Getting ready to move on


It has been a busy month with the last preparations so that we can move on at the end of the month. Svein completed the first stage of the bimini and then embarked on another project dear to him. He has started to fit a targa to the doghouse so that we can move the main sail sheeting. It started with some stainless steel reinforcements that have been fixed to the house and then bolted through the deck. Then it was fun and games with fibreglass (which we are still clearing out of all the nooks and cranies). Unfortunatley he did not have time to sand and paint but that will be a job for when we get under way.

We also had time to do a little sightseeing and visited the thermal waters and its beach on the South of the island. We went with Britt Marie and Gunnar from Jespan and enjoyed a lovely day with a regal BBQ on the beach and Caryn even tested the sea.  We also visited a restaurant at Zia where we were invited by Pieter and his girlfriend Irene.

There was an evening meal with all the liveaboards at a local restaurant one night. Who knows when and where we will all meet up again and a final BBQ that finished very late for some!!

Svein’s birthday was also celebrated in style together with Jespan and this year he even got a present!!

In addition Caryn took a short trip to the UK to check on her mother using the recently opened Easyjet route with a direct flight into Gatwick from Kos. The weather was freezing over there but she was able to take her mother out shopping and she that she had settled into the care home.

Back on board it was all go to tidy the boat and get it shipshape for the departure on 29th April. We were also moved from Pontoon D to the outer wall which made it easier for Svein to work. The saloon cushions have all been cleaned and the front cabin has now been restored to its seagoing state.

Bimini finished (at least the top bit). Continued cleaning the cushions in the sun.Got sunburnt. Pleasant evening in the clubhouse with drinks. Sunny with slight wind. Svein installed the new wind instrument on the mast and then checked out the navigation system which now includes the wind readings on the screen. We have stocked up with diesel and filled the tank.

The weather for April has been very mixed with strong winds and heavy rain but also glorious sunny days that make you think that Spring has come. The trees are in full bloom and the town is looking very green. The sea has also been warm enough to swim in albeit for short periods.

We are now ready to leave the marina after 18 months on the island of Kos. Our new adventure starts.

Sitting out the winter


Having recovered from our Kalymnos trip we then took another one this time to Rhodes. The main aim was to buy replacement batteries as our current ones had given up the ghost.

We took the catamaran and after a late departure (of several hours) and a very bumpy ride we reached Rhodes in the early evening. We walked from the quay through the old town up to Elly and Per (Sybaris). They bought a house a couple of years ago in the old town and it is a very welcome stopping place when passing through Rhodes. Although the weather was not too kind Elly and Caryn walked the town doing our shopping while Per and Svein went off to buy the batteries. We all met up for lunch in the new market and then walked back to the house before walking to a restaurant for the evening meal.

The next day dawned windy and rainy again and after checking we were told that the catamaran would not be running so Svein changed our tickets to the ferry and made arrangements to have the batteries delivered on board. We duly arrived at the ferry terminal to find that it also had been delayed. As there was no time to return to the house we waited in the rain for the ferry to arrive. The batteries arrived on time and were driven on board. Svein now had the task of removing them (all 200kgs) from the ferry when we arrived in Kos. We got in at 3h30 am and he proceeded to remove them 2 by 2 whilst the lorries were being loaded and unloaded round him much to the annoyance of the marineros. Eventually they were unloaded and loaded into the boot of the car which we then took back to the marina at a very slow pace.

The next day Svein loaded them on board and started the new installation. This meant removing the old batteries and demolishing the starboard side of the aft cabin to rebuld it up again. Once the batteries were installed Svein made a temporary installation to hold them in place until he could make the final installation. However at 4 in the morning disaster struck. The plinth they were standing on broke on one side and the batteries fell over spilling the acid over the floor!!!!!!! The batteries were uprighted and fixed temporarily again but the first task for Svein the next day was to make and install the steel structure that would hold them in place. Once that was fixed it was a question of rebuilding the desk making use of the extra storage space beneath. It was then varnished and the wall repainted and set up as a desk with all the paperwork stored in new folders and the sailing manuals stored on the shelf. Caryn sorted through the paperwork and then spent 3 days shredding the documents that were no longer needed!!!!

Now in work mode Svein then attacked the leak in the water tank that has been bothering us for quite some time and which meant that we could not fill the tanks to capacity – not a good thing when fresh water is always a premium when at sea. This job done (over several days so that it was fully dry) he then attacked the saloon deck hatch that badly needed attention. He replaced the joist with a new stainless steel one and then waterproofed the structure finishing by painting it. In parallel he also repaired the main entrance door and repainted it.

