem!
We had planned to leave early, so we could make maximum use of the hire car I had booked. Pushing the engine start, produced absolutely nothing at all. A quick check of the main 30amp fuse and it had blown (I should have realised something wasn't right then). Replacing the fuse and pushing the button in again, well, the start button broke!! At this time I'm beginnining to think "What next". I hot wired the starter, by using the old screwdriver trick, it got the Yanmar running and we left Vathi only an hour later than planned. We motored all the way to Sami and made really good time, on the way, I kept noticing my battery monitor would sometimes not show a charge, meaning the alternator wasn't working correctly! We tied up in Sami easily enough with plenty of space available. The rest of that day was spent touring around Kefalonia with Ruth, it's a gorgeous island and we visited some lovely places. After dropping her off at the airport, I managed to get lost twice on my way back to Sami in the dark. The next day i spent washing clothes and filling Nanjos water tanks. Trying to buy some wire and connectors was a fruitless task, it's a ferry port and I couldn't find a thing. My only option was to sail straight back to Vlicho, where I could get everything I needed to repair Nanjo.
I left in the morning at 06:45 after hot starting the engine again, I was rewarded with a gorgeous sunrise. The pictures just don't do it justice, it was one of those magic moments, when leaving a harbour early and seeing the sunrise, just makes you feel alive at the birth of a new day. I dropped anchor in Vlicho at 14:00 and only managed to motorsail for a little while. The engine ran faultlessly and the wiring seemed okay. It was time to sort Nanjo out, I ordered a new center harness, start button and the oil pressure sender. I went to collect them from CYS in Lefkada on the Monday, and dropped off my alternator to the repair guy in Nidri on the way back to Vlicho. The wiring was a straight connect job, but I didn't want it running under any screwed down panels, so it's now in plastic split tube and visible. It doesn't look so smart, but I never want to go through the panic of feeling a fibreglass panel red hot with smoke coming from behind it again! I went back the next day to collect the alternator, and as expected, it was toast. The coils and regulator had burnt out and it was uneconomical to repair. The cost of a replacement genuine Yanmar part, nearly made me collapse. Luckily, the repair guy suggested an alternative, it's what everybody opts for he said. The alternator from a Nissan Sunny 60 or 720 is a direct replacement, and even made by Hitachi who make the Yanmar part. It's not marine quality, spark proof or painted grey. But it was less than a third of the price of the Yanmar part, so I ordered one. Back onboard Nanjo, I'm tidying up the wiring and checking things over, I had no power at all at the start button, no alarm or lights. I assumed that it was because the alternator plugs weren't connected. A phone call later in the afternoon from the alternator guy, and he's got one, and for an extra 10 euros will deliver it to me at anchor. I couldn't say Yes Please quick enough. It saved me a walk in the morning, and meant I could complete the job. He arrived shortly after in a rib, with a box containing my shiny alternator. It was a two minute job to fit it and connect it up. I can't tell you just how pleased I was when I went to push that start button. And nothing happened, no beeps, no lights and no starting engine. I was absolutely gutted and confused, a quick check of the wiring diagram, and it was all in order, out with the multi-meter and it showed no power getting passed the main fuse. It looked in perfect condition, no sign of it having blown. Popping in a new fuse, and I'm greeted with a warning buzzer, lights on my panel and a push of the starter button and the Yanmar bursting into life. The sense of relief was immeadiate, I could have hugged Nanjo, but settled for patting her on the side of the cockpit, where she always gets a pat, after a great sail or trip. The next few hours were spent trying the instrument panel off and on, my neighboring yachts must have wondered why they kept hearing the engine buzzer and her starting up. Anybody who has had engine trouble, will know that it's a great sound when it fires up. I made a big dinner and went to bed early, to be honest, I had the best sleep I've had since the trouble started in Sivota. The relief was amazing.
Lessons learned: I guess, i will always be thinking of an "out" plan now when entering or leaving harbours, if it ever happens again. I'm fitting a fire extinguisher in the cockpit locker, my others are in my back cabin,saloon and bow cabin. If it had been a bad fire I probably couldn't get to them. Regarding the duff fuse, always check the obvious first.
It's now Friday 11th September, I've been running the engine and checking the electrics each day, and am happy with the repair job I've done. I'm leaving Vlicho on Sunday to sail back to Sami. To pick up three friends for a weeks sailing, it's going to be a week of laughs and booze I'm sure. I would be more than happy to write the next blog and just say it all went to plan, but Nanjos a 30 year old yacht and the sea can have it's own ideas of how my week will go. As they say in the press "Watch this space".
Thursday August 27th- leaving a very cold wet uk ,arrived in Argostoli Airport on Kefalonia.at 10pm.
Waiting in the airport was Jim with a placard with my name welcoming me to Jimbo-s adventures, little did I know at the time what an adventure it would be! I've been on and off boats a lot of my life but not slept on-board and littler experience of sailing.
Drove across to Sami where Nanjo was moored and a welcome nights sleep after travelling.
Friday after a leisurely breakfast we set off along the Ithaca channel? But first safety checks, and my first challenge-man overboard drill-if Jim fell overboard I needed to know how to turn the boat and pick him up, so over went a fender ! think I had a couple of tries and managed to rescue the fender!
After a couple of hours, partly sailing,,seeing two Dolphins magic, ,we moored in Perapigadi Bay on Ithaca for a swim then lunch, a wonderful greek salad prepared by Jim,beers and squash.
Set off again towards,Vathi to moor and stay the night,sat in a taverna overlooking the bay to have our evening meal.
Saturday.After breakfast set of again managed to have the sail up for a while-heading towards Spartochori, stopping off for swim and salad lunch in Desimou bay. Spartachori a delightful place to stop .We walked up the hillside to look over the bay before we came back for a meal in the taverna , the taverna/moorings owned by Jerry who tho a very serious ,dictatorial Greek ! looks after you from the time you arrive -you just have to do as you are told ,he might even shout at you then !
Sunday set off towards Lefkada where there is a huge Marina,,stopped on the way for swim / lunch in Ormos Bay overlooking cultivated hillside with black sheep wandering about.- arrived late afternoon in Lefkada Marina.The entry to the marina is a very narrow channel thankfully markers to stop you running aground.-either side are vast salt flats where I imagine during bird migration many birds would stop over to feed.,
Lefkada Marina arrived late afternoon very different from our other overnight harbours numerous facilities and a few rules , I have never seen so many yachts many charter I imagine.
