We toasted our last night on board – in a golden Greek sunset – thanking all of our subscribers, followers and patrons who are with us “two old farts” as we live our wet grey nomad lifestyle.
After a decent night’s sleep, we woke up to a pretty windless day with calm sea and hazy purple pink light on the horizon as the sun began to rise. Today was the day A B Sea was getting hauled out. I was pretty excited at the prospect of living on terra firma for a few months, but also a tad nervous about my particular job in the haul out manoeuvre.
Unlike other boat yards we’ve been to, Livaditis Boat Yard just north of Limni on Evia Island in Greece doesn’t have a sling type lift, but uses a sled that’s driven into the water, attached to a robust tractor. Baz as Captain actually had the difficult task of manoeuvring A B Sea onto the sled, which, when you look at the video that comes out tomorrow, you’ll see is pretty narrow. From Baz’s position at the helm at the stern of the yacht, the sled wouldn’t be in view, so he’d have to rely on the hand signals from Xaris, the boat yard owner to guide him.
So why was I nervous? I certainly trusted Baz’s boat handling ability and the boat yard’s 30 years of haul out experience. I was nervous because with my damaged left ankle/foot, I had to:
Get off our moving boat, into the dinghy.
Beach the dinghy on shore by myself, carrying the Sony video camera.
Get out and walk around the pebbly beach on my injured foot and capture as much usable footage (lol ‘footage’) as possible.
I wasn’t sure how well I’d be able to do that, given that I couldn’t comfortably put weight on my foot, never mind move quickly over the pebbles to capture relevant shots. But I was damn well going to give it my best effort.
My first job was to untie the line that secured us to the mooring buoy. Baz assisted by using the bow thruster to position the yacht well enough for me to do that and soon, the line was free and so was A B Sea.
I hobbled (walking on my left heel keeping my foot rigid) to the side deck gate and scrambled down the step fender into the dinghy. Baz handed me the camera. I managed to wedge myself against the dinghy well enough to lower and start the engine and then off I tootled. I accelerated slightly so the dinghy would beach onto the shore (the engine was tilted high enough so that the propeller wouldn’t be damaged).
Eugenia, one of the boat yard owners, met me and welcomed me in a mix of German and English which I appreciated at is reminded me of working at Pasta d’Vine with our good friends Sue and Oskar who often conversed in German. She saw my damaged foot wrapped in an elastic bandage and as I limped my way towards the tractor and sled, I told her what I’d done and that I needed to see a doctor once we’d got settled. She very helpfully began telling me about where the x-ray place was, but I was watching Baz manoeuvre A B Sea closer towards the sled, so I focused on the tractor and said, “I need to film this”. I felt a bit rude walking away from her, but I was on a mission and I hoped she would understand.
Walking on one’s ankle over pebbles isn’t really easy, so I had to place weight on the foot. I just trusted that the bandage would support the ligaments, while any breaks would be fixed once I got to a doctor. The show must go on!
Evangelis, the father-owner of the boat yard was driving the tractor and gave me a wave and a bright, warm, welcoming smile saying “Welcome! Welcome!” I grinned back and said “Efharisto” (thanks) and limped around, filming interesting tractor parts as I found a good vantage point to film Baz slipping A B Sea onto the sled.
Baz did an awesome job, only slightly off centre on his first attempt, but quickly corrected A B Sea’s position with Xaris’s guidance and soon our yacht was on the sled. Baz attached a sturdy mooring line to the starboard bow cleat, dropped the end to Xaris who threaded it through the sled and handed it up to Baz who tied it off on the port bow cleat. With A B Sea now firmly attached to the sled, Evangelis reversed the tractor and A B Sea gracefully slid up the beach and out of the water.
I’d shut off to pain at that point and tottered around capturing more footage until Baz was able to climb down a ladder that Xaris had placed at the stern of A B Sea whilst giving him a warm, “Welcome Captain!” Before he descended, Baz asked me what she looked like, meaning what’s the state of the boat’s hull? I said she looked as if she needed a shave – meaning there was a bit of weed and barnacle growth! All things being equal though, she didn’t look too bad, given she’d been in the water for nearly two years.
At that point Baz (who was carrying another camera) and I had some “one on one camera action”! And once the boat yard fellow, Theo, had cleaned the hull, propeller and rudder with a high pressure water blaster, A B Sea was towed to her resting place for the Mediterranean winter months.
