Sunday, 5th May 2019
A week on the Hard with Plumbing and other games
We flew out as usual with strangely-shaped and overweight luggage - this time containing a holding tank, valves & special loo pipe amongst other more normal boaty bits. We arrived in Athens on the Orthodox Easter Sunday and all was closed. We had thankfully hired a car to take us all of around 8km to an apartment we'd booked. The owners of "Mary's House" were charming and helpful, and anxious to make sure we had everything we needed, to the extent of providing us with a complimentary home-cooked evening meal that we could re-heat at our leisure.
Our box of bits survived next day's little flight to Leros. On the plane, we met friends from Oyster "Miss Meg" who had been party to the holding tank mishaps the previous autumn. And so the work started in 23 deg C, sunshine and spring flowers: polishing, cleaning, anti-fouling, rigging, putting sails on and, most importantly, fitting the new holding tank. A very fiddly operation. Did you know, you can get two grown people in a HR34 cockpit locker? It is vital you get on, as it is slightly cosy and one might find strange bits of anatomy in one's face. However, the holding tank is successfully in and plumbed, with a new sender unit wired in. Himself is very lucky to be blessed with a plumber's mate who is very small, agile and a contortionist to boot!
Rena and Ioannis greeted us like old friends, delivering and collecting a hire car for us to run a few necessary errands over a couple of days (a stock up, buying oil for the sail drive, finding R's stainless steel man on May Day holiday to drill out and widen by a couple of mm the holes used to attach the holding tank to the bulkhead). People like that make it easy!
We were due to launch last Friday. We weren't quite ready and the forecast for today was for gale force winds from a terrible direction (& rain!). We opted to stay put and launch on Monday instead. Getting down to Lakki may be a bit sporty with the resulting swell, but a good test for all systems I suppose.
The sun should be back out and we can begin. Or almost. There is the small matter of paying the new Greek Cruising Tax (Tepah), due on 9th May. That's fine, except they do not seem to have yet worked out how foreigners are to pay - online systems are not up and running, and the port police really do not want any part of it…
καλωσορίζω - welcome to Greece.