Greece Stage One
23 May 2010
Malua started her cruise from where we hauled her for the winter, in Preveza in Greece.
Iain and I arrived in Athens after a long flight from Sydney. I never try to calculate how long it actually is, I just try to sleep for as long as I can then wake up at the destination. This time it seemed to work rather well as I was not jet lagged in the slightest. Greece is in a financial crises and is being helped by the other members of the EU. When they entered the Union they like many others fudged the books. But like most Greeks they do it better than many. Well the GFC hit Greece hard and out of the woodwork came the worms. On top of that the Greeks don't like to work hard. I believe the government retirement age is 45 or it could be 55 but anyway well before the Germans or even the French. Athens had one of its many strikes on the day we arrived and the mob was demonstrating. The government has raised the VAT from 18 to 21 percent and it now sounds as if the EU members will bail the country out if they raise the retirement age, cut wages, and pensions to more reasonable levels and raise the VAT to 25%. They are also going to impose a tax on sailing vessel over 15m of 300 Euro a meter each year. Well that will drive the charter fleet out again. Will they ever learn that tourism could be their savior.
We arrived at Preveza via bus to find Malua spic and span - Bristol fashion. It is great that we have now perfected a system to winter Malua which keep it in such good shape. The two battery banks where at 13.4 thanks to the solar panels, the bilge dry and only a small trace of mold in one cupboard.
Iain helped me take the two anchors out from the cabin (placed over the centre of graverty of the vessel) remove the RIB which we had stored down below and roll back the cover over the cockpit. It was then getting down to finding everything and putting it in its right place. Not a simple job because there was always something in the way or some excuse to do that later while I sorted this out.
We set a deadline for five days from our arrival to go in the water. It concentrates the mind and focuses the effort. The first job was to wash and polish the topsides. As always I was able to secure a plank and a couple of tressels from the nether regions of the yard. This put Iain at the right height to hand wash every part of the white topsides. Not a difficult job but I could not do it with my arm. He did that in half a day then set about waxing the sides. I sounded like the Karate Kids mentor ...wax on wax off. Unfortunately there was not the same dedication but we got the job done.
The following day was sanding the old antifouling. Not a great job but with an overall and a very good gas mask the task was completed. Just a wash and then the following day we applied the Micron Extra Light Blue antifouling. I use this product because the boat is out of the water for 6 months over winter and their specifications note that the antifoul does not deteriorate while out of the water. We put on 3.5 liters over the whole bottom. Quite a change from the 12 liters I used to put on in Australia but there again that was not as effective as the 3.5 European mixture. Thanks OZ oyster farmers from keeping me in work but healthy not that I eat that many oysters.
The next day was running the halyards and sheet plus bending on the sails. I have done this a number of times so the task is quite simple except if one of the thin lines run at the end of summer breaks. It did. I was winched up the mast and ran a thin line down the same inlet expecting to find it in the mast at the exit hole. No line to be seen. Up the mast to retrieve the line and send another down in it's place. Still no line at the exit. This time the line jammed at the entrance at the top of the mast. I had to take the pulley out and clear the line then run the third line down the mast but this time I was able to feed it into the centre of the mast. There it was at the exit. So the spinnaker halyard was fed in and came out the correct place. What a releaf. An impossible task if I was alone.
On the fifth day were were ready and doing the last odd jobs when there was a tap on the hull. "Are you ready?" Exactly at 12 o clock the appointed time to go in the water. What a change from the delays at Yot Marine Marmaris. We were in the water within the hour and motoring across the bay to the town quay of Preveza.
We spent the day provisioning and finding the correct place for all the equipment then the following day we put to sea towards Corfu.