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Norna's News
Did we leave that behind?
12/05/2012, Raft Up

This month's Raft Up questions what we brought with us and what we left behind when we left the UK. Other blogs exploring the same topic are listed at the end.

When Andy moved on board Norna in December 2006 he hired a skip and in went anything that he hadn't used for at least six months, including the desk top computer, printer, microwave, countless clothes and other 'junk'. I was still living alone in my house so my belongings were protected from this carnage! I had a completely different attitude when I moved on six months later, I looked at the space available and crammed as much in as I could! I still had to leave a lot of stuff in storage but even some of that has gradually made its way on board. Luckily Norna was built with a huge amount of storage space and we've taken full advantage of that. The waterline is probably much higher now than when previous owners had her.

As we lived on board for a further year after I moved on in the UK and continued working we needed things that we might otherwise have left ashore. However, when we left the UK to start our cruising life, we didn't really empty anything off, just added more stuff! We had three deck boxes built, one houses the black water tank, one is the laundry and the other, bigger one, hold tools, storm anchor, bbq and tools, toys, gas bottles, diving gear etc etc. The boxes take up some of our valuable deck space but are a godsend for storing all those extra things that take up so much room.

Our first winter in Preveza, spent with Tony and Gill of Nimbus and Albert and Sheena of Miyagi Moon, made us realise that although we'd brought a lot of stuff with us we'd also left behind (or thrown away) other belongings that would have been very useful. We were lucky enough to be in contact with Vyv, who was driving out to Preveza in his camper van the following spring and agreed to bring some things out for us. A few phone calls later and the sewing machine, food processor and some other bits and pieces were dragged out of storage and given to Vyv for delivery. We had to buy some items when we discovered that life would be easier if we had them on board, the printer for example. It is much easier to be able to print off our own flight tickets than to find someone who is willing to do it for us, although we've recently discovered that the ink doesn't last very long in the Mediterranean heat, it dries up very quickly.

We have several big space splurgers on board - the galley being the main culprit. I have gradually brought more dishes and other items over from the UK and crammed them into the space available, I do use them all and they can be difficult to replace if they get broken. Books are another space taker. We have seven shelves of paperbacks waiting to be read. We have considered getting e-readers but we're not desperate for the space....yet! We have five boxes of DVDs that we'd love to put onto a terrabyte drive but don't have the software to do so (any ideas anyone?). We have my old surround sound stereo system on board to provide sound for movies, it does take up quite a bit of space with the woofer, five mini speakers and the main unit but it was too good to throw away, wasn't worth anything second hand and would be wasted in storage so it came with us. When it breaks down it won't be replaced. My clothes take up two hanging lockers and two deep drawers. Every now and then I move them all around and wonder if I should throw some things away but, once again, we're not desperate for the space so they can stay there for now.

When we're invited on board other boats sometimes I look around and see their uncluttered spaces (we have framed photos and books on almost every flat surface) and wonder if we should do more to get rid of some of our 'stuff'. But then I decide that we're managing fine at the moment and we like having our things around us. Maybe when we're ocean travelling we'll have to make more of an effort to clear spaces so that our belongings don't become 'missiles' in rough seas but until then things are fine the way they are.

Dec 1 - Dana - svnorthfork.blogspot.com
Dec 2 - Jane - morejoyeverywhere.blogspot.com
Dec 3 - Behan - sv-totem.blogspot.com
Dec 4 - Jaye - lifeafloat.blogspot.com
Dec 5 - me
Dec 6 - Tammy - ploddingIN paradise.blogspot.com
Dec 7 - Jessica - mvfelicity.blogspot.com
Dec 8 - Stacey - sv-bellavita.blogspot.com
Dec 9 - Diane - maiaaboard.blogspot.com
Dec 11 - Lynn - sailcelebration.blogspot.com
Dec 12 - Toast - blog.toastfloats.dom
Dec 14 - Verena - pacificsailors.com
Dec 15 - Dana - svnorthfork.blogspot.com


Raft Up Provisioning
11/02/2012

This month's Raft Up is all about provisioning. To see how others deal with stocking their boats click on the links below.

