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 Poros was a great choice for my stop, a new harbour for me and typically my out of date pilot book made it sound worse that it was.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.
Bons time onboard.
We went for a second test sail, and this time Bon just sat back and enjoyed the view, while I sailed Nanjo. After another four hour sail, I'm glad to say that Bon was ok. It was only a light wind, and no indication on what could happen on our trip to Corfu. But the good news, was the trip was on.
After saying farewell to everybody and putting some supplies on Nanjo, we set off for a long trip to Kalamos on the 14th May. If Bon started to feel bad, there was always the options to stop at Petala, Astokos or Kastos to shorten the trip. Typically we had very little wind, and what there was ended up being on the nose. We motorsailed all the way to Kalamos, it was a lovely trip in calm waters, passing the islands as we went along. My logbook shows a distance of 41.4 nautical miles at a 4.6knts average and a 9hr trip. As we motored past Kastos I was amazed at the number of masts in the harbour and even seeing yachts anchored outside. Approaching Kalamos it looked pretty full as well. Luckily just inside the harbour entrance there was a small space between a large cat and a yacht alongside, for me to put Nanjos bow. My first moor up in years and it went perfectly. The Bruce anchor Peter had given me in Messolonghi really dug in well. After a meal at Georges and a look around the harbour, it was an early night for both of us.
The rest of the trip to Corfu went all to plan, we stopped at Spartakhori, Spillia taverna jetty. I hadn't seen the old boys for years, and I was surprised when he remembered Nanjo and my name. We had a good meal and climbed to the great view point up the hill. For a treat I took Bon to Lefkas marina, the 28 euro charge was not as bad as I expected to be honest, and it's a great place to moor up. Bon enjoyed looking around all the souvenir shops, I honestly think we visited each one! I filled up both fuel tanks here.
The new Preveza marina worked out well for us, as we arrived late on a Sunday and were told the harbour master had gone home. Free electric and water and as we planned to leave at 7am the next day a free berth as well. We spent the next day dolphin watching in the gulf, after motoring up and down for 5 hours though, I was about to give up and call it a day. Then Bon spotted a large school of dolphins and suddenly the day was all worthwhile, we even managed to get a few pictures of them playing near Nanjo. It was soon time to head back to the marina, and another free night. While we were there we met a couple of young guys Harry and Tommy working on a 60ft wooden cabin cruiser built in the 1950's. Pictures they had showed it was an amazing boat back in it's heyday, when it was chartered on the South of France. But now, needing some serious woodwork. The highlight of a tour of the boat for me was Tommy firing up the two V8 Detroit diesels, an amazing sound, and apparently they were tank engines. I would hate to think of the diesel consumption, compared to Nanjos 1 litre per hour!
We left Preveza on the 19th May and headed straight for Lakka on Paxos, it was to be another motorsail day. The seas were pretty calm until we were just passed the half way point, when we had a large swell and head winds. Nanjo only had her main up, and a sudden gust leaned her over about 25 degrees. Within minutes of this the engine spluttered and died! A quick look around and check of the primary filter, showed the glass bowl to be full of gunk. Draining this away helped give clean fuel but no starting. I topped up the tank from my spare container, and was surprised to see it take about 20 litres. I had filled up both tanks at Lefkas marina, or so I had thought. Now I realised why the fuel bill was so low. After bleeding the system, my trusty Yanmar fired up and settled down to it's regular thump. My log shows we left Preveza at 06:45 and dropped anchor in 1.8mtrs of water at Lakka at 15:00. A good trip, and Bon was feeling okay as well. Pumping up the dinghy for a run ashore, then a snooze before another trip ashore for dinner. What a nice easy life I lead.
Lakka to Benitses was our next trip, and the weather started out dull but the sun soon burned that all away, and it was a full on sunbathing day. Bon went for a swim as we approached Benitses in 40mtrs of water and 1.8 miles offshore. Her last swim of the trip. I managed to find a small space in the harbour and went bow on as usual. I wasn't surprised to see a lot of the same boats still here from my last visit years ago. It's a free harbour and has excellent protection. The towns not changed much either. I caught up with Nick, a guy I had last met in Benitses and the owner of another Dromor. We had a good night ashore and walked out of town for a fair bit just to have a look around.
