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Saturday, December 15, 2012

ENVOY’S END OF SEASON TECHNICAL ISSUES – PART 2

Lefkas Marina is well situated, being accessed from a canal so not subject to surge or swell, close to Lefkas town and well organised.

At the marina we saw the sad sight of this sterndrive-powered cruiser lying on the hard with its propellers half buried in rubble - probably not going to sea again any time soon.


This reproduction of an old sailing ship was very interesting though

Normally we complete our Med cruising early November, but this year wanted to return home in time for our son’s wedding. We allowed 2 weeks to prepare Envoy to leave for the winter, but could have completed all tasks within 10 days, or even less if we’d started some jobs while still cruising.
Lifting Envoy onto the hardstand for winter storage, we found the hull was in excellent shape as would be expected after only six months in the water.

Envoy being lifted onto the hardstand

Below the waterline including the propellers, was all in good condition with minimal marine growth

I already mentioned some of the end of season technical work in our last posting. and the list continues ...

- Our life jackets had not been tested and certified for at least the time we’ve owned Envoy (six years), so they have all been taken away for checking during winter
- Our Raytheon radar’s protective radome has a crack, temporarily repaired with duct tape. Sailand are going to remove this for inspection and repair or replace it.
- Our painted aluminium mast has a few spots where paint has come off, allowing some minor surface corrosion. These spots were inspected and found to be non-structural, but will be masked off, sanded back and re-painted when we return.
- Before we left Marmaris our Yanmar wing engine’s variable speed generator that provides 120 volt AC current failed, and was removed from the engine. This was made by VST Corporation, Seattle, who is no longer in business. There is severe mechanical damage to the aluminium generator housing, which has “blown apart,” as well as the stator needing to be completely re-wired. This generator was nice to have rather than essential, because we get 120 volt AC current anytime the Lugger engine is running or when using the generator. It can’t replace the generator, as only the generator has sufficient Kw to run the water maker. However using the wing engine at anchor to power the refrigerator and charge the battery banks did give us a reason to regularly run the wing engine. Sailand are looking into this and coming up with a price, but frankly we hadn’t missed it too much. There’s also an argument that the wing engine should be just that; an emergency get-you-home engine, not complicated by having an add-on generator.
- Since we lengthened our stainless steel boarding ladder earlier in the year to make access out of the water easier, there has been more leverage on the ladder causing bending and fracture of the stainless. This will be repaired again, and some extra stainless steel rails welded on to provide more stiffness and rigidity.
- The Lugger’s alternator with noisy bearings has been given to Sailand to recondition.
- One of our two Shurflo domestic fresh water supply pumps failed on the last day of our cruise. This has been removed for repair during the winter.
- Our domestic water heater has some exterior calcification around discharge taps and plumbing. This is difficult to access due to the heater’s cover. Sailand will remove the cover, clean up the calcification, check for leaks and reassemble the unit.
- On Envoy’s foredeck are three hatches. Two acrylic hatches are cracked and need replacement, and all varnished teak surrounds going through the deck need to be stripped back to bare teak and re-varnished.
- Our Whale emergency hand bilge pump’s hose was damaged when it accidentally came into contact with the propeller shaft. This was inspected and can be repaired in-situ during the winter.
- The Salon’s port side windows will have new seals fitted.
- Our smaller RHIB – a Valiant 2.7 metre – needs a repair to the wooden transom which is coming away from the port pontoon. The RHIB was removed to be done during winter, and its Honda 2.3hp outboard also removed for servicing.
- Various vinyl squabs, awnings and covers were removed for repair during winter.
-We had to get a crane in to lift our larger RHIB from Envoy’s boat deck. The Yamaha outboard has some corroding hydraulic pump parts that we’re going to get replaced, as well as getting the engine serviced and a faulty tachometer repaired. The crane was enormous and could probably have lifted Envoy off the ground.

A crane lifts Envoy’s RHIB off the boat deck for servicing during winter


One of our last jobs was to fit and secure Envoy’s full storage cover to provide protection from the winter rain.

Envoy snug for the Greek winter under her full cover

But wait ... there's more - yes the Blog will continue at regular intervals with a roundup of 2012, plans for 2013, and a new subject.