When we first left the UK I had several shopping trips to Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury and stocked up on things that I thought we'd need for our trip to the Mediterranean. I wasn't really thinking very straight, I don't know where I thought we were going to go but I pretty much stocked the boat for two months of never seeing a shop! As I soon found out, they do sell tinned tomatoes in other countries!

Anyway, with hundreds of bags of stores to stow away I needed a system so that I would be able to find things and know what was left. I decided to make a stock list and keep track in a notebook which is still going strong today. Initially I had two areas, behind and under one of the saloon sofas, to keep stores and managed to pack them pretty well. My initial list included such goodies as Fray Bentos meat pies (disgusting but Andy likes them), spam (yuck), tinned mince and steak (slightly better) and tins of corned beef. There were lots of other things too but the meat products tended to be the worst. They were all used up quite quickly in one pot stews when the weather was rough so I suppose they do have their place if you're prepared to ignore the taste and texture!

Over the four years we've been cruising I think I've managed to refine my provisioning skills and we now carry enough stores for us to survive quite happily for three months. We've discovered the joys (yes, I do mean that) of dried beans, chickpeas and lentils. They take up little space, are very versatile, cook easily in the pressure cooker and are cheap. Rice, pasta, couscous and quinoa are easy to store and last for years as long as they are kept dry and as long as we have the ubiquitous tinned tomatoes and an onion, we can make a meal out of pretty much anything.

My storage space has expanded so that I now have two extra areas for stuffing food and I have no trouble filling them! Teabags have an area all of their own, you can't beat British tea bags, the local ones are so wishy washy it's unreal, three Lipton's bags per cup isn't enough for a decent cup of tea!

There are a few foods that we miss, proper strong English cheddar, stilton, proper bacon, Indian curries and Chinese food. We can't do much about the cheese and bacon but a little research online has provided us with recipes to make very good curries and Chinese dishes - assuming you can get the ingredients of course. One storage area on the boat is devoted to spices and herbs. When we visit the UK I make an online order of spices that are needed so that we can bring them back with us. That way we are able to indulge our tastebuds with dopiazas, baltis and dhansaks. All visitors are required to hand over cheddar, stilton and bacon before they are allowed on board when they come to visit. We then have a bacon buttyfest! The cheese lasts for ages though as Andy's happier with the varieties we can buy here - so the cheddar and stilton are all mine! I grow mung bean sprouts to add to Chinese dishes, they seem to make it more authentic.

We've been asked what are the top five things to have in the galley and it's difficult to whittle everything down but my most used gadgets are:

pressure cooker - used almost daily for stock, soup, beans and pulses
food processor - used at least twice a week for bread making as an old elbow injury means that I struggle to knead for any length of time
stick blender - used at least once a week to make breadcrumbs, puree soup etc
grinder - used occasionally to grind whole spices for curry, the spices last longer bought whole
measuring cups and spoons - much easier to use than scales when the boat is rolling around

and the top five foodstuffs:
onions - I cook very few meals that do not have onions in them
garlic - as above!
tinned tomatoes - a great base for so many meals
dried beans/lentils/chickpeas - used four five times a week in curry, burgers, pasta dishes etc etc
herbs and spices - speak for themselves

My cooking repertoire has increased massively since we left the UK, I now have the time to research, plan and prepare. The downside of this is that we now have to carry so much more stock in order for me to be able to knock up whatever we fancy for dinner. We shop in large supermarkets if we can find them, such as Lidl and Carrefour, and restock once a month. This means that we can then go exploring the smaller islands and only need to buy fresh fruit and vegetables as they are available.

