Our first little sailing has been beautiful but not without it’s challenges.

In fact, to be honest, the challenges began a few days before we left Samos with our dinghy bursting.  We had had a couple of days with some intense heat and all of a sudden we found one side of the dinghy to be completely flat.

Paul set to finding the problem and attempting a seam patch!  Then, the next day reattempted with new glue and patches.  He woke up on the third morning to find the whole of the other tube flat and found the punctures in exactly the same place the other side.  It was becoming apparent that our dinghy had had enough of the sun and wasn’t prepared to live any more. (I liken it to a sheep, once it lies down it is very difficult to persuade it to get up and live a few more years).  The sad thing was, this dinghy wasn’t particularly old.  But we knew there was a reason everyone has covers on theirs dinghy’s in Greece …. They need the protection!

So we went in search of a new dinghy just hours before we wanted to head off!  Needless to say, we didn’t have a lot of choice.  But Pauls was pleased with the upgrade … of course he was …. It was far superior to our old one.  So all set with the new dinghy … which just squeezes onto the davits with only centimetres to spare!  The outboard engine decides to have a wobbly and die.

(Pic of Lilly, far to busy sunbathing to care about the dinghy)

Having already met a great engineer who had sorted our valve clearances on our main engines, Paul gave him a call to see if anything could be done.  We were in luck, he came around straight away and took it away for some tender loving care.  Paul usually services the engines and had spent a lot of time last year playing with the outboard trying to persuade it that it still had life to live…. But now he had reached the end of his tether and was pleased to hand it over to someone else.

Zlatko fitted a new service pack to the carburettor and changed the oils, he bought it back and it was working …. So we finely left!   However on our first trip into the beach to walk Lilly, it refused to start again and we were again forced to practice our rowing skills.

Over the following 2 weeks, it has sometimes worked and sometimes not … but increasingly it is working, so maybe he was just unfit after 7 months ashore and needed to be broken in gently to a working life again.  I am hoping he will limp through the summer while Paul seems to be watching more and more videos on new outboards!

We were really pleased with our water maker and our first water tasting was a very special moment!  This means we don’t have to go in every week to top up with water, so our whole sailing life will change!  (Because we are a catamaran … we usually found there was only room for us to dock between 11am and 1pm on the town quays or in little marinas, so filling up with water often meant  a whole day of chores in the hot sun!   Now we can fill with water whenever we like, it means we can shop in the early mornings and enjoy the whole of the rest of the day at anchor.

Anchoring means swimming with a nice afternoon breeze, being tied to a dock is hot, noisy and with no breeze!    It is quite a difference.

Alas, the water maker, had a few teething issues too.  Namely the high pressure hose was not high pressure enough … so on the second time of using it, it burst, filling the bilges with water!   Surprisingly the instructions of the water maker didn’t indicate the hose it needed, and evidently the one we had was not up to the job.  Paul tried a few fixes but is now was determined to burst at every opportunity.  There was nothing for it but to replace the high pressure hose!

Unlike when something breaks at home you can usually go to a shop and buy what you need.  In the Greek Islands, life is a little different.   The few chandleries sell very little equipment, in fact they sell more fishing gear than boat stuff, in fact the pet shops also sell more fishing gear than dog stuff and also, come to think of it, the dive shops also specialise in fishing gear too!

(Pics…. life is tough in Greece when nothing works!)

So Paul began his internet search for high pressure hose from the chandleries that have helped us out in the past. He located the right hose and arranged for it to be sent to Leros.  We are now learning it makes sense to make good friends with someone on each island you visit … so you can have parcels shipped to them.  We were still waiting for a parcel to arrive in Samos that had been shipped weeks ago. But every time .. we learn … one day, I am determined, we will be good at this!

So we now have parts arriving in Leros, a missing parcel going to Samos, a dodgy outboard engine and a brand new expensive dinghy that needs a cover so it doesn’t come to a sticky end like it’s predecessor.   But then we realised we had another issue.

Our new special, half size washing machine didn’t want to work with the inverter.  Our inverter is a 2000watt model, but it is old.  The washing machine is a 1600watt machine and should work perfectly fine on this inverter.  Luckily, it does work with the generator, which is a shame but at least we can get it to work!  I loved the idea of having my clothes washed by the sun, but at the moment it is not to be! 

(Pic … check out our eco washing nuts)

On further investigation, because we needed to understand that to get it to work on the inverter, we needed to know whether we needed a 3000 model, a newer 2000 model or whether it just wasn’t going to happen any which way!  We asked the Ladies that Sail the Med! 

  This is a group of very experienced sailors who many of them, have been doing this for years.  They soon established that when we replace our inverter, a long as we choose a pure sine wave modal as ours is a modified sine wave version and washing machines do not work on these!     So it looks like we have some more upgrading for Paul next year.

At last we located our parcel in Samos, just when we happened to meet up with our friends on their boat whilst we were in Patmos.   “Not a problem” Janita declared, I will sort it.  After a couple of phone calls, she arranged a taxi for Paul to go from the boat into the little town around the corner (in a boat around the corner is often a two hour trek).  While I was working, Paul went with Janita and Andreas into Patmos town to meet the ferry which Janita had magically got our parcel onto and here it was …. Arriving unaccompanied on the ferry coming into Patmos that very day!

Wow what a result!  Thank you Janita you are a star!

So things are starting to come together at last. We had a good catch up and lots of food and wine with friends in Leros, while our dinghy was fitted up with a new set of clothes by the local seamstress!  

How lucky are we to have so many good friends around us! We love Greece and the longer we are here the more beautiful people we meet and we are made to feel even more welcome.

Now as we make our way across the cyclades to one of our favourite anchorages Pori Bay on Pano Koufonisi, we have, once again, a working water maker, a washing machine that works on the generator, a very handsome dinghy and (I will just whisper this) an outboard that is working!

The sun is shining, the water is emerald … life is good!

We are Free to Sail 57

We are back on anchor and free to sail.  (In the image above is the bay we are now sitting in). Well that is the theory anyway!  In reality we need to do another shop and we need to pick up a parcel that hasn’t arrived yet So in the meantime we can test all of our...

The Sunday Lunch Club 56

Overwintering on a boat in Samos Marina, on the beautiful Greek island of Samos could be quite a lonely affair if it wasn’t for the live-aboard community, let’s refer to them as the ‘exuberant partakers of the odd libation’.... so one naturally forms, The Sunday Lunch...

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