Monday, April 17, 2017

Out of the Marina and On Our Way Again

After a very short 3 1/2 month long winter in Agios Nikolaos it was time for us to head out for the summer, so after the usual last minute rush to get all the winter jobs finished we managed to escape from the marina on 30th March for the daunting 12nm passage around to Spinalonga Lagoon. We survived the trip unscathed and spent a few days anchored at Elounda before the weather kindly offered us some southerly winds to let us make our way North.

With an 85nm trip ahead of us we left Spinalonga at dark o’clock, or 0500hrs, with the forecast southerly winds a bit stronger than expected but still in the right direction. The wind continued pretty much as forecast for the whole day meaning the second half of the trip was a bit bumpy as the wind and waves moved around to the SE and then nearly E so we had the waves on the side of the boat and that is not the most comfortable for us.

We did manage to sail the whole way and arrived in the remote anchorage of Panormos on the NW corner of Astypalia after 12 1/2 hrs. Sue was not too impressed with the bumpy ride for her first trip of the year but the anchorage was calm and spectacular.

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Panormos Anchorage, Astypalia

Schinousa Beach

Next day was a bit easier with only 42nm to cover to get to the little Island of Schinoussa, hardly any wind so it was mainly motoring with a few hours of motorsailing. Another deserted anchorage at Schinoussa and no wind forecast so we decided to stay for a couple of days.

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Ancient Combine Harvester

Immaculate Honda C50

After all the parties and excess of the winter we had to try and get into a bit of a healthier regime for a while so we set off for a hike around the northern part of Schinoussa. With all the spring flowers and a surprising amount of agriculture for such a small Island it was a really beautiful walk and not too much climbing so a nice gentle start to the yeear. We manged to cover about 10km and saw almost all of the Northern half of the Island.

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Attractions Around Schinousa

Interior of Schinoussa

Lots of animals, flowers and machinery to enjoy on our way and no one else around at all so it felt like we had the place all to ourselves.

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Schinoussa Anchorage

Early Morning in Iraklia Harbour

The second day we had a bit of a change in the wind direction so we headed across the channel to the neighbouring Island of Iraklia to make sure we had a nice calm night.

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Sailing Companions

Panagia Church, Paros

From Iraklia we had a 27nm trip to the main port of Paros called Paroika with a nice sheltered anchorage just off the town for a couple of days.

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Hiking on Paros

Nature at her Best

On Paros we hiked up into the interior of the Island to a monastery at 400m above sea level and a distance of nearly 14km in total so a good bit more strenuous than Schinoussa. Again the flowers and scenery were stunning making it another wonderful hike.

Soon the weather forecast was looking favourable so we set off for Livahdi on Serifos with 16 - 20knts of wind meaning we sailed the whole 32nm in a little over 4 hrs. We arrived in the harbour to find we were the only boat in the place so we could choose the best spot. We were expecting some friends to join us in a few days so it was really nice to be safely in the harbour, over the next few days we only ever had 4 or 5 boats in the harbour with us so it is still very quiet around the Aegean.

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Hiking in Serifos

Kallistos Village, Serifos

Serifos is a good Island for hiking with a good number of marked trails to follow, we decided to head into the N of the Island to the village of Kallistos and then back around the E coast beaches to arrive back in the harbour. Another lovely hike but a bit longer this time with nearly 15km covered and 400m high at the top of the trail.

Kenny, Liz and Lucy arrived on Princess Lucy so we had a lovely few days with them before they had to leave to start heading N back towards Athens. We need to head SW around the Peloponnese and the weather is not in our favour so we are sitting in Serifos waiting for the wind to change direction.

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Interior of Serifos

Locals Preparing for Easter Dinner

Another hike into the centre of Serifos to Glyftiki took us along one of the best preserved donkey tracks (kalderimi) in the Cylclades Islands, only about 10km but nearly 500m up at the end so another good workout.

Easter is very important to the Greeks and we saw a few places getting their whole lambs prepared on the BBQ and spit ready for the tradditional dinner to celebrate the end of lent.

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Lovely Pathway Across Serifos

View Over the Chora and Harbour

The weather looks like it will keep us here until the end of the week so at least it means we have time to catch up with our blog and also get a few of the ongoing boat jobs completed.

Our plan for this year is to go around the Peloponnese into the Ionian, head N up to Venice and then cruise slowly down through Croatia and Montenegro before heading to Sicilly for the winter. We will try and keep the blog a bit more up to date but there are always more important things to do!!!

Winter in Agios Nikolaos

Hi all Sue here

This has been a short winter for us in Agios Nikolaos Marina as we didn’t arrive until middle of December and left 31st March but as usual it has been very busy.

