On sailmakers and Mother’s day.
14 May 2017
Francis and Chris
After having solved our engine cooling water problem yesterday, we moved across this morning, Tuesday 9 May, from the Aktio Marina quay to tie up to the Preveza town quay. Time to give Clio a clean and stock up on supplies while we wait for the return of our sails, spray-hood, dinghy cover and Bimini. Francis has a meeting with Sofia, a yachting agent, attempting to help us open a Greek bank account, an almost impossible task we think. Meanwhile Chris stocks up on honey, olives and olive oil from our lovely farmer friend (from last year) selling his wares off the back of his moped, now enhanced with a life-size box to carry what amounts to a small farmer's market.
Our sails were delivered today, but it is a bit too windy to put them on, so we arranged to have them put on Wednesday. Francis and I put the Bimini on and then the spray hood. The requested replacement of the Bimini zippers had not been done and now have to wait until next year. Unfortunately repairs that needed to be done to the spray hood had not been done either and we had to remove it again. Also on checking the dinghy cover, we found a hole big enough to stick your finger through in one of the seams. The Bimini transparencies still had bits of overhanging plastic attached to it. So, back to the sailmaker they go. We are not impressed with their work at all. At the end of last season we also ordered our deck tent from them which was delivered a month later than agreed with many unanswered emails.
In the afternoon the guy returned the spray hood and dinghy cover. So we put the hood on again only to discover that the stud that had been replaced was wrong and still did not work. Grr.... Taking down the sprayhood again. Francis rang the sailmaker to complain and the by now grumpy young man came back to collect it again. He also told us that someone would be with us at maybe 10 or maybe 10.30 on the next day to help put on the sails.
Wednesday 10 May
Francis went off with yachting angel Sofia this morning to the tax department to get a tax file number in the vain hope of opening that elusive Greek bank account. Opening bank accounts in Greece are now a near impossibility, for Greeks as well as for foreigners. This is to prevent people opening many accounts and so circumvent the capital control measure of €420/week cash withdrawal per account. The capital controls are designed to drive cash transactions in the grey economy (estimated to make up 30% of Greek money flows, and hard to tax) into the recorded channels (easy to tax), as well as stop a run on the banks where the amount of money has been quite low since the economic crisis and could easily spark another melt-down of the Greek financial system.
Francis joined Sofia to get a Greek tax file number, something you need to open a bank account in Greece. From the town hall to pick up forms with the required stamps to the tax office to get the tax file number. After about an hour all was done. Without Sofia this may not have happened, but she really follows up on things and is worth every penny. Sofia also made many phone calls to friends in the banking business to find any loopholes in getting a bank account. The result so far is that the only two ways of opening an account at the moment is either getting a paid job or a Greek pension. We would opt for the last, but that may prove to be even harder than getting a bank account under the circumstances.
Thanks very much Sofia for your help, efforts and information, we strongly recommend people to use your company All About Yacht. You can find Sofia close to the port police office, ask in the café downstairs.
Martin, an English guy living on board his boat, had turned up to help with the sails. It turned out he was from one of the marinas and he helped out JSails when they were busy. He turned up at 8.30. Chris told him that we had been told by the other guy to expect them at 10ish, and that was why Francis was not available. He agreed to go have a coffee and wait for Francis. One hour later, Francis returned from the tax file number hunt and Clio was dressed again. We were still waiting for the spray hood to be returned.
Meantime Siegfried and Gabrielle, the German couple we met last year, came to visit and we enjoyed coffee with them and caught up on all their news.
Thursday 11 May: our sprayhood had still not been returned, so Francis phoned the owner of JSails who said that we had to come and pick it up ourselves. That was the proverbial straw after 6 months of very slow communications (apart from him wanting money), delayed delivery, lacking quotations, below-standard work, and high prices. Francis expressed our unhappiness at the very poor service we had received from them, to which he meekly answered with 'what do you want me to say'. 'Sorry' would be a good start! A slightly extenuated circumstance was that according to him he had a heart operation in July last year and that that was still impacting on his business.
Anyway, Francis went to the shop to collect the repaired hood where the owner was conveniently absent. The bill was around AU$855, deck tent not included! We definitely would not recommend JSails to others. We have heard that Waypoint Sails is doing a better job.
One of the jobs for this season is to sand and re-varnish the main-cabin table. A nice Zen-job to erase the annoyance of the sailmaker from memory and the scratches and stains from the table (bottom-left).
We are expecting some wind tomorrow morning so to be on the safe side we re-anchored Clio with 50m of chain out. That night we went to dinner in one of the local tavernas, run by two brothers and their parents, with Gabrielle and Siegfried and enjoyed a very nice meal followed by yummy gelato ice-cream. Time for bed.
Friday 12 May and unfortunately Chris had inhaled some of the dust from the table sanding as well as getting a bit chilled last night which led to a day in bed and requiring Francis to make more chicken soup, which soon did the trick. We're thinking of getting a hospital-kitchen size boiling pot to churn out chicken soup in sufficient quantities to keep Chris alive this season.
Saturday 13 May and more shopping this morning to replenish our very important chocolate (and bottled water) supplies. We cast off around midday to make our way to Vonitsa, a small village not far away in the Ambracian Gulf. We're always on the lookout for good anchorages, and on the way we found a lovely tranquil bay, well sheltered to all but East winds and completely deserted, except for the goats and a very large pig pen. Heaven! We dropped anchor and settled in for the night (top-right). The joys of boating, especially when you wake up to such an amazing palette of colours in the morning sky (bottom-right)!
Mother's Day, Sunday 14 May, a lovely lazy day. Before we left, Kylie had prepared a lovely card and pressie for Chris to take with her to open on this day. Thanks Kylz, you're a gem!