Thursday, 30 May 2013

Waiting for a weather window...

A tad chilly in the shade

Shirley Valentine moment at Palairos Yacht Club.
The weather has been quite strange for this time of year and I feel sorry for anyone who has been out for a weeks holiday in the last couple of weeks.  We have been having more or less consistent north westerly winds in the afternoons which have really taken the edge off what would otherwise have been really nice days.  The temps have been in the mid to high twenties with plenty of sunshine but in the cockpit of our boat under the bimini shade it's felt bloody cold with the wind blowing straight into your rear end, if you'll pardon the expression.  We have even had to resort to having our evening meals down in the cabin on two or three occasions.

Tuesday we had to clean the decks again of Saharan sand, not from the rain it was just in the air and left a coating on everything, damn nuisance.

We had intended going out to stay on Meganisi for a few days on Wednesday this week but the wind looked like spoiling things as it would be blowing straight into Spillia Bay (Sparta Chorie) where we had intended to moor.  Never mind we have just postponed it until perhaps Sunday if the weather improves.  To get over our disappointment we went by car to Palairos for a curry instead preceded by a couple of glasses of wine at the Yacht Club, all excellent as usual.

Just before I go I would like to wish our good friend Tony a speedy recovery from his operation yesterday.  It sounds as though it was quite protracted for a cataract removal, an hour and a half under the knife under a local, no thanks.  Anyway he sounded chuffed to bits this morning when he told me he can see great but not through his glasses.  Good luck Tony (and Liz minding the invalid!!)

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Cleaning her scabby bum...

Hurray and up she rises.
What a hectic week we have just had, as mentioned last week, Lesanda was coming out of the water on Friday for scraping and anti fouling.  Nine o'clock in the morning was the appointed time and with the assistance of Jeremy, we took her to the other end of the marina to have her lifted.  All went well and we were soon off the boat to allow the guys with the travel lift to take fer for her pressure wash and then onwards to be propped up in her new temporary home.

The marina staff pressure wash her nether regions.
  At first glance she was much cleaner than I thought she was going to be and the guy with the industrial pressure washer did a good job of getting at least the loose stuff away along with most of the barnacles and coral worm.  Then they started to take her to where she was to be propped.  We had asked if we could be in a relatively dust free environment and on a solid (concrete, tarmac or paved) surface.  Instead we ended up on compacted gravel where the dust flies at the slightest excuse.  We were not in a position to complain though as we were getting the lifts and washing done for free.

On the left new anodes, on the right old.
 As it happened the small wind changed direction and came from the south and as we were at that end of the yard any dust contaminated people further down the line from us and left us unmolested.  On closer inspection we were going to need some new anodes and some primer for the keel where in places bear metal was exposed.  The two round keel anodes were nearly completely eroded and the rectangular hull anode would have lasted for some time to come but I decided to change it also and then we could gauge the wear rate in the future.
On hers stands with her hull cleaned and keel primed.

 I sent Sandra off to the chandlers to get the appropriate bits whilst I started to scrape off the remaining barnacles and anti-foul paint.  By seven O'clock in the evening we had her completely scraped off, rubbed down re-washed and keel primed ready to start applying the anti-foul paint the next day.  In the meantime Sandra had decided she was going to cook our evening meal aboard which was lovely but we hadn't really given much thought to what we were doing with the grey water from the washing up, normally the grey water goes out through a sea cock directly into the sea.  Buckets and cart them to the nearest drain was the answer, after which we ate out for the duration of our stay "on the hard".
No free ride in this game, keep em working.

 The next day, almost windless, allowed us to get all masked up and two good coats of paint on her and three or four in areas of hard wear like the rudder, keel, water line and bows.  We also fitted all the new anodes as well as checking and lubricating all the sea cocks (underwater valves or taps), you really don't want one of these failing when you are in the sea it's like having a huge hole in the boat bottom!  Pleased with our days graft, we went out for something to eat and retired for the night.  We had bought a couple of litres too much anti foul but that'll keep although it's expensive stuff and I shall not do that again.