A place to call home
After that, Eugenia showed us a studio apartment that ticked all of our boxes and we happily moved in. The studio is simply furnished with most things we need, and what hasn’t been provided, we’ve borrowed from A B Sea. It has a compact bathroom with shower and toilet, a small galley shaped kitchen with a 3 ring stove and oven and basic kitchen implements, a fridge-freezer (yes, freezer!!), a small table and chairs and a double and single bed, with a few bedside tables.
There is also a decent sized cupboard in the corner. There is another table on the balcony with four chairs and a good view of the Evia Channel. Baz got another table and we have set up a working office which now houses our laptops, hard drives and camera equipment.
I’ve piled my jewellery making and art things onto the dressing table in the corner, so we have all we need to survive the few months it takes to do boat maintenance and get A B Sea habitable again. I say habitable because we’re pulling her insides apart so Baz has access to all of the systems. Staying in the studio allows us to keep the boat in a state of upheaval until all of the big work is done. Then we’ll be able to move back on board.
We celebrated our first evening with a bottle of proper Champagne that Jeff and Lena Bey had given us when we met them at Kythnos. And drank it from the port and starboard glasses given to us by our friend and patron Jim. What a great way to start our time on land. I was so relieved to be on terra firma, as you’ll understand if you read last week’s blog. The next thing on the agenda was going to be a visit to a doctor to find out what was wrong with my foot.
My left foot
I was too pooped on Saturday to make a 31Km journey to the town where the x-ray place was, and because Monday was a holiday, I wasn’t able to visit the doctor in Istiaia until Tuesday (exactly a week after damaging my foot).
Eugenia kindly called us a taxi, driven by Dimitris who was very sympathetic and helpful. He drove us to the doctor and waited for us to take us back to the boat yard. He also drove us to the x-ray place which is situated in what used to be a house, the reception room probably originally being a lounge. The radiologist there was very efficient and the x-ray visit didn’t take longer than 30 minutes from start to finish. Back to the doctor who explained that I had bad ligament damage and also a hairline fracture of one of the bones in my foot. He said I’d need a moon boot for at least 6 weeks.
We ordered that at a specialised shop that Dimitris took us to and kindly acted as translator with the guy in the shop. The shop guy ordered the boot and told us to return the next day when it would be delivered. Dimitris drove us back to the boat yard and charged us 60 Euros as he’d been an active participant in my visits as driver/translator.
The following day Dimitris took us back to the shop where Baz got the boot, and then to the doctor, who kindly fitted it and told me to wear this every day. He also gave me an elastic bandage with a cotton wool under bandage for night time. He said I’d probably need to wear it for at least four weeks (turned into 8 weeks). He said I shouldn’t walk much the first week and after that to listen to my ankle/foot and let my body tell me when I could walk on it. I thought that was sound advice.
Dimitris drove us home and only charged us 50 Euros for the second day. Baz and I were very grateful for everything he helped us with, he was very kind and made the whole process a lot simpler.
There’s a blow coming
Back at the boat yard with high winds predicted, Baz secured A B Sea’s bimini and also put the spray hood down so there would be less surface area for the wind to catch. As the days went by, we also got some good rain and the days eventually became cooler.
I spent a lot of my time making jewellery, uploading them to my Mermaid’s Treasure Store on our website, and also creating Aannsha’s Jewellery page on Facebook. I was stoked to receive a few orders for Christmas as a result! Now some of the glass and shells that I’ve found on our travels and wire wrapped with sterling silver, have new homes all around the world. That is very gratifying.
A few weeks on, my foot still wasn’t completely fixed and I know that bothered Baz, but I realised it was a long process and giving my body enough time and being sensible and resting (not easy for me), I understood that I’d soon be walking in two shoes again. As I write this, I’ve been free of the moon boot for almost a week, and am very happy to be able to get out of the baggy tracky-dacks (Australian slang for track suit bottoms) and wear jeans again!
Winter is upon us and we have cloudy and often rainy days, but where we are in Limni is actually very sheltered from most of the harsh weather and we’ve watched a few nasty storm fronts hit other parts of Greece while we’ve had only rain and fairly mild wind (up to 35 knots) here.
So how are we spending our time in the boat yard? I’ll let you know next week. For those of you reading this as it’s published, I wish you a very Merry Christmas.
You can see all of this in the video that accompanies this blog. Just click here