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A Long Overdue Update

March 26, 2011

Well, I’ve just looked at the site and discovered that we haven’t done a proper entry on the blog since early January, so I thought I’d better seize the moment and write something of what we’ve been up to over the past couple of months and bring you up to date on our activities since we got back to Gouvia.

As mentioned before, we had a busy time in UK & Ireland, (J has now listed everyone of the 75 family and friends we saw during our trip, and then there was various admin to take care of as well eg. Registering with a new GP, visiting the dentist, our house agents, our solicitor and the bank!  It was non-stop. We flew into Gatwick via Athens on 14 January, travelled round the south, Wales, south west and north west England before visiting Dublin.  We then trekked over to East Anglia and Kent before heading back over the Channel to Dunkirk.

Rampage is lifted out for maintenance - it really is only about 12 inches on either side of her! Respect to the crane driver.

 

The drive south to Bari was long and mostly uninteresting.  I’m not sure that we’ll do it again, as the main rationale for driving was to bring back the new sails, which were, in the event, delivered late and were shipped direct to Corfu for us by the sailmakers.  Anyhow, we got to Bari in southern Italy in nice time to catch the ferry to Corfu, which we’d booked via a travel agent in Preveza.

I have to say I was a little worried about the whole thing, as the only evidence we had for the booking was an email from the agents with a booking reference and instructions to report to the Aegean Lines office in Bari port.  The port in Bari is large – over 2.5 km of wharfs and loading ramps with 3 separate terminals.  So, we stopped at each terminal in succession, only to be told that this wasn’t the right one, carry on a bit further.

Eventually, we got to a terminal that said “Greece” on the outside and I went in to sort things out.  No sign of an Aegean Lines desk though.  I hesitated and then noticed an electronic display board that occasionally said “Aegean Lines” in amongst all the other scribble talk.  I went up to the desk and showed the girl our reservation number – she promptly printed out tickets for us and told us the ship would start loading at 5pm – in about ½ an hour.

Having now found out which ship it was, I could have a look at her and rapidly realised that it wasn’t one of those nice big passenger ferries with loads of bars and restaurants but much more set up for the trucking trade and therefore not likely to have much on board in the way of facilities.  J and I therefore decided to go and find a supermarket to get some food and drinks for the trip, which was expected to last about 10 hours.

We then made our way back to the port and joined the queue to embark.  We got to the top of the ramp only to be told that as we were going to Corfu we would not be loaded until last, as the ship would stop in Corfu to drop us off.  So J went on board and I sat in the car until called forward about an hour later.  The seating areas in the ship were crowded, so it was as well that J had got on early and bagged us a corner seat in the bar.

The crossing was long and very rough, with the ship butting into a Force 8 – 9 all through the night.  There was much sea sickness amongst the other passengers, although J and I weren’t affected at all.  We ate well and read books and played games on our ipods and dozed a little through the night.  Neither of us got much sleep but we weren’t too worried as we expected to be in Corfu by early morning and therefore able to catch up with a bit of shuteye on Rampage.  However, the heavy weather had cut the ship’s speed down and we didn’t actually arrive in Corfu until late morning.

A short drive round to the marina and then we decided to unload the car as we were both wide awake by this stage.  It took several trips with a shopping trolley to unload the car and then we had a coffee with our neighbours Alan and Bern.  A spot of lunch followed before we finally felt tired enough to have a sleep.  We slept for a few hours, got up and had supper next door and then went back to bed by about 9 pm and slept until about 10 the following morning!

Since then, we’ve done little to report, as we’ve been working on the boat, fitting bits brought out from UK and gradually clearing the “to do” list we’d put together in the winter.  On 18 Mar, I got up at 5.15am to take Bern and Alan to the airport and then Rampage was lifted out to the water for bottom scrubbing and other jobs.

J puts the first coat of antifoul paint on the keel.

 

Living in the boat on the hard is not as pleasant as when she is in the water.  For example you can’t empty the sink but have to use a bucket for all the slop water.  Nevertheless, we’ve found it wasn’t as bad as we thought it might be and we didn’t need to retreat to a hotel for the week.  We have discovered that “George’s” does a mean chicken and chips or gyros at lunch time and that scrubbing the slime off coppercoat with scotch pads is VERY hard work!  We’ve now finished all the work on the hull that needed doing and she should be good for another 18 months – 2 years before she needs lifting out again.

Putting netting round the guard rails - in anticipation of the arrival of Charlie, Jessica and Lilly later this year.

 

We were lifted back into the water on Thursday.  Duncan motored round the marina to our berth while J cycled to meet him and pass him mooring lines.  However she discovered that the marina is in the process of replacing the lazy lines (aka slime lines for obvious reasons) on a number of berths including our own so we have had to berth elsewhere until they have finished the work.  Yesterday we spent a happy time putting up our new sails.  We then cleaned the decks and today J has been cleaning hatches and polishing brass while I have started to polish the light fittings – the cheaper alternative to replacing them all.  

New sails! Need to do a bit of tweeking on the furling lines on the mainsail, but everything fits!

 

So here we are, all nice and scrubbed with most of the jobs done and the new season’s cruising ahead of us.  Keep watching this space for further details and opportunities to join us as we cruise the Ionian Sea.

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One comment

  1. Well my first response (to your first paragraph) tut tut, its about time you filled us all in on what you have been up to!

    My second thought is, so the littles won’t fall in the sea if they are shuffling about on their hands and knees but they could still dive in over the top rail!!



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