All finished and ready for back in her element.
 Sunday morning up like a lark (well a rather stiff and un-energetic one) we set about cleaning the top sides (the sides above the waterline) with oxalic acid to remove some very stubborn ingrained stains, then fill in and rub down some minor blemishes and scratches prior to a good wash and polish.  You all know haw hard polishing a car can be, well magnify that by a factor of ten and your getting somewhere close, sweat!!!.  While I was doing that Sanny got to work on the propeller making it as clean, smooth and shiny as she could.
Rollers in Vasiliki this morning.

We both worked like little Trojans for three solid days and believe me we are not used to it but at least it was all finished and out of the way.  Sandra hated every minute of it I'm sure but that's because she hates heights and getting on and off the boat meant going up and down a ladder and all the bits above the water line were out of reach unless you were on our improvised scaffolding.  So thanks Sanny for putting up with it all without too many swear words.

We did have another hard days graft once we were back in the water cleaning and polishing all the cockpit and decks after the hammering they got whilst out of the water.  And then of course two or three days later we get the bloody red rain so it want's washing again Grrrrrrr.

Last night was quite windy and because we are still recovering we decided to have a ride around the island this morning a great way to relax enjoying the beautiful scenery and lovely coves and resort on this amazing island.  Come and see!

Just a quick reminder to our eldest Grandson Dale, (or his dad).  Please send us your passport details ASAP.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

The North wind doth blow...

Susie blowing out her candles.

Bike in Preveza.
 This week has been fairly breezy every day with north westerly's blowing straight into our boat.  Because the actual air temperature isn't that hot yet being in the shade meant it was too cool to be sat out after sunset so we've been having our evening meal down below and watching a bit of telly in the evening rather than watching the world go by on the town quay.  However, today the wind has gone around to the south and consequently the air is much warmer although still a strongish breeze.
Tea for two just coming up.

There ain't nothing like a barnacled bum!
On Saturday many of the foreigners in Lefkas went to Ey Zyn (Ef Sin or good life) in the town to celebrate Susie Woozies 18th birthday, well I'm sure that's what Joe said it was anyway.  We had a really fabulous night and a great meal with nice people, Thanks Joe and Susie.

As we got a little fed up with the breeze on Monday we decided to have a ride out to Parga, then across the mountains via Souli and visit our dear Greek friends in Assos.  Of course George was really fussy to see us again although Mantha was out for the day.  We left a couple of hours later with five kilo's of eating olives ready to be prepared for bottling.  It may be the last time we get up to Assos for a while as when we return after the summer holidays to England we will not have the car so it was a little sad in some ways.

On the way home we stopped off at Preveza for a stroll along the town quay and a bite to eat at a little place we know.  I saw the bike pictured above and thought what a nice thing to do with an old "push iron".  I'm sure Geoff will remember eating at this place (pictured above), he loved it when he went there.

Tomorrow we take the boat out of the water to clean her up and anti-foul so today we have been preparing for the move by taking down the bimini and our shade sheet which goes over the boom.  I have also taken the dingy out of the water and deflated her before we move.  I could not believe the amount of growth under it, it has only been in the water for about four weeks and it took over three hours to get clean again.  I don't think she will be staying in the water any longer than needed in future.  The picture shows just one bit left to clean, there must have been a million mini barnacles in just that bit!

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Easter in Kalamos...

Flares and Flowers
 We have had an excellent Greek Easter four days in Kalamos and a night on the return trip at Palairos before returning to the marina.

Easter was a very Greek affair this year with Sanny and I going up to the Church on Thursday to see the bier decorated with a myriad flowers and

The bier in Kalamos Harbour
very beautiful it was too.  Friday night it led the procession down to the harbour with several burly Greek guys vying to have the honour to carry it.  Anyone who knows Kalamos will tell you it's a very steep climb up to the main village from the port and carrying the very heavy bier laden with all those flowers is no mean feat, especially taking it back up again.

Sean with stupid expression!
 Down in the harbour there was an impromptu flare and fireworks display which we believe was actually intended for the next night, or at least the fireworks were but may have been set off by the flares for which us foreigners were being blamed.  Nevertheless it made a spectacle of the event.

