Thursday, 26 November 2015

pore oil over troubled waters...

Parga Castle and old town
 Just thought I would start with an update on where we are with regards to earthquake activity.  Well, we are still having small tremors, we have had thirty five such seismic events since lunchtime yesterday.  The frequency and intensity of these is now much diminished but it's it well over nine days since the big shock last Tuesday.  That said we still get the occasional one which we feel, a couple yesterday registered over four on the Richter scale.  I think now the worst is now over for this particular round of Quakes, lets hope it's a long time before we get any more.
Nearly had some breakers.

Last Saturday was oil change time for the boat engine.  For anyone not familiar with yacht engines, you generally can't get anything under them to catch the oil so you draw the old oil out through the dip stick hole.  This is a little like drinking a bath full of water through a straw.  The engine in most small yachts is located under the stairs which descend into the saloon so it's a fairly cramped environment which the staircase raised above your head.   I borrowed Jez's oil extractor to do this, with which you pump the air out of the holding tank and then there is a thin hose going into the engine which in an attempt to get air back into the tank, draws up the oil.  Simple Idea and it works.  So half an hour later I have my two litres of waste oil safely in the extractor vessel.  I say to Sandra can you just get this off me and put it out on the pontoon but as I pass it too her I lose my grip (symptom of my post stroke problems) and drop the bloody thing thing on the saloon floor.  This is the equivalent of pouring five gallons of oil in your lounge, not a good thing.  Of course I just stand there and watch it run down through the floor and into the bilges and generally spread its way far and wide.  I was not a popular bunny so in an attempt to placate "her who should be obeyed" I start to clean it all up.  Of course I ruin my clothes and get it all over my legs, feet and arms, well I am a man after all.  Anyway two and a half hours later I have it cleaned to within an inch of it's life and can get showered.  Mucky oil don't come off your skin very well!!  Anyway the engine is now winterised.

Sun over the Island in Parga bay.
Earlier in the week we had a ride out to Parga just for the want of nothing better to do.  We love the place and had a nice couple of hours there chatting to people and drinking coffee in the sunshine.  We thought while we were off the island we may as well have a ride to Ikea and get some ham from the food hall there, it's much better, we think, then any of the local cooked ham and so a bit of a treat.  Also we called in Praktica and got a new engine battery to replace the one we "stewed" whilst Allen and Jean were out sailing with us.  So that meant I could knock another job off the winter "ToDo" list yesterday so I fitted the new battery and put the domestic battery which we had used for the emergency, back into the domestic bank.  Also flushed out the fresh water cooling and replenished the antifreeze, which is not to guard against frost but as a corrosion inhibitor.   Anyway, that's been our week of rumbles and oil and now of course the weather has broken and for the last couple of days has been chucking it down with rain.

Thanks to Linda and Ray for the night out last Saturday and Deb, Jez and Linda for the "bub" last night, finger lickin good!

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Shaken not stirred...

Dots represent each seismic event. 
 There are really only a couple or things to mention this week and I make no apologies for either we're just rather saddened by the impact they have had on so many peoples lives.

Firstly, the horrific events in Paris, France, our hearts go out to all right thinking people who are touched by this devastating atrocity.  We hope that any French people who we have met on our travels are not affected directly by it although we are all affected on some level or other.  I really must add here that I wouldn't like to see any vigilantly style repercussions.  We know many people or differing religions, including many Muslims and these outrageous attacks are abhorrent to the vast majority of people irrespective of their beliefs.
Many roads blocked (Sue's picture)

Egremni beach before.
 The other big event, especially for us here on the beautiful island of lefkada, has been the earthquakes, I use the plural because there have been at least three well  over five on the Richter scale the largest of which has been logged at anywhere between 6.1 and 6.8.  We have also had literally hundreds of aftershocks probably averaging at one every fifteen minutes or so.  We don't feel most of them as the water absorbs and dissipates much of the energy.  However we have felt all the big ones and many at over 3 or 4 on the Richter scale.
...and after.

