Monday, April 27, 2015

Launched and Moved

Airstream is comfortably side tied, a rare situation in the Med, at the city marina in Preveza. I've got nice neighbors, mostly Brits, the weather has been good, generally clear but a hair chilly at night, and the boat work has gone very well.
City Marina, Preveza
Cleopatra found an Italian built water heater that would fit the space available although the capacity is about half of the one I had ordered. The installation went well and they claim this is a good quality unit. It seems to work fine, time will tell. Ultimately the 'technical department'  at Cleopatra, Vassilis and crew, proved themselves to be competent and caring

Quick Marine 25 liter water heater
The launch went very well. Cleopatra's marina staff is very experienced and professional and things happen on time and at the convenience of the customer,  they have all the right moves down. No drama!  Compared to Marmaris Yacht Marina these guys are quite wonderful.
hardstand to hydraulic trailer
trailer to travel lift

wireless remote control, no less!
to launch
But, there was a tragic accident a couple days ago. A large hydrofoil ferry was being hauled and during the process one of the young Greek dockside guys got a leg caught in a line and it took his foot off at the ankle. He is a nice kid and the son of one of the ladies in the marina taverna. Hopefully he'll rehabilitate well, he's young and fit,  but life will not be easy for awhile.
Hydrofoil ferry on Cleopatra's 300 ton travel lift
Preveza has proven to be  very nice and I've got to know it a lot better than last year. Its not really a tourist destination although of course there is some foreign tourism. Its a small  city of about 20,000 (I guess) and the scene is very much a bustling modern Greek seaside town  with some charming old neighborhoods, a lovely and friendly place.

City front quay, Preveza
So I've been doing the million and one little jobs needed to get the boat ready for the season and looking respectable. Everything from routine engine maintenance, electrical trouble shooting to bending  on sails, I'm a man of many skills. Master of none, unfortunately, but usually I can slide by.  Today I've got to the point where there's a little more polishing of topsides to complete and I will disassemble and clean the entire Racor fuel filter, not just change the element. There's enough crud in our main diesel tank that seems to be unremovable that the whole filter needs to be done every year, at least. I'll start getting the interior ready for inspection, actually it wintered pretty well, because the Janet will be here in nine days! Pretty darn exciting, my sweetie getting closer every day. Come on Babe, I miss you!

Love to all,
Bill & Janet
SV Airstream

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Road Once Traveled, again

There is snow in the mountains of the Peloponnesus. More snow on the peaks to the north across the Gulf of Corinth, the Parnassus range above Delphi.  Patti Smith is belting out "Because the Night" in my ear phones. The highway is new but rough along the south coast of the gulf and I'm headed west to Preveza on the bus from Athens. This is a road we've traveled much and the olive grove plains and vineyards yield to  mountains within a few miles and to what was for 900 years the old Spartan stronghold.
Gulf of Corinth
I  don't think I have many illusions concerning the Spartan way of life but the classic stories of good and evil are easy to visualize in this country. When Phillip II was threatening to come down out of Macedonia and invade the Peloponnesus he sent a diplomatic threat to Sparta. If he entered Spartan territory he would lay waste to the land. The Spartans sent back a one word reply, "If". Neither Phillip nor his son Alexander the Great ever invaded Spartan territory.

Its a cool sunny morning and the gulf is deceptively calm. It can be a bitch beating to the west against the prevailing gulf winds in unsettled conditions. Best to hang out along the north shore, pick your times and/or sail/motor westward in light air.   There was a reason for galleys in the Med.

City front at Preveza
We've had a death in the family. So my emotions have been on edge the past few weeks. Janet kindly describes my usual personality as "double A" . I've probably been 'triple A'  lately. The right song can tear me up. Something stupid is said about something that meant a lot to me long ago and I get all angry again inside. Lately I've actually been missing flying, the "band of brothers", etc.  Greece seems more evocative than ever. Time to get back to the boat!
Wauquiez Pretorian 35 on the quay at Preveza
And that's the plan. In few hours I'll see how things have gone at Cleopatra Marina over the winter. I hope to find the trusty steed reasonably clean and well kept. If the work I contracted to have done (installing a new water heater, not a simple job) is actually done and done well I'll be delighted. We're nearly to the rather magnificent Rio-Antirrio bridge at the west end of the gulf. Led Zep's "All of My Love" playing, Robert Plant at his best. To the north towards Preveza the way is beautiful. Life is good. 

Headquarters, Cleopatra Marina
Soooo…………… got to Preveza and caught a taxi out to Cleopatra Marina where I have a room for the night before becoming a live-aboard tomorrow. The boat looks nice, they've polished the hull as requested. Nothing seems to be damaged and all the electronics fired up normally which is always very good. The old water heater has been removed and the new one has arrived…………….BUT, BUT, a very big BUT, its the wrong heater! A two month shipping time and they sent the wrong heater! This one is electric only, no engine heat exchanger. Essentially useless in a cruising sailboat. The yard is very apologetic. They are working on possible solutions, tomorrow (the word is "auvrio" in Greek) there may be an answer. No point in bringing up the fact that if they'd ordered the heater six months ago, when it was requested,  we'd have had four months to solve this little dilemma, not two weeks. I learned long ago that when the Greeks screw up, and know they've screwed up, there's no point in twisting the knife. I tell them my sweet wife will want her water heater and they understand completely. They'll work very hard to make up for it given the chance and they work best for their friends. Stay tuned  for the water heater saga to continue.

Airstream awaits

Love to all,
Bill & Janet