The main town was very close and we wandered around the shops ,Jim wanted to go to the Chandlery to see if a part for the yacht he needed had arrived.-it hadn-t.but he bought a pump anyway.-
During the evening the weather became very gusty tho nothing was forecast, we decided to see what it was like in the morning!
little change the next morning ,so best rather than go out to sea again to stay put-
Monday hardly anyone moved out of the marina..a chance to explore the town more. We tried a different Taverna ,I can-t believe the amount of food that arrives despite attempts to reduce what we ordered .
Tuesday Wind had dropped so we set off after Breakfast and filled the water tanks, and put in Diesel,explored along further north a short way to look at a rather special bridge which opened every hour to let Yachts through, typically Greek it was an old roll on ferry, small fishing boats were able to pass through at the side anytime ,.It seems it was done to avoid tax as Islands paid less tax, until recently, the lifting bridge takes you onto the mainland .
Back down the narrow channel south again towards Vlicho bay for Lunch stop,,,Jim spends quite a bit of time here loves the bay and there are boat builders ,electricians ,laundry everything he needs to do any repairs -it-s a very sheltered bay surrounded by mountains. We did have a bit of a surprise as we were surrounded by hundreds ,thousands of brown jelly fish !all sizes from large dinner plate to a penny piece-Jim did find out they go there in September to breed and they sting so just as well we stayed out of the water ..
Onwards after lunch onwards to to Sivota delightful harbour nice tavena,-really liked .
Wednesday after breakfast we set off only a little way out of the harbour and I saw smoke coming out of the cabin, quick response from Jim and we turned everything off!! what next no engine ! luckily the wind was coming from behind so we just sat and drifted back to the harbour -surprised that on a yacht there seems no way of telling anyone you are in trouble ! no engine makes it difficult to steer!! well a perfect bit of mooring by Jim,despite no engine !
Safely back in harbour Jim set about looking at what had happened to the electrics -some wires had burnt out so needed to be replaced -he set about repairing/replacing . Repairs done by early afternoon;Thinking about my need to get back to Kefalonia for my flight home we decided to head off to Vathi to reduce the return time, there was a scary very choppy sea as we headed over to Vathi. Jim put the jib up to make the journey quicker and faster, I didn't relax until we were close to land again. We moored in the harbour in Vathi overnight
Thursday-.Planned an early start , starter motor didn-t work- Jim imagined again it might have been the damage to the electrics which caused the problem . Would I or get to the airport to get my flight home late that evening,!! Jim checked out all the electrics and indeed more damage than he had seen before discovered, but managed to do a tempory fix- off we set of again from Vathi to Sami -
We did finally get to Sami by late morning, Jim picked up the hire car and we spent the rest of the day pottering around Kefalonia ,ending up at the airport in time for my late flight home..
I hope during the week I learnt more about Yachts and how Nanjo in particular works ,sailing, when the anchor goes down ,front/back how much depth you need to be safe- the times when to put out fenders when to shout help!
I tried hard to record sailing times but sorry Jim failed dismally -you might have to add that in-
I must say what good company Jim is and boundless energy..
Would I go again- every time..
Thank you for a great week.-Ruth
Well, the engine ended up taking eleven days before it was put back together. All that time I was on the jetty at Vlicho, and a 50 yard walk to the yacht club, I couldn't have had a better time. I quickly discovered a liking for the clubs coronation chicken baguette (the best I've ever had) and a large beer. Once all the engine parts had arrived, the Yanmar was put back together in a few hours and was soon banging away like a good un. The exhaust smoke was clear and everything was a great success, I'm hoping that should keep the engine running now for a few years. The repair bill was below what I had expected, so a happy result for me. While at the club I was introduced to Mark who runs a sail loft, after a quick chat he agreed to renew my green uv strip on the jib and make me a new yellow sail cover. The old sailcover was falling apart, and when it got wet, you could still see the old charter company name on it. A week later and he brought them back to Nanjo, and he had done a fantastic job for me. I'm well pleased with his stitching and work. She now stands out in any bay, with her bright new jib uv and sail cover.
A chance meeting with the president of the Dromor appreciation society on the bus into Lefkada, pointed me in the direction of a cheap Yamaha outboard. Only a small problem, it was in Corfu, and because the owner had sold his yacht and was going back home, it had to be collected asap. We had met on the 18th August, a quick chat with the outboard owner that evening, confirmed it was worth having. So, at 6am the next morning, I set of for Lakka on Paxos. It was still dark in the bay at Vlicho, and my stern and steaming lights were not working, I can't remember when I last needed them! My clip on push bike light stood in for my stern, white light in the end. To be honest, I only passed three small fishing boats before daylight came, and none of them had any lights at all. I had just missed the 8am bridge opening at Lefkada, so spent the time milling around in the pool, and practicing slow manouevers on the engine. The lack of any smoke was a joy. My log shows that I caught the 9am bridge at Lefkada and anchored in a "packed" Lakka at 18:00, a distance of 48.3 nautical miles. Mostly under engine, and a strong headwind the last couple of miles from Gaios. I didn't bother with the dinghy, just had a swim and went to sleep.
I left Lakka at 08:00 the next day, everybody else was still asleep, and had a cracking sail over to Corfu. A quick call to Berndt and he had saved me a space in Benitses side on to a pontoon. The Yamaha was as good as he had said, but the colour of the dark brown petrol wasn't good. It was his spare engine, and had not been used for quite a while. The engine looked new, and had only 20hrs use. After tipping away the fuel, I managed to find a couple of pieces of plywood, so I could bolt it to the rail. It looks like it's always been there now. I've not done anything to the engine at all yet, one big problem I'm having is trying to locate an outboard bracket for my old Avon dinghy. Just a small glitch in my otherwise great plan. They seem cheaper on UK E-bay if you buy a complete dinghy and bracket!
