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

Kiladhia - Health and Boat Update

30 June 2024
Jane Paulson
The days are all joining up together and we are struggling to keep track of time, what we did and when. Everything is very disjointed.

When the Meltemi had done its worst, we moved onto the quay, going alongside as opposed to stern to. This enabled the easy removal/install of the outboard along with all three domestic batteries which to add to our woes, have retired. Their life expectancy is 3 to 4 years. We got 3 ½ years from ours so this morning replacements were installed. Cost €900 and €250 for installation.

We took the outboard to Vasso's workshop in the evening and they invited us to join them for supper in Michailis’ taverna in Erminoni.

Vasso, her husband Theo and their daughter Apostolia (14) are the nicest people. They have been so incredibly kind to us and we are becoming good friends.

The evening with them was just what we needed. Moral was low after the howling Meltemi and Andreas being poorly but good company, lots of laughter, lifted our spirits.

Next day (Sunday) we spent the afternoon on two sunbeds, under a huge umbrella on the beach which is literally a 5 minute drive away. Flat calm water, no charge for the sunbeds and absolute peace and quiet. The whole weekend was the therapy we so badly needed.

Monday evening Vasso and the team returned our outboard. Thank goodness. She had saved it.

Saturday morning the new batteries were installed.
Tuesday was our appointment for an ultrasound at a private practice in Kranidi. Appointment time was 11.15. We were greeted by a charming doctor (no stroppy receptionist) who then spent 45 minutes examining Andreas and confirmed “yes, you have stones, you need to see a Urologist “. But he was struggling to be explicit.
He was very thorough. And the cost ? €40 (£34).

Enter Vasso, yet again. She recommended a top Urologist (Christos) in Argos which was 1 hour away. We called Christos who told us to arrive the next morning between 11am and 11.30am.
Yet again, he greeted us. No receptionist. Just him in his state of the art practice. He was a real character with a great sense of humour and spoke very good English .

I was invited into the consulting room and saw for myself on the screen the three stones that were causing Andreas so much grief. One in each kidney but the biggy was stuck in his Urethra. His prostate is three times the size it should be and the lining of his bladder is very thick. A mess.

So, what to do?

A new set of medications. Some to break down the stones and some serious painkillers. For the next five days he should eat just meat, chicken, fish, cheese and bread. No salt. No vegetables. We should not even think about leaving for 20 days. He needs time to heal. The hope is that the meds will break up the stones and they will vacate naturally. In the event they don't then a trip to hospital in Athens for laser treatment will be necessary.

So, to get a better, fuller picture he wanted a CT Scan. He called Mediscan in Napflion. Told them what he wanted. They said for us to go straight there. We paid him €40 (£34) and off we went.
On arrival at Mediscan, we checked in with the receptionist who called the lovely lady who would do the scan. She showed Andreas into her room, pulled down his shorts and underpants, did the scan and 5 minutes later he was out and being told by the receptionist to come back in half an hour for the results. We went for a coffee, returned to Mediscan and paid €50 (£42.50) and we were handed a folder with written results and a disk. The results would also be forwarded to Christos via email.

So now we must wait and see if the stones leave of their own accord.

He told us that he regularly gets headhunted by the NHS offering him a job but he would never go to the UK.
He said while the UK has fantastic hospitals, doctors there “don't do medicine".

We're off to Porta Khelli now, in the car, for lunch with Aunt Koula and Cousin Joyce at Koulas beautiful villa that looks across to Nisos Spetsis.

On Monday, now that Stiletto is complete and we have a functioning outboard, we are moving from the quay back out to the anchorage. It's where we prefer to be. We are resigned to the fact that Andreas must be 100% fit before we think of leaving Kiladhia. We just don't know when that will be.

My thought for the day:
Our experience of the medical system here has been faultless. Three scans and two consultations over 2 days for just over £100. In Kranidi, as in most towns, there a wide selection of specialist clinics for just about everything. Easily accessible and affordable. The UK really can learn an awful lot.

Kiladhia - Health and Boat Update

30 June 2024
Jane Paulson
This is where we spend our afternoons. Its almost like our own private beach. There is hardly anyone else here. The water is not particularly clear but we can see the turtles when they surface for air.

Kiladhia - Health and Boat Update

30 June 2024
Jane Paulson
The sunbeds are right on the edge of the water.
There is something so soothing about the sound of gently lapping water especially when your nerves are frayed and stress levels are off the Richter scale!!

Kiladhia - Health and Boat Update

30 June 2024
Jane Paulson
Todays artistic shot.

Kiladhia - guess what?........

