Thursday, 29 October 2015

I thought we had retired...

Allen and Jean at Cafe di Paris.
 It's been a hectic old week this week, I ache in places which I didn't know existed.

We started last Friday by taking Allen and Jean to Patras where we both spent the evening before sending them off from Araxos airport back to Pathos in Cyprus.  We had a good last night culminating with a fish supper at our usual restaurant there.  It was great to have you two guys to stay but now the real work begins!
New shock absorbed passerelle.

Repaired in mast furling and new rope.
 As you will know if you read the blog a couple of weeks ago we had some "shake down" issues with Lesanda whilst we were out sailing with Allen and Jean.  Mainly the toilet and the in mast furling of the mainsail.  To solve this problem I waited for our guests to depart and started to look firstly at the toilet problem, or rather the holding tank.  For those who don't know about boats, most yachts out here have a holding tank for keeping the contents of the toilet whilst in harbour and not polluting the water you are sat in.  Ours started pushing this through the air vent.  Allen and I did unblock it when we were out but the problem subsequently resurfaced so to speak.  I have not put any photos as it's not such a palatable subject but to cut a long story short when we left the boat in spring after my stroke the sea cocks were turned off and the residue inside the tank had set like concrete.  It looked for all the world like crisp bread as I prized it from th tank sides.  This had been flaking off and blocked all the pipes so it all needed cleaning out.  Not for the faint hearted but it now seems to be fine, I shall be replacing all the pipework when we haul out in spring.
Winter cover back in place.
The problem with the in mast furling was two fold, firstly the rope used to actually furl the sail had swelled slightly with crystals of salt and with general use so I have replaced that.  Also the section of the sail which is fastened to the foil inside the mast although very tight was not tight enough.  I winched the up-haul for the sail to get this as tight as humanly possible which has made it work very much better.  I can now pull it in and out without the use of any winches even in my weakened condition.

Freezer in it's new permanent place in the fore cabin. 
We have also moved the freezer into the fore cabin which meant removing the aluminium extrusion from the door frame this gave us one millimetre to play with in getting it in, better than having one millimetre short.  This now gives us all the cockpit to play in again.  The winter cover has replaced the bimini so we are snug again although the weather as yet is more akin to a great summer day in the UK.  All the steel work has been polished and Sandra has washed all the extra stuff we needed for our guests as well as packing away the summer cloths and reinstating the winter wardrobe.  Today we have done nowt, bliss...

Thursday, 22 October 2015

a great couple of weeks comes to a close...

Last of the good sailing.
 It's nearly come to the time when we will be going back to Patras to see Allen and Jean back off to Pathos.  We have had a great time with about a week out sailing and a week based at the marina and doing a few things around and about.  We over-nighted at Nidri, little Vathi on Meganisi, Mytikas and Palairos on the mainland.

One of the trawlers in Mytikas.
When we were at Mytikas a couple of fairly large trawlers docked very near us and we bought a kilo of prawns from one of them and all four of us prepared (skinned em) before Allen produced a smashing garlic prawn dish for us all to enjoy.  Of course we had to have a Indian meal in Palairos which as usual was greatly anticipated and enjoyed, might go back again next week!

The rain it did rain, hope they get wet!.
 Tuesday was Sandra's birthday and we went for a ride on the mainland to show our guests a few places they had not been before and also had a stroll along the harbour at Preveza.
In the evening we had a super meal at Kato Rahoula in Nidri.  Sandra had a fab time as she nears the next decade although she won't thank me for reminding her of that.

Rivers on the biminy
Unfortunately the weather has taken a turn for the autumnal now and overnight we have had quite loud thunderstorms and heavy rain.  At twelve thirty this morning a huge fifty six foot yacht with about fourteen people on it came and moored opposite us on the pontoon.  They were the noisiest people we have ever had near us so much so that I had to get out of bed and try to tell em to shut the £&$1 up.  This seemed to have no effect so I gave them a very loud whistle and it stopped instantly and in the ensuing silence I told them again complete with sign language that people were trying to sleep.  Of course they took not one bit of notice and carried on as though I was not there and the loudness continues until about three thirty, hey ho.  Thanks for the company for the last couple of weeks guys and you never know next time it may be on your boat Allen, assuming you can win Jean over!

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Foreigners come to stay...

For those who may have doubted it, Lesanda does have sails.
 San and I had a great night in Patras last Friday before picking up Allen and Jean from Araxos airport.  Managed a nice fish restaurant in the evening and we must remember next time to order one meal and not two, far too much food.

Sunrise over Tranquil bay.
A couple of jobs were left to do before we could go sailing including picking up Pete and MeJulie from Igoumentisa.  San and Jean were tasked with that job Whilst Al and I emptied the boat of the bits and bobs which we only use when we are in the marina, like the washing machine and the mains cooker.

Allen, Jean and San in Pano's Nidri.

Big Al on the helm.
 Monday night was a meal out with all our guests at Margarita's.  We had a real laugh with Pete and I think MeJulie perhaps wondered who these strange buggers were.  Thanks guys for a fab night out and not too much to eat and drink.