While sitting in my cockpit and relaxing, a strange thing occurred. My engine alarm buzzer went off, the electrics had all been turned off two hours earlier. After testing all the engine senders, by disconnecting the oil pressure switch, the alarm stopped! I couldn't see anything wrong, so assumed the switch was faulty. It meant having to leave without it working, but the rebuilt engine was going great and she's never burned any oil, so not much of a risk hopefully. I turned in early that night, as I had planned to leave early and hopefully reach Ligia or even Preveza.
I left Benitses at 5am, my bike light coming in handy again. It was pitch black at sea, and my big worry until it got light was catching a fishing net around the prop. I motored over towards the mainland, and the only other boat around was a large well lit ferry slowly coasting towards Corfu. Although there was enough wind for me to sail, I decided it would be safer to stay in the cockpit, rather than go to the mast. Sunrise soon came though, and it was a gorgeous sight. There is always something magic about seeing the start of a new day. I was soon motorsailing, and just passed Paxos I picked up a stern wind. The engine went off and Nanjo settled down to some downwind sailing. The autopilot was soon unable to cope, it's just not able to react quick enough to the waves. As the wind increased, so did my speed. I was having a great time and managed to surf down a wave and hit 7.4 knots. Most of the time I was sailing in the high fives, low sixes. My log reads 13:00 of Ligia, it was way to soon to stop. 15:00 of Preveza, and the seas and wind were building. I had been hand steering now for 4 hours. But, it was just to good a sail to end at Preveza, so I carried onto Lefkada. I arrived at the bridge at 16:15, because of the wind and seas, I decided to sail into the channel and then dump the sails once inside, after watching another yacht struggle to get his down outside. It was a small bit hairy, but a whole lot easier now that the channel is wider and deeper. The jib was rolled away and the main just dropped, before I ran out of space. A fantastic sail down from Corfu, and Nanjo was loving every minute of it as well as I was. I caught the 17:00 bridge opening and even managed to sail down to Nidri. My log shows that I dropped anchor in Vlicho at 19:25, and had covered 70.7 nautical miles, at an average of 5.1. Dinner was a tin of meatballs with pasta and a few beers and wine. I was absolutely shattered, my right arm had started to lock up with gripping the tiller earlier, and was now giving me real pain. I popped three pain killers before trying to sleep, but I couldn't drop of as quickly as I had hoped. My whole body was starting to stiffen up, from having to brace myself in the cockpit with the rolling earlier, my brain didn't want to turn off either. Eventually I slept, and woke up 10 hours later, and felt really drained and rough. It was a fantastic days sailing, but I really can't imagine me doing it again, well, not until the next time I get the chance anyway! I had got back to Vlicho on the 21st and stayed at anchor, just relaxing and chilling out until the 25th. I had tried to locate a new oil pressure sender, but it seemed that there had been a rush on them in Greece and none were available at all. It meant that I would have to sail to Sami to pick up my guest without one.
On Tuesday 25th, I left Vlicho at 09:00 and motor/sailed straight to Sami, leaving Ithaca on my starboard side. It was a very calm day and just meant keeping the engine at 1800 rpm and sitting back in the cockpit, enjoying the view. I arrived to a packed Sami at 17:00 and went bow on right outside Faro's taverna. There were three flots in, which explained the lack of space. My guest wasn't arriving until the 27th, so I had plenty of time to give Nanjo a clean and polish, and eat at my favorite taverna. I was moored alongside a large UK registered motorboat, that made Nanjo look like a dinghy. A real nice guy owned her, he even offered me a spare 240 volt plug, as he was running his 4.6kv generator for his air conditioning and had spare capacity! Chatting about his boat, he then told me it holds 10 tons of diesel fuel. Twice the weight of Nanjo in fuel alone, the costs of running such a monster must be huge. I did point out my tank held 45 litres, probably enough for him to get out of the harbour!
I had booked a hire car to collect Ruth from the airport earlier, and had a lovely drive over the mountains to collect her. We had only met a few times back in the UK before, and had had a great time together then. I knew we would have a good week sailing around and a few adventures together. Neither of us was prepared for what happened near the end of the week though.
As planned, I went onto the Ionion sailing pontoon for water, then headed out to empty my holding tank. The engine had been smoking all the time, which I put down to a lot of low revs manouervers. Once passed Nidri I opened her up, and Nanjo was making a fair amount of smoke all the time now. Something's not right! The holding tank was emptied as soon as I thought I was a decent distance offshore. Luckily the wind picked up and I was able to shut the Yanmar down and sailed back as far as tranquil bay. To many boats jostling about there, meant the Yanmar was back on.
I was soon at anchor in my usual spot, and decided to visit the yacht club for some advice. After speaking to Rauri I ended up going stern to the quayside, the next day, and right outside the yacht club. The injectors were soon removed, but the pre combustion chambers and the spacers would not come out. It was decided then, that the cylinder head had to come off, so they could be pressed out. It would seem that the injectors have never been out before! While everything was apart, I agreed that the valves should be cleaned and new seals fitted. The head shop also suggested having the head skimmed as there was indications it wasn't sealing correctly.
As of today 8th August. The heads away being worked on, the injectors have been rebuilt and some parts are on order from Yanmar in Holland. The bores and pistons all seem okay. The rough estimate is a week to ten days, before its back together. I've no idea of how much the bill will be, but an internet search for some of the parts needed, scared me enough with the prices. Looks like bread and water for a while.
Being stuck on the quayside, is good and bad. The traffic and dust, just does not stop. How some people have been living on there boats here for years, I don't understand. The yacht clubs a 50 yard walk away, bus stop 100yds. Fingers crossed all the engine work cures the problem and won't need touching for years ahead.
I spent another 10 lovely days in Vlicho after my last blog entry. To be really honest, I did manage some of the jobs on my list, but most of the time I just spent enjoying the view, reading a good book ( The Angel of Grozny by Asne Seierstad) not my usual crime/sailing/adventure book, but I enjoyed reading every page. A different perspective on a war we in the West know little about. Enjoying the cold beers, milk from my working fridge, it's really been a life changer onboard Nanjo, as the temperatures are creeping up every day.