The next morning was to be Bons last trip on Nanjo, we left Benitses and went to Mandraki harbour situated just under the old fort at Corfu town. The harbour master found me a place and for 24 euros a night, with water and electric it wouldn't break the bank. We had a lovely stroll around the town and fort, but to be honest it's really just to busy and commercial for me. The sight of three large cruise liners in the harbour only confirmed my worst fears. The number of shops selling souvenir tat and not being able to walk past a bar/taverna without being virtually dragged in was not for me. Bon enjoyed her stay. I had spotted a new small harbour on my walk to a small machine shop to get some new plastic rollers made up for my jib track, and decided I would head there as soon as Bon left.
Saturday morning came around quick enough, and a phone call for a taxi and a 15minute trip to the airport, and I was soon waving goodbye to Bon as she went through passport control. It had been a great month for me having her onboard, and her help in fixing the stanchion bases was invaluable. The time had gone very quickly, I think for both of us.
I walked back from the airport to the machine shop, picked up my repaired rollers and was soon back on Nanjo. 30 minutes later I had cast off my mooring lines and motored out of Mandraki. 20 minutes later I was tied up alongside in the new harbour, only a twenty yard walk to a taverna and cold Mythos and two minutes from town. Another free harbour for me to enjoy. I had a great sleep, as there was very little swell from the passing ferries, unlike at Mandraki.
I left the next morning and sailed up to Gouvia fuel station and topped up both tanks. Once out past Gouvias outer bouy I switched the engine off, and hoisted all sail again. I had a fantastic day sailing back to Benitses, my log shows I sailed 22 miles for a 5 mile straight trip and an average speed of 3.8 knots. There were times when the wind died and my speed went down to 0.7 and when it picked up I hit 6.5, I was having a great time. No need to rush, all the time in the world and Nanjo back to sailing again. I eventually moored back up at Benitses again at 17:00 a trip of over 7 hours. Total engine time was 40mins. Hopefully that will be the way things go from now on.
I arrived at Benitses on Sunday 24th May, I'm writing this blog a week later and still here. Relaxing and chilling out. I've had all the bed linen cleaned at Argos, washed all my clothes using my new "wonderwash" machine. It took a bit of getting used to, but I was happy with the results it gave. It's just the amount of space it takes up in the bow cabin. I've gone through Nanjo from bow to stern, emptying every locker and rearranging stuff, making up new lists of whats where as well. I've found stuff I put onboard when I first bought Nanjo four years ago and never used, it's all ended up on the harbour wall with a "Free" sign on it all. Nanjos looking a lot tidier now. My mate Craig arrived on the Wednesday, he owns another Discovery 3000 moored two boats down from me. But the version built for ptivate use, the finish on the interior is miles above mine, and shows just how good these boats were built in the end. He's the perfect person to be Commodore of the Dromor Disco appreciation society.
Life in Benitses for me is very easy, I've done one job on my list every day, then relaxed with a beer and a chat. I can easily see how this harbour sucks people in and they never leave!!
I've no definite date to leave yet, my one big job is getting my fridge fixed in Nidri. My next guest is out in August as well, so plenty of time for me to get in some sailing and head South. I've been told of some "must visit" places on the mainland heading to Preveza, so they are on my list to visit, as I have no intention of coming any further North than Preveza again this year.
At the moment my life's as good as I hoped it would be, my works pension is enough to buy what I need and Nanjo provides me with a safe place to sleep, live and sail. What more could I really ask for?
It's been a few weeks since my last update, and typically there have been the ups and downs of working on a boat.
After eventually removing all the green stripes and glue to my satisfaction, I came to the tricky part of marking up the new ones. I had been playing with a sketch pad and really got carried away with some complicated ideas. Which could have never been duplicated either side and the cost in masking tape alone would have wrecked the budget!! So, I ended up just making the old stripes a touch bigger in the end. Four coats of British Racing Green paint and I was happy. The big let down was the "Professional 14 day, sharp edge" masking tape. After being on the sides of the boat for three days, it really did not want to come away easily, leaving a sticky residue and the edge was not as good as I had expected. I guess it's just 14 days in the UK! Nanjos new racing stripes look okay from 10 feet, which is about as near as most people will ever get. I painted the top hull line to match.
