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Aannsha’s Blog #125 – A smelly job and good news

During the lockdown …

We are coping well with the lockdown here on Evia Island in Greece. The boat yard is very isolated at the end of a lane right next to the sea and while there are houses along the lane, most of them seem to be holiday homes that are vacant. We very easily manage to practise social distancing from the other yachties who are staying here and the small handful of people who work here most days.

From the cockpit

The best part of this for me is that when the weather’s nice, I sit in A B Sea’s cockpit (now we’re living back on board on the hard) and listen to the sound of nature interrupted only by the occasional drone of a sanding machine, and the even more infrequent sound of a car on the road. What’s left is the sound of the breeze singing through rigging, the soft waves washing the pebble shoreline, birds calling and a magical, tangible stillness. Just lovely.

Fortunately we’re still allowed to go out for exercise (providing we take our permission slip and passport). So the beach is my favourite go-to daily. On the way home, we pick up pieces of plastic that have washed up on the beach and throw them in the recycle bin – doing our little bit to clean up the sea. It’s a small effort in the overall scheme of things, but it still gives me a good feeling, knowing I am doing something to address the pollution we humans have thoughtlessly dumped onto Nature.

Social media, Messenger and WhatsApp are good friends at the moment, allowing us to keep in contact with family, friends and subscribers. I’m doing my best to post upbeat, inspiring or downright funny messages or images on Facebook. There’s enough worry and grief already in the world, so I’m doing my best to bring some balance.

Relaxation and Regeneration

Another great avenue for mental/emotional/spiritual support is the Insight Timer App, which is free to use and contains over 20,000 different meditations. It’s got almost an almost 5 star review on Google Play from more than 52,000 people (and my review is right at the top lol).

You may already know that I used to run meditation groups in Australia. Well, I’ve become a ‘teacher’ on the app and have so far uploaded six meditations (mindfulness and visualisations) of lengths varying from 3 – 30 minutes. They’re all guided so are easy to follow. Providing these is another way I can do my bit to help people become more grounded, centred and calmer in this time of uncertainty. I’m pleased to say that at time of writing, ratings for my meditations range from between 91-100%.

Two in particular are favourites at the moment – one is a half hour guided relaxation by the beach called Ocean of Tranquillity which was very popular through Australian outlets for nearly 3 decades. One reviewer said:

"Just right. Familiar enough to be comforting and beautifullyl delivered."

The other half hour meditation is a powerful healing called Deep Regenerating White Light Cleansing. In fact one review from a listener said:

“Wow! I've been suffering pain from a fracture of my left clavicle for months, but the day after doing this meditation I was able to do laundry and strip the bed to change sheets with no pain whatsoever. Thank you so much!”

I’m very happy to hear that!

If you’re curious, you can access all my meditations via this link. Each time a meditation is played or reviewed, I receive a miniscule payment from Insight Timer (a bit like YouTube), so if you’d like to support me for free, this is a great way and you can get so much out of it too! Thank you in advance!

Meditations by Aannsha

And now for something completely different … and smelly

The stainless steel blackwater holding tank lives in the forward sail locker and over our last few weeks of sailing, I had a feeling (well, a smelling), that it might be leaking. When I cleaned the mold off the locker walls a couple of weeks ago, I did notice some tell-tale brown sludge at the back of one shelf right by the holding tank. Of course, this went on our Boat Jobs List and this week was when we tackled it.

Baz had quite a bit of trouble getting the inlet, outlet and pump out hoses disconnected from the pipes on the top of the tank. There was a lot of sweat involved and his chest muscles look much more ripped than when he started. He did try to heat the pipes with a flameless gas torch but to no avail and he had to cut one pipe to get it off. However, I’ve committed the torch to memory for when I next make some resin jewellery as it’ll be great to get rid of air bubbles!

Once Baz had removed the pipes, I was able to add a solution (inspired by Peggy Hall) to the tank that would help soften any residual poo. We did clean the tank out well before we came on the hard, so I didn’t think there would be too much residue left, but as we were removing the tank we wanted to be absolutely sure there’d be no brown trails running all over the boat when we did!

The recipe I used was two cups of laundry liquid (which dissolves the fat in the poo) mixed with two cups of water. I poured that into the tank and topped it up with fresh water. We let that sit (marinate) for two days.

It was poo I’d been smelling!

Once the tank was nice and clean and empty, Baz removed it from its position and we lowered it to the ground. On inspection we could see a rusted patch in the bottom corner and noticed that the bottom seam had rusty beading all along the edges. I knew my nose hadn’t been mistaken! Time for a fix or a new tank.

Baz took the tank to Manolis in the boat yard workshop but despite being a bit of a legend with metal working (he built and flew his own helicopter back in the day), he wasn’t able to help as he didn’t have the right cutting tools.

Taking a fishy taxi to Chalkida

Despite not being able to assist Baz at the boatyard, Evangelis the owner, offered to take him down to Chalkida to visit a stainless steel manufacturer, Aloniatis Ionannis. So a few days later when Evangelis took some fish that Xaris had caught to market in Chalkida, Baz hitched a ride with the tank in the van.

Apparently they were very quick to assist him and the whole visit only took about half an hour (the round trip itself took four hours to and from Chalkida). After looking at the tank, the guy rewelded the seams and added a thick piece of stainless steel to the badly rusted corner. That would do until we eventually get to Turkey where we’ll have a new one made as it’s more cost effective to do that there. The whole job only cost 30 Euros (AU$58), and we thought that was very reasonable.

Baz was happy with that result.

A reminder of the sea

I’ve made a couple of ‘rock pools’ using resin, shells and colourful beach pebbles, set into large flat shells. They’re ideal for sitting on a table or desk, and a little piece of the sea, for people who can’t make it to the beach or their boat at the moment.

Two rock pools in shells and a resin pendant

Recognition from Insight Timer

As I write this, Insight Timer has just sent me an email telling me that Ocean of Tranquillity has been featured on their carousel that sits on the Insight Timer Sleep homepage. They said: “This is a new feature that aims to showcase noteworthy content”. I feel so grateful. Wow.

Next week

We’ve got plenty more boat jobs to show you over the next few weeks. Next week promises to be just as smelly as Baz removes the hose from the day heads (toilet)! And he also checks out the bow thruster and replaces the dead 12v battery.

I look forward to spending ‘time’ with you next week. In the meantime, I wish you and your loved ones excellent health.

Wild poppies growing outside the boat yard at Sipiada

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