Tuesday, December 5th, 2017
We arrived back in Corfu late last night and anchored just outside of Gouvia Marina. The water was very calm, the moon was out and while it was a little cool, it was a great evening to sit quietly and do almost nothing. Today, we checked back into the Marina. This has been the home to the boat for about 9 years, and the spot where she normally sits was still empty. I wonder if everyone just knows that this is the boat’s home?
It won’t be the boats home for a long while, if ever as our journey is just beginning.
But let’s start back at Sunday!
Sunday we woke to significant winds pushing us against the yacht beside is at the Molo Sant’Eligio marina where we have been for almost a month. We patiently reviewed our plan to leave the docks, waited for a while to let the winds calm down and then pulled away. If you have never experienced Med mooring, the boats are backed into a slip, pushed together like sardines and tied stern-to against the dock. Sometimes there is space between boats, but others they just bump up against each other all the time. This is what we experienced in Otranto when we crossed to Italy orginally. In Taranto, we have more room, unless there are heavy winds from the North West.
Needless to say, there were heavy winds from the Northwest, and Jinhee and I were going to pull away on our own. Good news, it went pretty much as planned. With extra fenders on the starboard side where we were certain to push up against the neighbouring yacht, we simply untied all of the lines and then, using the bow and stern thrusters, slowly edged our way out of the slip. The thrusters kept us off of our neighbour for the most part, and the fenders did the rest . . . we were away to Greece!
If you have been reading the blog, you might remember my disdain for Sainta Maria di Leuca on our trip to Taranto. It was bumpy, and Home Free swung wildly while tied to the dock. I vowed to avoid it on the way back. I was just kidding, really, its such a nice place.
Weather windows for long passages can be hard to find, and the Sunday/Monday weather window allowed us to get across the Ionian Sea in modestly good weather. Well, Sundays weather was improving rapidly, and Monday’s would be bad late in the evening, so off we went. Unfortunately it didn’t take long for the modest waves with short periods to turn my breakfast into fish food. The marine wildlife got six unscheduled feedings throughout the day, and Leuca became the belle of the ball. We pulled into Leuca around 7pm and tied ourselves to a dock. I was happy to have my feet on the ground for a couple of hours while my brain re-aligned my stomach.
We ate, we slept and at 6am we started up again. The weather window was perfect, and throughout the day Monday, the Ionian Sea had only minor rollers, no more than 1m and well spaced. Therefore there were no unscheduled fish feedings and we were able to make good speed. We dropped anchor just outside of Gouvia Marina on Corfu around 7pm and had a peaceful meal on flat water. Some days, being on a boat is such a wonderful experience.
Today, we tied up early, washed a lot of salt off of the boat, paid our marina fees and went grocery shopping. We now have enough food aboard to (probably) last us until we reach Athens.
I have been waiting until our return here to work on the water problems, and, good news, I fixed the water problem with ease. Water pumps on boats are often protected by strainers to make sure bad stuff doesn’t pass from tanks into the boats plumbing. Jabsco pumps use a filter called a Pumpgard. Just before our water problems started, I noticed a lot of sand in the filter of the Pumpgard protecting our pump. So I took the cap off, cleaned it and replaced the cap. All done. The problems started after that. I talked to a few boat experts over the past two months, mentioned that as a possible cause and it was deemed a low probability.
Today before spending a lot of time ripping the boat apart to look for the leak, I decided to replace the ($20) Pumpgard and see what happens. Good news, nothing happened. The water system is no longer letting air in. I have no clue why the threads or seals on the old Pumpgard did not seal tightly, no water was coming out, but air was getting in, and the pump would lose its prime. No longer, the fix worked, and our water system is functioning as it was designed.
Finally, I went to check in with the local immigration authorities and Port Police. After about 90 minutes of being bounced around, all of the paperwork was completed, and we are now legally back in Greece. We also have appropriate instructions on how to handle paperwork (Greece utilizes a ‘Transit Log’ to keep track of where you have been, when you arrive and when you leave, as you move through the country). The process was a bit complicated, but the people were exceptionally nice, patient and helpful.
So that’s the update. Sorry there are no photos to share, we will try to take more pictures as we pass South and East to Athens