Discovering that our outboard engine was leaking fuel on departure day from Livaditis boat yard was disappointing. Finding out that the replacement gaskets would take 3 days to arrive from Athens was crushing.
We had no other choice we'd have to splash A B Sea into the water and motor over to the small harbour at Limni and tie up there for a few days.
Xaris from the boat yard keeps his fishing boat at Limni harbour and had explained to me that the entrance was very tight and that I should stay as far away as possible from the jumble of rocks to starboard as it was very shallow.
As soon as you enter the harbour there's a red painted strip along the top of the quay delineating where visiting vessels can tie up. I decided not to tie up right at the entrance just in case a deeper draft vessel wanted to come in past the shallow rocks area.
Passing two other visiting yachts I managed to get A B Sea snuggled into a dog leg section of the quay and with the help of a Greek guy from the yacht behind us we got safely tied off. Getting back out of the harbour was going to be the tricky bit.
The short motor over to the harbour from the boat yard had warmed up the engine oil, so the first job I had to complete was an oil and oil filter change. Ideally this should've been done the very first day that A B Sea was lifted out of the water in October 2019 because, as we have learned from one of our subscribers, old engine oil has a tendency to go acidic. Lesson learned for next time.
The previous year when I'd been hand pumping the old oil out I'd noticed that the long tube that goes down the dipstick tube and into the sump was starting to crack so I'd gone out and bought a replacement tube ready for this year's oil change. What I didn't check was that the new tube would fit inside the dipstick hole. It didn't. Bugger. I then spent the next hour walking to various shops in Limni trying to find a tube of the correct diameter.
Eventually back at the boat I pumped out all of the old oil without making too much mess. Then came the job of removing the oil filter.
I have yet to buy a filter removal strap, it's on the list. So I had to resort to the old trick of punching a big screwdriver through the body of the filter and twisting it off that way. Knowing how much oil pours out I put a plastic bag over it to catch the oil. Once the inside of the bag got coated with oil it was like trying to wrestle a slippery eel and I still managed to get oil all over the place. Next year I'll have to come up with an even more cunning plan.
The outboard repair guy came through with good news after a couple of days and with the outboard firmly attached to the transom of the dinghy and the dinghy up on the davits it was time to leave Limni.
The morning of departure the wind was gusting and blowing us onto the quayside. Not ideal, but we could time our manoeuvre between gusts.
I explained the plan to Aannsha and leaving only the stern line attached I used the bow thruster to push the pointy end away off the quay. Then with a clear path forward deeper into the harbour we released the stern line and Aannsha pushed us off the quay with a boat hook. Step one went well.
Step two was to line up the stern of A B Sea with the harbour entrance and get enough way to give me steerage in reverse. This manoeuvre was also going very well until I spotted that two yachts were rafted together right at the narrow harbour entrance leaving very little room to squeeze past while avoiding the shallow rocky section.
I got a stern look from the lady on the outside yacht as we squeezed past leaving a bit of our fender rubber along their hull. Damn stupid and selfish place to raft up in the first place. Anyway we got out and nobody died in the process.
Back in the saddle
From Limni we headed north up the Evia channel to our planned first anchorage at Karavomylos. We did manage to get the sails out but there was only enough wind for us to motor sail.
After a good night's sleep we upped anchor at 07.30 and headed off for a 7 hour trip to the Greek island of Skiathos. Just how busy (or not) the islands would be was something we were looking forward to discovering.
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