We could easily manage with far fewer stores, however, we are always mindful of the fact that Greece is in a pretty unstable state at the moment and we may need to leave at short notice. Being well stocked means that we don't have to worry about finding a shop every few days (or even every week).

During the winter I make batches of chutney, jam and marmalade, enough to get us through the summer. Our current favourites are courgette chutney, grapefruit marmalade and mango chutney for curries. Occasionally we wander through a market as it is closing down and are handed a bag of rapidly deteriorating tomatoes. These are skinned, put in the pressure cooker with some onion and garlic and then pureed and stored in jars to make a base for pasta sauces to be used over the coming weeks.

Eggs are the bane of my life. Within the EU it should be easy to buy eggs that will last for months. A bit of research has told me that when eggs are laid they have a protective membrane over them and as long as they are not exposed to moisture (washed or kept in the fridge so that they condensate when taken out) that membrane remains intact. We don't have space in our fridge to keep eggs so if we want them to last more than a few days then I have to buy them from a shop that sells them from a shelf not a fridge - easier said than done in Greece, they seem to be outside the EU on so many regulations!

Meeting other cruisers has given me lots of ideas for provisioning and preserving over the last four years. I am much more adventurous with my cooking now. If there is something that we miss then we find a recipe online, collect the ingredients and give it a go, usually with great success.

1st Nov - Dana - http://svnorthfork.blogspot.com
2nd - me
3rd - Stacey - http://sv-bellavita.blogspot.com
4th - Jaye - http://lifeafloatarchives.blogspot.com
5th - Behan - http://svtotem.blogspot.com
6th - Ean - http://morejoyeverywhere.blogspot.com
7th - Lynn - http://sailcelebration.blogspot.com
8th - Diane - http://maiaaboard.blogspot.com
9th - Jesssica - http://mvfelicity.blogspot.com
11th - Verena - http://pacificsailors.com
12th - Toast - http://blog.toastfloats.com
15th Dana - http://svnorthfork.blogspot.com


09/14/2013 | mum and jules
dear both.i remember the cases and box,s of stuff.!!and the great meals you create steph .xx love mum and jules.
Going sailing
10/28/2012, Ermopoulis, Syros

Since I last wrote we've been quite busy. We had a day out to Mycaenae to see the site of the Mycaenian Citadel and grave of Agamemnon where the gold death masks that we saw in the National Archeological Museum in Athens were discovered. Mycaenae was an important area from 1550 to 1200 BC, when it was occupied by the Myceanians. At the entrance is the 'Lion Gate' which is still standing today, minus the lions' heads! The site museum was interesting, but I think that we've been spoilt by our previous visits to Olympia and the main museum in Athens.

Shelley and Tim came to visit and we had a good week with them, travelling from Navplion to Epidavros. Tim spent quite a bit of time fishing and managed to catch a tuna, just a baby though so he left it on the hook as bait and then lost it! There were several attempts at spear-fishing by both Tim and Andy but Shelley and I had to go without fresh fish. Just as well we'd been shopping and were stocked up with meat for the week! We had some lovely evenings out with good food and too much wine, as usual when we have visitors! Shelley and Tim's last night, Sunday, was spent in Epidavros. We'd planned a quiet night as we were cleaning the next day and Shelley and Tim had to travel back to Athens for their flight. As plans go it didn't really work out! We went for a walk to the small theatre in Epidavros and then went for a drink at our favourite bar, Koilon, where we sat with Evie and Theo (the owner and his girlfriend) all night chatting and drinking until 2am. Then we went home and had dinner before going to bed. Work the next day wasn't much fun!

