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JUly 2007

02/07/07   Repeated requests to my 'new girlfriend' Amy to marry me when I'm old enough, continue to draw the same response of "Give it up", delivered in a broad Yorkshire accent.   She's such a charmer!   The very hot weather continues and is forecast to get hotter yet, the latest we have heard is for temperatures of 49oC (that's 120oF in old money!!).   A major problem occurred whilst filling the water tank.......the bilge filled instead and simultaneously, both the electric and manual bilge pumps went on strike.  I spent the day pumping with a small hand pump into jerry cans and ferrying them in the dinghy to the other side of the marina to empty into the dirty water tanks.

04/07/07  Many trips in the dinghy later and the bilge is still not empty of dirty water!  The water tank has been removed, cleaned and tested, revealing a split seam in the inner liner which renders it useless - and as it was made to measure for the boat, it will not be easy to replace.   Tracing the bilge pump suction hose has also revealed a split caused by the hose coming into contact with the engine raw water pump pulley, in probably the most inaccessible part of the engine room.  It will be extremely difficult to renew the hose and whoever routed it that way should be locked up!  I now have several days, if not weeks of work to put things right before I can go to sea again.  Additionally, my mainsail cover has not yet been returned from the sailmakers where I sent it two weeks ago to have a new zip fitted, neither has my liferaft which went for service about the same time.

05/07/07  I ordered a new 220 litre water tank (inferior quality, but it will have to do for now), dropped an electric pump into the keel and pumped out around 400 litres of water before washing through the bilges with commercial detergent.  My liferaft was returned from Athens but still no news from the sailmaker.    We get called on to do some rather odd things as a sailor.........yesterday, a horse fell into a private pool in Kontokali and it took ten people plus the fire brigade to get him out........today, the owner accosted Gina and myself and asked if we would give him an injection whilst she held his head.   I wish I could have taken a photograph of Gina sticking the hypodermic into his neck as he swung round and I neatly sidestepped to avoid getting my toes trodden on!!

08/07/07  A few days sweating in the engine room, getting covered in oil and grease, and the new bilge suction hose is in place under the stern gland instead of the water pump.  I have rebuilt the engine which had to be partially dismantled at the front end in order to get the old bilge pipe out.   The sailcover was returned yesterday and I fitted that today along with the mainsail, lazy jacks and reefing lines.    I now need to install the new water tank and we'll be ready to go, minus the depth sounder which I have been unable to replace - as expected.

09/07/07  A day of rest, spent mostly in bed as I was not feeling too good.....a summer 'cold' which has got progressively worse over the last couple of days.  I did venture up to the pool in late afternoon and sat with the gang for an hour or two, and where little Amy inadvertently disturbed a wasp's nest and got stung 7 times on hand and face.  My comment of "now you have fatter lips, there's more for me to kiss", brought a smile and the expected reply of "Give it up!"

10/07/07  The 'lurgi' entered it's  second bad day and again I was laid up in bed, feeling too weak to do the smallest job - how can you shiver in forty odd degrees of heat??   Countless tablets and flu remedies don't seem able to shift it, so I may have to move onto proper medicine from the glens of Scotland!

14/07/07  Having fitted the water tank and removed it again several times, it has now become apparent that I will need to construct a secondary floor under the saloon deck to support the weight.....so we're back to square one for the time being - and still not free of the bug which is continually dragging me down!    Our 'group' has started to disintegrate - Andreas today left Storm Dodger and flew home to Germany, and Slip Anchor, with Rob, Karen, Amy and Ben sailed from Gouvia to continue their journey southwards for another three weeks, before they too return home to England.

18/07/07  After a great deal of struggling in the ever rising temperature, the water tank is finally in place under the saloon deck and once again I have fresh water onboard.  The kedge anchor warp and chain have been braided together and a suitable container 'borrowed' from a derelict boat lying on it's side in the far corner of the marina.

20/07/07   On my own - again!  Moody Time, Storm Dodger and Impulse have all sailed from Gouvia but I still have a few problems to sort out, not least of which is the lack of a depth sounder! 

23/07/07   On leaving here, it is unlikely that I will have internet access for some time, so the log updates will be few and far between, as will e-mails - so get yours in now!!   All the fiddly little jobs are taking longer than expected but I now hope to sail on Wednesday 25th if all goes well.  The battle to do jobs in the heat is the main problem, everything takes twice as long as it should.  Today has been very humid again and a big fire has been raging for most of the afternoon just northwest of the marina (around Gouvia area), with the smoke blowing in the force 5 across the marina.  It's been like an airport here today- the marina is a home to a seaplane company and we have two planes berthed just across from me......in addition to that, because of the fire, a much bigger seaplane has been landing in the bay to collect water, then taking off almost immediately and dumping the water on the fire before flying at almost mast height across the yachts in the marina to repeat the process.  Two Pawnee single seat crop sprayers  have been monitoring the fire  and also flying very low (around 500 feet) above our heads.  It's the first time I've ever actually seen that operation, other than on television. 

25/07/07   After an early morning swim I was all ready to sail except for flushing out the water system and refilling with fresh water.....when I tried to do that - no water from the galley taps!!   I had no option but to delay sailing and renew the pipelines from the water pump to the taps, a job which entailed dismantling the cabinet in the heads, disconnecting the shower pump and pipes, removing the screwed and glued floor and feeding new pipes under the saloon deck, through the heads and across the boat to the galley.   That took all day in  a below deck temperature of 42oC and I still have to reassemble the cabinet and tidy up again, so I'll be lucky to get away tomorrow.

Corfu photo's  

27/07/07  Said my goodbyes to Steve next door (if you are into heavy metal rock, you will know him as the lead in 'Vampires Rock'.....www.vampiresrock.com) and sailed from Gouvia heading southeast for Mourtos on the Greek mainland.   On arrival, there was insufficient room to anchor in either Monastery Bay or Middle Bay, so I gingerly felt my way through the 2 metre channel between the mainland and Nisos Ay Nikolaos and headed further south to Parga where I anchored in about 11 metres of water for the night.

28/07/07  Weighed anchor at 0830 and set course for Levkas.   About 2.30pm, two yachts approaching on my stbd. side were identified as Impulse and Storm Dodger and we chatted on VHF channel 6 as they passed by my stern en route from Paxos to Preveza.   The bridge on the Levkas canal opens for marine traffic on the hour and I arrived ten minutes after the 4pm traffic had gone through, so I circled for about 35 minutes before an announcement on channel 16 told me the bridge had broken and would be shut for two days......great!!  Options were to sail around the west coast of the island or to head north again and put into Preveza, I chose the latter and anchored off the town at 2000, close to Gina and Roger's boats.

31/07/07  After a couple of days in Preveza, during which time I climbed Storm Dodger's mast to replace Roger's anchor light bulb (and take photo's!), - in return for Roger giving me a shorter haircut than the one I had in Gouvia, all three boats set sail for Levkas, arriving in time to enter the canal on the mid-day opening of the bridge.  We all stopped in Levkas marina to fill up with diesel, petrol and water before heading down the canal with the intention of anchoring in one of the bays at the southern end of the island.  A burst water pipe on Gina's boat changed our plans and we anchored in Tranquil Bay off Nidri, to sort out the problem, remaining at anchor overnight.

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