Friday, November 30, 2012

ENVOY’S END OF SEASON TECHNICAL ISSUES – PART 1


We are home in Auckland, New Zealand, for the northern hemisphere winter, while Envoy is in Greece's Lefkas marina.
There is so much technical activity at the end of a season’s cruising that I’m only going to mention specific problems or items of interest, and not the myriad of routine jobs such as oil and filter changes. Even this is going to require a couple of postings.
The contractor we selected to assist us, Sailand, have a great team and we met four of them – the owner/manager, a diesel mechanic, an electrician, and a general mechanic.

At a meeting aboard Envoy with the manager to discuss the whole work program, and what needed to be done before Envoy was lifted from the water, he made some excellent suggestions including running the two seawater cooled engines (wing and generator) plus all seawater pumps with fresh water and then glycol, when Envoy was on the hard. We’ve not done this before, but we thought removing all the salt from the systems was definitely a good idea. When we did this later, it took about four hours.

Firstly the diesel engineer checked out Envoy’s issue of the main Lugger engine running too hot at high (above 1,800) rpm. After the engineer inspected the whole system we started up the engine and went for a sea trial. The engineer made some adjustments to a bypass valve on the keel cooler, and the engine ran much cooler; in fact I was able to take the rpm up to 2,000 without over-heating, which only started at 2,200 rpm. I’m not sure at this stage how he achieved this, and will check this out further on our return.
To put this issue in perspective, Envoy generally cruises at 1,450 – 1,650 rpm, and has no over-heating issues at those revs, but now we will have a much wider operating rpm window. The engineer wants to make some further adjustments and check the thermostat and adjacent areas. The objective is to be able to run at wide open throttle (WOT) of 2,400 rpm without over-heating, but Envoy has never done that, even with the previous owners, and provided we can run up to 2,000 rpm without over-heating I’ll be happy.

He also checked our starboard forward 860 litre capacity diesel tank that has been ballasted with bottled water since a leak developed early last year. The problem here is lack of accessibility, although there is an inspection hatch on the top of the tank. The engineer plans to use a small remote video camera to inspect the seams. The camera’s image is expanded using a laptop to find any cracks and holes. This sounds very clever, and we hope it works. We don’t need the additional fuel capacity (with 2,900 litres of capacity in the other three tanks) but I do want to get it repaired and back in use to avoid corrosion, and to better control Envoy’s trim.

The electrician checked our non-working Robertson auto pilot. Envoy has two independent autopilots so this failure had not been a problem for us. I had assumed (never assume!) this failure to be an electronics problem, but the engineer quickly found it was a 12 volt motor problem – it’s only running intermittently. So this will be removed and serviced or replaced.

He also removed our 27 foot long SSB whip aerial, which is getting badly frayed, and this will be repaired during winter.
A damaged Garmin GPS antenna was also removed for repair (this was damaged by our boat cover resting on it during last winter).

Next post will cover other technical issues to be dealt with during winter, and “guardianage”.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

LEFKAS MARINA AND GREEK REGULATORY ISSUES

Back home in New Zealand, this posting takes us up to second week October.

We’re very impressed with Lefkas marina. It’s very sheltered because it’s accessed from the Lefkas canal, so immune from any waves or surge caused by gales and storms.
It has capacity for 620 boats, including up to 45 metres long, but we’ve seen very few boats here above 20 metres, and mostly much less. The hardstand has capacity for 280 boats.
It’s much smaller than Turkey’s Marmaris Yacht Marine marina, and has a great relaxed “feel” about it. For example there are two travel lifts here, but we’ve hardly seen them move; whereas at Marmaris they’re going all day and well into the night. It’s also decidedly cleaner here with less general litter and junk lying around.
The technical facilities seem to be good, and we’re using Sailand, a firm recommended by a local professional British yachtsman and surveyor – so far, so good.
The marina has several bar/cafes and the interesting town of Lefkas, with many shops and restaurants, is only ten minutes walk. There’s also an excellent bus service from Lefkas to Athens and other destinations, as well as an airport at Preveza with flights to many parts of Europe.
Lefkas Marina is slightly dearer than Marmaris, and the cost for us is Euro 480 (about NZ$762) per month including time in the water, time on the hardstand (same cost), lift out, lift in, high pressure wash, propping charge, hire of steel supports, electricity and water and 23% VAT.
We found one other Nordhavn here – a 47, but they have now set off for Gibraltar and an Atlantic crossing.
We met up with A1Yachting’s local representative, Yvonne, who has been a great help. We’ve used A1 in Greece a lot for both regulatory and technical issues, and found them to be excellent. To re-cap the regulations and our situation, under the Schengen Treaty cruising visitors from outside the EU can only stay in Greece for 90 days in any 180 day period. However we were able to circumvent this by clearing into Greece as a professional captain and crew – which gave us a 180 day visa. Nevertheless, because we’ve been in Greece for longer than 90 days we still have to pay a cruising tax calculated on the vessel length – in our case 13.95 metres x Euro 14.67 per metre, plus 23% VAT. For us this comes to Euro 251.72 (about NZ$400) for three months. Although this sounds quite a bit, it’s not bad when you consider that it’s Euro 2.77 (about NZ$4.40) per day to stay in this beautiful area. We think it’s a little unfair that this tax still has to be paid while boats are on the hardstand, but that’s how it is, so no point in fretting about it – Greece needs the money!
Next posting will start to deal with end of season and winter lay-up technical issues.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

