Despite the forecast the day of our lift out dawned clear and quite calm. We were pleased to get the call for Splice to enter the lifting dock around 09.00 hrs before wind had a chance to change its mind! Whilst you know the day of your lift here they don't give you a time, you just have to be alert from 08.00 with your VHF on. In the past we have spent all morning hanging about but this time we were second in the queue. The lift went without any issues and we were placed in the same position in the yard as last winter - this is good as its close to both the office and the facilities (you can't use the boats heads on land) and saves the long walk that some locations suffer from.
We were ahead of ourselves on the closedown list so the next few days were more relaxed than some years. We got on with all the tasks we can't do in the water - flush the engines and generator with fresh water (to stop corrosion from the salt staying in the works) - servicing and flushing the outboard and draining it of fuel (otherwise fuel congeals in the carburettor over winter and prevents it starting next year) - taping up the hull outlets to stop insect entry - putting a sponge in the end of the boom to stop birds nesting there - dropping the anchor and chain onto a pallet to remove the weight from the boat - ditto dropping the dinghy and covering her etc, etc.
'Splice' ready for winter
Closedown is quite a sociable time in a yard as there's always other owners performing the same tasks and we chatted to many of our neighbours as they passed sharing hints and techniques on how we all approached the tasks of winterising the boats. We were invited aboard 'Captain Cook' another cat nearby for tea and biscuits. We briefly met Veronique and Bruno when moored in Paroikia and it was nice to spend an hour or so meeting properly.
The journey home was to be a bit different this year. We normally leave the boat early in the morning for a midday flight so we can then catch a train home from Gatwick. Easyjet had however cancelled the morning flight leaving us with only the evening option arriving in Gatwick around 23.00 when all the trains had departed. This then involved booking a taxi for £85 to pick us up but the journey worked well with no delays and allowed us to have a more relaxed departure at noon in Greece.
A view across the waters towards Athens on our drive to the airport
We stopped on the way as Carolyn's research had discovered the farm that produces the oregano herbs and olive oil that we had been searching for in Epidavros earlier in the season. When we arrived we found not just the shop but a very pleasant beach cafe on the shoreline and spent a hour or so having a very nice lunch of Greek salad and sardines.
We walked through the door at home just after midnight UK time and less tired than usual, so maybe the evening flight might be a contender in the future!
Our Greek Salad lunch
The blog will take a break for the winter, our outline plan for next year includes crossing the Cyclades early in the year and ending up in Turkey for the winter, but who knows what the virus/Brexit/shortages etc will bring!
Thanks to all who bothered to read about our journey this year, see you in 2022.
Main Picture: Splice lifts at the end of season 2021