The Greek adventure 2016 has begun.
A little late this year, due to feline related foster home problems, but that’s another story. Artemis the boat cat is fine, but she won’t be a boat cat this year, more of an Essex girl.
I’m pleased to say that all our arrangements, including leaving the house, putting belongings in store and parking the car, went exceedingly well. The train to the airport was on time, the overnight Premier Inn was excellent, we had a nice meal. We had to get up at 4am, the flight left on time at 6.10am. The husband (TH) was too mean to buy any food or drink on board, so I didn’t even dare suggest he might like buy me a bottle of perfume or some jewellery from the onboard shop…..
We didn’t have to wait for a taxi at the Greek airport, and it is literally a five minute drive to the boatyard. The weather was lovely, not a cloud in the sky, quite breezy, about 23degC. I suggested leaving our heavy luggage in reception until the boat was launched, and thus it would be easier to lift aboard, but no. The hero that he is, TH insisted on carrying two awkward pieces of 20kg luggage up an upright 16 rung ladder on to the boat which was still out of the water at this point.
The inside of the boat was not quite as bad as I anticipated, in terms of mess and carnage, so I breathed a sigh of relief. At the exact hour requested, 3pm, the yard tractor promptly arrived, and lowered Fandancer onto the big trailer. It is always a heart in mouth moment, as the trailer slides u dear the boat and the props are removed. 10 tons of boat were now sitting on a trailer, and pulled over 100 yards towards the launch pad. A huge hoist then takes over, slings are put under the hull of the boat, and she is lifted off the trolley and suspended in mid air under the hoist. The hoist is operated partly by remote control, so it is quite weird to see your boat being carried along by the hoist, and gently lowered into the water.
Now, if this was the UK, or any other civilised country, all the yard workers and probably boat owners too, would have to wear steel toe capped shoes, fluorescent vests and a life jacket. And maybe a hard hat. The access road would be closed off with cones while the hoist crossed the five metres to get to the water, there would be a man with a flag keeping pedestrians away, sirens would sound, and a health and safety officer would be in attendance. Because this is Greece, people are sensible and don’t need ridiculous rules for everything to run smoothly, as it always does.
One of my first jobs was to make the bed, as I need to know I have somewhere comfortable to sleep. This is not such an easy job on a boat, as there is only about three square feet of floor space and limited headroom in parts of our cabin. But the bed itself is lovely, with a new memory foam mattress, ten feet wide at one end, narrowing to about four feet right at the stern, with an opening window where our heads go, plus a big hatch above. Putting on a king size duvet cover in these conditions should be an Olympic sport…..
We had an early shower and later walked along to the next door marina for my first Greek ouzo of the year. It was delicious. At the end of the road is a single taverna which gets all the customers from the three boatyards. They have lots of wonderful home made dishes. I had fried kalamari and a tomato salad, then after we’d eaten, it was an early bed for me……
More news later……