I finally managed to sail away on Tuesday 7th July and head towards Argostoli to meet my niece Hannah and her boyfriend Reece, I had arranged to take them sailing while they were having a holiday in Lassi on Kefalonia. I left really early, just as the sun was coming up. It was a gorgeous way to start the day, everybody else asleep, and to have the sun rising as I motor sailed past Nidri and down the Meganissi channel was just perfect. The plan was to sail past Ithaca on the Eastern side and head for Poros on Kefalonia. It ended up being an 8 hour motorsail, and looking at my log entries now, it's filled with " Very calm-head wind, Calm heat haze, and my weather description going from over cast to very hot!" It was my first time sailing down that coastline, and I planned a longer stop on my way back. Poros was a great choice for my stop, a new harbour for me and typically my out of date pilot book made it sound worse that it was. They have built a new large ferry terminal at the mouth of the harbour, so the bad ferry wash mentioned does not happen at all now. I was charged 4e 85c for my nights stay, with free water. Every place now seems to be charging to stay, really they should have been doing it for years. But now collecting the fee is down to the local council and not the port police, I'm sure it will happen every where I go. If it helps the Greeks get back on there feet again, then I'm happy to be doing my little bit.
The next day and I'm away early heading for Argostoli, I had a cracking sail down the coast with the wind behind me, downwind sailing just can't be beaten. Nanjo hit 7.6 knots, and even turning along the South coast the wind held for a few hours on the beam. Now, this was more like it, no thumping Yanmar under the cockpit and Nanjo leaning to the breeze. Turning up towards Argostoli, I had the wind on the nose, and as the wind increased, my speed under engine went down. I ended up motor tacking into a strong force 6 with a bouncy chop. Nanjo had water coming over her bows for the first time this year. It seemed to take forever clawing my way up the bay, and my gps just kept giving me the distance to my waypoint, which took ages to go down! Eventually I made it into the large bay towards Argostoli, the wind started to drop and I rushed to get the mainsail down. Not noticing the ferry coming up behind me, luckily he had noticed me, and obviously realised I was on my own and not steering Nanjo. He changed course to give me plenty of space to get myself sorted, which made a pleasant change from the usual honk of a horn. Speaking to others at Poros I was advised to go to the town quay, so found a nice big spot, got everything ready and went in bow first. It all went text book perfect, a very nice Dutch guy took my bow ropes for me, and Nanjo was secured in minutes. He then went onto say that he was the yacht that had motored past me while I was tacking up the channel, and wondered when I would arrive after the bashing I was getting!
Argostoli was another 4e 85c port, but this time I had a visit from the port police as well, checking my dekpa and insurance papers. They then pointed to my pirate flag, and told me to take it down, as it's now banned by international law? My reply of "you've gotta be joking" was met with "we will visit the next boat, if it's not down when we come back captain, you will come with us!" Needless to say, any sense of humour had now left the occasion and I took my flag down. My knowledge of pirates doesn't extend much further than Long John Silver and Pirates of the Caribbean, but I would be really surprised if any modern day pirate would be flying the Skull and crossbones as he attacks the next oil tanker/cargo ship or liner?? I had a great night in town, and was up early next morning giving Nanjo a wipe over to receive my new crew.
Hannah and Reece arrived as expected, it was great to see them both again. They had already been on the island for 10 days, so were getting used to the heat. After a quick tour of Nanjo, on deck and below (takes about 4 minutes), we let go the bow ropes and headed out into the bay. As with all my new crew, I insist that they do a man overboard recovery. This is not for there benefit but mine, I know that I can turn Nanjo around and recover them if they fall overboard, it's so I know they can start the engine and safely come back to pick me up!
Hannah went first on the tiller, after a few minutes getting used to how Nanjo handled, I threw a fender over the side. After a few attempts Hannah had cracked it, and was recovering the fender (me) easily. Now it was Reece's turn, he soon got the hang of how Nanjo handled with the tiller and engine speed. Hannah tossed in the fender, and amazingly he came back to it on his first attempt. Unfortunately for him, Hannas skill with the boat hook wasn't as good, and the fender floated past. It was a great way to spend 20 minutes, and they were both a lot more confidant of handling Nanjo if anything happened. We mototed down to Lassi so they could show me there hotel and the bay they swim in, then we motored over to Vardhianoi, a small island in the entrance to the bay. They had gone there earlier in a glass bottomed boat, and we were hoping to see some dolphins. Unfortunately we never saw any, so we motored over to a beach they knew about which had red sand. I managed to anchor off the beach, but in 15mtrs of water and with an onshore breeze picking up. I decided that it really wasn't worth the risk of staying, so we motored around to a quieter bay near Lixouri, out of the wind and dropped anchor in only 5mtrs. It was time for a swim and to cool of, Hannah offered to make the gorgeous salad that we had while at anchor, and we sat around planning our next destination.
None of us had been to Lixouri and my pilot book didn't actually give it a glowing report, mentioning the harbour being next to the main sewer outlet and getting very smelly in the summer! We decided to give it a try though, and we were all really glad that we did. What a gem of a place. My pilot book was well out of date on it's harbour plan, in fact the harbour we ended up spending the night in, does not even show! We motored past the main ferry harbour and were trying to match it to my plan, when we spotted some yacht masts further ahead and a small harbour with a well buoyed channel. Deciding that had to be our best option, we went in slowly and with Nanjo all roped and fendered up. There were finger pontoons with electric and water, but not many spaces at all. Luckily after a couple of circuits we spotted a vacant space by some yachts, and they even had trailing lines fitted to the jetty. After explaining my plan to Reece and Hannah we went in, it all went really great. Reece stepped of the bow, passed me the trailing line, I secured the stern and he secured the bow. I had noticed some guys on the nearby yacht watching, usually somebody would have gotten off and lent a hand, but they all just sat and watched. We later found out why, they were all on a sailing course for the week, and were still learning what to do. They turned out to be a great bunch of Brits who helped out a lot. When we asked about the town, the reply was "it's only a couple of tavernas and no more than a dozen people at night". We were beginning to think, maybe we should leave and sail back to Argostoli. After we had all showered of Nanjos stern and the sun had gone down, we headed for the brightest light we could see, the local chemist shop green sign. But, oh boy. Just a few yards past that we came to a bustling town square with hundreds of people, plenty of tavernas, shops and bars. We were all shocked after being told how quiet it would be, and after having a good walk around, Hannah chose a nice taverna on the sea front for our dinner. We then went onto a bar for cocktails and finished of the evening with ice creams. It really was a surprise town and quite a jewel. Back to Nanjo and it was time for a night cap and sleep.
