Left Messalonghi after handing the marina card back, we only spent 70 cents? There was no wind so it was another day with the motor thumping away. We were heading to Limin Petala a small anchorage behind one of the islands we passed on the way down. We arrived after a hot day, luckily I had put the stern bimini sun shade up and it's only small but gives a great deal of cover. We tucked in as far into the bay as I could and dropped anchor in 1.5 mtrs of water. The anchor winch has broken completely and John had the good idea of flaking the chain on deck just incase it jammed. We had just settled down and I was about to cook a spag bol, when I noticed a small fishing boat heading our way. I went on deck and helped him alongside, he then handed me a large box of fish about 20 and all different makes for free and said we should join them for coffee in the morning. They had rowed over from a small shed on the mainland, I should think a pretty lonely existence? Big problem now is I am not a fish lover unless it comes as cod and already battered with chips and two pickled onions? Luckily John is, so I put two in a frying pan with some olive oil, as I could not find any receipes how to cook fish in my cook book. Luckily John phoned his wife who gave us instructions, phase 2: I threw the ones in the pan out, John picked two more and this time he cut the heads and tails off then gutted them and gave them a wash. Back in the pan and some more olive oil, 10mins later John eat them and was happy with the result. I had a couple of cheese and tomato sarnies. Nanjo smelt like a trawler, thats probably the last time she will ever smell like that?? The rest of the fish were put on the stern and then dropped into the sea later. It was a great jesture on the part of the fishermen, and I am sure the fish were worth a lot of money, but I would have preferred a free pitta gyros or apple.
Up early and we left the small bay, It would have been great to visit the fishermen for a coffee, but not this time. Maybe next? No wind again, so the Yanmar was chugging away again. We soon reached the island of Kastos and its small harbour, which looked a lot bigger in my pilot book. There was only one other yacht and he was moored alongside, so we joined him. A bit of a mistake on my part, we had not seen another yacht all day. And did not expect to see any more. We went for a cold mythos at the Windmill taverna, which has views to die for. We watched other yachts arriveing and wondered where they would go? Back to Nanjo, I found out, we had been blocked in by a large Dutch yacht behind who had reversed to the quay, and a large Swiss ketch in front who had another yacht rafted up alongside him. There were also two anchored in the middle of the small harbour. I had a gorgeous hot shower at the Windmill and we returned for dinner later. The owner said they get 40 to 50 yachts inside in the summer, I certainly don't intend returning then. Slept really well.
Woke up late as we only have 20 miles to go to Spartakorri. I was hoping one of the other yachts would have moved but no such luck. After a quick think, I worked out a plan to get us out. Luckily the wind was helping as well and we were being blown off the quay. John pushed the bow out, I pulled the stern in and Nanjo motored out of the gap very nicely. A lesson to me to reverse or go bow in next time. No wind again, so motored to Spartakorri on Megannissi island. We only saw another yacht after going round the top of Megannissi, the sea was flat calm and a brilliant blue. The biggest surprise was finding Spartakorri empty of yachts. It's normally full up in the summer months. As I approached the taverna quay, the old boy walked out to pass us a stern line. It's probably the easiest mooring you could ask for, just motor in slowly with two bow ropes ready. He will stop you from bumping the jetty by holding your bow, he then passes you a rope which is attached to a concrete block imbedded on the sea bed behind you. Tie the rope to your stern, he puts your two bow lines through some rings, you pull them tight, and leave just enough gap so you can step ashore, and it's job done. You are expected to eat at his taverna or at least buy a drink, which is no problem as it's all good stuff and a good price. Nanjo was tidied up and we went for a mythos, only to find he was closed for food, but happy to serve us with beer. It's to early in the season for him to be fully open. We had 4 mythos and I offered to pay, but the old boy said to pay next time I am back. Somehow, I just could not imagine that happening in the Solent?? John went for a walk and I went for my first swim, the water is so clear here and you always hit a hot spot every now and again. Biggest shock was, diving under Nanjo and finding the expensive proppelor anti-fouling had all gone, so much for a 2 year life span and suitable for motorboats up to 20knots? It's only been just over a week since my launch and only about 120 miles, the stuff could have gone at anytime. It's a small problem, and I will have to dive under every now and again to give the prop a clean. We had a huge dinner up in the town, a steep climb but the food and views were well worth it. It's the first time I have not managed to finish my dinner. It was the home made Peasant pizza, sausage and fetta cheese. Maybe the medium size with a large plate of chips was a bit to much? Back on board, I slept really well. Probably the quietest harbour I will have for the rest of the trip?
No rush to wake up, I must be honest and admit I am getting really used to not wearing a watch and not having to set an alarm clock. We let go the ropes and motored the 6 miles to Nidri sea front. More yachts about, but still really quiet compared to the summer. John decided to flake the chain on the bow again as the anchor winch could not be relied on at all. Luckily there was a large free spot on the town quay for me to practice my first reverse up, John dropped the anchor in just the righjt spot, Nanjo responded to the tiller and engine and it all went very smoothly, as the guy on the British yacht came and took my stern ropes. My first back up, and no problems, thanks to John controlling the anchor. When on my own, I will always be going bow in, and using the stern anchor which is kept in a bucket and I can control it. Of for a beer, and we met Tom and Anne again from Messalonghi. It was lovely to see them again and they had motored all the way as well. Gill, Vernons wife, brought the fridge control unit down for me. His fridge repair company is called "Stiff Nipples", cost me 160 euros and was quickly wired up, and the fridge started to hum, so all looking good. John went to an internet cafe and I decided to take the anchor winch off as it was more a liability where it was. The bloody thing was seized solid, there was no way it would have ripped out, but the gearbox was broken and the motor was banging around. Eventually, I had to have the motor running and whack it with a hammer to get the main shaft loose as it was seized. Glad to say, after much pounding it all came apart. I cut a hole in one of the anchor locker lids to pass the chain through and thats job done. No more possible jams, but it does mean a lot of hard work for John having to lift a 35kg anchor and normally 30 metres of 8mm chain. A Sunsail yacht arrived with a crew of Russians who promptly dropped there chain on top of mine, they recovered it and tried again, same result, then tried again and the same result. Only this time they just left it and went ashore!!! We had a relaxing time in Nidri, I managed to scoff two pitta gyros, one good and one very good. Quite a few mythos later and John found a supermarket selling Guinness, so bought a few. In anticipation of good things from the fridge. Slept really well, it's getting a lot warmer at night now. The Love Blanket is hardly being used.