Andy spent the rest of the week repairing Theo's umbrellas and in return we were fed by the restaurant for the best part of a fortnight, I think we've eaten most things on the menu now. We also picked up a job to tow a small yacht from Korfos to Poros which we did the following week. Once we'd been paid for that we decided to treat ourselves and book into the local spa hotel for a night. The price for a suite with breakfast and use of the spa was very reasonable and we could anchor right outside. We checked in at 1230 and checked out again at 1300! We were told that the spa could not be used between 1400 and 1800 (siesta time) so we rushed to get ready to use the pool, hot tub, steam room and sauna before it closed at 2. When we dipped our toes in the pool it was freezing, so was the hot tub! The sauna and steam room weren't even switched on. When we complained the manager said that we hadn't asked for it to be switched on (why would we think that we had to do that?) and she'd never told us that the pool and hot tub were heated! She didn't seem too surprised when we checked out within half an hour of checking in. It was a shame as we were looking forward to swimming in a pool for a change and sleeping on a king sized bed (the mattresses were terrible, Andy would have woken with back problems again). We've come to expect the lack of attention to detail here in Greece, I don't really know why we thought it would be any different from usual!

We spent the rest of that week in Russian Bay on Poros and then headed back to Epidavros to wait for our wind generator to return from its third repair. We had a couple of days out with Theo and Evie, one to Nafplion and one around Epidavros seeing all the land owned by Theo's family and hearing about his plans for it. We returned the favour with a Chinese evening aboard Norna.

Our wind generator returned on the 16th October. Andy fitted it straight away and it has been working well since, let's hope it continues that way, it would be nice to get through a whole winter without it breaking.

Once the generator was back we were free to leave the Saronic Gulf and start on our cruise back down to Crete. We left Epidavros on the 17th October and spent one night anchored on Angistri before sailing to Kea the next day. Initially there was very little wind so we were motoring for a few hours. Once the wind started to pick up we had a good sail although as we crossed the channel between the mainland and Kea it did get a bit too windy! We had two reefs in the main and just the staysail out and were making 6 knots in 3 metre seas. A very uncomfortable and salty journey. We anchored in the same place as last year on Kea and spent a week there waiting for bad weather to go through. We had several days out walking around the headland and inland a bit. On one walk we discovered loads of almond trees dripping with nuts so we scrumped a couple of kilos and took them home. We discovered, once we started eating them, that some of the nuts were very bitter and on further investigation found that they were likely to contain hydrogen cyanide. They all went in the bin pretty sharpish and we won't scrump almonds any more!

On Tuesday we sailed from Kea to Ermopouli on Syros. Ermopouli is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are two hills in the town, one is topped with an Orthodox cathedral and the other with a Roman Catholic cathedral. Today was 'Ochi Day'. To commemmorate the day that Metaxa said 'NO' to Mussolini's invasion of Greece on 28th October 1940 each town all over Greece has parades of school children and clubs. We'd seen the parade in Preveza back in 2008 but not since. Ermopouli's parade was very good with a brass band playing and adults and children in national dress along with the normal elements. A bit more interesting than the one in Preveza.

We'll be here in Ermopouli until Thursday as we're waiting for Steph's brother to join us for a holiday. Once he arrives we'll be heading to Dhelos and then across to the Dodecanese islands for an island hopping cruise to Crete.

Raft Up
10/03/2012

This month's Raft Up is about fear - is there anything that we fear about our lifestyle and how do we address those problems.

When I first met Andy he informed me that he wanted to buy a yacht and sail it around the world one day. That sounded like a pretty good proposition to me and one that I was readily prepared to go along with. In time we bought the boat, kitted her out, retired and got our finances in order. My ignorance at this time meant that I didn't really have any fears: I was used to leaving my family and only seeing them once or twice per year and I'd always been fairly self-reliant. My trust in Andy was (and still is) complete, he wouldn't ever put me in a dangerous position so what was there to be scared of?

I soon discovered that I got a bit apprehensive when the boat heels over to one side or if the sails start to flog violently but that's all manageable and not really a problem.

