Thursday, 29 November 2012

OIL is safely gathered in...

When Kev & Linda's away, Barney will play.
 We had a visit from Barney while Linda and Kev packed ready to go back to England he had a really thorough inspection of the boat before going to his uncle sharky for tea.

On Sunday we managed to get the passerelle (gang plank) fitted.  San ended up with bruises on her chest from leaning over the side to hold it while I drilled the holes and bolted it on.  What should have been about an hours work ended up being three but this was mainly due to an acquaintance from earlier in the year finding out where we were and visiting us for an hour. Note to self: Must hide better next time!

Passerelle all fitted and working
Team meeting under the shade of Harry's solar panels.
 Monday and Tuesday we joined in the annual olive harvest with Liz, Tony, Deb and Jez.  They had already got the olives from their own properties over the weekend but we were collecting them from Harry and Eve's place and also Ray and Linda's.  Ray and Linda have tonnes of the things and the neatness and terracing in their garden makes picking them so much easier.  Thanks all you guys for allowing us access in your absence.
Just take the bloody twigs out!!

Our 213 Kg of olives going into the mill.
Coming out as Popeye's girlfriend.
We ended up with 213 Kilograms of olives which milled down to thirty five litres of oil.  We only took five litres as our share as being water bound there is precious little space for keeping any more.

Once again we had a great time getting the harvest in and watching the milling process, much to the amusement of the locals.

Yesterday the weather broke a little and throughout the day the wind gradually increased to force seven with gust of force eight.  This bounced our little boat around somewhat.  It lasted all night and into this morning but we have managed to come through it unscathed.  Sanny did remarkably well and actually slept from eight o'clock last night until seven this morning so that bodes well.  We have found a couple of minor leaks during the thunder storms we had during the night and this morning but nothing too serious.

Around midnight last night I heard some clattering outside in the howling wind and went out to investigate.  I found a wheelie bin floating rapidly towards our boat.  For those who don't know in Greece the bins are like the American dumpsters and will hold, I would guess, over a tonne if filled solid.  Anyway I couldn't get it out of the water so I got some rope and tethered the floating binberg to the side of the quay and went to bed.  This morning it had miraculously gone.  I found it later where it should be with my rope still attached, SPOOKY....  I guess some people much stronger and fitter than I saw it there and rescued it.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Live aboard at last...

Setting off from Vlicho.
 We finally moved Lesanda from Vlicho to Lefkas marina on Sunday.  Sanny piloted all the way except for a little time when she was making coffee for Tony and I, you have to get your women trained properly guys!!

 The water cut up quite choppy around the bottom of Meganissi but that wasn't a problem for her she just carried on brewing up regardless, it must bode well.
On board with Sanny doing the honours.

First cuppa in the new location.
Settleing in before the weather changes.

The weather can do what it wants now!

When we were entering the channel between Lefkas and the mainland Sandra looked at the channel markers and said "what are these malarkies down the side of the channel".  I wondered for a minute if she thought it was a slalom course but at least she kept the deep water.

On entering the marina we called up the tower to let them know we were coming in and Sandra reversed the boat right down the fairway right along to where we were going to moor at the beginning of G pontoon and with a little throttle control help from Tony right onto our mooring first time with no real problems.

Before leaving on Sunday morning we had had (another) final fitting of the cockpit tent so we were not going to have our outside room when we got to Lefkas.  We really could have done with it as Monday and Tuesday the weather was horrid with fairly persistent rain.  However, things picked up on Wednesday and Horatio Todd and his merry band of workers turned up to fit Lesanda winter ball gown.

Snug as a bug...
There are a couple of things need altering or adding but they can wait.  We are delighted with it and can now happily sit in the cockpit and watch the world go by without the night air causing us problems.  You have to be careful when you get to our age.

Sorry about the presentation this week but I've done it in a hurry as my PC has been giving me grief after installing a WiFi aerial and the software screwed the machine up twice, so I guess I'm not having an Alfa antenna.  Good job I borrowed one first :-)

Next week less boats as I'm sure it's boring everyone to death. 

Thursday, 15 November 2012

This time we are leaving - probably!

Sandra filling her up with water.
Recently we seem to have done nothing but boaty things as we get ready to move onto the next phase of our adventure.   This is not exactly true however, we had had a couple of meals out with friends and of course there was the annual pontoon party at the Marina last Friday.

During one of the tent fitting sessions.
There seems to be a very eclectic mix of people who will be overwintering in the marina or locally this year and the pontoon party provides the perfect way of each of them getting to know each other, with snacks and drinks being available all afternoon.  To me there seemed to be quite a few more none British people this year which is a good thing as it will add to the cosmopolitan atmosphere, or at least we hope so.  Of course there are many who have been here for previous winters or indeed stay permanently in these parts but in some ways it's the new ones which make life a little more interesting.

Alison and Peter from the Katoghi had a break for a week last week and they managed to twist our arms far enough to convince us to go out for a meal on Friday night.  It didn't need that much twisting I can assure you!  We had a lovely night with drinks in the Vass bar and a simple meal at the dolphin in Vasiliki.  (A little plug here, if you like eating at the Katoghi, then you can vote for them on the Telegraph web sites "best of British" poll.)