I actually set my alarm for 7.30, as we had to get to Lefkas early to get my "A" frame fitted. Leaving the quay was no problem for me, but was hell for John, pulling up the anchor by hand. As expected the bloody Russians had dropped it across mine, and it took the pair of us to get my anchor up enough for me to reach over and untangle the Russians anchor from mine. Normal practice would have been to pull theres taught and drop it again, to be honest I thought it was pay back time, and just let theres drop where it was. They showed no interest in helping us, my only hope is the slack now in there chain, meant there expensive 44ft Sunsail charter yacht was now banging its stern on the quay. It's early in the season and I'm sure to encounter more ----holes like them? I set the fridge on 6, the half way position and we motored to Lefkas. In a cloudy and strangely cold morning. I topped up the fuel tank and filled the spare drum with diesel at Lefkas marina fuel berth. 35 ltrs and 56 euros later and job done. The Yanmar engine is only using 1 ltr per hour at 1800 revs, which gives me 50hrs motoring on the main tank and another 22hrs in reserve. Hopefully, I will never run out? I found a spot to reverse up at Lefkas quay, John let out the chain and all was going smoothly when 10ft from the quay my rudder touched the bottom, there was no way we were going to back into that spot. I had to tell John to pull all the anchor chain up again and we had to move elsewhere. Not an easy job. 100 yds further up there was a spot between two Uk yachts both bigger than Nanjo, so I reversed in again. This time a success and the Brit on the next yacht took my stern lines and we were all secure. I thought the fridge would be cold, but no such luck, maybe 90mins was\not enough to have any effect? I rang Kosmar to fit my "A" frame as we had arrived before 12. His response was he will come and have a look. He turned up 10mins later, then said he would be back at 6.30pm, my first thoughts were he had not made my "A" frame yet and was going to spend the next 6hrs building it? We spent the afternoon having a look around town, and avoiding the harbour police who were now charging 7 euros a night to stay here. They have never charged before, the general rule is, if your not onboard they will not bother you. So, we did the obvious thing and had a mythos and watched him collect money of other yachties, only going back to Nanjo when the coast was clear. 7 euros is 3 mythos, I know where my money is better spent? Kosmar arrived dead on time, accompanied by 4 other work mates, the "A" frame looked really good and I am well pleased with the job he has done making it, the welds are smooth and the pole for the wind generator is well fixed. He did say a 20min job to fit, but after only a small amount of grinding, drilling and somebody shooting of on there scooter for a part it was all bolted down and looking good.It took them 90mins to fit in the end. I placed the wind gen on its pole to make sure it all fitted, to be honest, he told me it would and seemed a bit upset that I doubted him? I gladly handed over the remainder of the money I owed him, for a job well done. I will fit the wind gen and solar panels I will buy,at a later date. A shower on board with the cold water, very refreshing once your wet all over, and of into town for dinner. We both chose the mousakka, which must have been the smallest meal on the menu after we sat and watched what others were getting? Next time I will watch what other are ordering and get the largest. We went for a stroll around town and ended up at Buranos for a few beers, (what a suprise?). Where, I saw what looked like a copper Dustbin lid being served. This thing was full of meat and pitta bread and salad, apparently a appertiser for two? It was on my list of things to do tomorrow. Back on board and the loud creaking from the back of Nanjo worried me as I tried to sleep. Eventually I could take it no more, and pulled the wooden gang plank on board. It had sounded like the cleats were being ripped out? Slept like a log.
Up late, and went to the nearby supermarket for some cereal and cold milk. There are just times in your life when Cornflakes and cold milk are calling you, and that call has to be answered? We have decided to have a free day in lefkas, I have convinced John that it would be a crime to leave without sampling Burano's Dustbin lid special. I had a go at putting the bimini up, and suprise suprise it fitted perfectly under the A frame. I'm really glad as it will save my bald spot from getting burnt again. Into town for a walk around and we bumped into Tom and Anne at a taverna, they had hired a scooter in Nidri for 10euros and were driving around. I mentioned I was after some plywood to make a infill for the settee in the saloon, it will convert it into a nice double for when the back cabin gets to hot. 10 seconds later I'm on the back of Toms 50cc scooter and whizzing out of Lefkas. Those of you who know me know I have been a biker all my life, but am possibly the worst pillion passenger on the planet. But now I'm sitting behind somebody I hardly know, and I have only seen him on a electric scooter before, he has a helmet and I don't. The poor old scooter is struggling to lug my baulk up the hill out of town, I must be honest, there were times when I closed my eyes as another car was about to pull out of a side street! We got to the timber yard just before it closed, the really great guy cut me a off cut of 20mm marine ply. I think Toms jaw dropped when he realised it was over a metre long and 40cm wide. It was fun driving back into town, the plywood acting as an air brake every know and again, and Tom sticking to a slow speed as I only had one hand to hold on with. I think we would have looked more Greek if I had a tray of Frappee's and Tom was on his mobile as well? Thanks Tom, for a really great ride out. We made it safely back to the taverna we had left John and Anne at. Hopefully I will bump into them again before December at Messalonghi.