Our scariest time came when travelling up the west coast of the Peloponnese in Greece in August 2010. We were about five miles offshore sailing along on a beautiful sunny day, making about 4 knots and enjoying the cooling breeze. There was a thunderstorm over the land that we watched track up the coastline. We were heading to Katakolon which is situated on a hook of land. As we got nearer to Katakolon Andy noticed a squall heading our way and managed to furl the headsail in. Before we had a chance to tackle the main we were engulfed in the storm. Luckily Andy had managed to let the mainsheet go so we were depowered. The storm seemed relentless with hail stones the size of golf balls raining down on us and blocking our cockpit drains (they're big - almost 2" across). The wind was coming from all around us, when the lightening hit the water about 10 metres from us I shouted '**** this' and retreated below decks leaving Andy to keep us safe - what a coward! Suddenly all was calm and we jumped up to drop the main and assess any damage. Before we turned head to wind the whole thing started up again and we both retreated under the spray hood for protection from the ice. Eventually it all quietened down and we were able to get the main sail down and clear the cockpit of ice. Amazingly the only damage was a slight rip to the sail bag which was easily repaired. Our nerves in tatters we motored the rest of the way to Katakolon, anchored in 2.5 metres (we draw 2.7 metres) in a nice muddy bottom and dropped about 50 metres of chain - we didn't want to go anywhere for a while! Once we calmed down we chatted to others that were in the anchorage and saw photographs of the storm start to twist as it hit the hook of land at Katakolon, it then headed straight out to sea and us.

Since then we've had very few scary episodes. We've learnt that Norna can put up with a lot at sea and will keep us safe as long as we look after her, very reassuring. Maybe we're a bit naive but we consider that we're probably safer here at sea than we would be on the roads of the UK doing the daily commute.

Neither of us are natural worriers so our worries about our families are tempered by the fact that we both know that they are pleased that we are doing what we want to do whilst we are young and healthy enough to enjoy it. Whilst we are in Europe the UK is only a maximum of a four hour flight away. That will change once we go further afield and we will lose the security of knowing that we can always get home within a few hours if necessary. However, we consider that we should live our lives for us and not for others and luckily for us our families think the same way.

To see others' takes on 'fear' click on the links below:

1st October - Dana: svnorthfork.blogspot.com
2nd Behan: sv-totem.blogspot.com
3rd me
4th Stacey: http://sv-bellavita.blogspot.com
5th Tammy: ploddingINparadise.blogspot.com
6th Ean; morejoyeverwhere.com
7th Lynn; sailcelebration.blogspot.com
8th Diane: www.maiaaboard.blogspot.com
10th Jaye; lifeafloatarchives.blogspot.com
11th Verena; pacificsailors.com
12th Toast; http://toastsfloats.com
15th Dana; svnorthfork.blogspot.com

Cooling at last!
09/18/2012, Ermioni

The last month has been spent travelling from Vivari, around to Epidavros and then back to Nafplion where we are now. We've done very little except swim and hide from the summer heat. Thankfully the temperature is starting to drop now and we can sit in the sun and top up our tans a bit more. We've had some good sailing on our trips around the peninsula. We finally hit the 2000 engine hour mark a few days ago - not bad for an engine that was fitted in the 80s. We suspect that we may put the next 2000 hours on a bit quicker than that although we'll do our best not to! So far this year we've done just over one hundred engine hours so we're obviously doing well with our sailing.

Andy has been very busy with sail repairs for the last month. We've had quite a few days of strong winds so there has been plenty of opportunity for sail stitching to break down.

The jellyfish are now out in force. They don't sting but we don't really want to swim with them so we're always hunting for an anchorage that is free of them. Andy tested the 'don't sting' theory by picking one up and rubbing it against the underside of his arm - no stinging or fishy smell!

We've covered some new ground and spent a day at Aegina town. We did a bit of exploring and wandered around the town. We visited the temple to Aphrodite and museum to see the usual array of rocks, pots and grave markers. Aegina was the first capital of modern Greece in 1827 although that only lasted until the capital was moved to Nafplion in 1829. The island is only 12 miles by sea from Piraeus, Athens main port, so is a busy place in the height of the summer.

