After Easyjet cancelled our flights a few times, they consented to fly us to Greece on the 17th July. We had held off travelling until we could see the way the summer was developing but as Greece has better Covid numbers than the UK and there seems to be a chance of returning without quarantine (not that staying at home is a big issue for us) as we are both double-jabbed, we decided to go for it. The flight was busy and the yard was launching quite a number of boats, we saw fewer boats on the hard than the previous season.
This part of Greece seems to be fully open for business, the bars and resturaunts are open as normal though with sensible social distancing and the bay at Kilada is busy, more than 30 yachts most nights.
As usual we arrived to problems:
- We had invested in a new hard top bimini for Splice, very costly but the photos of its development looked good and the electrician had the ordered solar panels linked up, potentially taking our solar power output from 220 to 660 watts. The solars work well and the fridges get cold earlier in the morning but as we climbed on board Splice in the yard and Chris touched the supports of the bimini the movement was far too significant. She couldn't go to sea with the structure wobbling like that, we needed an 'Inox' (stainless steel)specialist. Why the team who built the bimini didn't tell us we don't understand, the boss is a sailor and must have realised the structure was not coping with the increased weight. The build quality is not bad, but this combined with the behaviour to another sailing friend means no recomendation here. The boss was away on holiday but did at least suggest someone who could do the work. After a number of delays and false starts we have had good work done by Adrian, a Romainian expat living locally and Splice is now seaworthy with a solid bimini top. We could have done without the extra hassle!
A few shots of the new bimini and the solar panels
- We had also bought a load of new bits for the watermaker which hasn't played nicely for the last two years. The same business who did the bimini worked on this and whilst the new membranes are in place and the leak there seems resolved, the Niagara Falls from the back of the control panel continues. The watermaker cannot be tested until the boat is back in salt water so it's reasonable that it couldn't be checked, it still leaves us with a significant problem. The owner of the watermaker business is now trying to send step by step photos of what to do for Chris to implement. He is neither keen on the task or confident, so we shall see what happens!
We spent four days working on the boat in the yard, the temperatures reached over 40 most days and we tried to spent the worst hours of the day back at the small apartment we habitually rent. Even being careful, we both had times feeling somwhat 'grotty' from the heat. Splice was launched on the 22nd July and we have been floating about in the bay, less than half a mile from the yard ever since, trying to fix the problems above and waiting to get the sails on. It has been either too hot or too windy, or both, for most of the time so far. We have managed to 'bend on' (sailor jargon for rigging the sails) the smaller genoa but winds of 20 knots or more are not the time to fight with the bigger bits of canvas.
We luckily know a couple of the other boats in the bay and have had a pleasant dinner with Jackie and Mel on 'Feisty' who were victims if the 'Idiot Captain' in July 2019 (blog 'Chaos in Lost Anchor Bay') It has taken around two years for them to fully repair the boat and recover the money from the owners but at least they are on the water again, albeit with major generator problems to solve. Boats don't appreciate being abandoned for a two year 'Covid break' and lots of sailors are facing more issues than normal.
Linda and Neil on 'Taneesha' who we met last year, happen to be anchored to our starboard side so coffee/drinks and chat have been in order. The major topic of UK sailors here unfortunately is still the results of Brexit as there are many reports of bureaucratic chaos, fines and confiscated ships papers as Greek Port Police and Greek Customs seem to have different interpretions of how to implement the new rules. It's too complicated to review here in detail but despite sterling work by the UK Cruising Association there is still a high risk of UK sailors being fined or impounded. This leaves us wanting to avoid anywhere with a port police presence whilst they sort it out. Unfortunately that means most ports that have water taps and if we can't fix our watermaker........ Thanks Boris!
Luckily not all cruising is stressful!!
Despite a late start to the season again and having to again abandon our plans to sail east to the Dodecanese, we are looking forward to some relaxed cruising if we can solve the various challenges presenting at the moment...find out in the next episode!!