The lads on the school boat were going to be allowed to take her out on there own for the day, so they were busy checking things over. We went into town for breakfast and a look around the shops. It was just as nice in the day time as well. Once back onboard, Reece had said he would like to climb the mast. So, a quick demo by me on how to use the climbing gear, and he was soon on his way up the rope. Reece had soon got the hang of using the ascender and grigri. We passed up his camera when he reached the spreaders so he could take some film. He then went to the mast head, while I was chatting to the sailing school instructor. I've got to be honest, the mast didn't make any creaking sounds at all while Reece was climbing. I guess thats the difference between 70kgs and 110kgs ! He seemed to be up for ages, but eventually came down again. We were soon getting ready to leave, and my well rehearsed crew made it all look easy again. We motored back to Argostoli and moored up bow on again to the town quay, not far from my original spot. We walked back to Lassi and Hannah and Reece showed me some of the places that they have visited. It was a very hot afternoon and when we stopped for a beer, it went down so quickly. We ended up down at a beach bar, and had a great time trying to chat over the loud music and talking to our British neighbors on the opposite table. After some lunch and a few drinks it was time for me to head back to Argostoli and Nanjo. It was really great to have Hannah and Reece onboard for a couple of days and I'm sure that they will be crewing on Nanjo again in the future. It was mostly a downhill walk back to Nanjo, and I was glad to reach the harbour again. I was only back a few minutes when the guy for the money turned up and a new bunch of harbour police. These guys seemed to think I had a photo copy of my ssr paper and my dekpa had been filled in wrong. Oh yes, they then noticed my pirate flag was flying. And you've guessed it, I had to take it down!
I set of early the next morning heading for Zakinthos, departing was no problem and it was a motorsail out of the bay. I had told Hannah and Reece what time I would be sailing past Lassi, but later found out, they were both still asleep as I went past at 07:30. It was another windless day, apart from a brief 45minute sail halfway across. My log shows that the trip took 9 hours and was 38 miles, mostly reading "wind on the nose". I passed several small harbours on my way to the main harbour Zakinthos, some not even mentioned in my pilot book. There were plenty of fast moving tripper boats about, so I had my work cut out keeping out of there way and wash. The main harbour was pretty much as my pilot book showed. After a couple of laps, I chose a spot on the town quay. Typically there was nobody about, and it was all down to me. It went great, my stern anchor means I can slow Nanjo down as I approached the stone quay, then with a few feet to go, I walk to the bow and step off with my bow ropes. Keeping the bow from hitting the stone with a size 14 sandal. Nanjo was tied up and all secure in minutes, another 5 minutes to put her to bed and I was soon heading for a look around town. It's a bustling place, noisy and full of people, I liked it straight away. I found a great little gyros shop and had a large meal. Back onboard, I decided that I should stay a few days as Nanjo was well secure, and the wash from the large ferries coming and going wasn't a problem. I hired a scooter the next day for a couple of days, cost me 20 euros all in, for 50cc of Peugeot power. They would only accept cash, something I was to find all over the island. I had a fantastic time on both days exploring Zakinthos, I visited as many harbours and bays as I could. Some looked okay for an overnight stay and others I wouldn't leave Nanjo for 10mins unless it was really settled. I managed to pick up three hand made rugs in a village up in the hills, little old lady sitting in the shade making them. Well worth the 20 euros I paid and she seemed well happy. The Peugeot lugged me up and down every hill and rough road I wanted to go on, I've been a biker all my life, and there really isn't much to beat two wheels and an engine between your legs. I later worked out that most of my time was spent below 20mph, no crash helmet ,shorts and sandals. It was just great, and I will try and rent a cheap bike when I can from now on. I was told of several bays where I could see some turtles, but after trying them all, and not seeing any I gave up. I will be coming back to Zakinthos again I'm sure.
Tuesday 14th July: I'm up early and leaving Zakinthos for Poros and my trip back home to Vlicho. There was no wind, so I had the engine running at 1800rpm and the mainsail up to give it a bit of help. Two hours into the trip and I notice exhaust smoke, quickly shutting down the engine, I imagined that the water pump had packed up. A quick check of the strainer and hoses showed that all was okay, a general check of the engine showed no leaks and nothing amiss. The exhaust hose was just warm, so no problems. My engine manual suggested, blocked air filter, valves, fuel pump or injectors out of adjustment. I took the air filter off but it looked okay, started the engine, and still had a small amount of smoke at low revs. Taking it up to 2000 revs cleared the smoke, and the Yanmars sounding and performing as normal! I can only guess that it's unburnt fuel? I did fill the tank in Zakinthos from my spare drum, maybe a dodgy batch of diesel is causing the smoke. I motored to Poros for 6 hrs and had no problems, just a small amount of smoke when I came back down to maneuvering speed in the harbour! I was soon bow on at Poros and having another look at the engine, it all seemed okay. It was due an oil change, so I changed the filter and engine oil while alongside, a quick job with my Perla oil extractor and carrying the spares onboard. I had a great evening in town, found a superb pizza taverna and foolishly ordered a large special. It arrived on a trolley, and big enough to feed the town, the Dutch couple next to me asked when my friends were arriving! I'm pleased to say, that along with a couple of large mythos to help the pizza go down, i was only beaten by two slices at the end of the night. My loosing weight and getting fitter plan has been put on the back boiler again. The walk back over the hill to the harbour was a pain, with so much cheese and pepperoni floating around.
I left Poros after a late breakfast and headed for Sami, there was absolutely no wind at all, so didn't even bother putting the main sail up. It was a nice motor up the coast, and a few hours later I was entering Sami harbour. I was last there in 2012 dropping Debbie and Andrea at the airport. I'm glad to say that not much has changed, my favourite bar "Capt Correllis has been renamed and the comfy sofas have been replaced with plastic chairs. They won't be seeing me again. I was charged the normal day rate now, by a very efficient guy on a scooter who even told me there was a toilet/ shower block I could use. Things are looking up I guess. I ended up having a gyros plate for dinner at the same taverna I had last used in 2012, and I'm glad to say that the lovely little lady is still in charge, the food was just as good and cheap as before. I've always liked Sami harbour, and it's town. The weathers been getting hotter every day now, and I was jammed in between two large yachts on the quay, much the same as I was at Poros. Which means that Nanjo does not get much of the breeze if any is blowing, and I've been having trouble getting to sleep in the heat.