ENVOY’S FINAL CRUISING DAYS FOR 2012

This posting takes the Blog up to 7 October.
We spent a wonderful two weeks cruising with Bruce and Lesley, the longest time period we’ve spent cruising in company with others.
All boats have maintenance issues, and Midi’s windlass motor failed due to salt water corrosion. They were able get a new one down from Athens within three days for a total cost of Euro 790 (about NZ$1,250).
Bruce and Lesley were due to carry on back to Marmaris, Turkey, but sadly Bruce’s 92 year-old Mum passed away, and they had to change their plans – leaving Midi in Levkas Marina for a couple of weeks while they made a quick return trip to New Zealand for the funeral.
At this time, early October, there were still large numbers of charter yachts cruising, together with cruising yachts, but all of the large power boats and super yachts had disappeared. Cruising from Ay Eufimia, on Kefalonia, to Lefkas Island, I counted over 50 sails up to the horizon around us.

During this day we saw a large tanker approaching from starboard across Envoy’s course.
We generally alter course to avoid commercial shipping even if we have right of way, but on this occasion the tanker was clearly the stand-on vessel, and we were the give-way vessel. The usual procedure is to activate the radar, and position the electronic bearing line (EBL) on the target, i.e. the tanker. If the target moves well ahead of the radar’s EBL, then it should pass safely in front of us. If the target falls well behind the EBL we should pass in front of it. If the EBL stays on the target there is a potential collision situation, and that was the case here. We reduced speed from six to three knots, and made a clear course alteration of 45 deg to starboard allowing the tanker to pass safely about 200 metres ahead of us. If this had been a night-time situation we would have allowed at least half-a-mile clearance.

Tanker with right-of-way passes about 200 metres ahead of Envoy
 
We spent our final two nights at anchor for 2012 back in Ormos Dessimou, one of our favorite bays, where we again swam in the beautiful grotto we’d enjoyed with Doug and Mary just several weeks before.
 
Ormos Dessimou showing beach and Taverna where we enjoyed a few cold beers (taken from Envoy at anchor)
 
Snorkelling in the clear water just outside the grotto
 
Shrine inside grotto
 
A great little beach we swam and sunbathed at
 
On Sunday 7 October we cruised into Lefkas marina, where Envoy will be wintered. Once again it  was a great feeling to complete a season’s cruise of 1,743 miles without any damage, major
technical problems, accidents or injuries, and to share that time with wonderful family and friends
aboard - Amy, Brooke, Brian and Carol, Doug and Mary, and Graham.
 
Lefkas marina is sheltered, safe, clean and well-organised
 
TECHNICAL: There will be a lot more technical comment in the next few blog posts as Envoy receives end-of-season maintenance and is prepared for winter storage.
Envoy has two identical 12 volt ShurFlo diaphragm pumps to circulate domestic fresh water to the taps, showers, and heads, and in the event of failure of one pump we can simply switch to the other. On the very last day of our cruise the in-use pump failed and we switched over to the spare. We’ll get this failed pump serviced during the winter.
LOG (FINAL): Up to 7 October had spent 191 days aboard, and cruised 1,743 miles for 336 engine hours.



Saturday, November 03, 2012

KEFALONIA’S FANTASTIC FOKI BAY, AND CAPTAIN CORELLI’S MANDOLIN

While we are back home in Auckland, New Zealand, this posting takes the Blog up to 3 October.

