We are back, really does not feel like 4 months since we left a sad, broken Kejstral in the hands of the Greek Marina staff.
Leros looks beautiful lush green foliage and grass, pretty yellow flowers and a stunning blue sky, well that is today! Yesterday was somewhat different, black clouds shrouding the hillsides while deep navy blue seas clatter against the rocky shores. The rain held off, expecting downpours all day, we were very grateful for the minimal showers that actually appeared.
Our journey from Turkey saw us splashing through deep puddles and dark ominous skies hovering heavily above us as our dear friends Helen and Andrew drove us towards Bodrum. The ferry left on time and took just less than an hour to motor relatively smoothly through a swelling sea towards the Greek island of Kos. From here we dragged our mountain of cases and bags around the harbour towards the adjoining ferry into Leros Island. This journey saw the swell increase and the skies lighten with gradually increasing blue patches.
Such a good feeling to touch down in Leros knowing that Kejstral is just ten minutes away in the marina by taxi. Tired, hungry and thirsty, our first stop has to be for lunch, we did have breakfast really early!
Gyros and Mythos, what a perfect combination. A generous helping of pork, tzatziki sauce, salad and chips perfectly wrapped in a toasted pitta, washed down by a traditional Greek beer, just what we needed.
On arrival at Leros marina we head straight for the office, with a little nervousness thrown into the excitement, we collect our keys from the lovely welcoming staff. Kejstral has been through a tough few months, from a bent propeller shaft early into the sailing season, to a rope fouling the propeller on entering the marina at the end of the season. This managed to damage the gear box, break the cutlass bearing and basically cause €4000 worth of damage! Unfortunately we had to abandon Kejstral in Leros within a few days of the damage and leave the repairs in the (hopefully) capable hands of the marina staff, hence our trepidation at seeing her once again.
The winter in Greece has been pretty bad, endless rain and high winds, in fact in some places, freezing cold and snow had been reported. Luckily Leros suffered minimally, as did Kejstral.
To our amazement she looked absolutely fine, dusty and wet from the most recent downpour but great otherwise. The repairs have been completed and with the help of our insurance to cover the cost, we were not out of pocket at all thank goodness (it was not our error which led to the damage)
Opening that hatch for the first time, we expect a damp musty aroma, but nothing! Everything is as clean as we left it, (I am a bit of an OCD sufferer..... apparently) Not a sign of the engine dissection or the mechanics greasy fingerprints. Even the cushions have been placed precisely where they should be after the workmen had finished, shocking but in a good way!
The gas is on, the kettle is boiling furiously as we start to unpack the staggering mountain of baggage we travelled with. It is mid March, over here you never quite know what the weather will surprise you with, therefore jumpers and warm clothing are essential. Warm bedding, waterproofs and sturdy shoes, a fan heater all for the worst days, shorts sun hats and suncream for the others! Today we are in shorts until the sun begins to settle and the heat of the day subsides, 25 degrees today but this evening will be pretty cold.
Having unpacked and stowed as much as we have the energy for, we head off into town. Lakki is the main port and town which is a half mile walk away from the marina, it has plenty of facilities for the sailing community. A well stocked, reasonably priced supermarket, a stuffed full of shiny chrome, ropes and other boaty bits chandlery, as well as a lovely bakery and plenty of snack bars and restaurants.
Our first sleep tonight back on Kejstral, feels fabulous but I have no doubt there will be issues to address, problems to overcome and a few stressful moments before we actually set sail in a week or so!
Day 2 in the marina & we start with a good old English breakfast, minus the mushrooms, baked beans & tomatoes! The wind has now dropped off to almost nothing so we figure it would be a great time to unfurl the main & check it out. It will also give it chance to dry out in case any damp that has found it's way in there! The sheets and furling lines are all in a good state too.
She unfurls beautifully & there are no signs of damp, chafing or damage, so after spraying the out-haul rollers with a lubricating spray we gently re-furl her by hand.
Next it's on to unpacking our brand new tender, a excel Ventura 2.6m with inflatable floor. We figure this will suit us for a while as it's a lot lighter than the old Zodiac, so much easier to haul on & off the deck. Our old dingy took a battering throughout the last 10 years of its life, so much so that we had patches covering patches by the end.
Following this we start Kejstral's Yanmar power house only to find the impeller hose leaking That's a job for tomorrow when we service the engine.