Saturday morning I got out of bed and began my usual morning task of checking and replying as needed, to overnight emails, website, Facebook and YouTube comments. This was day 2 of our week long car hire on Evia island in Greece and we had planned on driving to a hardware store to tick more items off our shopping list.
As I typed my replies my mind wandered to mull over, for the thousandth time, the big concern of the condition of the keel and keel bolts on A B Sea. Meanwhile another part of my mind was thinking about our battery systems, the fuel tank and the possibility of installing a water maker.
After a couple of hours had passed and I'd replied to everyone, I got up from my computer and walked out onto the studio balcony to take in the view of the Evia channel on another perfectly calm sunny day. That was when a huge feeling of despair washed over me. Then I felt my stomach knot as stress also kicked in and as I stood there it felt like my mind could not concentrate on any single thought for less than a nanosecond. I felt like I was searching for a solution to a problem that I couldn't even put my finger on.
I was snapped out of my complete mental grinding halt by Aannsha asking if I was ready to go to the hardware store. I turned to her and said "I can't go out today. My heart isn't in it."
With a bemused look she asked what was wrong. She was aware of how expensive the car hire was for the week and wondered why I'd waste a whole day of not using the car. I explained, as best I could, what was going on and she confessed that she'd also been laying awake at nights thinking about the boat jobs and especially thinking about worst case scenarios regarding the keel bolts.
We'd both been individually stressing and not sharing our concerns to try and protect the other from any stress. Once that was out in the open it sounded pretty stupid. We're team A B Sea and a team works better when everyone is in on the game plan.
We called a meeting and with a couple of cold beers, a pen and some writing paper we sat down at the balcony table and poured out all of the things that were concerning us. We made notes and flow charts about the order in which we'd tackle the boat jobs and the individual steps needed to complete each one.
A few hours passed as we talked about and dissected each job and I must admit it felt really great to get all of the thoughts out of my head and down onto paper. We eventually had a plan and we'd put that plan into action straight after we'd returned the hire car at the end of the week.
There's snow in them there hills
The biggest town on Evia island is Chalkida (pronounced Hal-key-da) and that was where we were headed to meet a couple of Aussie sailors who winter on their yacht in the marina there. It was also the place where we'd find a chandler store and a couple of hardware stores to buy some boat bits.
It takes 1.5 hours to drive from Limni to Chalkida and I would say the road is challenging. Luckily the winter snow fall had been cleared from the actual road and was now piled up along the side and was slowly but surely melting away which is a good thing because the mountain pass has many twisting bends, several hairpin bends and some big inclines.
The nice lady who lives inside our satnav got us safely to Chalkida marina and we found our new Aussie friends boat and climbed on board. We got talking about boats, islands, anchorages and all the other stuff boat owners talk about and before we knew it time had swiftly passed us by and it was already 3.30 in the afternoon.
The chandlery and hardware stores were now closed until 5.00pm and as we didn't want to drive back over the mountain pass in the darkness we decided that we'd come back to Chalkida another day. We did however have time to do the tourist thing and check out the ancient fort that's perched on the hill overlooking the narrow Chalkida channel.
After a 5 minute drive to get there we parked and headed to the entrance gate only to be confronted with a sign that announced that winter opening times were 10.00am to 3.30pm Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. This schedule meant that it would be Tuesday when we next visited Chalkida because Sunday the shops would be closed and Thursday was the day the hire car needed to be returned.
Giving a shrug to circumstances we got back in the car and drove back north to Limni making it safely to the other side of the mountain pass well before darkness fell.
Some jobs are best done by others
As far as possible we do all of our own maintenance work on A B Sea to save money, hourly labour is expensive. But there are times when it just makes sense to pay someone to do a job. One job in particular was the sanding of the hull, keel, rudder and propeller.
Antifoul paint is toxic, that's why things in the water tend not to grow on it, therefore you need protective gear to keep it off your skin and out of your lungs. We didn't have that gear nor did we have a desire to spend 2 long days actually doing the job and stretching our arms and shoulders in positions they're not used to going in.
I spoke with Xaris and his dad Evangelis and for 200 Euros (AU$330) they said they'd get their guy Juliano to complete the task once the weather cleared up.
A few days after we'd returned the hire car we heard the sound of an orbital sander carried on the breeze from the direction of A B Sea and went to have a look. Sure enough there was Juliano cracking on with the job and looking like a smurf covered by the blue coloured antifoul paint. We dashed back to the studio to grab a couple of cameras so that we could film part of the process. Juliano stopped while we set the cameras up and he smiled and said that he was already a follower of our videos on YouTube. That's always so exciting to hear.
Once we had enough footage we packed up and went back to the studio and because Juliano had looked so blue and he was really putting his back into the job I took a cold beer over to him which he looked quite grateful for.
I went to have a look at his work a few days later and he'd done a great job, a job that we were very happy not to have to do ourselves.
To watch the video that accompanies this blog click here.