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
From Vasiliki on Lefkas Island we returned to one of our favorite places – Kefalonia, the largest of the Ionian Islands, and where the tragic events took place featured in the great must-see movie, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.
The movie is based on WW11 when 12,000 Italian troops were occupying Kefalonia. After the Italians deposed their fascist dictator, Mussolini, and signed an armistice with the Allies in late 1943, the 2,000 Germans also based on Kefalonia demanded that the Italians surrender their weapons to the Germans. This was to prevent these weapons being used against them. The Germans also brought in Stuka dive bombers, tanks, and landed large numbers of battle-hardened reinforcements. The Italians’ pride didn’t allow them to hand over their weapons, so they resisted the Germans. The Italians were brave but inexperienced in battle, and suffered heavy casualties in subsequent fighting lasting seven days. After the surviving Italians finally surrendered to the Germans about 5,000 of them were shot dead on Hitler’s direct orders. Some German troops strongly objected to carrying out this order, but were themselves threatened with execution if they disobeyed.

Foki BayWe first cruised to Foki Bay – one of the greatest places we’ve ever anchored in, and stayed there for three glorious days. This beautiful cove is surrounded by forest, has clear and clean, water with lots of small fish swimming around (when we swam they seemed to follow us), a beach at the head of the cove and a taverna just a short walk away with views over the bay. But wait there’s more – the bay has an interesting cave that you can go right into using the dinghy or snorkel around, and the atmospheric village of Fiskardo is only 20 minutes walk away. Here we just relaxed, swam, snorkeled, and enjoyed the sun for a few days.

Envoy anchored in Foki Bay

Fish beside Envoy in Foki Bay feeding on bread

Envoy and Bruce and Lesley’s catamaran, Midi, in Foki Bay
 
Envoy is anchored just outside the line of buoys marking the beach's swimming area

Another view of Envoy and Midi - two NZ boats in paradise!
 
This shot of Midi shows the great little beach with taverna behind
 
 Great view as we walked from Foki Bay to Fiskardo

Laurie enjoying a coffee with Lesley and Bruce in Fiskardo, Kefalonia

Fiskardo is a popular destination with quaint shops and tavernas

Leaving Foki Bay we cruised a little south to Ay Eufimia, one of our favorite harbours. Here we anchored in clear water, swam and saw turtles swimming nearby, had an evening drink ashore in one of the many tavernas, and watched the anchoring antics of charter yachts as they arrived and departed.

TECHNICAL:
On our 2.7 metre Valiant RHIB, bought mid-2010, the wooden transom is starting to separate from the starboard pontoon, and will need fixing over the winter. At the same time we’ll get a slow air leak fixed, and covers (known as “chaps”) made for the inflatable pontoons to protect them from U/V and abrasion.
I’ve mentioned bio-diesel on the blog previously as not being ideal for marine use, and now found out that all diesel sold in the EU contains some bio-diesel. So far I’ve not been able to find out the “bio” content in the fuel, but there’s not much we can do about it except to be aware of bio-diesel’s reduced storage time, and increased tendency to collect moisture.

LOG: Up to 3 October had spent 187 days aboard, and cruised 1,702 miles for 329 engine hours.



Sunday, October 28, 2012

A CLASSIC COLD FRONT OVERTAKES ENVOY

At the time of posting we are back in Auckland, New Zealand- but the blog continues, and this post takes us up to 28/9/12.

Heading further south from Paxos Island to mainland Preveza a large and classic black-skied cold front with loud thunder and bolts of lightning overtook us, deluging us with rain. Visibility was so reduced that I had to switch on the navigation lights and radar. Before the visibility closed out I saw and tracked on radar a sailing yacht two miles directly ahead but traveling south like us. When the heavy rain arrived the radar image disappeared, even with the Sea Clutter control adjusted. Some of these fronts can generate very strong winds on their leading edge, and we were relieved to encounter only about 30 knots whipping up a choppy 1.5m following sea. The front took only about 30 minutes to pass us and then blue skies, a light wind and calm seas returned.

This nasty cold front overtook us from astern

Preveza is a town on the mainland reached by a long dredged channel, and here we anchored in a sheltered bay north of the town, and linked up with our Kiwi friends Bruce and Lesley Tebbutt aboard their sailing cat, Midi, as well as Australians Mike and Sue of the yacht, Skedaddle Again. They were all quite astonished when during cocktails aboard Midi we laid out a beautiful plate of sashimi, using the tuna we’d recently caught.
Bruce and Lesley had spent a couple of months in Croatia, Venice and Montenegro – all places we expect to head next year, so we gained some useful information.