We have had a big problem in the yard since I arrived, No anti-fouling allowed. The solution for me was to get up at 7am and paint one side at a time, before the port police arrived on there rounds. Four early mornings and Nanjo had her two coats of anti fouling done. I've gone for the stuff recommended by the yard, so it will be interesting to see how Nanjo looks when next lifted out.
The Friday before my mate arrived was spent cleaning Nanjos interior and making space to set up a double bed in the saloon. Now, my bow really was a full shed.
I had a nice drive to Athens airport to collect Bonita, even finding a cafe that served the taxi drivers for a cheap meal. Then a nap before her arrival at midnight. It's always great to see her, and she came through the arrivals door smiling as expected. The drive back to Messolonghi was uneventful, except for me missing the turnoff for the bridge! We were back onboard for 4am.
The jobs with Bons help sped up, our first big job was the stanchions, taking down the interior head linings on one side at a time, meant having to shuffle stuff about as expected. The biggest shock came when we went to undo the holding bolts, two were just half inch self tappers, the other two were undersize bolts.Such a major safety item on the boat, and put together so shoddily by the Greek guys I had paid. I'm just so glad that nobody ever fell against them. The pictures say more than I can. After a fair bit of faffing about, we worked out how to put the new bases in place and secure them. Even getting the stanchions out turned out to be a really easy job, I found a welded yacht frame support nearby, and by placing the stanchion in it upside down, and giving it several clouts with a large lump hammer. They came apart easily. The first side took us a day and a half, the next side only half a day. I'm now happy with the result, although the toe rail has a few more holes drilled in it now. New guard wires completed the job.
I had winterized the engine when I brought Nanjo ashore, and had turned her over on a spanner everytime I came out. Now a complete change of filters,new belts and impellor. New diesel in the tank and a bleeding of the system, the big day had arrived to see if she would start. Luckily my Yanmar has decompressors fitted, so a 30 second spin on the starter, showed she turned over ok and had oil pressure. With Bon in the cockpit and me in the engine bay with a bucket of water for the inlet pipe, I'm glad to say she busrt into life after only a few minutes work. A very big sigh of relief as that was another major tick off the work list.
We got on with some small jobs but the last few days before the launch went very quickly, and Nanjo was ready for the water. A poor choice of food on the Saturday night, left me with the worst case of food poisoning I have ever had. I was not safe to be around and spent the whole of Sunday in bed moaning and groaning. Bon had to fend for herself and met some nice people at the marina to keep her company.
Monday the 4th and it's launch day. I had finally shaken off the stomach bug and was up at 7am getting Nanjo ready. Up went the Greek flag, Red ensign on the stern and of course my Pirate flag. Getting fenders and ropes ready didn't take long. We were the second boat to be launched, and it took them no time at all to remove the junk around Nanjo. The big tipper truck has not moved since I arrived, luckily they managed to get the tractor and lift in okay. Within 10 minutes Nanjo was on the move for the first time in over two years, only to then spend the next couple of hours waiting for the crane driver to arrive, who was doing another job in the port. It was a great moment for me seeing her afloat eventually and stepping onboard a moving yacht again. A quick check for leaks and then the engine fired up instantly. We spent 20mins motoring around the harbour before going into the marina. It gave Bon a chance to play on the tiller and me a chance to check things over. The rest of Monday was spent tidying up, changing the engine and gearbox oil and relaxing. The big surprise for me was that Nanjo still floated above her waterline, so maybe there's room for more stuff onboard.
Tuesday we went for a trial sail in the bay just past the safe water bouys. It was gorgeous weather and Trix had handed me a couple of cold beers and some goodies to eat. Bon had her first taste of being at sea on a yacht and I went through the m.o.b procedure with her. The wind started to fill in so it was out with the jib for a sailing lesson, then mainsil and finally both together. Nanjo came alive in the nice breeze and Bon managed a top speed of 6 knots, before we headed back to Messolonghi. For me, it was just perfect holding her tiller again and feeling her come alive, as she just leaned over to the breeze. We were only out for 4 hours, but it made all the work and waiting so worthwhile, She really sails well in my opinion.