We went back on board for a rest, you soon get worn out when your not used to doing anything? I'm very glad to say that later that evening we went to Buranos and ordered the Dustbin Lid special along with a couple of mythos and half a litre of wine. We were not dissapointed when it arrived, with a big sense of occassion the waitress opened the lid, and it was full of sovlaki chicken,pork and lamb on sticks and plenty of loose meat around the edges, chunks of different pitta breads and some salad and sauce. The people on the opposite table asked what it was. It does say a meal for 2 but there is enough for 4 people. I'm glad to say that we did the chef and is dish proud, the local cats were not going to fed by us this night. They would have been perfectly welcome to the wine though, as it really was crap! A highly recommended dish if your hungry and all for 22 euros. We rolled out of Buranos and back to Nanjo,well fed. Just before I turned in, I remembered the plank and pulled it on board. I slept like a log.
It's election day in Greece and we are not sure what will be open, so decide to go to the marina and make sure the Lefkas floating bridge is working. Luckily we notice yachts heading for the 10:30 opening,once we see others coming through, we decide to get the 12:00 opening and head for Preveza. Just time for an ice cream and to get Nanjo ready for sea,we are away from the jetty at 11:30 and the first yacht in line for the opening. Well, we were the first to go out, it was another story the other side of the floating bridge,I could make out about 10 masts jostling for position,and waiting to come in. On paper I have right of way, but in reality it was every man for himself as usual. We watched as a guy tried to get in front of a big cat, then changed his mind, waving the cat through, the poor sod behind him nearly rammed his stern as the guy in the yacht suddenly slowed. It must make a great viewing place in the height of the summer? A bumpy passage to Preveza with the engine running to give the fridge a work out, and before long we were going alongside Cleopatra marina outer pontoon. It was only a quick stop so John could drop his stainless buffer of and pick some bits up, and I had no intention of paying a marina fee or stopping. 20mins later and we had left and found an empty space at Preveza free marina, on the same pontoon as last time, result. We went to our regular mythos bar and had 3 mythos and 3 plates of free nibbles, just hope I'm not turning into a alcholic? Had a nap on board, then of to Johns favorite taverna for dinner and some more mythos/wine. Back on board,and I worked out a couple of options for our trip towards the Faraway Islands,it was either Gaios or Mongonissi both on Paxos and between 28 and 33 miles away. I decided that tomorrow will be a free day in Preveza so we can get some food in and get a decent up to date weather forecast. No rush to get up in the morning and I slept really well.
29/04/2012, Messalonghi Marina.
Monday 23 April
launch day, I had plenty to keep me occupied in the last hours before the launch. Fill up water tanks, wash boat, put a new main haliard up the mast and a few little jobs. The launch was put back a couple of hours, so that gave me time to fill up my spare diesel can. The launch went very smoothly, I was worried when they took the front and middle chocks away and Nanjo was just standing there, steady as a rock. These guys really know how to balance a yacht. She was lifted and in the water all within 30mins. I jumped on board, started the engine, checked for leaks (luckily found none), they released the straps and Nanjo was afloat and free to move away. Out into the bay I put the new auto helm on and had to do a couple of slow circles so its compass could work out where it was. Then into the Gulf for a bit more motoring before the afternoon breeze filled in. All sails up and the motor silenced, it was pure bliss, as Nanjo heeled slightly to the wind and started to pick up speed. She handled perfectly, the wind got up to a Force 4 and I managed to get 6.8 knots on a broad reach. Nanjo heeled to about 15 degrees and the 4 ton lead keel started to take effect and keep her from leaning over any more. I'm glad to say that all my carefull stowing of gear and nothing fell out of the lockers. Back at Preveza I found a spare berth at the free marina and tied up on the outside pontoon. A very pleased skipper with the first days sail. We had a mythos to celebrate and later dinner at Johns favorite taverna.
Up early and started to head for the Lefkas canal and the bridge opening at 12.00, we were motoring out of the channel and I put my newly fitted gps on, for some reason it was telling us to turn 180 degrees and alter course. Plenty of head scratching on my part, so I( went below to have a look. Instantly I realised that I had put in a course for Preveza (where we had just left) instead of Lefkas where we were going. A quick push of some buttons and we were heading in the right direction. As we got nearer the canal entrance we could see a large motor yacht aground and well up on the beach, carrying a British flag. As I approached they started to wave us away. indicating the channel was now blocked and nobody will be able to get past till he was dragged off the sand. The options were to sail around Lefkas or return to Preveza. So back to Preveza it was, motor all the way and we even picked up our free marina berth again. Dinner in Johns taverna and back for a sleep.
We deceided to spend the day relaxing and doing very little. On a visit to the port police to see if we could find out any info on the grounded boat, we got chatting to a Uk couple who confirmed it had been moved and was now in the hoist at Cleopatras yard. Great news so we planned to leave the next day and head straight for Kalamos. Original plan was to stop at Lefkas for my "A" frame to be fitted but the steel guy was busy so no point in stopping. Cooked dinner on board and we had a early night.
