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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

ENVOY’S CRUISING PLANS FOR 2014

We’re now back aboard Envoy in Lefkas Marina, Greece.
Our long flight back to Athens was made more enjoyable by an unexpected upgrade to Business Class on the six hour Dubai-Athens sector. We only book cattle class, so for once enjoyed the different world of great food, fine wines, white tablecloths and attentive service.
Then it was a warm sunny day on our arrival in Athens, which always makes for a good start. It’s a five hour bus ride to Lefkada, and next day we took a taxi to the bus station. As the taxi pulled up a scruffily dressed elderly porter offered to assist with our luggage. We don’t normally need any help but he looked like he needed some work, so we asked the taxi driver how much to pay him, and he replied “whatever you think is fair”. We followed the porter for a less than five minute walk to our bus and handed him 2 Euros (about NZ$3). He looked displeased and said 5 Euros. Diane and I thought this was really funny and didn’t quibble about such a small sum, thinking he’s on a pretty good rate at 5 Euros for five minutes work.
Arriving back aboard Envoy everything was just how we’d left her, except for a little more dust than usual resulting from the major repair work to our leaking fuel tank – cutting steel, grinding and welding. We were particularly pleased there was no diesel in the bilges, indicating the repair has been successful.
One of our first tasks was to start the Lugger engine to check that the serviced starter motor, new injectors, new fuel lift pump and reconditioned Sea Power generator were working OK. Unfortunately the Sea Power wasn’t working. This is important because it produces 120 volt AC power whenever the Lugger is running, allowing us to run the refrigeration system (which is 120 V AC). Without the Sea Power we need to run the generator to operate refrigeration. Further checks in Lefkada, and later in Athens failed to find the cause of the problem. The Sea Power consists of a heavy-duty alternator and an inverter. The inverter seems to be the problem, but this is an old unit – 22 years old to be precise, and it seems beyond repair. Our current plan is to use the generator this season and buy a new SeaPower unit for next season. However we’ll also look at other inverter options.
A few days later we lifted Envoy from the water to find the hull very clean but quite a lot of growth on the propellers, despite using a special antifouling. This season we’re trying a new Italian propeller antifouling called Velox. Other work we had to do was install a new seacock for the generator and a new main rudder bearing. Everything else has been routine seasonal jobs.
Now Envoy is back in the water and we’re in England and Scotland for three weeks.
When we get back we’re planning to head up to Corfu, clear-out of Greece, go over to nearby Albania for a few days, then to the east coast of Italy and cruise down to Sicily where we’ll spend most of our season.