Safe Haven

Saturday 16 May

The morning started quietly with us patiently waiting for news which finally arrived around eleven. The marina had their letter confirming the port police would permit us entry to Messolonghi. There was a flurry of activity. Pat and Tony came out in their dinghy to tow Sheila into the marina so she wouldn’t get in the way of our mooring activity. We bustled around getting fenders and lines ready for a stern to Med mooring. I found gloves for handling the pickup lines. Then we weighed a very muddy anchor and headed in. Calmly and fuss free, as if we were well practiced Temptress backed into the quay. A pickup line was retrieved using the boat hook from Tony on the quayside and a stern line attached to the quay. We were in and safe. Half an hour later with everything secure, two pickup lines, two stern lines the four of us had a socially distanced coffee.

Before lunch the port police arrived. Very pleasant they asked for paperwork and various copies. Officially Temptress has been impounded as they took our ships papers and we are in quarantine for another 14 days. Having seen our port clearance from Djibouti and sanitation certificate from Suez they did call their boss to ask if we really had to do the whole 14 days but sadly he wouldn’t lift that. We don’t mind at least we can serve it onboard, in a marina with friends next door who have kindly offered to run errands.

Later that evening we joined in a small celebratory BBQ supper held at the stern of Temptress! We aren’t the only inhabited boats here, aside from Full Flight, there are a Finnish boat, a German boat and a Jersey one on this pontoon and a Swedish one elsewhere; eleven crew in total. Some were over wintering here, others called in briefly for repairs. All cannot leave!

Sunday 17 May

The marina is as you would expect in these times, very quiet. There are a few dozen boats on the hard and perhaps a similar number in the water. The berths are by no means full.

The mornings are still, but by midday the heat begins to build though with a light sea breeze to compensate. Greece is experiencing an early heatwave. The dry heat is very welcome after the chill out of recent weeks. We’ve dug out shorts and t-shirts again. Sunday lunch was another BBQ, Tony bought some freshly landed fish from the quay just along from the marina; the small sole were beautiful, making a change from the tuna we have mostly had recently.

The laundry hung out on the foredeck dried quickly. Kevin spent the rest of the day updating software on various devices or researching online sources for parts. Then in the evening he dug out manuals and began listing part numbers. The prices for Yanmar engine parts were a bit of a shock with the stop solenoid listed at some £400 plus shipping. Racor filters seem to be cheaper in the UK rather than here in Greece even with shipping costs added in.

The next two weeks are going to be very lazy. Once we are through our quarantine and if Greece opens up a bit we might indulge in some land travel. Ultimately Temptress will need to be taken to a yard where she can be lifted as we have think we will to leave her in Greece over the winter. The marina here no longer has a licence for working on boats in the yard so isn’t suitable. There are a myriad of options further up the coast near Nidri so it isn’t a problem. For now though we will steadily work through the things that require fixing and enjoy the security of the marina.

Monday 18 May

Today the Greek government extended til May 25, the closure of Greek waters that applies to private yachts. One small change is that boats under 12m can go out on day trips for fishing and swimming under certain conditions and have to come back that day. We feel very fortunate to be allowed in. Our quarantine will run until May 30

Before breakfast as it was calm we took down the genoa so that the furler can at some point, be looked at to find out why it jams. Later the starter motor and stop solenoid were removed from the engine as the first steps towards repair or replacement. We also dug out the boom awning and hung it up for some much needed shade.

It has been a long time since the awning was last used so the first challenge was finding it. The second was remembering how to fit it. The central ridge ties to the mast above the sail cover and to the back of the boom, the fabric needs to be positioned so it overlaps the cockpit but not so far aft the saloon hatch is uncovered, takes a bit of juggling the acres of light fabric but we got there eventually. The topping lift hoists lines attached at intervals along the ridge so that it isn’t resting on the sail cover, then a zigzag of thin line with hooks pulls the long edges out to the guardwires. A few tweaks to line tensions and eventually it was in place. The shade provided over the cabin made a rapid difference between to the below deck temperatures and the tunnel underneath between the awning and the deck also directs a good cooling draft for those sitting in the cockpit.

Gradually we are straightening things out. The crates under the saloon table where extra tins, cartons of milk, bottle of wine, potatoes and more are stored on long passages were removed (the dust and fluff accumulated behind them was almost enough to plants seeds!). One crate was emptied of its few remaining items. Over the next few weeks the other one will be emptied too. If the boat is going to be left for a period of months, we will need to use up, give away or dispose of everything that isn’t in a tin, sealed airtight packet or a jar with a long use by date. We may end up with some odd meals over the coming days as we try to reduce the waste.

Towards the end of the day an interview Susie had with a Diane Selkirk, a CNN journalist just after we dropped the hook in Messolonghi was published. Diane has pulled together stories from the crews of several stranded yachts in an excellent piece that highlights the trials the cruising community continue to face. Though Temptress is safe and we are finally able to relax, our troubles are far from over. Somehow we will need to reach the UK; at present though it is enough to serve out our quarantine, enjoy catching up with our friends and make a start on fixing things.

4 comments

  1. Great to see you are safe and sounds. Also sounding much more positive despite all the craziness. Time to fix the boat and yourselves. Take care.

    Ronald A Sams currently in SA

    SA +27726864466 UK +447734288891

    >

    Like

  2. I’m so happy that you have finally reached a safe haven at last,you have coped with everything that has been thrown at you with amazing skill and forbearance and it has been such a privilege that you have shared your experiences with us.

    Like

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