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

7 comments:

LJP said...

Lovely post. I see a book contract in your future. Really. So sad about the water heater.... Darn it. Very disappointing. We're getting some south easterlies tomorrow and we plan to start sailing. Will do an overnight to get north to datcA. Hugs!

Anonymous said...

We always enjoy reading you blogs since leaving the cruising life for a Cal 34 in the San Juans. Luck on ya.
Mike & Liz

Greg Z said...

Hey Bill, I was wondering why I hadn't heard from you, the season is just starting. You write well. The death in the family, would it be rude to ask whom? Still working the line, still love the job. Hope the heater arrives soon. Greg

Greg Z said...

Hey Bill, I was wondering why I hadn't heard from you, the season is just starting. You write well. The death in the family, would it be rude to ask whom? Still working the line, still love the job. Hope the heater arrives soon. Greg

Minyga said...

Glad to see your back, have read your blog on last two seasons with great interest as we are heading east from southern Italy this summer for the first time. What is your sail plan this season?
Liz and Rodney
Minyga

Carmen Meyer said...

Hey Bill and Janet, thanks for posting pics and info, makes most of us able to feel like we are right there with you! Love the pics too, really beautiful! I am so sorry to hear about your sadness regarding the death in the family, I know that is so painful.
I look forward to seeing your next blog and keeping up with you! Love Carmen

Carmen Meyer said...

Hey Bill and Janet, thanks for posting pics and info, makes most of us able to feel like we are right there with you! Love the pics too, really beautiful! I am so sorry to hear about your sadness regarding the death in the family, I know that is so painful.
I look forward to seeing your next blog and keeping up with you! Love Carmen