Friday 17th July: I left Sami and headed for Vathi on Ithaca. I had never really explored Ithaca and decided that I would pop into any bay I could find on the way up to Vathi. It was another windless day, which to be honest suited my plans perfectly. I found some great places to stop for a swim/lunch break and made notes on my chart. Entering Vathi was a first for me on my own, and again the pilot book gives all kinds of warnings about gusts and keeping away from the quay. I found a spot that I liked, lined Nanjo up and dropped my kedge in 16 metres of water, slowly edging towards the quay and paying out the rope, I began to realise that I had made a small cock up. With a nice French guy on the quay waiting to take my bow lines, I ran out of rope 20 ft from the quay. Even a gentle motor ahead to take up any slack in the chain/rope, left me 10 feet away. Much to the amusement of my French helper. I had come close to doing this before, but this was my first fowl up. I quickly pulled myself back out and got the kedge onboard, I did a circle to line myself back up again, and went back in for a text book mooring. Helped by my French assistant on the quay side. Within 45 mins I was hemmed in by much larger yachts, the most impressive being a 50ft Oyster yacht, and she was a beauty. Two young girls came around later and collected my fees, they didn't mention my pirate flag and I never even saw the port police! I had a good roam around the harbour and back streets, before settling on a gyros shop for my dinner. Back onboard and there was no wind about at all. I ended up sleeping in the cockpit until 4am then went below and slept on one of the settees.
I was up early the next morning and went straight to the supermarket for some supplies, my plans were to spend the night at Kioni or Frikes. I was the first to leave, and slowly pulling myself out using the kedge, I hadn't gone far when I realised that my anchor was trapped under the yachts anchor next to me. No amount of heaving on my part could shift it, maybe in shallower water I might have been okay, but I couldn't even see the anchor at all. My neighbour had noticed what had happened, my only option was to motor back into the spot I had just left. Luckily, my neighbours were planning to leave as well, and I only had a 20 minute wait while they did some shopping. Once they had left and cleared the weight of there chain of mine, I was able to get out with no problems at all. It's a lovely coastline, and I stayed as close to the shore as I could. I was soon at Kioni and just went near it for a look, but decided not to stop as it was so early. Next onto Frikes, and that came up quicker than expected as well. Heading into Frikes, I had a change of plan. It could either be another night on a harbour wall, possibly hemmed in again by larger yachts and no sleep. Or for a few more hours motoring, I could be back home in Vlicho, safely at anchor and catching as much wind as Nanjo could. It was only a moments thought, and I was turning Nanjo around 180 degrees and going back out again to sea. I've got to be honest, I felt instantly happier about my change of plans, and I'll get to visit Kioni and Frikes another day.
I had a lovely motor/sail straight to Vlicho, and dropped my anchor in 5mtrs of green water, not far from my usual spot at 4pm. Nanjo was soon put to bed and the sun awning was up, the comfy cushions were in the cockpit, a cold can of beer and my book, completed my tasks for the rest of the day. I had only been away from this spot for 10 days, and visited some new harbours, met up with Hannah and Reece in Kefalonia and had a great time. It was time to relax, write up a jobs list and just enjoy being retired.
It's now Saturday 25th July and I've been here for seven days, and I've enjoyed every minute of them. A trip on the bus to Lefkada for supplies and some black material to make a new Pirate flag was fun. It was only when I got back to Nanjo and saw just how much material the guy had given me, I realised I've really got to get my head around ordering in metric instead of feet and inches. I've got enough material to make ten flags and a suit!! In the week I've been here, I've made a new flag, it will be interesting to see if it gets passed the eagle eyed port police. Put new rivets in my dinghy oars, replaced the broken shower head, rowed ashore and filled the spare 22ltr dieseal drum and cleaned my fenders. Written down it does not seem a lot, for a weeks work! And to be perfectly honest, it's not. I'm enjoying reading a new book and just swimming when I get hot, rowing ashore for bread and spinach pies and trying to keep out of the sun. The temperatures are now in the 40's every day, so the sun shade goes up from 9am until 8pm when the sun goes down. I'm slowly working on my all over tan, by spending 30 minutes laying around on the bow each day. I've admired the long term liveaboards anchored near me, who quite happily go for a swim and then shower naked on the stern, having just one colour to there bodies. Fingers crossed I'll be joining them soon.
My immediate plans are to leave here on Monday 27th, as I'm running low on water and my holding tank will need a pump out by then as well. Maybe go onto the Ionion pontoon for water, and if there is some wind, have a nice sail around for the day and spend the night at Spartachori. Then back home to Vlicho.
As for the smoking engine, I've been watching a lot of yachts/motor boats lately, and oh boy, do a lot of them smoke badly. Nanjo is still smoking at low revs and on start-up, but just enough to notice. Once at 2000 rpm, her normal speed, it all seems to stop. I've put some injector cleaner in the tank, and will see if it makes any difference. She starts first go, same noises, no loss of coolant or oil and maintains normal speed.
I'm very sorry to anybody who reads this blog and then looks at the gallery. No matter what I do, the pics just won't go into any order. There used to be a simple idiot proof system of loading pics. But obviously some genius decided that it was to simple!!
Below is Hannah and Reeces write up on when we met in Argostoli.
We managed to meet up with Jim on the 08/07/15 at Argostolli (capital of Kefalonia). First things first we left the port and went through some safety drills, "Man over board!", the boat was really easy to handle and we were quick to learn, once we got the hang of it and Jim gave the thumbs up, we decided to head for bunny island just of the coast of Lassi, it was uninhabited with not much else other than a light house, slightly disappointed as we was expecting so see some bunnies...