After spending so long on the boatyard poor Nimrod was really dusty and dirty on the inside and it took a long time to get rid of it all!! It has also been a lot colder and wet this winter so we haven’t done as much walking and hiking as last year. We still managed to fit a few parties in and we have had great fun with old friends and new. Christmas was very busy in the Marina, 32 of us sat down for a full Christmas Lunch. My son Joe and his partner Heather came out for Christmas but sadly the weather was not very good. They still had a good time though despite that and the cold showers!! We even had a lot of snow.

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Christmas Day and after eight mints!!

Lots of snow

We also experienced Greek healthcare firsthand as Chris developed a Thyroglossal Cyst, something that is more common in young children. I knew he had never grown up!! Anyway after various scans and blood tests it was decided he needed an operation to remove it. We paid some “Black” money to get it done quicker and he was admitted to hospital in Heraklion and had the operation done on a Sunday morning. It was a real eye opener being in there for 4 days but he survived and is back to his “normal” self complete with a manly scar on his neck. No more Peter Pan!! He soon got fed up of me looking after him and said I was treating him like a child, hmmmmm!!!!

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Waiting for his op with a visitor of another patient sharing his bed!!!

All done, bless him

After his recovery it was then all go trying to get jobs done ready to leave and fit in all those last minute parties!! Totally manic time. I also had Wozel to look after for 2 weeks which was great, I love that dog. I still managed some early morning walks with the ladies, my favourite time of the day. Walk and talk, talk and walk!! Oh and we did stop for the occasional hot chocolate and sometimes some retail therapy was needed!! Happy days.

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Wozel having fun

Early morning walk

In my spare time I took up rope basket making, very patiently taught to me by Cathy over a nice bottle of bubbles. No wonder she made me unpick the first one and start again but I persevered!! We had a brilliant Paddys day party, lots of singing and dancing on the table as usual!!

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Baskets galore!!

Ladies partying on Paddys Day

31st March came around all too quickly and it was time to say goodbye to many good friends who are going different ways to us. Many tears shed but we will keep in touch and hopefully meet again one day. That is the hard part of this life and one I will never get used to!!

Hard Labour in the Boatyard

Chris and Tales from the Boatyard

We left Spinalonga Lagoon on Crete in late September and headed off to Finike to get on with our big boatyard job list. The trip is about 260nm all together and fortunately the weather was generally favourable and we took ten days, stopping in seven different anchorages and arriving in Finike on the 29th Sept with lift-out booked for the next day.

We were met by Ziya, the Marina Manager, who was very happy to see us again and promised to make our stay as smooth as possible. Samet, the local agent, was also on the quay to take our papers and deal with the check-in formalities, all in all a very efficient start to our time in Finike – a shame it was not all as easy.

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Lifting Out – Looks Quite Clean

Repairs to Delamination

The lift-out went very well with the travel lift staff being very careful and attentive, a good pressure washing left the bottom nice and clean ready for work. We got parked in a good spot in the yard with plenty of space around us and a nice clean concrete yard to work on.

The job list was long and we had hoped to get everything done in around a month, the first of the two main jobs was to respray the blue hulls that were starting to look pretty faded and scarred after 7 years and there was also a large patch of delamination that needed repairing. This is where the balsa core in the hulls is not properly bonded to the glass fibre skin, the defect has been there since the boat was built but has become more obvious over the last couple of seasons so some major surgery was required.

The second main job was to Coppercoat the underwater sections of the boat, this is an epoxy based copper rich paint that should prevent most of the underwater critters growing on our hull and is supposed to last ten years or more. This should mean we don’t have to get lifted out every couple of years to apply normal anti-fouling paint and it should also mean some decent cost savings over the lie of the Coppercoat – time will tell if it all works as planned and promised.

We agreed a price with the paintshop on the yard to do the delamination repair and to fully respray all the blue hull areas of the boat, there was very few boats in the yard and not much work going on so we managed to get a very good price agreed. They were started on the repairs and sanding very quickly and all looked to be going very well.

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Lots of Sanding and Prep Work

Primer to Hulls, Keels and Rudders

Obviously most of the work invloved in the resparay and the Coppercoat is in the preparation and while the yard sanded and filled the hulls we were hard at work scraping and sanding away all the old anti-foul paint and primer to get the underwater hulls all back to clean white gelcoat ready to apply the Coppercoat. It sounds simple when you write it down but it was many days of hard work to get everything ready. The second photo above shows the primer after application.

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Coppercoat on Keels and Rudders

Looks Can Be Deceiving

We had decided to apply the Coppercoat in sections to make it a bit easier to keep to the overcoating and application times that are needed. The first job was to do the keels and rudders leaving the main hull sections to be done one hull at a time.