Leaving Preveza it was stunningly calm. This photo shows the dredged and buoyed channel with an approaching yacht

Lefkas is an island only due to the four-mile-long canal dredged through the shallow salt lakes separating mainland Greece from Lefkas. At the northern end of the canal is a well-preserved Venetian castle, which formerly guarded its approaches. This area is quite shallow with moving sand bars, and with many boats milling around waiting for the floating pontoon road bridge to be opened every hour some care is needed. The first canal was dug here in the 7th century BC – that’s 2,700 years ago! The present one dates from the early 19th century, and is supposedly dredged to a depth of six metres, but we encountered depths as shallow as three.
Passing by Lefkas marina, where Envoy will be wintered, we spent the next several days in loose company with Bruce and Lesley, going back to some nice bays we’d visited previously, and then to Vasiliki on the south coast of Lefkas Island. It gets a bit windy here as evidenced by Vasiliki being one of the world’s top 10 windsurfing spots, but we had little wind, and anchored off a great sandy beach where we could see our anchor on the bottom.

Midi and Envoy anchored in perfect calm off Vasiliki beach

The small harbour village is particularly attractive and we had a great breakfast ashore making a change in our usual routine.

Quiet village of Vasiliki

Close-up of Vasiliki's not-very-busy harbour

Every village has a bakery - this one is particularly atmospheric

With little wind on the sea this windsurfer tries out a wind-driven skateboard on land

TECHNICAL: Nothing to report.
LOG: Up to 28 September had spent 182 days aboard, and cruised 1,680 miles for 325 engine hours.



Thursday, October 18, 2012

CORFU’S GORGEOUS PALAIOKASTRITA

At the time of posting we’re on the hardstand at Lefkas marina in the final stages of preparing Envoy for winter storage. This posting takes us to 19 September.

If you want to cut loose from normal life, and start experiencing and enjoying this lifestyle of cruising the Med aboard a rugged passagemaker, there is only one Nordhavn 46 for sale in the Med, and she belongs to friends of ours. She is fully equipped, currently cruising, and for an investment of Euro 280,000 (about US$363,000) you could jump aboard and start living your dreams too – in the Med and anywhere in the world you want to cruise. Email me (admiralfw@gmail.com), and I’ll put you in touch with the owner.

We’d never been around the western side of Corfu Island, so after the weather settled we left our haven at Avalaki, and headed around there to a spectacular area called Palaiokastrita, where there is a series of about five beautiful bays with golden sandy beaches set between rugged rocky bluffs. Some of the beaches were still in their natural state while others had quaint tavernas and guest houses scattered around. From Envoy’s anchorage the views in all directions were stunning, and we were the only boat there.

View of beautiful beach from Envoy's anchorage at Palaiokastrita

Envoy in the setting sun. We had our flopper-stoppers out as there was a bit of a roll coming from the sea open to the west. A bit cloudy this day

The nearby village of Lakones, 450m above sea level, can be reached by a five km long road or a steep, stony mountain track, and we chose to walk the track for a bit of exercise.

This track to Lakones got steeper and steeper although the photo doesn’t really show it

 
We should have ridden this friendly donkey up the hill

These goats also seemed a cheerful herd

The view down on Palaiokastrita from Lakones was stunning, and in the photo below we were anchored just out of picture to the left

We did some shopping up at Lakones, and laden with groceries decided to be cheeky and ask somebody for a lift back to sea level by car. We spotted a driver, who’d stopped to look at the view, and asked for a ride. It turned out the driver was a British tourist who lived in Bedford, very close to where I was born, and near where my parents used to live, so he was only too happy to oblige while we had a chat about the Bedford and Luton regions.

We noticed this unusual looking pedal boat passing by

Village behind Envoy's anchorage

Leaving Palaiokastrita we headed nearly 40 miles south to Paxos Island, trolling a lure, and landed another three small tuna. The main bay at Paxos is called Lakka, and although we had sufficient room to anchor, there were 55 boats anchored in total, of which all but two of us were sailing yachts. This is quite typical as there are very few cruising motor vessels. Lakka is a great place to anchor with good shelter, shallow and clear water, and interesting surroundings. The village is interesting to wander around, with some nice tavernas to enjoy a beer as the sun sets.

