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Aannsha’s Blog #117 – It’s the scary stuff that makes it an adventure!

Tomorrow’s video opens with Baz opening his heart about his feeling of despair, and why he didn’t want to go out in our hire car on Day 3 to explore more of the Greek island of Evia where A B Sea is hauled out for European winter. But I’m getting ahead of myself, on Day 2 we took the car to the largest town on the island, Chalkida.

Snow on the pass

We wanted to visit a good chandlers and there is one in Chalkida, along with a couple of new yachty friends who we’d been in contact with via email and who are wintering in the marina at Chalkida. I made some hummus to take with us for our meeting and, leaving late, we didn’t arrive at the marina until about 12.30pm.

The journey there however was pretty spectacular, with snow on the highest hills that make up the mountainous pass from the north to the southern side. It takes about an hour and a half to drive this winding and sometimes narrow road and we were a bit cautious about black ice, but the sun was shining and the snow was melting and the trip was uneventful apart from the beautiful views. Along the way I was glad to follow my inner prompting and turned on the video camera just in time to film a waterfall! We drove through a few very small villages on the road to the pass and the houses in the hamlet at the top of the pass had snow covered gardens.

To get good footage, I held the camera out of the window and managed to freeze my fingers and get condensation in the lens, so some of the video has a little round haze in the centre, which adds to the frosty atmosphere of the trip!

Our sat nav got us to the marina without a hitch and we spent a good few hours chatting to our new friends on their lovely 53 foot Amel. Time passed quickly and we said our goodbyes and drove on to the chandlers (that is only a five minute walk from the marina), but that was closed and wouldn’t reopen until 5pm.

Chalkida marina

A fort with a view

We headed on up to the Karababa fort that sits perched on top of the hill overlooking the northern side of the large bay to the south of Chalkis bridge. Unfortunately, we’d arrived at the wrong time; in winter it’s only open Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays between 10.30am-3.30pm. It was Friday, so we had a short walk around the outside of the castle and took a few photos of the fantastic view of the bridge and the bay.

Deciding that Tuesday would be the best day to return as the chandlers would be open (Sunday it would be closed and Thursday we returned the car), we jumped in the car and headed back ‘home’ to our studio at Sipiada.

Baz wanted to leave while it was light, and before any possible freezing at the top of the mountain pass. The light was just perfect, giving that attractive honeyed hue to everything and the footage I took of the scenery on the way home was lovely.

Everything grinds to a halt

With the car costing so much to hire (46 euros/AUD75 a day including 24% tax), we wanted to make the most of it and had planned on doing a bit of sight seeing the following day as the weather was so sunny and mild. However, after getting ready to go out, I looked expectantly at Baz who was still hogging his laptop keyboard with an air of desperation about him. I looked at his slightly hunched, and ‘sensing into him’ which is the only way I can express what I do, I got an edgy feeling.

I was just about to ask him if he was ready to go, when he slowly turned to me looking like one of those sad cartoon puppies and said “I don’t want to go out today, my heart’s just not in it.”

That’s just not like Baz.

  1. He generally doesn’t share his feelings and

  2. He doesn’t like to waste money. And not using the car for a day was a waste of money.

Adding that up with my sense of edginess about him meant something was seriously up with him.

“What’s up love?”

“It’s the keel. I’m really worried about it.”

“Oh, I know what you mean,” I said with relief as I’d also been silently fretting about it but not saying anything to Baz so as not to concern him. I suggested we go and sit outside on the balcony and talk about it. Thankfully after a massive sigh, he agreed.

A little while later we were sitting in the brilliant sunshine that chased the mild winter chill away, with a note pad, pen and a couple of beers. I’d recommended we film the segment, to bring you guys and gals in on what was going on for us, and I’m glad we did. We’ve already had a comment from a couple of patrons (who get to see our videos earlier) saying they found the piece supportive in dealing with their own particular boat situation.

So we had an in depth and heartfelt chat about our concerns about the keel and worst case scenarios, and as we did that, I wrote out a flow chart of work that we need to do for the keel once we get the correct tools for the job.

Writing our flow chart

The correct tools include an oscillating saw from our friend Nikos who is kindly lending us his. Once we have that we’ll be able to unglass the keel bolts and inspect the situation for rust/water ingress. Nikos had said he was dropping them off to them in a few days. Once we inspect the keel bolts, we’ll be able to make decisions for further treatment. As we couldn’t go any further with that particular part of the flow chart, we moved on to the boat systems, including the engine and electrical systems, among other things.

It’s like an adventure movie

Flow chart of boat work

We soon had two A4 pages of flow charts that gave us a good overview of the work we need to do.

We admitted that as well as needing correct tools, the weather had played a part in our lack of action, along with, admittedly, dragging our feet. Baz said it was like looking in Pandora’s box and being too scared to. I said it was like being in an adventure movie where we had to see how bad the bad guy really is and we’d been too scared to look. But if we see our life at the moment like an adventure movie, the bad guy is what makes it a good movie. Not knowing the outcome is what makes it an adventure. And that’s what Baz had wanted when he’d suggesting buying a yacht in the first place.

What a relief to get it out of our headsWe laughed at that and I realised that we’d transformed the fear enough to move on. Okay, we’d wasted a day’s car hire, but we were Team A B Sea back on track!

Team A B Sea

Sanding the A B Sea’s hull

Sanding antifoul off the bottom of a boat is a dirty job. It’s long and tedious. And unless you’re covered in the right protective gear, it exposes you to the antifoul toxins (that deter sea life from growing on the hull).

That’s why we bit the bullet and hired Juliano through the boat yard. For 200 Euros (AUD326) he did a sterling job of sanding back the hull, the keel, the propeller and the rudder. It’s all looking great and has given us a head start on applying new antifoul.

Looking forward to seeing more of Evia

We still had a few days of car hire left though, so we planned to visit a nearby monastery (really a nunnery) and check out the east side of the island. I suggested we have a look at the ferry terminal at Mantoudi. Come along with us next week as we look at this, the extent of damage to the roads on the island after the recent storms, and also visit the incredible natural hot springs at Edipsos just north of where we’re staying.

If you want to see the video that accompanies this blog, just click here.

Sipiada beach

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