Some of the devastation.
Unfortunately whilst things could have been much worse there have been two fatalities and several injuries requiring hospital treatment.  I hasten to add that neither us nor anyone actually known to us has been hurt but "there but for the grace of God go I"

The tremors are still going on, Sandra has just felt a 2.2 one as I write this down, I must be thick skinned as I didn't.  Our Friends Jez and Debs have been down the island today on their bike but couldn't as yet get through with land slides and huge boulders blocking the roads.  We hope the guys employed clearing them keep safe whilst the tremors continue.

On the internet there is an amateur video taken from a fishing boat that shows the collapsing of the cliffs over Porto Katsiki and Egremni beaches.  The after photo shows what's left of the three and a half kilometre beach which has been voted as one of the top ten in the whole of the Mediterranean, it may never be the same again.   Thanks to the anonymous people who's photo's I have purloined from the internet.

If anyone would like to help the poor hard hit Lefkadian's who have been affected by the quake there is a giving site set up :-

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Lest we forget...

Lesanda proudly sporting her poppy day offering
Some of the marina's proud ex-service people (from Facebook).
 The salient part of this week has been the remembrance service which was held on the marina in Porto cafe by Jackie Dallos.  A very moving and humbling service with contributions from some of the ex armed forces personal resident on the marina and island.  For me, it's very important that we take a while every year to remember the sacrifice of our people both military and civilian during the armed conflicts in our history, not just the two world wars but others as well in more recent times.  I am in no way shape or form a man of any religious beliefs but this service is not about religion, it's about pride and gratitude and thanks for those who gave so much for such little reward.  I can't help but think to myself that without these dedicated men and women I for one would not enjoy the lifestyle which I now enjoy and I'm sure that that applies to most other people as well so I will always be eternally grateful.  Thankyou.
G pontoon about full for the winter yellow horseshoe is Lesanda.

 I think those who are coming for the winter are now here although the weather is so good there may still be one or two who are putting off getting snuggled down for the winter.  We have been having temperatures in the mid seventies for weeks now with no rain for weeks (touch wood) and looks like we have at least another ten days or so to come, we may yet pay for it of course.  Our pontoon is about full but there are still spaces opening up as charter boats are taken out for the closed season if anyone fancies joining this vibrant winter community.
Main square in Arta
Anyone for a new septic tank.

There must have been some problems with the sewage system on the marina because each of the toilet blocks seems to be getting a new septic treatment plant installed.  It has been quite interesting watching the men install it, they definitely are not working to northern European standards and any commitment to health and safety is minimal at best.  But at least the company are committed  to improving the facilities.

Sandra and I have had a couple of days out and about whilst the weather has been great.  It was great to visit Arta again for the first time since I had my stroke earlier on in the year.  We have also been riding around this beautiful island just to remind ourselves how lucky we really are.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

where did the light nights go....

Those who dare, dance...
Steamboat Rooster doing their thing.
It's been a great week with fantastic weather for late October/early November. This is apart from the gales we had for forty eight hours over the weekend, but not anywhere else on the island only Lefkas it seems. I have had to at last resort to wearing long trousers on a night though, if we are going out somewhere anyway.  It's turned a little chilly of an evening and of course it's now sunset at around 5:30 and so dark by six o'clock.  That is bad news because all of a sudden you realise that winter is just around the corner.  I do cheer myself up by remembering that back in blighty it'll dark much earlier than than this in fact from what I remember of it, on damp dismal days it never seemed to get much light at all.  We know how lucky we are and if things stay along the same lines as usual we'll still have a few more weeks of weather in the 20's during daylight hours.

Every gathering has it's exhibitionists. 
Most of our work is now complete on the boat just a few little winter jobs to do, and as November came then it was time for the pontoon party for all the united nations of people who stay here over the winter.  This year it was organised by Anne and Mike from Ruffles Spray.  It seemed to go off like clockwork and not only that, this year we had a special treat afterwards with a great performance from one of the islands bands, Steamboat Rooster in Porto Bar.  They were excellent, thanks to Vicky for facilitating this.  Although the bar was full it was outside for the dancers and the mosquito tolerant.