Sunday, December 31, 2017
Happy New Year to family, friends and readers I don’t know!
Please stay warm in that chilly Canadian weather and around the rest of the world, try to send warm thoughts to the Canadians.
After our Christmas, we spent a couple of days just hanging out. We played some cards and backgammon and monopoly. We read books and even enjoyed the flybridge (that’s the deck up top for those of you who aren’t familiar with nautical terms). Some shopping for useful things and some work around the boat.
We learned a few things though, Megan is the best at Backgammon, Jinhee missed her calling as a real estate Barron and Don is the only one who wants to work in the engine room.
We also spent some time planning an outing.
On Friday night we rented a car. Saturday we woke up, piled in the car and headed to Kalamata. As the reader may have learned, I am not enthralled with the cycling here in Athens, it is also expensive at Marina Zea. So the friendly staff here suggested that Kalamata may be a good spot to spend a month or two if I wanted clear roads and low prices. We decided to drive there and check it out.
Kalamata is about 220km South of Athens. We decided to hit a few historic sites along the way. I have to say, that once again my ignorance is astounding. Along the way we ‘passed’ by a half dozen really important, historic sites. (I would love to tell you why they are so important, but we didn’t stop and my ignorance remains intact!). We did stop at Epidaurus (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epidaurus) an ancient town with a history of focus on wellness. Its key draw for us though was the ancient theatre.
Supposedly the best preserved theatre from the Greco-Roman period, this theatre was in very, very good condition. Visitors with a modicum of confidence and varying levels of talent stood on the cement circle in the middle and spoke, sang, clapped, whatever and the acoustics were amazing to say the least. I was on the top row when one woman began singing opera and it was like she was right beside me. Pretty cool. There was much to see here, but we went through it pretty quickly so that we could get to Kalamata before dark.
Arriving in Kalamata, we went directly to the Marina and looked it over. I spoke with a gentleman from Sweden who was living on his boat and had been in the marina for about a year. We noted that the boats were rocking (similar, but not as bad as Leuca), and he said that it was always like that and other than the low prices, he really couldn’t recommend the marina. That said, there were some nice restaurants, grocery stores close by and the roads (for cycling) were much better than here in Athens. I may end up there, but I won’t be in a rush to get there in all likelihood.
We rented the car for two days and have been making the travel/tourism decisions on the fly, so we decided to spend Sunday, New Year’s Eve day touring Olympia, the home of the Olympics. Jinhee found us a 2-star hotel (yes, Jinhee chose a 2-star hotel, but only because there was no room at the higher end hotels) and we arrived in the tiny town of Elia just after dark.
This hotel had nice rooms with new bathrooms and it was very clean. The staff (probably the owner) was really friendly, and we enjoyed our stay.
In the morning we headed to Olympia and spent the better part of the morning touring the museum and the ruins. The Museum is actually fantastic with a wide variety of artifacts and all in remarkable condition. It is worth noting that Olympia was destroyed in 776 BC and has been in ruins ever since, but some of these pieces were in amazing shape. Very well done!
This was followed by a drive home . . . we tried to see the Mycenaean Ruins near Corinth, but they had closed by the time we arrived. I will go back to see these as it sounds like another great story of a society wiped out by victors.
Tonight we went to the Acropolis for New Years eve. It was warm and the moon was shining brightly. We enjoyed walking through the streets and hanging out with people even though we didn’t know them, as we brought 2017 to a close.
Happy New Year to everyone!! Be safe and we look forward to next year’s adventures together.
P.S. putting the boat stuff at the end!
Because I have a few people reading who know the boat, and because it is a good place to enter long explanations for problems and solutions to boat things, here is a list . . . You can skip this part if you are only interested in the human stuff!
I continue to look for reasonably priced 24v rope lights. Thanasis tells me that I should be paying €4/ m and to order them on the internet. I have gone into at least five lighting stores and two chandlers and they are quoting €25-30/m if they have them. I am going to go with internet suppliers in the new year.
I have also replaced the gas lifting arm that holds up the floorboard over the manual bilge pump (that was before Christmas). Now it holds the floor out of the way if we need to pump the bilge manually. This is a distinct possibility given that the lower bilge pump still isn’t lifting water. I think I fixed the bilge strainer, but that didn’t solve the problem. I spoke with James Knight on Wednesday and he reminds me that the housing for the pump was cracked, he put in a temporary fix and this may be the problem. I need to debug it further to decide next steps. No stress as I have no leaks other than the shaft drip.
Well, that’s not completely true though as the heating seems to be giving off condensation (usually only in cooling, but I will debug that later), and it is pooling above the upper bilge. Hmmmm. James guided my understanding of where the upper bilge drains into the lower bilge and this evening I manually pumped the lower bilge to check the upper bilge pipe outlet. The upper bilge magically cleared. I can see no obstruction, so another area to examine in more detail in future.
The fridge continues to rattle and I am unsure of why, but I have an email out to sub-zero service in Athens and they have not responded. I will follow up with sub zero in Wisconsin later in the week if I don’t hear back. Time to get a service person out before I lose food or am anxious to move.
Finally, and only slightly related, I purchased a new, high end router from TP-Link. It is a dual-WAN router that allows me to just pop in a 4G chip and it gives me an internet connection. The wired/modem solution is there if I ever want it, but I would need a super long cable to use a wired connection on the boat. The point of this router is that now we have a single SSID that covers the entire boat (phones, computers, iPad, TV, etc) and a shared internet so we don’t have too many devices. This was necessitated because the OTE MiFi device is eating data even when no one is using it. This could be caused by a security flaw or the company screwing the tourists, but I won’t be doing that anymore. Now I will switch the router to Vodafone and control the devices that have access via the router security features. On Tuesday I get yet another chip!