Lakka Bay on Paxos Island

Envoy anchored in Lakka

Lakka village

Another shot of the picturesque village

Here we met some Kiwis from a Wellington yacht, Largo Star, doing a circumnavigation. They are great friends of our mate, Brooke Archbold, who spent a few days with us in July. We had also seen them last year in northern Turkey, and although the Med is a huge area, you do seem to meet people again unexpectedly.

TECHNICAL: Again nothing to report to this time.
LOG: Up to 19 September had spent 173 days aboard, and cruised 1,602 miles for 310 engine hours.



Thursday, October 11, 2012

STORMY WEATHER AT CORFU ISLAND

Our cruising season is over, all is well, and Envoy is now safely in Lefkas marina for the winter.
We leave here for New Zealand on 19 October, but the season isn’t finished for the Blog, which still has quite a bit of catching up to do.
This year we’ve included more photos with the Blog, and have had great feedback, but the occasional comment that the photos are too small. You can increase the on-screen size of the photos by left clicking on them once, and increase the size again by left clicking a second time. Then click on the left arrow, top left of screen to return to the Blog.
For the next few postings we’ve got some great shots, and plan to use more pictures and less text. Our posting frequency is approximately every five days. This post takes us up to 15 September.

On the island of Corfu the forecast was now showing some unseasonable weather for mid-September – strong south-east to south-west winds, heavy rain and thunderstorms. We carefully checked the charts, and decided to anchor at Avalaki on the north-east side of Corfu, where we found a large sheltered bay with no rocks or moorings, a nice beach, tavernas ashore, and an ideal anchoring depth of about eight metres.

Storm clouds gather over our anchorage at Avalaki

Initially when we anchored there the wind was still about 15 knots onshore (the prevailing northerly), and I guess the locals wondered why we had anchored in nearly a metre of chop causing Envoy to pitch a little at anchor. But by early evening the wind shifted to the south as forecast, and we had perfect shelter, in fact the next day several other boats joined us. We were also reassured by a local fisherman, who confirmed this bay would be ideal in the forecast conditions. Heavy rain came that night, accompanied by a thunderstorm with lightning that lasted several hours, but the wind in our location never exceeded 23 knots, and we had no problems. Of course the locals welcomed the rain, the first for months, to lay the dust and keep their gardens green.

The beach had a jetty where we were able to secure our RHIB, but we had to be careful as the jetty had missing deck planks and was very shaky. These jetties are removed for the winter and nobody was doing maintenance this late in the year.

Envoy’s RHIB secured to a less than safe jetty with missing deck planks. In the far background behind Envoy is the coast of Albania


On the shore we found a lifeboat. Although still in use, it was in very poor condition, and looking inside I noticed that the bilge pump had been in pieces for a long time.

Laurie beside lifeboat in Avalaki - Envoy in background


We stayed in Avalaki for three days until the southerly blow, rain squalls, and thunderstorms finished, but while there visited the pretty village of Kassiopi using our RHIB

Looking down from Venetian castle on village of Kassiopi, near our Avalaki anchorage


TECHNICAL: Nothing to report – great!
LOG: Up to 15 September had spent 169 days aboard, and cruised 1,542 miles for 298 engine hours.





Wednesday, October 03, 2012

GREECE’S WOES AND KOMBARI – THE HOME OF WRITER, GERALD DURELL

We are currently back in Ay Eufimia, still cruising with fellow Kiwis Bruce and Lesley. All is well and the weather has been great – high 20s and sunny with little wind.
This is our last week cruising as next Sunday 7th we go into the marina for the winter.
This post takes us up to 11 September.