We then sailed over to Xi beach with its famous red sand but the sea was a bit choppy so we decided to anchor just around the corner where it was calmer. After a refreshing swim we sat down for an ice cold beer and Hannah's homemade Greek salad...yum! We kicked back and chilled here for a good hour or so, but still had enough day left to show Jim our local beaches in Lassi where we where staying as he had not been there before, the winds once again picked up so we decided to get the sails out and sail back to port, typically this only worked for about 5 mins before the wind stopped again. instead of heading back to Argostolli we thought we would try somewhere none of us had been before so we motored to Lixouri. Upon arrival we got talking to our neighboring boats, they told us that there was nothing at Lixouri but two tavernas and 12 locals... we were so close to just staying on board and cooking ourselves, but we decided against this had a shower of the back of the boat got changed and went to explore, 100m down the road we came across a huge square filled with tavernas, bars and thriving with locals/tourists, it honestly felt busier than Lassi where we were staying, we where spoilt for choice! We had a lovely meal in a local taverna, saganaki and tzatziki to start then some amazing pizzas! About halfway through the meal we began to feel that we were rocking back and forth, as if we were still on the boat! It was a really weird feeling but didn't stop us from staying out and continuing on to one of the cocktail bars where we had a really nice cocktail!
We had a great sleep on the boat, the water was still and there was a nice breeze blowing in through the windows - the bed was even comfier than our hotel bed! The next morning we went for breakfast at a cafe and walked around the town of Lixouri. Then Reece decided to climb the mast purely for the fun of it! I stayed safely on deck sunbathing! Jim gave him some lessons and advice and Reece climbed right to the top of the mast using the climbing gear and got some great pictures! When he was safely back down the mast we began our sail back to Argostoli and even saw a turtle on our way! Once back at Argostoli we moored up and began the walk back to Lassi - about 20 minutes ... or maybe a bit longer! Jim came with us to see our resort and we all had a club sandwich and drink together at one of the local beach bars. Unfortunately this is where we had to part ways and say farewell, but we had a great time with Jim and are already really looking forward to our next visit, in good time!
Wednesday 3rd June
I finally decide to leave Benitses after staying here for ten days. A meeting with some friends of Nick and Pat, a lovely German couple Bernd and Sabine and I managed to get the curtain material I had brought out from the Uk made up. Sabine did a great job and Nanjo looks a lot brighter inside. She also gave me a brilliant recipe for frying pan pizza, which I can't wait to try out.
My stern anchor came out really easily, and after watching Nicks getting stuck under a mooring chain and having to pay a diver to go down, I was more than happy. I was soon motor sailing over towards Iggy Creek, a large bay near Ignoumitsa. I ended up anchoring in the second bay and was soon joined by Nick and Pat who have agreed to show me some new harbours on my way to Corfu. We had a quiet night, and had anchored so close together that I could actually step from Nanjo onto there yacht. The second day looked good, so I did a pile of washing, but in the evening the winds picked up and sent in quite a vicious chop. Watching a nearby Belgian yacht drag his anchor and try to re-set it again made me even more cautious. Nick was getting blown further back to the shore, so moved forward and re-set his, but my 35lb cqr seemed well dug in, and Nanjo wasn't moving. The first part of the night was spent in the cockpit on anchor watch, I had arranged a head torch, and cleared the decks if I had to motor out quickly. By midnight it was dying down, so I slept on the settee, fully clothed. An hour later and although still windy and choppy, the worst was over and I turned in. Next morning was a lovely day. I found out later that Pat had stayed up most of the night on Zoe.
Next port of call was good old Lakka, and another motorsail together. We arrived early afternoon and found plenty of space to anchor. My Avon dinghy was soon pumped up for a run ashore. We stayed two days, just relaxing and swimming. It's so nice not to have a time plan.
We set of for Mongonisi only a short trip from Lakka, on the way Nick suggested that we go to Emerald bay on anti-Paxos, as we were having a great sail and it was early. As we got nearer the bay, I could just see all the trip boats and as I was having such a great time actually sailing for a change, I opted to circumnavigate anti-paxos. It's a lot further round than I first thought, but the wind held for most of the trip. A sudden rain squall as I was sailing through the gap between the islands, had Nanjo well healed over and a speed of 6.8 knots. A bit too much, so I let the main out so it lost any drive and still managed 5 knots with my small jib. The squall soon passed and I was getting the sails down for Mongonisi, I ended up anchoring in the bay rather than go onto the jetty. I'm glad that I did, parts of it are very shallow and rocky. Meeting up with Nick and Pat for a meal in the taverna, they talked me through our next port Parga, with a beach mooring, a new one on me.
We managed to sail a bit on the way to Parga, which was great. I followed Nick in, and already there was a flotilla lead boat up the beach. After seeing what I had to do, I pointed Nanjo at the beach. Let out the stern kedge line and nudged her keel into the soft sand, Nick took my bow anchor and buried it up the beach in front. That was it! I had been to Parga before and always dismissed it has being to dodgy to go onto the rough jetty there. We were soon joined by the other flotilla boats, and it was great to see them coming in. We went ashore curtosey of Yanni's water taxi, I've got to say, it's a fantastic town. I enjoyed walking around the streets and that night we had a great meal in a side street taverna. Being in no rush, we stayed another day, but this time walked into town along the beach. Luckily Nick knew the route, it's a steep climb up into the town and you wouldn't want to get lost. We went back in Yanni's taxi later that evening for another great meal. I will be coming back to Parga I'm sure some day.
A short trip down to Ligia next day, the pilot book makes it sound a really tricky entrance. I've read up on it before and dismissed it straight away, but Nick and Pat had been in before and knew the route through the rocks. It was another motor sail day, I actually motored past the harbour. My gps told me it was 90 degrees off my port side, and all I could see was a stone wall. It was only after plotting my position on a paper chart that i believed the gps! I hung back and waited for Zoe to arrive, and glad that I did. Even following them in, the underwater rocks come up quickly and the depth went down to 2.5mtrs as we crossed a rock bar. Once inside though, it's a lovely small harbour, built with E.U money I guess. Dinner that night was at the nearby taverna, who only cooked fish! Luckily Pat and I managed to opt for the swordfish, and it was really good. But i would have still opted for a gyros if it was on the menu.