Meanwhile the yard had finished sanding and priming and had applied the Awlgrip Flag Blue paint, the picture above looks like a beautiful shiny paint job, unfortunately it was not that good with lots of runs and lots of dirt and bugs in the paint finish, definitely not good enough so they were told to sand it all down and start again!!! This continued all through the job and they actually had to sand and respray some sections of the boat 8 or 9 times before the finish was acceptable. We thought that using the paintshop on the yard would give us the best and quickest finish but it certainly didn’t work out that way. The paint sprayer looked more like he was conducting and orchestra with his spray gun than any normal smooth spraying action that I have ever seen before, also he did not seem to have a clue about the proper air pressures to use with the spray gun. Because they had to paint so many times they actually used all the Awlgrip Flag Blue Paint that was in Turkey at the time!! Eventually they did manage to get the paint finish to a good quality and it did look very impressive.

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Greg Helping With Coppercoat

Looking Good

For Coppercoating the hulls we were helped out by Joan and Greg from Elusive and it was much appreciated meaning we got each hull done in around five hours each. The final job certainly looked very good.

There were lots of other jobs that needed to be done while we were out of the water so these were all done around the sanding and painting work. We had to remove the saildrive sections from the engines to change the main diaphragm seal that keeps the water out of the boat as well as changing the propshaft oil seals, sanding and painting the drives and clamping rings and polishing the prop blades. We also changed all the through hull fittings and seacocks for new DZR items that should be good for another 10 or 15 years. Also changed was all the toilet hoses inside the boat – not a pleasant job. The exhaust outlets were changed for new ones and moved to a better position on the hulls so we also had to blank off the old holes with glass fibre and gelcoat.

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Name Logo and White Stripe

Back in the Water, Kastellorizon

In the end our one month plan turned into nine weeks but everything was ticked off the job list and Nimrod was looking great with new name logos and white stripe just above the waterline. Meantime Sue had escaped from the boatyard and gone back to the UK to see friends and family leaving Chris to sail from Finike to Crete on his own!!

Nimrod was put back in the water on the Friday and Samet completed the check-out formalities the same day so I was on my way Saturday morning to get to Kastellorizon where you can see Nimrod looking really good in the anchorage.

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Good Catch on the Way to Rhodes

Best Keep Away From That

The weather was very good once again for the trip back to Crete and I managed to get back in 5 days even if most of the trip was motoring or motorsailing. Approaching Rhodes I hooked two tuna, both about 3kg each, and when I had finished getting them on board I looked up to see a horrible black thunder cloud with an even nastier looking waterspout about 2 miles away. Some careful monitoring on the radar meant I was able to keep out of the way and get safely into the anchorage.

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Karpathos Anchorage

Remote Anchorage on Kassos

From Rhodes I sailed to Karpathos and Kassos, stopping in some lovely deserted anchorages and catching another couple of 3kg tuna between Kassos and Crete. Finally arrived back in Spinalonga Lagoon to meet up with Steph and Andy on Norna Biron, managed a couple of days rest in Spinalonga before getting into Agios Nikolaos Marina for our winter stop on Dec 10th after a long and busy season.

September 2016

Hi all Sue here

Who?? I hear you ask!!! Sorry we have been very remiss with our Blog. I honestly thought we had posted an update before we went into the Marina for winter but apparantley not. So here it is and I will try to keep it short and not bore you all too much

September we went down to Crete to meet up with my sister and walk the Samaria Gorge and visit Chania. It was a very challenging hike but well worth the effort. Chania ia also a very beautiful place to visit.

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Chania Samaria Gorge
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Lovely ladies in Chania The intrepid 3!!

We spent 2 weeks at anchor in Elounda while Caroline was out staying and after our gorge hike we were inspired to do a few more around Elounda. We also rewarded ourselves afterwards with some nice refreshing G&Ts!!

It was then time to sail down to Finike where we were due to be lifted out begining of October. We went via Kasos, Rhodes and Kastellerizon but all very brief stops as we were on a mission!! When we got to Finike I was reunited with my favourite Marina dogs who all seemed to remember me.

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Tripod & Carpet Patchy


From Finike I flew home for a visit but I went a week earlier than planned so it was a surprise for my daughter and grandaughter. For once my daughter was lost for words!!

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Vikki lost for words!! A very surprised Courtney

I had a lovely month with family and friends and even managed a quick visit to Copenhagen to visit my dear friend Lis. Can’t believe how many social events I attended but I know Chris was watching the bank balance depleting rapidly!! It was really great catching up with everyone and as always I was made to feel very welcome. Thank you all.

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Fun at the Tivoli Gardens A visit to Santas Grotto at Hawkston Park
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Vikki’s 30th Birthday Girls lunching in the Townhouse