Up early, left the jetty and motored out of Preveza. A beautiful sunny day. We were the first yacht to go into the narrow channel and my echo sounder went down to half a meter below the keel, the rocks can be easily seen as I went slowly over them. The bridge opened on time at 10.30 and we motored through. It's a lovely trip up the canal and into Lefkas town, but we just kept going down the channel and into the Southern Ionian. The wind started to fill in so it was sails up time. Unfortunately one of the sail battens decided to make a break for freedom as the mainsail was going up, I watched it fly over my head and sink into the sea!! We managed to sail for a few hours, but the normal afternoon breeze never arrived. The trip to the isle of Kalamos was lovely, clear blue skys and a gorgeous blue sea. We arrived at Kalamos harbour, a little bit difficult to see the entrance till you quite close and it's well into the beach as well. The infamous "George" took our mooring lines and helped to tie up. He owns a taverna in the harbour, so you feel obliged to visit. Which we did, and had several cold mythos and a lovely dinner. We met a couple who were looking for a yacht, so I showed the husband around Nanjo, he seemed impressed. The town is lovely and it's a steep climb up the hill, but some gorgeous views into the bay. It's a place I will visit again for sure. Early to bed, and slept like a log.
Up early as we have a long way to go to Messalonghi, I plotted a course and it worked out at 42 nautical miles. As it worked out, we had to motor all the way and took 8 hours to arrive, The weather was absolutely gorgeous, flat seas but no wind at all. Oh well, the engine got a good work out and the batteries are fully charged now. We passed some islands on the way and I will go back and explore them more fully later. The echo sounder started to read erratically when we got over deep water, sometimes going down to half a meter when the chart said 200? Eventually I could take it no more and got the two page instruction book out, there was a chapter on how to adjust the gain. A 20 second re-program of the echo sounder and it's all working great now. I was going to write a snotty e-mail to the makers, really glad I didn't.
The passage up the Messalonghi canal and passed the fishermens huts was nice, but most of them seem to have been bought and really updated now. I tried to call the marina on the vhf, but got a complete idiot on the other end. I was motoring up and down 50yds off the entrance, getting ropes and fenders ready, the only yacht in the harbour. And he was asking me where I am, what my yacht name was so I told him, and he said it was not in his book? Eventually I gave up and we tied up along the town quay. A Scottish couple came over for a chat, and they are liveaboards and in the marina for the winter. They have been sailing for 9 years now and were planning to leave on Sunday and spend some time in Albania? We spent the night in the marina bar after walking around, where we met the couple again. It's a lovely place.
Moved Nanjo over to the marina and tied up on a outside pontoon. I went to the office and was given a good price for staying the winter, so I paid a deposit to save a space and have booked in from Dec 1st to March 1st. It works out at £5.60 a day all in, so am well happy with that. Hard to imagine that it's only 31 weeks away before I will be back here for 3 months. We went into town and had a look around the market and the main square. It's my kind of town, a bit scruffy and has a great lived in feel to it. Another working town just like Preveza, it will be opoen all year round which is what I want, and only a 20 minute walk to the center. I can see me getting a cheap pushbike for the winter tho. I'm looking forward to meeting this years winter liveaboard community when I'm back in December, by all accounts they have a great time helping each other and organising trips. We had dinner in the marina bar, which is brought in by the bar owners brother who owns a taverna in town, a great service and my meal was big. We did manage to spend 60 euros tho, so the budget took a bashing? A game of Greek footbal on the tv, think it was a cup final? and back to Nanjo for a sleep.
No rush to wake up, so got up at 9am. Did some brekkie, tea and bread and jam. Then attacked my small amount of washing, only 6 items so did not take long. John went of to try the shower and the card system, he came back impressed. I had a lovely shower and the card showed it cost only 50 cents. We went into town for a long look around, and even found a quicker way to get there. The town center is really vibrant with tavernas on three sides and everybody sitting out enjoying the sun, children everywhere riding there pushbikes. As its a pedestrian free zone,which makes it all the more enjoyable. We had a mythos then went for a walk, and managed to find lifes essentials. A pitta gyros shop, a bread shop,a ice cream shop, mythos bars and a supermarket, even a hardware store. I am going to like this place and hopefully meet some great people.
Back on board and I have plotted courses for the next 3 days as we head towards Nidri. I am really getting used to working on charts again and am getting quicker each time. It's about 100 times harder than a chart plotter, but they can't go wrong as long as I keep the charts updated. Am writing this blog in the marina bar and having a cold mythos. I'm glad to say that this lifestyle is everything I hoped it would be, I have managed to loose 15kg in weight and am eating and drinking well, so, once the swimming starts it will help loose more weight? Next blog update will probably be in Corfu? Nanjo is going great, all systems are working and I can feel her coming alive as we sail around and explore this beautiful sea. I am sure she will look after me as long as I look after her, I think we make a good team?
I slept really well, despite the rain and wind blowing Nanjo around in her cradle. The blanket is superb, I woke at 11.55 and am pleased to say I don't feel guilty in anyway, I have nobody to tell me what to do and nobody to answer to. Is this what being retired is like?? The weather had dried up, but the winds were still 35knots and it was cold. I gave the cabin doors another coat of paint, then sorted the cockpit table out. It was a problem with the tube and holder, hopefully all sorted now. Next job, I replaced a couple of door catches, and put one on my new galley table to stop it from banging when Nanjo is at sea. Whipping the ends of a couple of ropes, splicing a rope for the anchor hook and sorting out my bow ladder and that was my working day. A quick wash on board and a simple dinner on Tulane and we were of to the bar for a mythos now they are open again. Will call into the marina office to put the launch date back to next Monday, as the forecast is rain till Sunday?????
