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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 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 🎶🎶🎶




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Kiladhia - guess what?....

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

Kiladhia - guess what?.....

23 June 2024
Jane Paulson
The fire heading for the town of Kranidi. Seeing smoke is one thing. Seeing three sets of flames, even from this distance is harrowing. Several properties were lost but fortunately no lives.
We have read of a Superyacht captain being responsible for the dreadful fires on the island of Hydra. He had been letting off fireworks !!!!
He, and the crew have been arrested. Malaka !!!

Kiladhia - guess what?......

23 June 2024
Jane Paulson
Anyone who fights fire of any description has my utmost respect. These guys have the added task of getting down to sea level, scooping up water and getting back up without crashing into a hill.

Kiladhia - guess what?......

23 June 2024
Jane Paulson
The views of the amazing decolletages kept Andreas' spirits up !!!!!

Kiladhia - not left yet

23 June 2024
Jane Paulson
This is a quote from my Welcome to Season 8 post......
“ And then my friends , the plan is to go out into the beautiful, bay, drop the anchor .......AND BREATHE!!! “

Yes, we got to anchor. BREATHE??? Very rapidly I can tell you. Almost hyperventilating!!,

You will recall the smoke, the alarm and the melted plastic hose in the engine bay. The worst was yet to come !

Andreas had contacted Vasso and she and her team arrived on Monday evening to look at the engine. They discovered that in addition to the melted hose, both the starter motor and the alternator were damaged. They removed both and took them away for a post mortem.

We had a call on Wednesday and the outcome was that the starter motor was dead but the alternator was ok. Vasso would order a new starter motor and give the alternator a thorough service. In the meantime, we were still at anchor, engineless and were trying to feel positive about the pending cost that we really hadn't bargained for . The team returned on Saturday lunchtime with a serviced alternator and a nice new shiny starter motor. Theo and Petros went down below and after 5 minutes went very quiet. Andreas and I looked at each other questionably. The supplier had sent the wrong starter motor. For goodness sake, you just couldn't make this up!!!!

Andreas and I actually laughed – a sort of angry, hysterical laugh. Absolutely no point in getting all stressy. It just raises your blood pressure ! So, the alternator was installed and we switched on the power to the engine and to our enormous relief the ECU unit (the electronics hub of the boat) had not been damaged which means once the correct starter motor is installed all should be good (says she with fingers tightly crossed🤞).

So, we're still here, two weeks after launch, at anchor, safe and secure with Turtles cruising around us. They are impossible to capture on camera as they surface, do a very quick reccie and then disappear within seconds. I get very excited when they appear but do worry about all the plastic they have to share their living space with.

We had a big squall and horrid sea state for a few hours yesterday and all the boats in the bay were pitching and rocking and rolling but our anchor is well and truly dug in and we didn't move. God knows what we would have done if she had !!!
We are hopeful that the new (correct) motor will be installed on Tuesday. Watch this space................

My thought for today.
We did say this season would be slowly , slowly but we didn't think it would be quite so literal. Despite the feeling of someone sticking pins in us, we are so grateful to be in a safe place surrounded by good professional help.


Vessel Name: Stiletto
Vessel Make/Model: Bavaria 33 Cruiser
Hailing Port: Gosport, UK
Crew: Andreas Giles & Jane Paulson
About:
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. [...]