Off again the next day and another short sail down to Preveza, now I'm in my home waters so to speak. We both actually managed to sail most of the way this time, and were busy taking pictures of each other sailing along. A rare treat on a yacht. I had arranged to meet some old friends Tom and Anne who were anchored in the bay, behind Preveza marina. I soon spotted there yacht and anchored 20mtrs in front in only 3 mtrs of water, as near to the shore as I wanted to go. Zoe anchored nearby, and I soon had my Avon pumped up and rowing us ashore in two trips. Nick had mentioned getting an electric outboard, and I must be honest the idea does appeal to me. Our first stop was the Chinese shop at the top of town. To kit me out with some cheap shirts, maybe I'm getting old, but I had been finding wearing my usual t-shirts getting a bit hot. Nicks a advocate of cheap shirts, and they certainly seem more practical. We had a great laugh trying to find stuff that would fit me, now, I'm a bit on the tubby side at the moment, but a xl in the UK fits ok. The Chinese xl wouldn't go over my arm! We ended up trying xxxl and they still didn't fit, I guess that they don't have many 17 stone 6ft 2in Chinese about? After a lot of searching, we found 5 suitable shirts that came to 20 euros, a pretty good deal I reckoned. Going ashore that night and I was actually looking smarter than usual, I've just got to get my head around the fact that these are now my everyday work shirts, and not to be kept for best!
I rowed over to Tom and Anne the next day, and it was great to see them both again after such a long time. Tom gave me a pressie of his old Avon dinghy, it had a slow leak!! and a lot bigger than mine and had seen a lot of use. It pumped up okay and I towed it back to Nanjo, then over to Zoe. It was the ideal size for the three of us to get in and put Nicks outboard on the back. So, without really checking the Avon out, we all piled in and went ashore. It motored well with the outboard, and I vowed to keep it if I could get it on Nanjos foredeck and stow it. Coming back to the dinghy a few hours later, and it was not a pretty sight. It had lost at least 50% of its air and was barely afloat! Having no pump with us, I agreed to go back to Nanjo and get one. Amazingly it took my weight, but folded alarmingly in the middle, starting the outboard gave it even more of a bend. I was expecting it to give way at any moment and I would end up swimming. Back alongside Nanjo, it only took a few pumps in each tube to get it stiff again and I was soon heading back to collect Nick and Pat. Typically for a small 2 stroke outboard, it refused to start once they were onboard, so we decided to row back. To say we were going nowhere fast would be an understatement, luckily Tom had spotted us mucking about and came to our rescue and towed us to both our yachts. The offer of sundowners on his yacht later was greatfully accepted.
After putting a few patches on the Avon, i thought that i had sorted it out. But a few more runs ashore in it, this time carrying the pump with me soon proved it was a lot worse than i had hoped. After a final run ashore, I towed it to the nearest beach, pulled it up on the gravel and left a sign saying "Free/Gratis" on it. I'm sure that a local would soon spirit it away and it will give many more happy years service. Nick and Pat left the next day for there return sail to Corfu. I spent the day washing my new shirts, and glad I did, the water soon went a gray colour.
I motored away on the 15th June and headed for the bridge at Lefkada, the works on widening the channel have made it so much safer now on the approach. I was the first yacht in line, and soon cleared the 11am bridge and was heading back down to my favorite sailing area. At the end of the channel the wind was blowing right up Nanjos stern, i soon had full sail up and had a great trip down to Vlicho. Even stupidly trying to sail past Nidri, after missing a couple of trip boats who decided that I didn't have right of way, i reluctantly started the engine and motored to Vlicho. Dropping 30mtrs of chain in 5mtrs of water, and digging the cqr well into the mud, made me feel like I had come home. Vlicho gets a lot of bad press from some people, but I love it here. It's really hard to describe just how scenic it is, having what looks like mountains all around you, and normally it's a peaceful place to anchor.
Tues 16th June, and I've got the anchor up and Nanjo prepped for any kind of mooring. I've got to find a berth so Vernon can come and look at my fridge for me. The first pontoons are full up, but a chance shout from Alan (Nanjos old owner) on the Nydri marine pontoon, and he recommends I go to the IBA pontoon and ask. I've found the best thing to really do, is to bob up and down by the pontoon and hopefully locate a space. Then usually somebody will direct you yo another or tell you to come in. There was a small gap, between a gorgeous Dutch yacht and a Brit, just big enough for Nanjo with a bit of fender squashing. So, in I went, dropping the kedge the regulation 4 boat lengths out and easing my way in. It all went text book, I had 3 metres of kedge rope left. Stepped to the bow and handed my helpfull neighbour my bow lines, within a minute Nanjo was all secure and the fenders rearranged. Vernon was down within a couple of hours, and we talked over the options to fix the fridge. It was something he had never known before as well, and offered to contact Dometic in the Uk for advice. The next day he brought me down a spare compressor that would fit my vapouriser plate. That way I had a working fridge, he will get me the correct plate in the Uk and bring it out in September. Vernon spent time gassing it all up and making sure everything worked ok. He did a great job, and to be honest, it's made life on Nanjo just so much better. I had spent my year without a fridge, and survived no problem. But it's hard to describe what it's like having a cold beer when you want, cold milk and cold fruit juice. Sheer luxury. Just got to keep my fingers crossed that it carries on working now. It's the old saying "what you never had you don't miss". I'm now getting used to watching my battery monitor show a 4.4amp draw whenever it switches on, but so far the solar panels and wind gen can keep up with the power drain.
I spent three days on the IBA pontoon in the end, and had a great time. Well worth the 9 euros a night fee, with electric and water inc.
Fri 19th June, my kedge anchor came up okay and covered in thick mud. A nice morning for a motor around and empty my holding tank, i chugged around Scorpious island, and was amazed at just how much security there is now. Even a guy in a rib just motoring up and down inside the buoyed off area to shoo you away if you crossed over! I couldn't help but feel sad for the people who know own the island, they must be so afraid and insecure!
I dropped anchor back in the middle of Vlicho bay, put out 40mtrs this time as I'm going to be here for a few weeks.
Fri 26th June. I've been here a week now, and enjoyed every minute. I've been getting on with the list of jobs I didn't finish in Messolonghi. Still got loads more to keep me busy for the next week. I'm back to swimming every day again, rowing ashore for bread and walking around. Hopefully my weight will start to come down and I'll get fitter in the process. Lifes really great for me now, I'm easily living within my pension, the suns getting hotter and I'm as free as I can ever hope to be. Still not started to learn the guitar or clarinet. But my library of books is going down.