Trepidation was the feeling I had as we walked from the studio apartment towards A B Sea. I generally enjoy taking things apart and putting them back together again, but somehow the thought of removing parts of the main engine had me on edge.
The first job on the list was to remove the exhaust mixing elbow. While it was attached to the engine there was no way of visually inspecting it to gauge how big of an area had rusted through allowing diesel soot to run riot all around the engine compartment and spaces beyond.
Before I could get started on removing the elbow a whole heap of other things needed relocating. First to go was the bedding and mattresses from both aft cabins, they'd be stowed in the princess suite. Next came the task of unscrewing and removing the wooden sections that make up the cabinetry that encloses the engine. These sections all have a sound deadening foam backing and of course they were inundated with soot. When we begin the cleaning phase we may need to replace the foam if we can't get it clean.
Removing the elbow was fairly straight forward and within an hour I had it outside in the sunshine where I could thoroughly inspect it. I have seen online images of other people's exhaust elbows and how they become blocked up over time. All of the openings on ours were free and clear which was great news. However there was a hole the length of my little finger that had rusted through at the back end of the collar.
I took it over to the workshop in the boat yard and Xaris took one look at it and pointed me in the direction of an old Greek guy who was having a smoke break sitting in the shade of a hauled out yacht. Manolis, who in his younger years actually built and flew his own helicopter, is the MacGyver of the yard and he tapped the elbow in various spots with a spanner and via translation declared that he could make a new collar for it and that it would cost 30 Euros (AU$48).
Two days later the exhaust elbow was back in my hands and the repair looked good. However we noticed beads of rust coloured liquid still oozing from the metal walls on the inside of the exhaust elbow and as it would be a constant niggle in the back of my mind how long it would be before another part rusted through, we have decided to get a price on a custom made stainless steel one from a guy in the north of the island. When we hire a car we'll take the old one up there and see what transpires.
Removing the caulking from the hull/keel joint has allowed the dampness to completely dry up, but we have discovered another small section lower down on the starboard side of the keel that is weeping. Scraping away the paint has revealed that it has been filled and presumably not been allowed to completely cure before being put back into the water. That's something needing further investigation.
We've decided to have the guy from the yard sand back the hull and keel and they are charging us 200 Euros (AU$324). It's a dirty job working with toxic materials and it's physically demanding too, so we'd rather pay someone to do that job.
Once he's completed that job we'll give the keel a really good going over and begin investigating the integrity of the keel bolts.
Knock knock. Who's there?
The winter temperatures were really starting to dip, with one or two nights dropping to 1C (32F). I was so cold I had 5 layers of clothes on and even with the electric fan heater right next to me, my feet felt like blocks of ice. The cold is my kryptonite.
Then one Sunday lunch time there was a knock at the studio door and there stood Nikos. He and his wife Kaliope had driven all the way from Porto Rafti to bring us a big oil filled electric heater that they had in storage. Kaliope had also brought a selection of very tasty homemade Greek pastries for us to enjoy. This was all cause for celebration so we went into Limni town and enjoyed hot chocolate, coffee and beers before heading back to the restaurant where we'd enjoyed Christmas Eve dinner with the other people staying at the boat yard.
This time having our Greek friends to order for us meant that we got to try foods that we'd never consider ordering. One dish in particular that is now a firm favourite of mine is called choriatiko loukanico - it's a type of Greek pork sausage typically flavoured with orange peel, fennel seed, and various other dried herbs and seeds. Yumm.
After a really enjoyable Sunday afternoon with Nikos and Kaliope, they once again braved the mountain pass between Limni and Chalkida and headed back to Porto Rafti, while Aannsha and I went home to bask in the warmth provided by the new heater. Bliss.
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