A PLUG FOR GREECE
While cruising we rarely read newspapers or attempt to catch up with “the news”, but we were given a copy of the International Herald Tribune, 27 September.
What a shame to see on the front page a picture of some louts throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at Police in Athens. If you read the facts on this, there was a peaceful demonstration of about 40,000 people protesting about further cuts in income and pensions to meet the terms of Greece’s lenders to release further money. Then a few masked hoodlums acted violently, as apparently the same small group always does, portraying Greece in a totally false light - just like the so-called London riot a few months ago.
Having spent over four months in Greece this year, we have yet to see any kind of violence, intimidatory behavior, or even anti-social behavior, and we certainly feel safer walking around at night here than we do in our own country. Neither do we see soup kitchens or miserable faces.
Yes Greece has major economic woes caused by lack of exports, oversized and inefficient government bureaucracy, rife government corruption, and failure to collect taxes among other reasons, but most Greeks are hard-working, honest, helpful, and extremely friendly people. Among OECD countries, working Greeks work more hours per year than any other country except S Korea. Sadly though, there is currently 24% unemployment, and 55% youth unemployment.
The average wage here slipped from Euro 20,400/yr (about NZ$31,900) in 2010 to Euro 15,800 /yr (about NZ$24,700) in 2011, a decline of about 25%, while VAT increased to 23%.
“Services”, including tourism, accounts for 85% of Greece’s GDP, while Industry is 12% and Agriculture only 3%. Interestingly Greece has the world’s largest merchant navy accounting for 16% of total tonnage.

KOMBARI AND GERALD DURRELL
We left Corfu town to explore some of Corfu’s coastline we hadn’t yet been to.
Diane has been an avid reader of author, Gerald Durrell, based on his life at Corfu, so it was great to spend a night anchored in Kalami, where their family home, the White House, has been converted into a taverna. Of course it was mandatory to make a pilgrimage ashore for a cold beer there.

This is Diane’s contribution.
“We were steaming along the sparkling east coast of Corfu, heading towards an area that had fired my imagination since my teen-hood. Ever since I’d read Gerald Durrell’s fascinating and often hilarious "The Corfu Trilogy" I was determined to see the place that he had written about.
He had grown up as a young lad in Kalami, a small Corfu seaside village, during the 1930s, and later wrote about the local characters and the various birds, animals and insects he studied. It was here that he started his lifelong love of collecting and conserving all species of the animal kingdom.
Kalami itself is an absolutely stunning area, consisting of several small white-stony beaches, vivid clear water and green hillsides dotted with rather sumptuous villas and small hotels. It was in one of these bays where “The White House” languished, right on the waters edge. This was the former home of the Durrell family with the often mentioned olive grove alongside, and the small beach where Gerald would spend hours, swimming and boating. It is now a very popular taverna owned and operated by the Greek family that ‘did’ for the Durrells when they lived there. We went ashore that night for a drink and were told that the Durrell family had continued to return with their families for many years.
Looking up at the beautiful lush mountains I could well picture a young Gerry stalking up the hills with his dogs in tow, and his bag full of specimen jars in which he placed his ‘finds’. It was so satisfying to see reality actually improving on my imaginations of old.”

Former home of author, Lawrence Durell in Kalami

Envoy anchored in Kalami

While anchored in Kalami a charter yacht crewed by a young Dutch couple had some problems anchoring, and fouled the anchor of a German yacht. They seemed to have no idea what to do about it, so I went over in our RHIB to lend a hand, and showed them how to take the weight off the chain that was fouled on their anchor using a line made fast to their bow, then release some tension off their own anchor chain, free and retrieve their anchor, then let the other yacht’s chain fall free – job done!

TECHNICAL: I have been taking further temperature readings around our Lugger main engine using a laser digital thermometer. Sharing these readings with Northern Lights (the Lugger manufacturer), they believe it most likely that the keel cooler is the problem. Silicates can build up inside the cooler, while on the outside you get some marine growth, plus accumulated anti-fouling. It’s probably best not to antifoul these. When we go into the marina I’ve organised a diesel engine mechanic to take a look at this.

I noticed an odour of lpg around our gas bottle locker on the Portuguese bridge. On investigation I found that the regulator on top of the gas bottle was leaking and needed replacement.

LOG: Up to 11 September had spent 165 days aboard, and cruised 1,533 miles for 296 engine hours.



Friday, September 28, 2012

MEETING LIONEL AND MARY TOURING IN THEIR FORD MODEL A

All is well and we are back around Levkas Island, in company with our Kiwi friends Bruce and Lesley aboard their sailing cat, Midi. Weather is great with temps in the high 20s, but the season is ending – shops and tavernas are closing, and there are fewer boats around. Now we only have another week before we go into the marina for the winter. This posting brings us up to 8 September.
After Graham left us at Levkas marina we cruised back to Sivota, where we had arranged to meet friends from New Zealand, Lionel and Mary Rogers. They had shipped their 1930 Ford Model A over from New Zealand in a container, and had been touring countries adjacent to the Med - over several months visiting Italy, Croatia, Albania, Montenegro, Slovakia, Greece, Turkey, Georgia, and Armenia.
The only drama they had with the Model A was a rear wheel falling off while driving at 60 km/hr, due to a missing split pin on the axle nut. Apart from that, some starting problems when after heavy rain, and a slight rattle in the exhaust, the Model A has performed faultlessly, and the classic bright-red vintage car has attracted huge attention wherever they go.
Lionel and Mary covered 8,232 km, used 1,115 litres of petrol for an economy of 7.4 km/litre, 20.8 MPG, or 17.7 miles per USG