Tuesday evening and things were not looking so good for Bon, she was suffering badly with motion sickness, despite wrist bands and feeling okay while sailing. Her condition just got worse as the night went on. She was having trouble focusing and standing up. It's Friday now and she is moving around at last. Our plans to sail to Corfu are on hold at the moment. The plan at the moment is to go out on Saturday for another 4 hour sail and see how she reacts. If it's bad again, then it will be a bus or car to Corfu so she can catch her flight. If she's okay then we could set off on the Monday.
I've been sewing some new mossie screens for the hatches as it's now so hot, closing them at night is not really an option.
Sailblog update 19th April 2015.
It's hard to believe that I've already been back living on Nanjo for three weeks, the time is flying by. The list of jobs seems to be getting longer, and even the simple ones are taking 4 times longer than expected. I've honestly only had one day off work, how that came about is a story for later!!
It's been great being back onboard, I can't begin to explain how I feel, knowing that "this is it". After all the years of working and planning on living on a yacht, sailing where I like and having a very simple life, it's all finally come together. I've woken up every morning so far, happy and really without any serious cares. Apart from the price of beer and spinach/fetta pies. Even tackling what have turned out to be laborious crap jobs, has made me smile at the end of them, knowing that each tick off the list is a step nearer to Nanjo being launched, and put back in the environment in which she belongs. Keeping her ashore for two long years, I now know was a mistake. I really should have taken her sailing if even for a week or two each year. A lot of the minor (well so far problems) have been down to her standing ashore.
A charging problem had me scratching my head and digging out wiring manuals and the multi-meter, even with the solar panels and wind gen now up and running, my charge controller had an annoying flashing red light. It turned out in the end to be the start battery failing and dragging the house batteries down, and some corrosion in a couple of wiring joints. A simple fix, new start battery and some emery cloth, but took me most of a day to sort.
My leaking windows, were as expected a bitch of a job. Just trying to remove the air conditioning tin foil I had used to seal them took two days, it just wouldn't come away in bits bigger than a mm, after two years it had done it's job well tho, and Nanjo was dry inside. So, I guess two days work was a small price to pay, they are now sealed with arbosil, which depending on what forum you visit is the best stuff for the job. Needless to say, since I've resealed them, I've had no rain!!
The anchor locker hatch boards that Bonita started for me were a nice job to finish of. Just a bit of sanding, two coats of epoxy, two coats of epoxy undercoat and three coats of white gloss, with one coat of non slip sand added. The job looks pucker, and hopefully should last years. The danger of having a can of white gloss onboard, is it makes anything creamy look dirty! A little test patch on my saloon sides really showed this up, so a job not on the list was added. Three coats later, and I'm really glad that I took the trouble, it's brightened up the interior no end, just need to put up my new curtains now.
Vernon the "white van man" arrived a week after I did, with my boxs from the UK. It was great to see him again, as he had taken out my stuff when I had my years career break. But, by now, Nanjo was pretty full up inside with the stuff I had brought out over the last years. Any guests will be sleeping in the cockpit this year, I really should have made a list of what I had already onboard. I've now got 7 hammers? and enough tools to rebuild Nelsons HMS Victory. Just about everything is triplicated, but, you know what it's like with tools? You can never have enough!!
I tackled what I thought would be a mornings work, putting in my new fridge compressor and vapouriser unit, brought out by Vernon. The vapouriser fitted in my fridge casing after only minor trimming/bending with pliers. The thermostat, went back where the old one had been as well. By now, I'm thinking I'm on a roll, and an early lunch looked on the cards. It wasn't to be, the compressor comes already fitted on a mounting plate with everything partially coupled up. If it went back where the old unit was, it would have been a bitch to couple up, and servicing would have been a nightmare. So, I found a little space for it under the cooker in a locker. Just needed to make up a plywood plinth for it to stand on, fibreglass it in and bolt it down. Luckily I had some spare 3/4 inch ply from the anchor locker job, and enough tools to knock the plinth up. It all went really well, as can be seen in one of the pics, easy to service, easy to wire up as well. Only the two copper pipes to connect and I'll be having a cold beer in the evening! Wrong, the copper couplings were of different sizes!! It's the same manufacturer, why. The frustrating thing is I've had the units in my home for 7 months and never checked them. Luckily a quick e-mail to "Stiff Nipples" in Nidri, and when I sail there he might be able to help. So hopefully a happy ending in a few months time.