Had a bad sleep, the heavy rain pounding on the deck kept me awake most of the night, wonder if you can get sound proofing for yachts? Up early for the bus to town, but went to the marina office first to change my launch date. Did not expect the long queue to get in, it seems that everybody else was putting launch dates back as well. I managed to get a cancelled slot for next Monday at 11am, so fingers X Nanjo will be launched then. The forecast is for rain/showers up to Sat then nice after that. Into town with John and he got his flight details printed of at the local internet cafe, then a visit to the hardware shop for some bits, a quick shop at the supermarket and it was time for my gyros, it was lovely.
Back at the boat yard I went to see the stainless guy, as far as he knew I was still leaving on Wed and I wanted to know about my rack? It was partially built, and he said maybe finish today or tomorrow. But the old boy worked a treat, and a few hours later he had brought it over for a trial fitting, a quick bash with a hammer here and there and it was back for final welding. It re-appeared 30mins later and is a job well done, as can be seen in the pics. It will take the weight of the emergency liferaft of the hatch garage, making it easier to open and close. I just have to take the cabin roof lining down and bolt it in place, my main job for tomorrow. I replaced the hinges on the engine instrument panel, you can actually open the thing to read the gauges now. It was raining most of the day, so a lovely hot wash on Nanjo, dinner on Tulane, a quick mythos in the bar and thats my day done. I can't remember when I last felt so unstressed and relaxed, my cough has all but gone, my feet feel like they are re-born and with no pain. Am really looking forward to regular walks and swimming again, once we are back in the water and of sailing.
Had a horrible nights sleep. heavy rain banging on the boat kept me awake most of the night. Up early to take the deck head lining down, plenty of screws and it's probably not been down since Nanjo was built? It all came apart relatively easily, just hope it goes back the same? Very strong winds but a break in the rain meant I could bolt the rack in place, John gave me a hand and did the cold part up on deck, we ended up using a selection of different length bolts due to the uneven fibreglass thickness on the roof. It all went together very quickly and I araldited and the glassfibred the bolts in place, hopefully they will never leak or need to be touched again? Typically just when I needed rain none fell, so I have left the head lining down until tomorrow to watch for leaks. The winds been blowing a good 35knots all day, really glad I did not launch and am out in it. A lovely hot shower, a simple meal cooked on Tulane, pkt rice,tin of toms,a pepper and half an onion and it did not taste to bad. A glass of red wine and then of to the bar for our regulation mythos. It's very cold tonight and the wind is still howling, surely this weather must change soon. We were really spoilt the first two weeks with the glorious sunshine.
Up early and amazingly the sun is out, gave the rack bolts a good soaking and no leaks. So screwed the roof lining back in place. It all went back ok and unbelievably I had no screws left over? Next job was to give the deck and cabin top a really good scrub and polish, it came up a treat and even the teak looks smart. Johns crane arrived, so gave him a hand putting his mast back up. It all went well, the crane driver was on the ball. Back on Nanjo and I washed the stbd side of the hull then gave it a polish to remove the black streaks from the top sides. Will do the port side tomorrow, then thats all the big jobs done. Just got to tidy the insides and stow everything, all ready for the Monday launch. Meant to be rain tomorrow then it's looking good after that, so fingers X they are right? We went for a meal in the Squashed Tomato for a change, I had a gorgeous home made chicken pie. Think I deserved it after my busy day. Then into the marina bar for our mythos. The end of a perfect day.
Wet night, and no leaks found? Up early and we went into town, for some shopping and a few bits from the hardware shop. Lovely and sunny, so back on Nanjo it was a serious washing day, managed to get everything up and on the line, I was running out of clean stuff fast. All dried nicely in a few hours. Managed to do loads of little jobs, I am leaving the hull polishing till Sat as I was in a lot of pain during the night in my right arm. I am assuming it was because of the wipe on and polish of rather than lifting to many mythos?? Some pain killers soon sorted it out tho. I paid my new yard bill up to Mondays new launch date and it worked out cheaper than expected. A quick phone call to Kosma my steel guy in Lefkas and he conformed my "Roll Bar" was all ready to be fitted, but he did reckon he was busy on Tuesday, my planned day to arrive there. Somehow I think he will turn up and fit it as it's only a "20 minute job" his words, and collect the remaining 800 euros I owe him. One of the simple job I did was to paint the bits on the engine Red that need to be opened when I get an air lock in the fuel lines, should save me having to look at the manual. Dinner on Tulane and a bottle of red wine and that was my day.
A spectacular thunder and lightning storm woke me at 2.30am, no wind but the forked lightning just lit the sky brilliantly, and as the storm passed over the sound of the thunder dissapearing over the mountains was magic. Just wish I could have filmed it all. Awoke to glorious sunshine, a quick trip to the chandlers for some bits, did the big washing, fleece,jeans and all drying nicely. Got on and polished the Port side of the hull, and because I had worked so hard and the weather was so glorious with more to come. I treated myself to a lunchtime mythos. Back on board and it was make a start on lots of little jobs. Made a start on cleaning Nanjo, gave the cooker a good clean. Had a warm shower and cooked dinner on Tulane and my usual two mythos in the marina bar. Sunday will be just cleaning and hopefully watching the Bahrain Grand prix on the marina tv. Weather is looking settled for the next 9 days.
Another gorgeous day here. I managed to stow everything in the lockers and even the bilge with no problems. Watched the Bahrain Grand Prix and had a great lunch in the bar. Afternoon was last minute clothes washing, more tidying and plotting a route down to Messalonghi via Lefkas,Nidri,Kalamos. Just to the bar for a last drink and they were out of mythos, must be a sign it's time to move on? I have been looking for a bread basket the kind they have in the bar, so I asked Panos the owner where I could get one from and he gave me the one I was using as a gift, a lovely gesture and I will use it often when Nanjo has guests on board. Launch day tomorrow at 11am, I have done all the checks so fingers X it all goes to plan. Not sure when the next update will be now as internet cafes and wi-fi hotspots will be my only contact. Thanks for all the comments and well wishes. The real adventure begins now?