Lionel and Mary’s 1930 Ford Model A attracted attention everywhere
 



It had been a while since we’d cruised to any new places, but on the way north to Corfu stopped at the very atmospheric town of Parga. Here there are two harbours, one either side of a castle on a promontory. We took our RHIB to explore the other harbour and saw the Silver Fern flag flying from a yacht. We soon met Colin and Christine Merryfair from Epsom, Auckland with their daughter Nicole. They bought a new yacht called Shapeshifter four years ago in Spain, and have been spending several months a year cruising the Med since.
Parga was a great anchorage except for speedboats towing water skiers far too close to Envoy for comfort.

This is Parga wharf on a nice day

This is the same wharf during a southerly blow

We have towed various fishing lures for thousands of miles all over the Med and caught very few fish – in fact until recently none this year. Graham Reiher showed us a lure he’d caught some tuna on - a feather lure rather than a shiny one. So we changed to one of these lures, and have caught several small tuna since, and enjoyed some sashimi and barbecued fillets. Tuna is a great fish as it’s easy to fillet and bone, has no scales, and provides a good yield.

Di battles with a huge 1.5kg tuna!

We're not proud - this was good eating

Going to another anchorage on the island of Corfu, Petriti, for the first time, we met Dick and Val Carey from Norfolk, England aboard their Nordhavn 55, Tai-Pan, bought new five years ago. People coming aboard Envoy often say she’s like a small ship. Well Tai-Pan is like a large ship, and looks like she’s just out of the showroom.
On the flying-bridge you look down on the water from something like 25 feet above sea level. She has three double cabins and three heads, with one cabin being immediately aft of the pilot house – an excellent captain’s cabin. The walk-in engine room with full head room also made me very jealous. She has a hydraulic hoist for lifting their RHIB in and out of the water, resulting in a very un-cluttered boat deck, set up with a bimini and outdoor seating in a position which catches the breeze. For about a cool US$1.4 m or so, you too could own one of these! We’ll be seeing more of Dick and Val, as Tai-Pan winters over at Corfu’s Gouvia marina.

The magnificent Nordhavn 55, Tai-Pan

Petriti is off the beaten track and a great little village. We found a perfect taverna set in a luscious green garden, and had ice cold beers at the end of the day.

This taverna at Petriti was set in luscious green gardens


Wreck of German steel-hulled yacht ashore at Petriti

After Petriti we anchored for a few days off Corfu town’s castle while we explored more of Corfu.

TECHNICAL: Just as we were about to leave Lefkas marina I noticed the port side of our large RHIB was flat. Further checking showed that the valve had disintegrated, but within half an hour we’d located a local RHIB repair guy, who replaced the valve and for Euro 20 (about NZ$32) all was fixed.
A few days later the bush in the RHIB’s propeller failed (shortly after I’d caught the painter in the prop!), meaning we couldn’t get the RHIB to plane. I found a Yamaha dealer at Gouvia marina and he sold me a prop of the same diameter – 9 and 7/8 inch, but a slighter lower pitch - 10.5 instead of 11”. This results in a slightly lower top speed, but makes the RHIB easier to get up on the plane, which will be an advantage for us with guests. Cost was Euro 130 (about NZ$206). I had tried to get the prop re-bushed, as we do in New Zealand, but the dealer had never heard of this.
Dick showed me a product he uses to help keep Tai-Pan looking so great - Starbrite Rust Stain Remover. I was amazed when he demonstrated aboard Envoy how quickly and easily this spay-on product removes rust streaks from gelcoat. I’ve since bought some and found it to be excellent, although judging by its smell it’s based upon oxalic acid, so needs to be thoroughly washed off gelcoat.
LOG. Up to 8 September had spent 162 days aboard, and cruised 1,522 miles for 293 engine hours.