Still in working mode he bought and installed a stainless steel frame for a fixed bimini and then made the bimini top.

We are pretty well sorted before leaving the marina at the end of the month. The engine still has to be checked and some replacement items installed.

We have had a varied winter as far as the winter is concerned. There has been plenty of rain and even more strong winds whether they be from the North or the South. There have been some days with strong force winds that have made some liveaboards spend nights in a hotel.  We have also had sunny days that have enabled us to have BBQs and long nights round a fire.

Svein has helped others with their computer problems with even one computer being sent over from Nisyros on the ferry!!!

We have celebrated Svein’s birthday in style with a very good meal out together with our friends from Jespan.

Now all that remains is to complete getting the boat ready and setting out on our new adventure at the end of the month after one year’s forced halt on the island of Kos.

Visit to Kalymnos


The first main event of the new year was a visit to Kalymnos, a neighbouring island, with Britt Marie and Gunnar from Jespan to celebrate Gunnar’s birthday.

We drove to Mastihari early on Thursday morning to catch the ferry. It was a clear and sunny day and the crossing was calm. After the short trip (opne hour) we landed and went in search of our hotel (Olympic Hotel). We were given a room with a view over the harbour and the main square.

Once settled in we started exploring the island by driving up the east coast visiting Vathi on the way. Here we had moored with the boat previously. It was pleasant to see it in the quiet of the winter. We continued up the coast on the winding mountainous roads, complete with hairpin bends, until we reached Emporio on the North West tip. We had also anchored here in the delightful bay.

Whilst we were looking around we witnessed a most unusual way of fishing. A fishing boat came to quay and put a rope round a bollard. Still attached it then began to reverse out to one side of the bay letting our the rope all the way. Once it had reached the entrance it dropped a marking buoy and began letting out a net. It proceeded to motor to the opposite side of the bay, still deploying the net. On its arrival at the opposite side it dropped another marker buoy and then began to motor towards the quay whilst hauling in the net. Once is arrived to quay it then sold the catch to the waiting customers on the quay. Once the customers were served it then unhooked the rope and motored away. All in all it took about one hour but was very entertaining to watch.

After leaving Emporio we then drove down the west coast of the island passing through the tourist towns (all closed and deserted) until we again reached the main town and the hotel.

We found a restaurant for lunch and then explored a little before meeting up again for the celebration dinner.

The next day we were due to take the ferry back but were countered in our efforts by the strong wind which meant that the car ferry would not cross to Kos. As we were in no hurry we decided to enjoy another day in Kalymnos albeit in the rain and wind and were able to return to Kos on the Saturday morning having enjoyed a pleasant trip to see an island from a different point of view.

December in Kos


At last we are into the last month of the year with the build up to the festivities and the last blog of 2012.

We have been able to have a few BBQs as the weather has been clement for a good part of the month although we have also seen our fair share of rain and cold wind.

In order to reduce the cost of the electricity, which now has to be paid for in the harbour, Svein has converted the diesel heater into a gas one. It has taken some time but he has eventually got it right and enables us to keep the boat warm as well as circulating hot water through the cupboards so that the clothes also remain dry.

There has been a celebration for Saint Lucia (organised by the Swedish boats) as well as different activities (organised by the town authorities). We visited the Xmas fair but did not go to the skating rink.

We also took the time out for a day trip round the island visiting areas where we had not been before. This took us to Tgikani and Mastihari (lunch stop) as well as Plaka where we saw the wild peacocks before returning via Pyli and Zia.

Svein also sorted out the WC outlet pipe whist Caryn cleared the cupboard in the head.

Suddenly it was time to have a mani/pedicure and a beauty treatment before the end of year festivities.

These started with a visit to a karaoke bar with others from the harbour. Then we were preparing the different dishes for the meal on Xmas eve. This was organised between 4 boats and was a representation of different traditional dishes from each country present. It was a good evening enjoyed by everyone. Then on Xmas day the marina organised a meal for liveaboards and staff. It was a delightful meal prepared by a restaurant based in Zia. Boxing Day saw us swimming in the sunshine and in water that was around 20. We finished the year with a quiet meal with Jespan and then Zeus who joined us to see in the new year.

We are now ready to face the new year and will be working on the boat before leaving Kos in April for our new adventures.