Lambs to the slaughter.
On Saturday we were surprised by the arrival of Sean and Pug, who came and moored up near to us, they are en-route to Patras with Pug's boat after Sean took over from Jane with helping Pug sail the thing.  We had a great couple of nights with them and Sean even came back up to the church with us on Saturday evening to do the midnight mass / candlelight parade thing.  After the church service there was again a firework display this time up near the church and of course as anyone who has been in Greece at Easter time will attest, tonnes of very, very loud bangers going off all the time.

Grub up!
 On Sunday, George who has the first Taverna you see when getting off your boat and who almost invariably help yachts moor up, held a family Easter feast, he invited all of the yacht crews who were moored (five boats) in the harbour to join him and his family for free.  He roasted two lambs and supplied

Greek Dancers

all the food and wine for the entire afternoon, and his family danced and danced.  Well not only his family as they dragged all us lot up as well to join in.  Now I ain't got much rhythm at the best of times but trying to dance Greek style is way beyond my capabilities.   Thanks George and family for a great Easter, I hope many more people come to see you all this year you deserve it.

The first two nights in Kalamos we had two Bulgarian floatillers in the harbour, the first night there was 19 yachts and the second 18, which is more than we expected so early in the season.  They were good fun although the second set of guys stayed up until 4:30am talking and listening to music, or so I'm reliably informed by Sandra, I never heard a thing!!


Winter over the pleasure boat heading to the tourists.
Monday Morning we said a fond farewell to Kalamos and set off for Palairos on the mainland where we intended to de-lamb and have a good old curry at the Taj Panorama, the only place doing authentic(ish) Indian food in the area.  We had a good sail for quite a while and then the wind kept moving about so much from north to south to east... it was just hassle, so we switched on the engine and motored the rest of the way, the sea becoming progressively more choppy.  Because of this we abandoned the idea of mooring up at anchor just off shore and opted to go into the harbour where it was more sheltered.  We had a great stay there with an excellent meal at Panorama, Salim the regular chef had returned from Asia and to celebrate I had a vindaloo, slurp.

We got home on Tuesday and noticed that many of the floatiller boats are now arriving here from Corfu, also the square rigged tourist boat which has been on the town quay set off this morning, no doubt to find some tourists.  Oh well that's enough for this week, bye...

Thursday, 2 May 2013

to sea at last...

Evening meal in the cockpit without the tent.

All glittery and summer bimini up
 Well what hasn't been done now it's too late to think about.  Stainless polished, boat scrubbed and Sandra showered so it's all systems go!

We have been having fantastic weather this last couple of weeks, even getting over thirty degrees on a couple of occasions in the marina but generally in the mid to high twenties.  The red sahara rain seems to be giving us a miss now, thank goodness as I'm fed up of getting out the hosepipe every time any rain threatens.  We have been eating out in the cockpit in the early evening, it gets dark around 8:30 now but Sandra has been plagued by one or two mossies.
Flat calm so had to motor.

But we did get a little sail as we cleared Meganissi.
 The big day has finally arrived to get out and do some actual sailing and things couldn't have got off to a more auspicious start.  I ground poor old Lesanda in the Lefkas channel.  Only very lightly but we needed a tug off from a passing "gin palace"  The guy was most magnanimous about it though and gave us a cheery wave as he hurtled off into the blue yonder.  I'm sure some of our friends in Lefkas will no doubt take the mickey about it but hey ho. I think it was maybe a case of there but for the grace of God.  It turned out to be not a great day for sailing and we ended up motoring or motor-sailing most of the way to Kalamos but we did have half an hours good sail and managed to appreciate not having the drone of the engine for a while.

It's great to be back in Kalamos, it's seventeen years since we were last here and the place has changed and grown but is still recognisable mainly by the presence of George coming into the harbour to assist with mooring up.  He looks older of course but it's definitely the same old George.

The lovely harbour of Port Kalamos.
Anyway he's invited us for Easter Lunch on Sunday with his family as he says we will be the only yacht in the harbour, I somehow doubt that as there are sixteen in here at the moment and maybe a couple more to come before dark.