Monday 9th April
Its wet!!!! Wet and even wetter? Rough night with heavy rain, thunder and lightning, temp dropped to 13 degrees. I must be getting old because I woke up to put my fleece and a pair of wolly socks on,then climb back into my sleeping bag. Up early and a couple of windows have leaked, so soggy cushions again, and about 1in of water in the bilge. Hopefully jobs that can be fixed easily? Into town on the mini bus for some food, and the whole place has a different atmosphere in the rain, not so many smiling faces. I'm doing a big dinner tonight, so got some chicken breast,pepper and onions. John also picked up a bottle of wine to go with our meal. A spinach pastie for him and a small but delish pizza for me, while walking around.
Just did some small jobs on board, the anchor locker had been leaking into the cabin. Took me ages to remove the 40 screws holding the fibreglass trim in place. Replaced both pipes with tougher stuff, but it's a bad design that I will sort out in the winter when I am in a marina. Pictures show the bow fittings, not sure how they tightened them when Nanjo was built?
Cooked a sweet and sour chicken dish on Tulane, tasty very tasty. I have not lost my culinary skills yet? Very cold night, actually went to sleep in my fleece. track suit bottoms and socks and still cold. Hope the sun comes back soon?
Woke to rain, but it soon changed to a gorgeous sunny day. I got all the damp clothes out of the cabin in the sun, and they dried beautifully. Decided to do the macerator pump for the holding tank, spent most of the afternoon climbing in and out of the cockpit locker. I got stuck at one point and could not get out, after a quick panic I managed to just squeeze my head out. Not a good feeling, believe me. The fittings cost me 60 euros, on top of the £160 for the pump, so not a cheap job. It will make emptying the tank a 30 second job. I have left the old Henderson hand pump in place as a back up. All wired up and plumbed in, so hopefully that will be it? A lovely hot shower and a packet rice dish on Tulane and it was time for a mythos. A really gorgeous day and so glad to see the sun back, after only a few days of rain.
Up late, rain banging on the cabin roof. It was going to be one of those days of sun/rain/wind/cold. The perfect day to be inside and do nothing, spent the day tidying the cabin. Then popped over to see John on Tulane, his aerial has still not arrived, luckily his wife found out the packages had made it to Athens and had been held there for the last few days, with no explanation as to why? Hopefully they will be delivered tomorrow, as we think the boatyard and most of Greece will be shutting down for Easter from Friday. A lunchtime mythos and a Greek salad helped. Had a nap on my return to Nanjo as the rain started again. Up at 7pm and of to Johns for dinner then the bar for our usual evening beer. Felt that I have done nothing positive all day. It's very cold again, so trackie bottoms and socks to sleep in. Just how glamourous can this yachtie lifestyle get???
Up early and into town for some food, the marina staff still don't know what days they are closed, bit like the post office really?? Bought enough food to last until Tuesday just in case.
Sunny day, so went to work straight away. Decided to paint the propellor and shaft with the "Propshield". It's like a wax, meant to be applied with a blowlamp heating the prop, or putting the tin in boiling water to liquidise the wax. Seemed a good idea, but even taking the brush from the tin to the prop and the stuff was going hard already. Anyway, used it all up anyway, so fingers X it does what it says on the tin?
Feeling on a roll, I got John over to run the macerator pump while I checked all the pipework for leaks, half filled the tank with water to give it a good flush through. Very glad to say it all worked perfectly.
Next job, give the engine a check over and see if it would start, it has been over 9 months since it last turned over. All the belts and impellor were ok, oils were ok. So, I got John to crank it over while I was below with a hose in a bucket to give the cooling something to suck through. She just spun over but would not fire, luckily John is a ex Cat mechanic and knows how to get diesels sorted. Following his advice, I cracked open the injectors fuel line and waited till diesel came out. She burst into life, so was only air in the fuel lines. We let her run, and I spotted no leaks and she sounded sweet. Time for a oil change now, I had brought a small hand pump with me, something I picked up of E-bay. To be honest, it was total crap. It was made of plastic so hot oil made it leak from every joint, it took me over 1 hour to pump out 2 ltrs of engine oil. I should have bought the proper bit of kit for £40 but being a cheapskate I paid £10 for crap. I have promised myself the proper bit of kit will be on board for the next oil change. The crap pump ended up in the trash bin, I really hope that nobody takes it out to use it? Just the gearbox oil to change tomorrow and it's all done. Johns aerial finally arrived, he has been trying to track it down and apparently it had been sitting in Preveza since Monday, we could have picked it up ourselves. The cable fed through his mast no problem, Johns just got to get new pop rivets fitted and book the crane man to lift it back up. Forecast is for rain over the weekend, but fingers X they are wrong. Cooked dinner on Tulane then of to the bar for a well earned Mythos.
Certainly lived up to its reputation, bad weather to start with, a cold nights sleep. Then the sun came out and everything looked rosy. So I thought make a start and paint the cabin hatch doors, wrong!! It rained just as I finished putting the first coat on one door, and carried on raining for the rest of the day. I did have a go at wiring up the engine hour meter, but could not find a live feed with the ignition on, a job for another time, as my brain started to hurt, trying to figure out the wiring? The marina staff have all gone home by 3pm and thats it till Tuesday here as it's Easter weekend. bad weather is forecast, rain and strong winds ahead. We went to the marina cafe for dinner and had a excellant steak each, all washed down with a few mythos. Not much done at all.
