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Sunday, August 21, 2011

EVIA ISLAND, THE GULF OF VOLOS AND SMOKE IN THE ENGINE ROOM

The island of Evia at about 90NM long and 10NM wide is Greece’s second largest island after Crete. Unlike Crete it’s very close to the mainland coast, being mostly about 5NM away, but at the town of Chalkis separated by a bridge only 39 metres wide.
Considering the area’s proximity to populous areas (Athens is only 1-2 hours drive away), it is surprisingly quiet and unspoiled, and most of the anchorages we’ve been in have been shared with only one or two others.
This area doesn’t get the notorious Aegean “Meltemi” NW wind, but in late July a wind was forecast of 20 knots S, turning 20kn NW, so we found a bay with good all-round shelter and “dug in” for the night with 80m of anchor chain out in a depth of 10m.

Photo: We don’t always get a great view but this bay offered ideal shelter for a big blow



When the wind arrived it peaked at 34kn within half an hour, putting up a half a metre chop even with the limited fetch in our bay. Because the wind was from the S it was very warm, and the temperature reached 39d, despite its strength. About 5 hours later it completely died away and the bay was flat calm again within half an hour.
We’ve spent the next 10 days or so looking around various bays in the Gulf of Volos, north of Evia Island, and doing various routine maintenance jobs as we await the arrival of Doug & Sharon.

Photo: This taverna caught my attention for some reason



We stayed a couple of nights in a very sheltered circular bay, about half a mile across with a narrow entrance called Ormos Vathikelon. It reminded us very much of Auckland’s Port Fitzroy area, with a dead flat sea, and high green hills. We were anchored in 17m, and all was good with a mirror-like sea, and no wind. At 2300 we were about to go to bed, when we saw lightning. Within 10 minutes we had a wind up to 30 knots that turned Envoy around, pushing us towards shore. Then it started to rain too – the first rain we’ve seen since late April. Don’t feel too sorry for us as it was welcomed to give the topsides a good freshwater wash. The anchor held, but we were now in a much shallower 7m, and only 30m from shore. We started the engine, and kept it running in case we had to power away from the shore and re-anchor. After half an hour the storm abated as suddenly as it started, Envoy returned to its original position, and all was well.
As we were anchoring late one afternoon we heard a loud beeping noise which we soon tracked down to the smoke detector in the engine room – not what you want to hear! Carefully going into the engine room I could smell something like burning rubber, although there was little smoke. Leaving the engine running I grabbed my infra-red thermometer to see what was too hot and it was the main engine alternator – at 88dC it was about 25dC above normal. As I looked at it closely I could also see the occasional spark being thrown out through its front. For the non-technical, an alternator is what charges your batteries.
We were safely anchored so I shut the engine down.
Envoy can run without a main engine alternator – in that case we need to run the Genset or Wing. However we carry a spare alternator so the next morning I fitted that. I was a bit nervous as this was the first time I’d ever done this, and there are 11 wires connected to it. However all went well and now we’ll send the failed unit in to be reconditioned. Unfortunately this was not the end of this issue, as you’ll read in our next posting.

Photo: This is the failed alternator we replaced with our spare



TECHNICAL
Apart from alternator issue above, nothing to report.
LOG (to 31/7/11): 89 days aboard since leaving Marmaris, 1,196NM cruised for 255 engine hours.