A Happy New Year to everyone with good health and prosperity.



It certainly has been a busy three months and time has flown by.

We started in early September with a trip to Athens to see all the doctors and to get a final prognosis. Caryn got the”all clear” as far as the cancer was concerned and now has to have bi-annual check-ups for two years. The shoulder is also well on the mend and she must continue with exercises to strengthen the muscles. However it is a good omen and we were enable to enjoy a good lunch with Marilyn in Glyfada before she drove us to the airport to catch the plane to Marseilles.

We hired a car at the airport and drove to Arles which was to be our base whilst we dealt with the paperwork. After wandering the deserted streets we managed to find a restaurant that was open and enjoyed our first meal on French soil. The following morning we delivered the medical files (3 thick ones!!) to the health office and then drove to visit our old haunts (Navy Service and Port Napoleon). We saw a number of changes but unfortunately many of the people we wanted to see were busy at the Cannes Boat Show so we had really picked our timing well. However we did manage to see Harry and Liz on their boat “Junica” and some old working colleagues. After a good lunch at Joaline (one of our favourite fish restaurants) where we gorged ourselves on tellines and mussels we returned to Arles.

The next day we had an appointment with the bank to meet our new financial adviser and then we spent time in the local shopping area before driving back to Port Saint Louis to have dinner with Patricia and Patrick, our friends who look after our mail and sort out any other problems we may have. After a delightful evening we returned to the hotel for a good night’s rest.

Saturday being market day in Arles we took advantage and wandered through it but, unfortunately, did not find our old stall favourites. However we did manage to drink in the atmosphere before setting off on the next stage of our journey. This was to visit Caryn’s aunt who lives near the town of Eymet. After a 5-hour journey we arrived safe and sound. We stayed here 2 days visiting family. Whilst here we learnt that Caryn’s mother had fallen and broken her arm but had been moved to a local town hospital for care. We would now have to plan a journey to the UK when she was ready to leave the hospital. There was nothing to be done for the moment so we continued with our visits and moved further West to the Atlantic coast where Caryn’s son was on holiday. This was the opportunity to meet his wife, Jo, as we had been unable to attend the wedding. We spent a couple of days with them and then were on the move again to the Vendee to see our friends Barry and Angela from “Scorpio”. We had missed them in Port Napoleon so had decided to visit them at home. We had a lovely drive to their home through the pine forests of the Landes, then a short boat ride to Royanne and another short burst in the car to Mervent. What a delight their house. It is full of surprises and has the most spectacular view out over the river. We stayed here a couple of days catching up on news as it had been 3 years since we had seen them.

Then it was time to leave and catch our flight back to Athens. We left and started the 1000 km journey back to Marseille where we arrived exhausted but with 10 minutes to spare for our hotel check-in. We caught the flight the next day and were met by Marilyn at the airport who kindly drove us to Piraeus to catch the ferry. She showed up a little restaurant near the harbour where we had an enjoyable if expensive meal. The next day we were back safely in Kos.

We returned to the flat and started packing up as the boat was going to be launched and we had decided to move back on board. Svein spent the week finishing off the different jobs that remained to be done before the launch. We also caught up on news with “Jespan” as they had returned from their stay in Sweden. We also met up with Keith (Castor en Pollux) several times. He had driven back to Greece from the UK so had kindly brought out some things for us which he dropped off on his way to his boat in Rhodes.

After much delay the boat was launched and we were moored on Pontoon “A” so it was ideal for the move back on board as we could drive the van right up to the boat. It was good to be back on board after such a long absence and we were quick to find our old habits. The first job was to sort out the clothing and this was done fairly quickly.

Svein was very anxious to try out the new wings so we planned a short trip to Nisyros (with “Jespan” who had also gone back in the water) to see if everything was working out well. It would be the last opportunity of the season to get a little sailing done as we had already booked our passage to the UK. Caryn’s mother had at last got a place in the care home and we would be clearing the flat and making it ready for sale. We had decided to drive as we would have things to bring back and had bought the car from Keith.