I've been working on two or three projects at a time, allowing paint to dry or glue to stick while getting on with something else. Nanjo is a complete mess at the moment. The saloon is littered with tools, paint, white spirit and just about everything needed to reconstruct a yacht. The bow cabin, is more my shed at the moment, all the big items not needed have been put in there "out of sight". I'm expecting her to sit a few inches lower in the water when she's launched on May 4th.
At the moment, my biggest ongoing job is to replace the "go faster stripes" on Nanjos cabin sides with painted on ones. Another job that I've totally underestimated in time to complete. Just taking the old vinyl stickers off was a nightmare, they were another milimetre at a time, even with the aid of my hot air gun. Then the real problem revealed itself, the sodding sticky residue left behind. I've gone over everything four times now, and I'm still not happy. A quick internet search gave me a few ideas on what to use, but only after seeing a video of the proffessionals using a plastic wheel in an angle grinder, did I realise what I was up against. I'm writing this and so far it's been a three day job, I've yet to key the sides, mask up for the new lines and apply the green and cream paint!! My jobs list said "2 days". I'm now constantly revising the jobs to do before launching, and putting the jobs I can do in a bay somewhere list together (it's getting longer).
My day off work came about because the night before, I had been invited to Peter and Trixs yacht for the evening to sample cheese fondue and have a lovely time. As usual, I had a fantastic time, eat far to much and drank way to much. I eventually left at 4am, slightly the worse for wear, but felt great. To get off there yacht, you have to climb over the bow. There is a purpose built ladder and I've done it many a time. This time tho, all I remember is cocking my leg over the rail, and ending up in the sea!! Luckily Peter had been behind me and seen me suddenly dissapear, thankfully for me he was more sober, and between us, I managed to climb onto the jetty. My first thoughts were, the waters warmer than expected! Then "how the fuck did that happen". Peter escorted me back to Nanjo and watched me climb her ladder, if you look at the photos of where she is and all the metal and junk lying around. Falling off her ashore would not be a good idea. I had sobered up enough to notice the blood dripping from my arm, big toe and hand. Mostly done on the barnacles I reckon, but slapping on some savlon after washing the cuts seemed a good idea before going to sleep. Well, when I eventually woke up, half the day had gone, and i felt like I had been knocked down by a bus, even after standing in a gorgeous shower for ten minutes. A quick visit to Peter and Trix to show I was still alive, and we had a chat over a coffee, about the evening and my sudden departure. It could have been a lot worse, it's a concrete jetty, i luckily completely missed it. After a 5min bike ride into town for a spinach pie, I was back onboard and just relaxing. Spent the day and evening avoiding beer completely.
My best bud, Bonita is arriving on the 25th for a months stay and a cruise up to Corfu. But first she will have to work for a week, another top job to do is replace the crap stanchion bases that have been on Nanjo since I bought her. A quick try at getting a stanchion out, has proved what I expected, the alloy stanchion and stainless steel base have corroded together. Looks like an angle grinder will be needed to separate them!! Oh well, there goes another one day job.
I'm now officially retired from work and a RM pensioner.
Leaving work after nearly 36 years was a lot easier than I expected. I put in a months retirement notice, and before long it was my last night, which was spent saying goodbye to some people I've known for a very long time. I had a great send off and thanks to everybody who attended my farewell do and contributed to my fantastic farewell pressie. I will wear it with pride.
Handing back my great flat was just as easy, and spending a few days giving it a complete and thorough clean, paid dividends when they agreed to return my full deposit. (More for the Mythos fund). I've sold my beloved Beemer to a friend, and to be honest, it will be the one thing I will miss the most.
I'm currently at my sisters, trying to squeeze all the goodies I've bought into three box's for the flight to Athens. Only a couple of days left in the UK, before the big adventure and the start of a new life. Hopefully it will be as a long term cruising liveaboard. I can't wait.