Tuesday set off with the intention of going to Ithaka and Kefalonia.  Best laid plans.  Kept smelling burning as we went along and finally isolated it to the engine battery.  It was so hot you could not touch it, fearing a fire we had to deal with it immediately.  Left Allen trying to keep us from a lee shore whilst I got it disconnected and moved.  We then found that we power switch to move from engine battery to domestic batteries was stuffed, bugger!

Nice reach in a light wind.
Flagged down a sialing holiday lead boat who came on board to help me shift one of the domestic batteries into the engine becaus without it we could not start the engine and were drinfting close to land but too deep to drop the hook.  They were great.  We then had a stick mainsail and could get it to furl properly so we headed for the Iris hotel pontoon in Nidri where Allen and I spent the next morning getting it working better.  Turns out to be a bit of a shake down run then.

Botanically speaking it's a "lesser spotted Al"
Next day we decided that seeing as iit was nid afternoon and we were having some teething probs we would head for little Vathi on Meganesi.  12 euros to moor and whilst we produced the paperwork we would have a drink two small beers and two glasses of wine another 14 euros.  Today we have motored to Mitikas and on route discovered that the toilet was filling with foul stuff of it's accord.  After a lot of pumping found out the we had a blockage and the holding tank was full - over full to the point of coming out the breather pipe.   Shit - Literally shit shit shit...  In the end I dangled over the side of the dingy and pocked a cable up the pipe which was partially successful.  We then put the dingy inflater up the hole sealed with a rag and forced air through it.  After a few attempt this worked but needless to say I was in great need of a shower.  Can anything else go wrong????

Thursday, 8 October 2015

The Gathering....

George looking weary.
 We spent a couple of days over the weekend with our Greek family back in Assos where the story began eight years ago.  As usual they were pleased to see us but I'm afraid that the economic austerity measures are really beginning to take their toll on the ordinary rural Greeks especially when they are not living in areas where they get the benefits of tourism.  Sandra and I had decided some time ago that we would take George and Mantha out for a restaurant treat which I know they have not had for about three years.  They accommodated us overnight and many of the villagers turned up at the Kafenion to come and enquire how this strange English couple where doing now that we were no longer in their lives.

Some of the locals turn up to see us.
We ate at a local restaurant on the road to Arta but only after we got George to finally close up for the night.  It's always the case with Greeks, going out for the night doesn't start until late evening and then goes on and on and on...  The meal was good and very cheap starters main courses and two litres of wine and the bill came to forty Euros for the four of us, that's a little over thirty pounds no one taking advantage of anyone there then!

We came home on Sunday totally exhausted from all the lingual gymnastics and just the effort of being there but I guess it was all worth while to see the smile on their faces.
The view over Nidri and surrounding Islands.

Lefkas town from on high.
 We decided to have a trip around the island on Tuesday and found a couple of roads which we had not explored before and we were rewarded with some excellent views and very nice countryside to boot.  Wednesday and today have been spent preparing Lesanda to receive our special friends Allen and Jean who are coming who we will be picking up from Patras airport on Saturday all being well.  We on the other hand are going to have that night in the hotel in Patras tomorrow which we should have had at Easter if I didn't have the my stroke and had to cancel.

The wanderers (Two Drfiters) return. (Pic SV Bagpuss)
This morning the latest of the winterers has arrived.  Two Drifters, Fergus and Nev, came back into the marina this morning after a great summer adventure around many, many of the Aegean islands and having been involved in storm, tempest, refugee crisis etc. but had a "storming time" as well.  Welcome back guys.

It's that time of year now when the flotillas and charterers are packing up and the swallows (yachties here for the summer) are going home.  The rest of us are getting ready to have this beautiful paradise all to ourselves.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Sailing on hold...

Just having a swift glass in Cafe di Paris.
 It's been a funny old week with regards to the weather.  We had planned to go sailing last week and the storms put it on hold and so we looked at the forecast and the weekend was looking fine in the middle of the week but as we got nearer it looked as if the storms would return so we called it off again.  There is no point in taking chances when there is  always another day, it's not like you have to get the boat somewhere in order to catch a flight home and back to work.  Anyway the weekend turned out to be fine again as has most of this week.  It's the Greek Gods playing tricks with us again.
Jessica showing off her creation.

The upshot of this is that we won't now be getting out until Allen and Jean arrive on the tenth as over the next weekend we are going to stay with our Greek friends up at Assos and hopefully treat them to a much deserved night out as they are greatly affected by the austerity measures.  I'm sure it'll bring some cheer into their lives.

Number 2 Granddaughter, Jessy, was too busy making a butterfly the other night to talk to us on the phone for long.  When we asked Melissa if it could fly out to Greece she said " don't be silly, it's not a real butterfly"  so we got the picture sent to us over Facebook.

Jez and Deb showing off their "try before you buy" bike.
I have put the picture in of D&J
 on their hire bike just to mark the moment when the top European financier (Deb) might have mentioned a slackening of financial constraints with regards to motorcycle purchases.  So Jez, not being slow from the start line thought he ought to try out a potential "next" bike to prove he was spending responsibly and within IMF & ECB guide lines.  You always get your way in the end end Jez, who could knock the love of a good woman!