Sunday evening was spent out with Liz and Tony, always easy company, and another fine meal at Il Sapore in Nidri.  The night always seems to go so quickly and then when you leave you think "Oh I never asked...." or "I forgot to mention..." but never mind we see them all regularly enough.

The BOSS, mistress of all she surveys. 
We have been having regular fittings of the tent on the boat this week and we had a stated finish date of today, although I have allowed tomorrow and Saturday for slippages.  Sandra is chuffed to bits over the big windows, which is what she asked for anyway, don't think I'll ever understand women!  Anyway, we are leaving Vlicho on Sunday (to quote Sandra) "come hell or high water" and going to the marina.  If there is any outstanding work then they will have to come to us.  So this time I can say with some confidence, the next blog will be coming from our H2Ome (the water home).

Thursday, 8 November 2012

A day off and other things...

Sandra in lovely sunny Parga.
 With the disappointments of last weeks, high water, poor electricity etc.  and having to stay in the house a little longer, we decided to treat ourselves to a day off and have a ride up to Parga and along the Epirus coast line.  We couldn't have picked a better day for it with little wind and temps in the mid twenties.  Parga hasn't changed much although things are looking remarkably clean, spick and span for the end of the season, more like you would expect it to look in May and still as beautiful as ever.
The old town of Parga and the castle.

The town was actually bustling for this time of year perhaps the spring like weather had something to do with it.  Of course Sandra can't resist getting fruit and veg when it's fresh and displayed as nicely as it was there, I don't know whether we shall ever get around to eating it all as we are still cooking camping fashion in the tree house.

No day off is complete without fresh fruit and veg.
Tree and Mike have moved some of their furniture back into "our" house in anticipation of us moving out and them moving back in again so we are not quite slumming it as much as we were, we now have a settee and a dining table but of course are not there very often to enjoy using them.  However it is somewhere to lay lay our heads at present and we are grateful for that.

All the olive trees are loaded, bumper harvest?
Looking around the island at the moment it is obvious that this years harvest is going to be a real bumper one, virtually all the olive trees are absolutely laden with olives.  In all our years of coming to Greece I don't think we have ever seen such an abundance of fruit on the trees.  I suppose the downside of this is that there will be a lowering of the price for olive oil when it all hits the market which will mean that the farmers will have to harvest much more to get the same price, it always seems to be the less well off that take the brunt of things here.

The other love of my life getting her winter coat fitted.
 Things on the boat are now happening pretty quickly as the weather has improved.  All the steel work is now finished including the gantry where the solar panels are to be mounted, as is the spray hood.  The cockpit awning work is also progressing nicely we have had a fitting today to ensure that the patterns for the side and back sections is still "true" before they sew them together.  With good luck and a fair wind we should be in a position to move out of the house and onto the boat in the middle of the month.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

A bug in the system...

The Goulash brothers setting the new frame up.
 Last week, Adrian, our stainless steel fabricator, finished off the sprayhood and the cockpit awning frame, he should be working on the gantry for the solar panels now.  We had a visitation from a pair of Hungarian chaps who work for Orkide, who is doing the canvas works, to set all the frame up so she could take patterns for the canvas.  Adrian calls these two guys the Goulash Brothers but they are very helpful.

More or less all our worldly good on-board.
Although we have had all our goods and chattels installed on the boat we now have a situation where we had to bring some things back to the house.  A combination of a low pressure weather system, a full moon (exaggerating what little tide the med has) and the wind blowing straight into the enclosed bay means that there is exceptionally high water all the time.  This is so much so that it is causing us to paddle through ten meters of water with the level being halfway up our shins before we get to our gang plank.  Not a good situation for keeping Sandra on side.

The rot started when we had a storm towards the end of last week which resulted in Horatio Todd, the company who asked us to moor there for the work to be done, moving our boat to the outside of a much larger yacht which was side on to the quay.  This meant having to climb over the first yacht to get to ours, not another good situation, in fact Sandra could not have done it and I struggled.  Not only this but they disconnected our electricity (so the potentially full fridge went off), and never asked us if they could move it or informed us that they had.  We were not happy bunnies, but thought this was probably a precautionary action because of the impending storm.  So on Tuesday when it had passed I got them to move it back stern to the quay and thus much more accessible.  The water was high even then but got much worse over the next couple of days and the electricity supply was flooded resulting in me getting shocks from the rigging on the boat before it finally blow out altogether.  People in the next boat to us have moved because of the water and electricity situation saying they have not had any power for over three days.

Unfortunately we ain't. Note the water back here!
I have sorted out as best I can his electrical supply to the boats and at least now it is safer, although as an electrical engineer I should really condemn the lot of it.  There are about six to eight take off points all fed from one extension lead which crosses the main road inside a hose pipe.  much of the southern half of this cable is at least part of the time submerged in water and goes through several joints wrapped in plastic bags or similar "protection".   The black bag in the picture is our power pole! and it's still stood in water.

With this in mind we have contacted our long suffering landlady, Tree, and asked for a couple of weeks stay of execution which she has kindly agreed to, Thanks Tree.  We will therefore be staying in the house until the work is complete and we can leave Vlicho.  And it least with typical British stiff upper lip we are still smiling and warm and safe, which at the end of the day is all that you can expect.  Hopefully there will be some brighter weather and news next week.