Some of the best adventures haven't happened yet.....Keep on sailing......

Kiladhia - we're still here

11 June 2024
Jane Paulson
We launched on June 1st as planned. Launch and lift out is always a nail biting time. Watching your home being lifted out of or into of the water in just a pair of slings is daunting despite the fact the guys in control have done it thousands of times. Having said that, the guy with the control panel around his waist didn't inspire much confidence by drinking coffee at the same time !!!! But hey, this is Greece. Take away their coffee and you would have a revolution!!

Once very gently put back into the water, we turned on the seacocks, checked that the new toilet was not leaking and started the engine. Of course, she fired up first time but having spent a fortune (and some) on a full service and major overhaul I would have been furious if she hadn't.

The plan was to do a couple of turns around the bay and then get onto the quay where we would tie up for a day or two, do a Lidl shop, get below decks ship shape, put the sails on and generally get back into sailing mode. Best laid plans............

After a couple of turns around the bay and tying up onto the quay we checked the engine bay only to discover the oil leak we had before the service was still present. We called Vasso. She came. Took a look and told us that the cap on top of the oil drain pipe had got a split in it so once the engine had got warm and under pressure , oil started to leak out. She didn't have a replacement so one of her team jerry rigged one up and they fitted it. Sorted. No charge. She would order one and fit it when we returned in November.

Next morning was flat calm and no wind so we were up at 7am and got the mainsail on. Job done just as the wind picked up. Perfect timing. Next morning was exactly the same so we got the genoa fitted. Job done. We did a very big Lidl shop, got everything stowed away and on Tuesday left the quay and found a fabulous spot, under the cliffs and Franchiti cave and dropped the hook. Bliss. Absolute bliss. Peace and quiet. No traffic noise. No one fishing behind our boat ( or in front for that matter). The only sound was that of the occasional turtle breaking the surface for a big breath before disappearing. The water in the bay is not clear due to the very high level of salt. Swimming is almost impossible – we just bob about like a cork!

A short distance away is Nisi Koronida . The island is owned by the Goulandris family, the head of whom is a very wealthy shipping magnate who also founded the first museum of Greek modern art. The island is covered in very dense trees so unless you go onto Google Earth there is nothing to see other than 5 motor yachts parked up and a very impressive building which gives the impression it is a “Gate House". Very secluded, very private, very nice.

Wednesday morning, the heads (toilet) decided not to work.

The pump action was not bringing in water to the bowl. For goodness sake!!!! The work had been done by an engineer employed by the yard (Vasso was an independent engineer) so we emailed the yard and they replied early Thursday morning, told us to put our radio on to channel 77 and wait for a call telling us to come into the launch dock where we would tie up and the engineer would come and look. After 12.30 they said. The call came at 12.20. I got the anchor up and we slowly made our way to the dock. There is a dredged channel with a red and green marker buoy at the start of the channel so it's important to keep within them and then aim straight for the dock. The water before the channel is extremely shallow and our depth gauge plummeted to 0.4m under the keel. Ooooh heck. Our keel is 1.8m so that meant that the total depth of water was 2.2m. We inched into the channel and let out a sigh of relief when the gauge went to 2.5m under the keel. We tied up and within minutes the engineer came, and after taking a look, told us that there was an air lock. He undid the hose, blew into it, reconnected it and bingo it worked perfectly. He had never seen this problem before . The key to our new heads apparently is to pump S L O W L Y to avoid air locks. We left the dock, inched our way back and returned to our favoured spot. We now pump real slow!!!!

So, what else could possibly for wrong??? I'll tell you.

We ran the engine for an hour on Saturday night to boost the batteries as it had been an overcast day with no wind and very little sunshine so our solar panels and wind generator hadn't done much at all. We have an on board 2kw petrol powered generator for occasions such as this but it was late and running the engine was the easiest option. I'm glad we did, as what happened next was by far better happening here, at anchor with help very close by than at sea or anchored off a secluded island.

After about an hour, there was suddenly an alarm, smoke and a dreadful smell of burning. For goodness sake!!

Andreas immediately switched off the engine and took a look in the engine bay. The plastic shroud that was wrapped around cables had somehow come loose from its cable tie, dropped onto the alternator which was hot and subsequently melted. Never happened in 16 years. Now we wait for Vasso to come out to us and she will tell us if the cable is damaged, or the alternator is damaged or maybe even both !!!!

It all sounds very stressful and infuriating but this season we have decided to take our foot off the gas and take things real slow so we are not getting stressed or angry. We are not in a hurry to leave, especially as we have had so much major work done and there will always be teething problems on the back of that. So we will wait. Ensure that absolutely everything is as it should be and then set off. In the meantime, we've explored the Franchiti Cave, caught up with friends Pete and Marceline (who we met in Ragusa).

Pete and Marceline sold their boat on the back of health issues and now live in a lovely house 50m from Iria Beach. This quiet village of Iria is about 45 minutes drive from here (Kilada) on the road to Napflion.

We last saw them when we all wintered on Sicily in Marina de Ragusa in 2018/19. They haven't changed at all !

We walked along the beach road to a tiny fishing harbour, filled with traditional and very colourful Caíques' to a typically Greek taverna where we sat at a table in the shade, looking at the beautiful boats in a very welcome breeze. And here we sat for 6 hours, eating outstanding traditional home cooked food, drinking local wine and we talked, and we talked and we talked. It was only when I started to write this we realised we hadn't taken any photos. Our plan, is to return to their beach in Stiletto, anchor off and go and do it all over again, but this time with pictures.

Our mantra is “ one job a day “ and we try to achieve that while it is still cool. At present we are experiencing August temperatures with highs reaching 37 deg C. The sea temperature is 34 deg C. In the saloon, as I write, it is 31 deg C.

The one job done, a refreshing cool swim, a very light lunch followed by an afternoon siesta in the shade of the cockpit canopy . We go ashore about 5pm, walk up to the yard, use the showers then walk back to the North Bar for a beer and use the Wifi returning to Stiletto for supper in the cool of the evening in the cockpit. Its a hard life.

My thought for the day:-
Be prepared for all eventualities. Think things through carefully and don't be in a rush. Make sure everything is in place before you set off on any adventure. That's our motto. What on earth was Dr. Michael Mosely thinking when he set off in the blistering heat on the island of Symi - no water, no phone. ?
Vessel Name: Stiletto
Vessel Make/Model: Bavaria 33 Cruiser
Hailing Port: Gosport, UK
Crew: Andreas Giles & Jane Paulson
We have been sailing together for 18 years and have owned Stiletto for 16 of them. We have exhausted the Solent and the UK South Coast and all the other usual passages: West Country, France, Channel Islands etc. that are available from our home port of Gosport. [...]