We left Kos on the Wednesday ferry arriving on Thursday morning. We drove to Patras to catch the next one which would take us to Ancona. On arriving in Patras disaster struck. Although we had had the car thoroughly checked before leaving Kos we sprung a leak in the radiator. We managed to get the car on the boat with the intention of repairing it in Italy. However we misunderstood the arrival time and instead to arriving at 11am (as we thought) on Friday morning we eventually arrived at 11pm!!! It had been impossible to find a hotel but Svein worked some magic and managed to get us a cabin (for free) on the ferry so we had a good night’s sleep and did not have to leave until 9am on Saturday. Needless to say no mechanics work during the weekend so we had to spend the weekend in Ancona. This meant getting used to crowds again but we found a nice little hotel and explored the town on foot. Svein also went to find mechanics and on Monday morning he drove the car to the one he had found. They promised to have the car ready the next day so on Tuesday at 2pm we were setting off on the next stage of our journey.

Svein drove through the night and we drove through Italy, Switzerland, France, Luxemburg, Belgium and them back into France to pick up the last ferry to England from Dunkerque. We left on the 2pm ferry (24 hours to do 1900 km with a few stops on the way) and by 6pm we had at last arrived in Henley on Thames.

Then it was straight into the work of emptying the flat, sorting out what was to be kept or taken to the care home and arranging to get rid of the rest. All the authorities also had to be dealt with and everyone advised of the change in circumstances of Caryn’s mother. Her sister Cheryl was also there so that mutual decisions could be made and the drive to the tip was made a little easier although there were at least 6 trips!!! An auctioneer came to evaluate the items to be sold and generally at the end of 2 weeks all was in order as we were able to think about leaving to return to Greece. The weather was miserable whilst we were there and we certainly felt the damp and the cold.

With Caryn’s mother well settled into the home and after clearing out the final items, loading up the car with the items going to Greece and dropping off the keys we headed for Newhaven and the first ferry for our return journey. We arrived in good time and after an uneventful crossing we started south on the trip to Barry and Angela who we would be staying with for a few days. We arrived safely and were extremely well fed during the whole stay. We also got to sleep in the tower (which had not been possible in September). We took advantage of the time there to drive to La Rochelle where we browsed round boating shops and found the material needed to make our spinnaker sleeve.

After 3 days we took to the road again and headed, this time, for Caryn’s aunt. We again arrived safely and enjoyed a visit that enabled us to see Caryn’s uncle, Dick. and his family and to participate in the Armistice Day celebrations in the village as well as having a birthday lunch for Caryn.

On the road again and this time heading for Grenoble where we were due to meet Alex and Jo. Caryn had had her mother’s engagement ring resized for Jo in England and this was the opportunity to give it to her. We had not wanted to drive to Tignes (where they normally live) as we wanted to avoid snow. We had a pleasant meal with them and caught up on news.

The next day we all left: Alex and Jo to return to Tignes and we headed for Italy passing through the Frejus tunnel. What a shock on exiting the tunnel to find snow stacked on the side of the road!! Fortunatley there was none on the road and we continued on our way heading for Ancona or rather for a little town south of Ancona called Porto Raconnati where we had booked a hotel for the night. We had one last stage to do in Italy and that was the journey to Brindisi where we would catch the ferry to Igoumenitsa On the road we received a call from the ferry company to say that the ferry had developed a technical fault so we would be leaving the next morning instead. On arriving in Brindisi we checked in for the ferry but had to find a hotel by ourselves as there was no help from the company although the delay was their fault.. The weather was foul but we eventually found a hotel and they even arranged for a takeaway to be brought to us as it was too awful to go out. We left the hotel at 5am to catch the ferry. We drove to the harbour but had great difficulty in finding anything out about the departure. Eventually things got sorted out and we boarded the ferry together with a very large number of Bulgarians who all seemed to be taking second hand cars back to their home country.

After an uneventful journey we reached Igoumenitsa. The original plan was to drive to Messolonghi and stay the night as it was impossible to catch a ferry to Kos until the next day. We started the drive but soon had great difficulty driving in the dark along a road we did not know. We reached the town of Amfilochia and took our chances on finding a hotel for the night. We discovered a fantastic hotel that had a room available. This turned out to be the best and cheapest hotel of our whole journey!!

The next day we completed the journey to Athens. Here we managed to buy our tickets for Kos and to meet up with Mike and Marilyn for lunch before boarding the ferry. We had a quiet night on board and arrived safely in Kos the next morning after having been away for over 5 weeks. It was good to get back.

The boat had not moved but we did manage to move to Pontoon D (our winter quarters) before the BBQ that was planned. It was good to get back to the warmth and the sunshine.

It is difficult to imagine that we are only a month away from the end of the year. It will be good when this year ends as it has been a very unsettling one but we now hope that everything is back on track and that at the end of the winter we will be able to sail to harbours new.