Heavy rain and strong winds all night long, I went to sleep wearing socks,trackie bottoms,t-shirt,fleece and just about managed to climb into my skinny sleeping bag. I was still very cold and woke several times. The mini bus is running so me and John are going to town for me to buy a better sleeping bag or a blanket. It's chucking it down and there are 6 other Brits all soaked and waiting for the ride into Preveza. We got soaked walking around town, but luckily I found a shop which had just what I was after. 25 euros later and I am the proud owner of a blanket made by The Shang Hai Truelove Textile Co, from there Home Art Blanket series. I hope it's as good as they say it is? You can see it in the gallery section. I never expected to be buying blanklets until November, as I only have light weight summer stuff on board. It's heavy rain as I write this, so my plans are to get my banjo out and try and learn something, the nearest neighbours are 8 boats away! Spent the afternoon, finger picking on the banjo. Then had a play at trying to sort the galley table out. Terrible weather, writing this in the marina bar after cooking dinner on Tulane. Blowing a gale, all the boats in the marina are bouncing around. Glad I am ashore. I will be putting the launch back to next Monday as the rain is forecast till Tuesday, then dry for a day then heavy rain again. I want a day to polish the hull at least. Am looking forward to trying my new blanket out tonight.
Woke to rain and strong winds, but really glad to say I slept like a log and lovely and warm, my new blanket works a treat. I was warm at night for the first time in days. John banged on my hull and said he had the Chinese Grand Prix on his laptop. His wife Chris had managed to put her I Pad on top of three coffee tables stacked then some books and had it pointed at her tv. Amazingly it all worked a treat and the pictures were sent down Johns skype network. It was a great race well done Rosberg and Chris for a great 2 hrs of tv. Back on Nanjo and the weather was dry, so I painted the cabin doors with another coat of white paint. Then had a go at the galley table, I had some scrap plywood on Nanjo and soon had a system I was happy with. It all works great and will be a worthwhile addition to the galley. The local tavernas and bar are closed as it's Easter, so down to me to cook a meal. I threw together some packet rice,tin of baked beans,tin of sweetcorn and a packet soup. It tasted superb and all washed down with some cheap wine we had on Tulane, job done. It was a cold,windy and wet night again.
04/04/2012, Cleopatra Boat Yard
Just confirmed Nanjos launch date as Wednesday 18th April at 10am. Nanjo is going back in the water where she belongs. Time to crack on with those jobs.
Sunday April 1st.
Thought it was time to start on the wiring for the back of Nanjo, I need to fit a plug for the autopilot and a 12volt accessory socket. So every thing had to come out of the stern cabin to give me access to the panels to hide the wiring, the picture shows the cushions and other stuff in the rest of the boat. I had a pleasant surprise after taking one panel down and found three cubby holes that had not been finished of. they do a more expensive deluxe Disco 3000 so maybe its a job for me later. The deck head panel came down with about 40 screws holding it up, it gave me the space I needed to hide the wiring. But was a nightmare to put back up. I must be getting old as I had a severe cramp in one arm, probably lying on my back with my head through a small hatch and holding a drill above my head did not help much? It all went better once I got the wiring back to the engine where I had left some string to help pull the wires through the bilges. It took 7hrs of bending and it was job done. I quickly threw the cushions back in the cabin so I could sleep later and had a gorgeous hot shower, which just made the aches and pains worse. The squashed tomato taverna was open and we had decided to go there for dinner, the packet pasta and rice is great but I think we were both in need of some meat. John ended up with 5 lamb chops and I had the suvlaki, all washed down with a couple of mythos and a free chocolate desert. Gorgeous. I slept like the dead.
Up late and it was a 10.30 start for me. I don't think my joints wanted to move much. I finished pulling the wires up to the fuse panel and that was it. The big moment had come and it was time to connect all my wiring up at last. I had tidied up all the old stuff, but now with all the new wiring it looked just as bad as when I first opened the panel?? I managed to break one of the connections, and I am glad to say it was not one of mine. Luckily John had a soldering iron and quickly did a superb job. It all went together really well, and I was impressed. Turned on the batteries and it lit up, all the old circuits were working, but there was nothing out of my new panel? I took it apart, checked all the wiring and nothing wrong? Started it again and nothing, think my jaw dropped. Then the light bulb in the back of my small brain came on and I checked the new fuse panel for fuses, and you have probably worked it out by now? That there were no fuses in the new panel!!!! A quick fix, and everything came to life as planned. You could see my smiling face from space. There is only the toilet macerator pump to wire up and the wind generator when I get the "A" frame in Lefkas and thats it done. I got the quote back from the marina for the liferaft cradle and it came within my budget, so ordered it. They reckon two weeks, so hopefully Nanjo will be launched soon after that. A well earned shower, a rice dinner on Tulane and for a treat I had 3 mythos in the bar.
Tuesday 3rd April
I slept really well, probably the relief that most of the wiring jobs are now over? Up early and we were going to catch the mini bus to town, we got chatting to a very nice lady from Denmark, she was out with her husband and they were going to go sailing for a week. When they got on board there Beneateau 42 footer it was full of water (sounds familiar). They had new hatch seals fitted the year before and they had all leaked, they have 7 hatches! So there holiday was going to be, take them all apart and re-seal them properly. They only had the week then back to work. Its hard to imagine I have already been out here for two weeks and still have 50 more before I am due back at work. There should be some interesting times ahead? I bought a car battery charger in the local hardware store and John picked up some epoxy to hopefully fix his navigators seat on Tulane. A quick trip to the supermarket, loaf of bread and two spinach pasties for later and we were all done. I had promised myself a treat for being so good, so it was a large pitta gyros all 2 euros 50 cents of it, as you can see in the picture, and believe me it was delish. We watched the old wooden Greek navy minesweeper being expertly reversed of the town quay with a strong wind blowing him onto the jetty, a lesson in using a front bow spring to kick the arse end out and then slowly astern. He had a large crowd watching and it was text book stuff, I felt like applauding.
