Reaching the End of 2021

Almost 18 months ago we finally left Temptress in Greece. Since then we have been back twice, once at the end of last July when after a year in the boatyard Temptress was relaunched and later to deliver her to a winter berth.

Temptress was safe and sound when we arrived in Nidri in the heat of Sunday morning in July. A little dusty below decks but otherwise much as we left her a year and a few days previously. On the Monday Aris, who owns Konidaris Yard, had good news and bad. First he offered to do the port police paperwork for us so Temptress can leave the yard which would make things much easier for us. However as the boatmover had needed repairs plus there had been a couple of family weddings they were a bit behind on launching and had a whole charter fleet in their other yard to get into the water. Therefore Temptress’ launch would be a day late on Thursday.

For us the delay was a blessing in disguise. A sciatica flare up made walking any distance almost impossible for Susie and a hotel bed that was rock hard with springs that poked you in the night was not not helping. The hotel couldn’t extend our stay by one night so it was time to look for an alternative. We tried the Iris, but Effie was fully booked too. By coincidence friends from the UK happened to be here on holiday, over dinner with them at the wonderful Barrel restaurant on Sunday they volunteered to ask at their hotel. By lunchtime on Monday we’d moved to a cosy studio in the Palm Trees where Dina and her son made us very welcome for a few nights. The bed was soft and comfy and the grounds open right onto the beach so after doing boat jobs all morning a swim in cooling the sea was a very welcome.

Monday morning we also went in search of domestic batteries. On Sunday the chandlery had had only two in stock and the local garage none. With a lead time of 2-3 days this task was high on our priority list as without them the boat couldn’t launch. We knew of George the electrician in the main street from last year. Kevin popped in and George laughed; he sold two to the chandlery on Friday but had a third in his shop! Quickly we rounded all three 180amp hour batteries up at George’s price. Once installed with help from the yard lads to lift them off the boat, the chandlery took our old ones for recycling. Job done and Temptress now had her full complement of amp hours for the first time since the Caribbean!

Boat jobs beget boat jobs as we all know. So on filling up the water tanks it was no surprise to see that after a year of sitting both the hotwater cylinder pressure valve and the galley tap announced they had reached the end of the road by leaking. The hotwater valve is a common problem on this boat, sadly we had no spare this time. The galley tap is the original circa 1992 and the only tap that hasn’t been refurbished so no surprise there. It took the skipper half an hour or so plus a crash course from the YouTube university school of boat plumbing to get the tap out.

Meanwhile outside the yard crew continued working round the boat. By Tuesday mid morning, the polishing was nearing completion, the bottom had been filled and fared and the rusty areas on the keel touched up. Painting was to start on Tuesday afternoon. Aris also presented his itemized bill, hand written on a page from a spiral bound notebook, it’s brevity brilliant. Six or seven lines with the costs including the rudder repairs and the new innox bracket that supports it. We were somewhat poorer come launch day but at least Temptress has been in good hands during our absence.

A new tap, pressure valve and tools were sourced in the vast but friendly hardware store on the way into Lefkas. So easy to find exactly what we needed in a first world country. There was even a choice of mixer taps for the galley. Then on to Nautilus Chandlery, mostly to see what they stock but also to acquire a small tube of gelcoat to touch up a few little nicks, a sparkling new chain hook and a fender. Of the four fenders that had been stowed in the forepeak, one had gone orange and gunky for a final time. Sad to throw away something that’s been on board for so long but it has had a long and useful life in many harbours around the globe.

Back on the boat the pressure valve was soon replaced. Then Kevin working in the early afternoon heat inside the galley bin locker, fitted the tap. My only useful contribution so far had been to find the sheets and make the bed, my back far too painful to let me do much especially standing up. I did manage to wander round the supermarket collecting bread, butter, cheese, tomatoes and some of our favourite preserved pork from Crete; the makings of lunch for a couple of days.

The launch went smoothly and we were able to spend a few days out and about sailing locally before leaving Temptress once more, this time in guardianage on a mooring in Nidri. Even Susie’s back started to make a good recovery so that flight home was a much easier one.

Kevin’s work commitments meant it was mid October before we could fly out again, this time with daughter Maddy as crew for just over a week. The trip was planned as a delivery so the boat could be moved to a winter berth in Messolonghi Marina and it was a good job that was all we planned. After a couple of days the weather turned foul with heavy rain and strong winds. We did though have the chance to visit a few harbours and restuarants enroute from Sunday through to Tuesday before the weather closed in. Tuesday night, our second in Frikes, Ithaca, was a bit bumpy with boats rafted outside of us but everyone was secure. On Wednesday morning we made our escape and dressed in wet weather gear, motored across to the mainland. By evening we were tucked up safely in Messonlonghi marina before the big blow.

Despite the adverse weather we managed a walk around the Heroes Garden in Messolonghi – here Byron amongst others is commemerated as a hero for fighting for the Greeks. And on Friday a long trip in a hire car to Delphi, it was wet all the way there and much of the way back but for the hour or two we were walking up the hillside through the temple ruins and more, it was dry! The drive back through the mountains was spectacular even in the rain. Too soon it was time to fly back to the UK again.

As 2021 draws to a close, we plan one more trip to Greece to spend Christmas on board. Kevin’s contracting has worked to our advantage in that his employer has instructed all contractors to take three weeks off from December 20. Yippee, three weeks on the boat!

After that, well it depends on the contracting. If everything goes well we intend to fly out to Greeece at Easter to start the three thousand nautical mile voyage west and north. This will be the final leg of our circumnavigation that began way back in 2013. Fingers crossed we will have crew able to join us and that co-vid also will not prevent access to ports enroute. The outline plan is for a series of hops from Greece to Italy, Italy to Spain, Spain to Portugal via Gibraltar, Portugal to Spain and then across the Western Approaches to reach Ireland and up the coast to Bangor in the North. They may be back to back legs or there may be a few weeks between. Whatever happens Temptress will make UK waters before the summer is out.