23 June 2024
Jane Paulson
.........we're still here !

Monday evening, Vasso, Theo and Petros arrived in their big rib, looking like members of the SAS with their black trousers, shirts and baseball caps. This time with the correct starter motor. Hooorah! Took minutes to install. We fired up the engine and thank goodness everything was working absolutely fine. We broke out the beers and all sat for a while in the cockpit.

Next day (Tuesday) was "Proper Shakedown Day". We decided to sail to Porto Khelli , about 5 miles away not wanting to go too far, just in case. The mainsail went up perfectly. The Genoa also. The engine purred. All our instruments were working fine, Alice the Autohelm was much happier for a service and the chartplotter was good. Dinky, our brand new dinghy was towing beautifully. Hooo bloomin Raaaa !

But sadly, there was very little wind and we had to give in and motor. As conditions were so calm we ended up taking the long way round, exploring anchorages and making mental notes for when we finally get going.

We arrived in the big bay of Porto Khelli , dropped the hook and put up the cockpit canopy . We have been anchored here several times. It is a big bay, the holding is good and it's a perfect place to hide from horrid weather. It also has a state of the art new marina, that is full of very expensive super yachts and very few sailboats. Clearly the big boys are a encouraged (and can afford the fees) whereas us mere minions are not ( and can't).

The forecast was for this season's first Meltemi which was due to arrive from the Cyclades on Wednesday. Back in Kilada we would be unaffected but cruisers around the Cyclades were running for cover. This year, the dreaded big winds have arrived early, as have the exceptionally high temperatures.
The windless sail on our shakedown day was clearly the calm before the storm. The wind started to pick up Wednesday morning and would be bang on our nose going back. We could have put in a few long tacks but we decided to motor back taking route one. No exploring. No messing about. Just get back to Kilada.

Just before we left plumes of smoke filled the sky. The first of the wild fires. It's an awful sight. Very distressing. Especially when it is so close to buildings. I would like to stress that the fires in Greece are not down to climate change or global warming. They are down to negligence and arson.
Most are the result of arson under the guise of 'the heat of summer'. It has nothing to do with climate change or global warming but everything to do with getting around Greek planning laws.
The Greek Government has confirmed that the majority of fires are started by arsonists (spotter planes have actually caught on video, several people starting fires) but let's not forget that the land is tinder dry and discarded cigarette butts (thrown from car windows - we've seen it) and poorly disposed of BBQ 's do an exceptional job too. Also, glass beer bottles littering picnic spots also start fires. The Greek people are not good at taking rubbish home.

So here is a simple explanation:
If a plot of land is regarded as forest then it cannot be built on. So, get rid of the forest and then build.
If a property is in need of renovation or extending, set fire to it, raise it to the ground and all planning regulations go up in smoke with it thus allowing a whole new planning application for a bigger and better version being built.

And, fires have occurred on Greek islands for years and years and years. We just know about all of them today thanks to Social Media!!!

We got back to Kilada. Dropped the hook at 8pm. Within minutes the fire plane came and dropped down behind the island in the bay, took on water and flew over our heads to dump water on the fire. This was followed very closely by a helicopter that did exactly the same. This went on for about an hour and then stopped. Clearly everything was under control.

Next day (Thursday) the wind had seriously picked up. We were surprised at the ferocity of the gusts - 38 to 40 knots. We took down both our shade canopies, they do tend to act as sails but also we want to protect them from getting shredded.

At about 11am, Andreas shared that he was not feeling well. He had a severe pain in his lower back and felt very nauseous. We discussed what we had eaten in the past 24 hours. We had both eaten the same. I was fine. He was not. Smoked Salmon and cream cheese, tomatoes, cucumber and hard boiled eggs. All within date and kept in our new supa dooopa fridge. If it was food poisoning the pain would be in his gut, not his back.

He shared that he felt the same as he had 12 years ago when he was taken suddenly extremely poorly with a kidney stone whilst we were on board HMS Victory for a social event (and there lies a story for another time and another place over a beer or two, or three).

He then vomited. Right then. We needed to get off the boat, into the dinghy and find a local doctor. With all the shenanigans regarding bits and parts for Stiletto, we hadn't parked the car up, under cover in the compound. Instead Max remained parked on the road very close to where we always came ashore in the dinghy.

I drove us to the boatyard and spoke with the lovely Evanglelos who gave me very explicit directions to the Medical Centre in Kranidi which had parking. It took us about 15 minutes to get there. I parked up and Andreas made his way, albeit slowly to reception.

