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Saturday, January 04, 2014

STUNNING VILLAGE OF ASSOS DURING IONIAN “INDIAN” SUMMER

Happy New Year for 2014. The Blog will now get back to more regular postings.
Envoy is currently wintering in Lefkas Marina, Greece, and we are home in New Zealand.
On Kefalonia’s wild west coast is the stunning village of Assos with its tiny harbour barely 200 metres by 100 metres. Overlooking the harbour are the ruins of a huge Venetian Fortress, dating from 1593, with impregnable walls totaling 2km long making it one of Greece’s largest. Originally built for protection against Turks and pirates the fortress became a seat of local power until it eventually became a prison. It was used as such by the Germans during WW11, but eventually closed in 1953 after a devastating earthquake, although people continued to live there until the late 1960s.

Envoy anchored in Assos Harbour

The Venetian fortress overlooking Envoy anchored in Assos

Inside the fortress walls is a huge area of fertile land

People lived in the castle until the late 1960s.
During the earthquake much of Assos was badly damaged, but later restored with financial aid from the city of Paris.

Many temporary dwellings built from corrugated iron after the 1953 earthquake still remain

Some of the buildings were too badly damaged and remain derelict

Assos is normally not easy to visit as the tiny harbour opens to the prevailing NW wind, but we spent
three great nights there with an Indian Summer of very light winds and temperatures in the mid 20s.
 
We saw this strange-looking 3-wheeler in Assos

After leaving Assos we cruised around Lefkas Island area again visiting places already mentioned in previous blogs. It was sad to visit some of these with most shops and tavernas now closed for winter – as Diane said it felt like we were the last ones leaving a party.
Wandering around the village of Nidri in Lefkas Island we noticed a billboard advertising a full fish dinner for two including salad and wine for 20 Euro (about NZ$33 or $16.50 each). Again this is less than half we’d expect to pay back home.

Taverna billboard in Nidri, Lefkas Island

The great weather continued, then on the 4 November we approached Lekas Marina with rain and thunderstorms – I think we timed that right. As we entered the marina I thought (as I do each year) what a great cruising year it’s been; fantastic times with visiting family and friends, two new countries visited (Montenegro and Croatia), 25 weeks on the boat since leaving the marina in April, and a total of 1,946 miles cruised with no accidents, injuries or damage to Envoy. Sure there’s been some technical problems along the way but hey – that’s boating.

TECHNICAL One evening I started the generator then turned the switch which diverts 115V AC current from the generator to Envoy’s power system, and the switch came away broken in my hand. I unsuccessfully tried some temporary fixes, but as were under three hours from Lefkas Marina we headed back there for an electrician to look at. He fixed the switch very quickly, but then we couldn’t get 115V power from any source – Lugger’s Seapower, genset or shorepower. After about half an hour of further checks I noticed the electrician had been fiddling with some switches on our Breaker Panel and left one in the wrong position. As soon as I corrected that, all was OK again.

Envoy’s main Breaker Panel is complex

Envoy’s Lugger engine has a dry exhaust with a conventional muffler. Mufflers are a wear item eventually prone to internal corrosion from moisture and exhaust gases, so I decided to check its condition for the first time in the seven years we’ve owned Envoy. The muffler is heavily heat-insulated, and it’s a major job to remove and then correctly replace all the heat insulation, so I decided to follow advice from the owner of N46 StormHaven and use our infra-red pyrometer to check for any hot spots (which would indicate a problem with the muffler in that area). The muffler measures about 390mm high, 350mm long, and 160mm wide so I marked out 35 check spots on the muffler’s insulation. The result was a low of 153dF (67dC) and a high of 214dF (101dC), giving a range of 61dF (16dC). This all seemed OK to me with no obvious hot spots. Higher temps tended to be closest to the exhaust pipe’s inlet and outlet and at the upper end of the muffler. Where the exhaust exits the muffler un-insulated its temp is 260dF (127dC).

We’ve had further instances of the Seapower 115V Lugger-driven generator stopping during use or not starting up when the engine was started. This will have to be fixed at Lefkas Marina.

ENVOY LOG as at 22 October, 189 days spend aboard and 1,836 miles cruised for 360 engine hours.

OBITUARY – BRIAN RESTIEAUX

It’s with great sadness I mention the passing of our very special and closest of friends Brian Restieaux.
Since we met through boating in 1984 we’ve shared many boating holidays and adventures in New Zealand including the co-ownership of a 12 metre power boat, Rapport. That name was chosen as it perfectly symbolised our relationship. Brian and his loving partner Carol did three cruises aboard Envoy with us in Turkey and Greece, including Crete and were due to join us in Croatia in July. But while in Australia on the way to meet us Brian fell ill and had to return home. He passed away peacefully in Auckland Hospital on 20 December. We will always remember Brian for his loyal and sincere friendship, his wicked sense of fun and his laconic sense of humour.
Brian, you’re leaving a big gap in our lives - rest in peace until we meet again in that final cruising ground.

Laurie and Brian at Mistras castle in Greece, 2012