My birthday was spent in Ermioni. We met up with Sian and Graham and Carol and Neil and went out for a meal to a taverna on the south side of the town. This was possibly the best Greek meal we've eaten here in Greece! The food was a bit different, not your run of the mill, chops from the bbq and chips. We ate plenty, drank too much wine and had a very late night.

This week we've been to Kilada to help some friends fibreglass their boat. Jenny, Peter and Charles built their ferrocement boat about 30 years ago and have been cruising and living aboard ever since. This year they had a few leaks when they tried to launch (twice) and have therefore spent the summer on the hard outside the boatyard. They've been in Kilada for a few years and know quite a few people in the area. Several of their friends offered their labour to help sheath the boat in fibreglass in the hope that it would make it waterproof again. It's lovely to see that there are people willing to give up their time and offer their experience to help out others that are having difficulties.

We've bought a new (to us) 2.2hp outboard engine, Suzi the Suzuki! I struggle to start the 10hp so can't get ashore when Andy goes back to the UK. The 2.2 is very easy to start and much more economical. On Saturday when Andy was fibreglassing I borrowed a car and headed to Lidl to do a bulk shop. When I got back it was threatening rain so I quickly put all the shopping in the dinghy and headed back to Norna, hoping to get there before everything got wet. By the time I was halfway back the wind was up to 30 knots and Suzi was struggling to push ahead! I eventually got there and spent about 15 minutes trying to get the shopping on board, not easy when the dinghy is lurching around on the waves and the wind is whipping around everything. Eventually everything was on board, the dinghy was tied on with three lines and I could wait out the storm that was threatening before heading back ashore to pick Andy up.

We were being taken out for dinner that night as a thank you so decided that we would put the bigger outboard on the dinghy in case we needed to get back in a hurry. Just as well. At about 10ish that evening the heavens opened and the wind picked up again. Getting back to Norna was a wet ride but at least we got there, the 2.2 would have struggled. Since Saturday we've had quite a few rain storms, we're hoping that they'll all be over and done with by the weekend as Shelley and Tim are coming out to visit and we'd like some good weather!

08/17/2012, Vivari

Since the last update we've spent most of our time lazing around in the Saronic Gulf, sailing from Epidavros to Angistri and Metopi to Poros and then back to Epidavros. Our work this year has kept us in the Epidavros area as there are more one week flotillas so not so many cleans round in Nafplion. The weather has been incredibly hot with little breeze in the Saronic Gulf so not very comfortable. We've been spending a lot of time in the water which is very warm but the jellyfish are now around and, despite friends saying that they don't sting (apparently you can put them on your head - why would you want to do that!), we don't like sharing our pool with them.

Work has been hard this year due to the heat and lack of breeze. There are currently four of us cleaning 11 boats but after Monday it will be back down to three as Chris is heading back round to the Ionian. Thankfully it is getting a bit cooler so no need to wring out my ponytail quite so often!

We had a lovely peaceful night on Nisos Kira on 31st June, the next day we were invaded by Italians who didn't know how to anchor and Greeks who played their music at full volume! We stayed though as we knew that they'd all leave around 5pm. We'd just finished dinner at 8ish and noticed some black clouds over the mainland so we decided to get the dinghy on the davits just in case we needed to move sharpish. Within a few minutes of doing that we were hit by 25 knots of wind blowing straight into the bay. We both ran around the deck dropping the wind scoops, shutting hatches and getting the boom tent down, by this time the wind was up to 35 knots and the sea was getting a bit bumpy. We were anchored in 20 metres (we could see the anchor on the bottom when it was still) so it took a while to get the anchor up and by then we were in 45 knots! We motored back to Epidavros getting thoroughly covered in salt. The storm blew up so quickly that, although the anchorage in Kira was beautiful, we'll think twice about spending a night there again.