Now, this is our third experience of the medical system in Greece. It didn't disappoint. We explained how he felt, the level of pain - on a scale of 1 to 10 he was at 8. He explained that all the symptoms were identical to those of 12 years ago.
Within 10 minutes we were called into a consulting room.

Within another 10 minutes after I handed over his passport and EU Medical Card and he was typed into their system, he was on the couch with 2 of the most drop dead gorgeous mature nurses putting intravenous drips into his arm. Painkillers. Relief. Happy Chappy.

We had arrived at 1pm and by 3pm we were discharged albeit under orders :
Andreas had been given tablets that he should take once a day in the morning. He was given a telephone number of a private doctor who would perform an ultrasound on Tuesday to establish if and where the stone was.

We got back to the boat and tried to settle but at around 7.30 Andreas was in considerable pain. So, we got back in the dinghy, back in the car and got to the Medical Centre. This medical centre in a small town may look shabby inside and out but the standard of care was absolutely fantastic. No queues. No defensive receptionist. Doctors and nurses keen to help and give you time. No seven minute time slots here. We only had to wait a few minutes before we were seen by a different doctor who gave me a prescription for painkillers which I took to the pharmacy which was a short walk away and still open at 8pm.

In the meantime, Andreas was taking away and plugged in to more drips and 3 bags later the pain had gone. We returned to Stiletto and he managed to sleep. During the night, the wind seriously picked up. We were on the edge of the Meltemi but had gusts of 38 knots. Not looking good if we needed to dinghy ashore, but that was not an option as in the afternoon, a bloody big gust flipped the dinghy over. The outboard was now underwater. We were both struggling to flip it back and in so doing the seat got dislodged and started to float very rapidly away. I dived in and swam like crazy to retrieve it and then had to swim twice as crazy against the wind to get back. Meanwhile, with an almighty heave Andreas managed to right the dinghy and between us we managed to get the outboard off. It had drowned. Kaput.

It was a stupid mistake to keep the outboard on the dinghy in such conditions. Our thinking at the time was, if we needed to get ashore real fast, there was no way I could have got the outboard off the boat and into the dinghy on my own so, we left it on and tied the dinghy tight to the transom thinking it would be ok. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Lesson sorely learnt. Now we have to have the outboard completely stripped down and put back together minus all the seawater. Vasso can do that for us.
As I'm sure you can imagine, moral on board The Good Ship Stiletto is at an all time low. I'm convinced that there are dark forces playing games with us. The relentless winds, day and night, a sick husband, and a broken outboard is pushing me to the absolute limit.

So after a lot of swearing and cursing and wondering how we had been so stupid, we retied the dinghy, took the oars off so we didn't lose those too, and sat down below feeling very sorry for ourselves.

Andreas suddenly spotted plumes of black smoke on the land just outside the hilltop town of Kranidi. With the wind from the North it was acting like a huge set of bellows blowing the fire up towards the town. I then saw 3 sets of flames heading for a couple of houses on the periphery of the town. It was the most awful sight. We could see exactly where it had started - on open land - and the speed with which it was spreading was horrendous. We were expecting to see the fire plane but it was obviously dealt with at ground level as miraculously it was under control quite quickly. I don't know if people or properties we damaged. I sincerely hope not. But it put all the stress I was feeling into perspective.

Andreas had continued to take his meds throughout the day and his pain was mild. But at 4am, he woke me and said the pain was much worse. We couldn't get ashore as rowing would have been another stupid decision. What to do.? I just didn't know. In my medical box I have stuff for all eventualities - dirty mosquito bites, antibiotics, painkillers even pills for constipation!!!. I suddenly remembered an unopened box of Diclofenic Suppositories that were left over from the last kidney stone. They were out of date and should have been thrown out a long time ago. I mentioned this to Andreas. He recalled how quickly they worked last time and should we see if they would work now? We ummmed and arrrred and decided to try. I put my nurses uniform on and administered said painkiller and 20 minutes later he fell asleep and slept till morning.

The wind today (Saturday) is due to ease right off so our plan is to move onto the quay. Vasso will collect the outboard and do her magic. We will try and relax and go to the doctor on Tuesday. He has strict instructions on what to eat and what not to eat on the day before and on the day of the ultrasound.

My thought for the day :
We've been in the water for three weeks and had just one day out. 🎶🎶🎶things can only get better 🎶🎶🎶


Kiladhia - guess what?....

23 June 2024
Jane Paulson
The fire we saw at anchor in Porto Khelli was close to Ermioni.
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. [...]