Saturday, 30 April 2011

Turkey at last!

At last we have left Lakki. Lin's back is getting better, but still painful, so she is excused all duties. We left Lakki this morning (we tried to leave legally, but Lakki is not a port of entry so we could not - we had to say that we were going to Kos)
Leaving Lakki
The disabled helm

Harbour entrance

and we had a lovely sail over to Turgutreis - beam then a broad reach in force 4, dropping off as we got to the coast (although the wind was cold, so we dressed up well). We had decided to check in at Turgutreis as it was so quick and easy checking out last year, we just anchored off the beach for an hour. No such luck this time. We came into the monster marina
and registered, only to find that the customs and harbour master are not there at the weekend, so we had to use an agent who would take our papers to Bodrum. So 50 euros for the transit log, 30 euros for the visa, 75 euros for the agent and an extra 30 euros for going to Bodrum. Arriving in Turkey is not cheap! Then I tried to get a data sim at Turkcell to find that I also needed a Turkish modem, 120 lira (60 quid), so I will try Vodafone when I can find their office.
We had a very enjoyable last week in Lakki, though Lin's back and he narcotics knocked her out. We got a lot of jobs done that we have been endlessly putting off, including varnishing the oars and the outside wood work. On Easter Sunday Mike and Tree invited us to join them for lunch laid on for the clients at Leros marina - warm enough to sit out in the sun and eat roast lamb and salads.

The one downer was the the restaurants were closed all week, for redecorating, even our favourite Petrino's, so we had a lot of home cooking, though we went over to have a very good dinner with Mike and Tree in Leros marina cafe on Thursday night.
So we are at sea at last, and all signed up in Turkey. More to come....

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Easter in Lakki

We are still in Lakki marina, where the cloud has given way to sun and a freezing wind, so we are wrapped up like mid-winter while back home everyone is sweltering.

Lin's back was not getting any better so she want to the hospital on Thursday, where she was sent straight in to a back specialist. He took a series of X-Rays, which showed an old osteoporotic fracture of one vertebra, but he was pretty sure that the injury is muscular. He prescribed a short course of slow-release morphine and other strong painkillers and muscle relaxant, and a period of complete rest for her back, the morphine knocking her out,
so we were committed to staying in Lakki for at least another week.

We have got a lot more jobs done on the boat, though there is always more to do. Simon fitted a new inverter, wired in to the 240v ring main, but the inverter was faulty and blew its internal fuses so it has had to be returned. He also installed an aquafilter water filter so we can be more ecological and not load up with bottled water, but our fittings are not standard so we needed half a dozen connectors. Which of course leaked, so it took hours to get it all in place. We have also fitted a boom brake, better to control the boom in gybes.
We got a loaf of Greek Easter bread, Tsoureki, to get into the Easter spirit.

Easter in Lakki is very low key. All the tavernas have been closed, but we found a pizza place open for dinner on Wednesday with Mike and Tre, who arrived in Lakki early on Tuesday morning, but there was nowhere to go out for Lin's birthday dinner, so we invited Mike and Tre to join us for pork chops and ratatouille on board.
We went to the church for the morning service on Good Friday, but there were only about ten people there. On Friday evening we joined the procession, with the tabernacle and drums going around town with quite a crowd, but the firecrackers detracted from the enjoyment so we came home early. On Saturday night Lin slept while Simon went down to the church at midnight. Quite a crowd, a few candles and a lot of firecrackers, with occasional much louder bangs (dynamite?). Easter in Lakki is low key, but it is certainly not quiet:

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Hard at work in Lakki

We have settled down in the Marina at Lakki, going though the huge list of jobs to be done. Lin strained her back helping move a gantry in the yard and exacerbated it throwing the lines when we got her. She has been in a lot of pain but has managed to do a lot of little jobs that don't strain her back.
We got the alternator fixed - it was severely corroded inside and needed new bearings and bushes - and it now works fine. We have got the boat clean and polished and are doing lots of little repairs. We are also installing a new more powerful battery charger, a new more powerful inverter and a new more sophisticated alternator regulator, so there is a lot of electrical work to do. Then the shower drain pump packed up, so that's another job.
We have grown to really like Lakki. It is a very friendly town, not geared up for tourism, other than yachters, with a superb greengrocer and excellent little grocer/delicatessen. There is not much for young people to do except scream around on their motor scooters, and the older ones scream around in their cars with the radio blaring (and letting of bangers as a practice for Easter). We will probably stay here until Easter and then head to Turkey for a month.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011


We launched today. It’s good to be back on the water. Launching was quite a saga – they had to move five other boats to be able to get to us, so we had to hang around all morning ready to go. Once launched, engine started fine and motored off quay, but no alternator output. Picked up a buoy and found a corroded lead to the alternator, which Simon fixed. Ignition light now goes off, but still no output from alternator. Decided to risk motoring down to Lakki marina, only 6 miles, which worked out OK, though a bit nerve racking with an onshore wind. Lots or repairs to do – although the boat seemed quite dry when we got back, there has been quite a lot of damp corrosion. Got to Lakki OK and fixed everything except the alternator, which probably needs an electrician.
We had a week in the yard doing all the jobs that had to be done out of the water. The biggest jobs were rubbing down and derusting the keel and applying four coats of Coppercoat to the keel and the bits of the hull we missed last year (Coppercoat is a fine copper powder in suspension in epoxy that stops marine growth and lasts for ten years or more), and cleaning and polishing the topsides. Now the hull gleams, but the trouble is that now you can see every scratch and blemish.

Not too good a weekend: we were just cooking dinner on Saturday night when the gas ran out. No problem, just switch gas bottles. But the spare bottle was empty – it must have leaked away over the winter. Sunday morning decide to try to find some gas. The hire car would not start – dead battery. The car hire man arrived within fifteen minutes with a new battery – great, but no gas to be found on Sunday. We did get a new bottle at the little grocer’s in Lakki on Monday, but it was his last one and the other supplier would not take our Camping Gaz bottle, he only took Petrogaz, while the yard has run out.
On the way back we went to the '3rd century BC tower, known as the Temple of Artemis', right by the airport.

We have had a scratching noise from behind the cupboards and shelves in the saloon. It sounded like a creature trying to get out, but maybe, and we hope, it is a pipe or wire wobbling about in the wind. Nothing we can do about it without stripping out the interior. So we just have to hope it goes away! And then we cracked it – it was the main halyard, shackled to the granny bars, rubbing against an inner shroud, transmitted and amplified to the shroud plates behind the cupboards.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Back to Leros

We flew to Athens on Monday April 4th and stayed two nights with Lena before flying to Leros on Olympic's tiniest plane. Everyone in departures seemed to know everyone else, except for us, just coming back from a weekend in town.

Arrived at lunchtime and walked the five minutes to the yard, where we found Mia Hara looking very clean after her winter on the hard.

Perfect spring weather for walking and wild flowers, so we decided to rent a car for the week and take it easy in the yard, so we work on the boat in the mornings and go off shopping and walking in the afternoons.
Stunning views

Beautiful wild flowers:

And delicious cakes:

 There is quite a lot to do, treating rust on the keel, cleaning and polishing the hull, modifying the electrics, but there is no rush so we are just enjoying the quiet life and the weather and the peace and quiet of Leros. Planning to launch on Wednesday, weather permitting.