Our wheel has been chattering for a while, the aluminium welds were starting to break down. So Andy decided to remove it and take it for rewelding. He borrowed some pullers from Chris and managed to remove the wheel but leave half the boss behind on the shaft! It took him a couple of hours of drilling to remove the boss and since then we've been steering with the auto-pilot and an adjustable spanner or socket and ratchet! We went straight to Poros to see a chandler that we know, Spyros, to see if he could get us a replacement. Stupid me thought that would be easy, surely you can buy a blank wheel and have the boss machined locally so that it will fit - nothing is that simple! Spyros spent several days contacting all the companies he knew to find a replacement with no luck. We contacted Chris Dawson (the man who had the boat built) and discovered that the wheel had been broken when it was originally purchased and was repaired and machined to fit the shaft. Luckily for us Andrew (Steph's brother) is a dab hand with a welder and he has made us a new stainless steel wheel. It is currently with a courier in Athens, hopefully we'll get it soon, the modified steering isn't easy!

We've seen a few sights over the last month or so: a pushbike upside down on a dinghy to go to shore - it looks like it's a permanent installation; an amazing amount of plastic floating in the sea, maybe another mountain top rubbish tip has collapsed and a moped instructor riding pillion on the learner's bike with no helmet (the learner had a helmet on) - do what I say not what I do!

We've anchored in some new places: near the water skiing area in Poros and an anchorage on Nisos Hydra (see Google Earth map). We were the only boat on Hydra and the water was lovely and clear again. I was swimming around the boat in the morning when about a foot in front of me something small exploded out of the water, then something hit me on the head and then punched me in the belly - you can imagine my rising panic! I carried on swimming (a bit faster) and noticed lots of small fish jumping, I'd been swimming through their playground, panic over!

On our way round to Nafplion we stopped in Kilada (where we were lifted earlier in the year) and met up with Peter, Jenny and Charles for a few drinks on their boat. They've said that considering the heat we should be cleaning the flotilla naked and then we could call it 'Starkers Charters'! We also met up with Sue and Alain in Kilada and went to the annual fish festival with them. For €10 we had a meal of octopus (I still don't like it), taramasalata, king prawns and salad followed by gavros (battered small fish a bit like sprats) and a whole dorada each with potatoes and bread. There was Greek music and dancing and fireworks that went on until late, we left at 2 and it was still going strong. We were forwarned by Alain and Sue to take our own wine as the bar was expensive so we were well prepared and had a great night.

We spent a couple of nights in Nafplion and are now anchored in a bay at Vivari. Most people go to the head of the bay near the village but we've stopped in a bay at the entrance and have had the place to ourselves for the last few days. It's a bit windy each afternoon but that cools us down and we've only seen one jellyfish so swimming is okay. We found two plastic inflatable rubber rings when we were cleaning on Monday so we've been lazing around in those to cool off. We just have to keep the cats off so that they don't puncture them.

I've been employed by Margarita (a Polish woman who works in one of the bars we eat at in Epidavros) to teach her English. We've had one lesson so far but there's time for a few more. Andy has been busy with sail repairs, he always does any work on deck, not just because it's easier - it's also an advert and we've had quite a few enquiries.

Along with our wheel we also have some sail fabric, perspex and a coupling for the engine/gearbox coming. We need to replace our windows as they are starting to crack and the sacrificial strip on the staysail needs to be renewed as it was torn when we left Crete this year. So we're going to be busy once all that arrives. We only have 8 more cleaning days left then we're planning to cruise slowly through the Cyclades on our way back to Crete for the winter. We tried to do that last year but were thwarted by the weather, better luck this time we hope.

09/04/2012 | Pete Johns "ex Chelsea Pensioner"
Hi Steph and Andy, I find your news lettes most interesting, I am sure all your readers feel the same. When will you be returning to UK again....
God Bless and stay vertical..Pete xxx

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