Thursday, 25 April 2013

Life in the boatyard

We have been in Greece for over a month now and we’re not out of the boatyard yet! The trip over from UK was good we didn’t rush and stopped over in three separate countries… Germany, Austria and Italy. By the time we reached Padua, just outside Venice it was snowing!. The ferry over from Venice was virtually empty which made a nice change and was a stark contrast to the Hull - Rotterdam Ferry.  We made the mistake of booking a Friday crossing and the Ferry was full of idiots pissed as rats and keeping every one… well us at least awake all night. I think this must be a regular Friday night occurrence as the staff were very apologetic and patrolling the corridors. It’s only fair as they sold them the alcohol in the first place! They were all on buses bound for a weekend in Amsterdam so goodness knows what the Sunday return must be like!!
The weather when we arrived was certainly warmer than UK but wet  and everyone here was bemoaning what a wet winter it had been but within a week it had cheered up and I am now writing this in 27 degrees of warm sunshine and no rain for nearly 2 weeks.
We have been busy working on the boat and tend to forget all the jobs we have done. Our take on it is it might be quite some time before we are out of the water again so now is the time to get the engine purring and double check that everything is hunky dory.

We have replaced our windscreens. They were beginning to craze with the sun so we have replaced them with UV Makralon which John tells me is bullet proof!! Not quite sure what he is expecting in our travels!
We had to order and replace our bow thruster props. To our horror the nuts we used to service the bow thruster last year could not have been 316 stainless so they had been eaten away. This was not made any better by the anode that John made from what he thought was a zinc anode could not have been as it was pristine. Anodes are placed on the bottom of the boat to prevent electrolysis eating away all the important bits like your prop and your keel and anything else metal….. the idea being the zinc anodes are eaten away rather than your prop! So the anodes have to be checked regularly. Well as the result of us not using 316 stainless we paid the price and our good friend Dave helped us to locate and purchase new props. These took five days to get from England … one day to get to Athens and another four days to find their way to Vonitsa.
We have replaced the Lofrans anchor winch with a nice new shiny one and John has also upgraded the wiring so that the winch can now use all our batteries and I have to say in the test run it was so much quicker and more powerful.
We have painted the decks with Protecta Kote which John says is good enough to allow helicopters to land on it!! We won’t be allowing that! It is a polyurethane paint that is infused with lots of little rubber balls to make it non slip.
And finally our good friend Simon who hopes to come with us on our journey across the pond came to make a hole in the hull for the water intake for our water maker when it finally arrives! He looked at the engine and commented ‘that looks a bit dodgy mate!’ pointing at the propshaft seal and as much as John did not want to agree with him (he knew it was going to be a swine of a job)….he was right. So John spent seven hours getting drive shaft coupler free before we could remove the old seal as we had trouble removing the coupling on the shaft. A very large beer was the order of the day when he finished that job! We now sit and wait for parts … again!!

We have seen boats launch from the boat yard wondering when we are going to make it but there have been moments of amusement too. A boat next to us was ready to launch went into the water and then out again …. When we enquired what the problem was we were told they could not find the keys!! So John and I shot off into Lefkas to see if we could find a new key fitting for him we found one that might have worked but bumped into Simon on the way back… who told us Bosch only use three different keys and he gave us a slack handful of old keys he had to try. We got back tried the keys he had given us … no success but the John said’ let’s try our boat keys’ it was a bit of a long shot but Wolfgang the owner of the boat put the key in the ignition turned it and yes you’ve guessed it …. It worked!!  Lucky Man!
Another observation since we have been back…. When you go anywhere now there are signs up saying  IF YOU DO NOT GET A RECIEPT YOU ARE NOT OBLIGED TO PAY so most shopkeepers we have encountered have told us on leaving their shop ‘Please don’t forget your Angela’  or ‘here is your Merkel’ It made us smile the first time we were told this.

I do hope to put a few pics in this post but they will have to come along later when we have better internet connection