Santorini Here We Come . . .

Thursday, May 10th, 2018

After two days on Sifnos, I woke up around 5:30 this morning, slipped the dock lines and started on our way to Santorini.   The skies are overcast, the winds at about 14 kts and the waves are hitting us broadside.   It is certain to be a little bumpier today.

Yesterday Karen and Larry explored the island by car while I put in two bike rides and did some critical work around the boat.

The boat project was simple to start, but a bit more complex in implementation.   As we prepare to arrive in Santorini, there is still a chance that I won’t be able to find a dock to tie to, requiring anchoring out and a dinghy ride into shore.   I had not verified that the crane and dinghy worked.   So on Tuesday I began that process, only to find out that the battery on the dinghy was destroyed when we drowned it last fall in Preveza.

Yesterday I went to one of the multitude of Scooter stores on Sifnos (which appear to be about 10%  of the local commerce) and they sold me a new battery for 65 euros and also charged it.  When I brought it back and installed the battery I discovered that there was still a lot of water in the dinghy, and that the bilge pump in the dinghy wasn’t operational.

During conversations with my children and their friends I often blather on about how important it is to do things and continue to progress; not worry about getting everything perfect, etc.   As I sought to remove the water, I decided to progress to validating the rest of the operational requirements for launching the dinghy.  If I just lift the dinghy, the water should travel to the aft and drain on it’s own.  As usual, not so much.

I put the lifting harness on the dinghy which balances the 700lbs or so perfectly, prepared the davit/crane and lifted the boat, and in opposition to my expectations, all the water rushed to the front of the dinghy.  I bailed the water from under the front seat for 15 minutes or so.  Fun, fun.

After dropping the dinghy back into its chocks, I decided that I need to figure out why the  bilge pump was not working.  I knew the lights worked, so this was almost certainly a wiring problem.  I traced a whole bunch of stuff to see how things are put together before taking the next obvious step of looking at the fuse.   There are two fuses, and I was  not clear on which one was for which system, but upon opening them they were both corroded from being in the salt water through the winter.

The prior owner, David was perhaps a bit obsessive about spares on the boat and this was one of the attractions of this particular vessel.  It’s condition and preparedness for my intended use were certainly factors in my selection of this boat.   As one might expect, that included a large variety of spare fuses.   No running to the local automotive store for fuses was required.

After replacing the fuses the bilge pump began working again.  Yay!!   It is worth noting that if I had thought this through, I could have avoided the lifting and bailing of the water, but the overall lesson I think is to press ahead and learn what you can.   I now have more information about the dinghy and crane than I did before.  Further, I have now labeled the fuse that relates to the bilge pump.

The battery is installed and ready to go.  I have lights, and a working bilge pump and a crane that I know will lift the dinghy should we need to dinghy into Santorini.  I have labelled things to accommodate my forgetfulness and aid others who may join me and want to run the dinghy.  One switch on the dinghy controls remains a mystery, but I will figure it out later.

I still haven’t figured out if the engine will turn over and start, but I remain eternally hopeful on that front.   In the end, I have the dinghy as ready as possible for launch in Santorini should it be required.

Another dinner out was enjoyed, although the food was not as good as the prior evening but the conversation remains good, their was the requisite card playing and perhaps a night cap.

During the day, there were four or five ferries that arrived to offload passengers and vehicles, and I have to say that the island is relatively empty right now, but the season has started and the throngs are arriving.   This is what the exodus looked like from one ferry (on the left).  The ferry on the right did not start off-loading when I snapped this picture.   The evening ferry was about 10 times the size of either of these ferries, offloading transport trucks, taking on loads of rock from the mine(s) and spewing lots of light and diesel fumes.   It’s nothing like you would see in Toronto.


Through the night there was a rather vicious bit of wind along with moderately strong winds.   I spent some time before bed rearranging lines, tightening the anchor and putting out fenders to protect us should it get bumpy.   Somewhere in the night it did get bumpy and we hit something, but it happened just once, waking me up and then subsiding.   I trust the fenders did their job and didn’t notice anything untoward when I decided to slip the lines in the morning.

We are now about two hours out of Santorini and it has been a bit bumpier through the morning, but the winds have died to less than 10 kts as we get closer.  The port we are heading for is small and I am concerned we won’t find any dock space, partly because we will arrive a bit ‘later’ in the day (around 4pm likely), but our early departure may increase the odds.

Going back to yesterday, I rode my bike twice.   Each ride was very scenic and included lots of climbing despite being short rides.   My body is not very happy.  Two crashes in less than a month, my confidence in my tires is zero (and I haven’t changed them yet), and flights home and back; some time off the bike and yuck.  I’m out of my zone for getting stronger.  I may use the trainer for a while to get some fitness without road risk, although Santorini and Crete are upon me and I can’t wait to ride the bike on the West side of Crete.

That’s it for now.  Here are some photos of Sifnos . . .











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