Back onn board it was a bit of tidying up and a few little wiring jobs and put my feet up and relax. I scoffed the spinach pastie we had bought earlier, and it was not a patch on my gyros?? All to soon it was 7pm and shower time. John was still playing with Tulanes mast, the pin in the fore stay will need to be drilled out, not an easy job without a vice before the mast goes back up. I took my laptop to the bar for a change after writing up this blog and loosing my internet connection and everything I had written in the afternoon, had drove me nuts as I type so slowly with two fingers. A guy from the opposite table asked about the weather, as he was launching and going to Messalonghi, so I showed him on my lap top. He has lived on his yacht for 10 years and only comes out of the water every two years for a week so he can anti-foul. A great bloke, he recommended Messalonghi for my winter stop over, which supprisingly was on my list as a great place to stay and cheap as well. A couple of mythos and a rather nice sausage/veg and tomato dish in the bar went down well. Bread on Tulane rounded of the night.
Wed 4th April
Early morning rain shower and a bit of a breeze, I could not find any leaks on Nanjos windows or hatches, which is a good sign.
Went and confirmed Nanjos launch date, if the jobs are not finished she is still going in the water. Time to priortise my work sheet, only two weeks to lift in. Had a great afternoon, did the final install on the autopilot, epoxied in the strenghtener piece for the ram. Hooked it all up and it works a treat. I might need a 1inch extension but sea trials will confirm if I do. Feeling really chuffed, I decided to sew up a canvas bag for the autopilot. I had some canvas left over from Tulanes sun canopy, so happily sat in the cockpit sewing away ( I am very domesticated?). The sun was shining and I stupidly forgot my short hair and bald spot, funny thing I did not even notice the burning until I stopped sewing and tidied up. Ouch!! The hot shower only confirmed my head was sore. Dinner on Tulane and a couple of mythos in the bar and it was time for bed again. Slept wearing my hoodie on my head as it was still sore and did not want to bang it.
Has been a few busy days, the weather has been up and down, the forecast will say rain and wind and we get beautiful sunshine, and the forecast station is only 2 miles away? The weather is always difficult to predict mainly because of all the nearby mountains. One of the main jobs to be done before launching is the anti-fouling on the hull to help keep the barnacles and other marine life at bay. I had asked on the YBW website for recomendations, and got plenty. I have opted for the brand used by the locals 0n there fishing boats and tripper boats. Only available in Greece in 20ltr drums, but a company in the UK sells in in 5ltrs a more yachty size, it was brought out by Vernon in my load.
Hull prep was a rub down to remove all old loose stuff, wash with fresh water, a prep coating then two top coats. It's meant to last for 3 years and the tin was covered in skulls and toxic labels warning how it would kill me?? I figure it should do a good job on barnacles if it's that potent, only time will tell? It took hours to apply the paint, and after lying on your back with a roller above your head doing the bottom of the hull, my old joints were crying out enough. So glad Nanjo is only 31ft long, I would hate to paint some of the large yachts in the yard. The "cold" shower (I got to the solar showers late, and all the hot had gone) did absolutely nothing to make me feel 20 again. I would have paid a lot of money for a hot soapy bath, believe me. The job was finally finished on Saturday and she looks superb in her new black Jotun Sea Queen anti-fouling, just the propellor and shaft to paint and thats the bottom done so she can be launched ok.
The job list is getting smaller and only 11 days to launch, just hope the weather improves. I don't mind windy sailing, it's just sailing in the rain thats not very nice.
The evenings have been rounded of with the usual pattern of cooking dinner on Tulane, normally out of a packet so nothing hard, although I think it's time for a curry or sweet and sour dish with some chicken,peppers,onion etc, before I loose all my cooking skills??? Then of to the bar for a couple of Mythos, back to Tulane for cheese and crackers, and fall into my sleeping bag knackered after another busy day.
Sunday 8th April
Woke to a lovely morning, although the forecast had been for heavy rain and strong winds. So, I thought washing time. Everything went to plan and it was all drying nicely on the line, when of course the forecast rain arrived. Quickly take it all down and put up a makeshift washing line in the cabin. Time to tackle those little inside jobs now, one that has been bugging me has been the table, the leaves sit at a downward angle? Having bought some brackets in Preveza to cure the problem, it was out with the drill and it all looked very sturdy, but the leaves were still down! Problem was in the wooden supports being worn or cut to small. A quick rumage around and I found some plywood to cut up and shape, four little bits of wood that Chippendale would have been proud of, some glue and it's job sorted. Rain now a bit intermittent, so I found some hardwood lying around by Nanjo about 6in long and just enough to repair her hatch doors. Quite sometime later its got a nice groove and cut to size. Now heavy rain, so hiding back in the cabin, small leak from one window so put a cup under it and mark the spot for later. Time for a nap, as the damp is making my old bones ache, well thats my excuse? Woke up to rain and my washing still very wet. Of to see John on Tulane for dinner and catch up on how his days gone. A very wet run to the bar for a mythos rounded of the day. The temperature is dropping quickly now.