Too good a picture not to post.
Other than playing with the new drone Deb got me for Christmas this morning, today has been pretty much a work day. It wasn’t really planned to be, but last night turned into a bit of a project.
Nothing surprising here, just life as it is on a boat! Read on if you are interested in a bit of cruising reality. It’s not all beaches and history lessons…
Last week, I followed through on a project that I’d been putting off for years, and replaced the membrane filter in our water maker. I was terrified to commit to this project, because I knew that if I screwed it up the water maker would be toast, and I’d be carrying jugs of water out to the boat for months.
Well, the actual process of changing the membrane turned out to be fairly simple. Once completed the water maker was up and running and the quality and quantity produced was far superior to where we started.
But…during the week that followed, I noticed that the quality of the water being produced was degrading rapidly. At first, I ignored it. Naturally. But, with each day the problem seemed to become worse and finally last night I decided to track the issue down. It wasn’t where I thought it would be…
The membrane and all connections check out fine. The voltage (especially with the engine running – we’ll get back to this later.) was fine. But, I did notice an unrelated issue where air was being sucked in through the service port?? This was strange since valves were positioned so that this service port should be totally out of the picture. But, what happens when your salt water supply valve get partially clogged?? Well, the feed pumps don’t slow down, so they keep sucking and if they can’t get enough water, then they start testing the rest of the system to see what they can pull it. Air in this case!!
The salt water supply valve clog was where I ended up, not where I started by a long shot. It certainly was the problem and my watermaker started putting out perfect water as soon as I fixed it. But, it took a couple of hours to track it down and fix it.
I spent a ton of time working backwards from the feed pumps trying to locate the problem. This is where the the “engine running” part enters the story.
Hot Water Heater Failure
So, if I had two minutes to celebrate my victory over the watermaker I would be surprised. Half way to the icebox for a celebratory beer, and suddenly the water pressure pump starts running and no pressure in the fresh water system. Ah…these greek gods are messing with me!!
Again, we started with the wrong assumption. No pressure in the pump normally means no water in the supply tank. But…we checked and the tank was at least 1/2 full. Now what?? Maybe the pump is shot?? Pull it apart, check pressure and suction side. All good!
Right about then the bilge pump starts running!! (Notice all of these issues are water related.) Ah! The light bulb comes on. I’ve seen this picture before. And yes, a quick trip aft to check the aft locker below deck confirms that what is supposed to be a dry area, is now full of five gallons of steaming hot water and then some additional cold water as well.
What happened? Well, we ran the engine for two hours. When the engine runs we make hot water. The hot water tank hoses are reinforced rubber and are pressurized. Unfortunately, one particular hose seems to have reached its end of life time. With the extra hot water from the engine it failed, and failed spectacularly. There was water everywhere!
Temporary repair was easy, just cut two inches off the bad end of the hose and re-attach. I know this is not a “fix”. Hopefully, this repair will hold until we can get a new hose.
Once the water system all came back online, I finally made it to that celebratory beer. The only problem left was that I was in serious need of a shower and of course there was no hot water!!
We arrived back in the main harbor of Paros on October 6th at about 4pm from the island of Sifnos, where we spent the previous night. We quickly learned that no ferry leaving the next day would get Deb to where she neededto be.
So, in less than an hour she packed her bags, purchased a ticket for the 6:15pm ferry and we said goodbye.
She arrived in Pareaus at 1130pm and Uber’ed to Athens where she stayed in the same hotel that Suzanne Richman had stayed in last month.
I decided that I’d work my way North towards Mykonos and then West back to Kythnos and ultimately meet her 5 days later at the island of Kea which is just off the mainland and only 13 miles from where we planned to leave the boat for the winter.
If I had any remaining doubts regarding the fact that the Summer holiday season was over, they were put to rest when I arrived back in Mykonos to find that I was one of only three boats in the same harbor that probably had 50 boats when we visiting in September. To make matters worse, the other two boats were massive super yachts, and Morpheus represented only approximately 10% of the total boat lengths in the bay that night.
I did suffer from some feelings of inadequacy that evening…
The next day, I decided to take a long walk along the coast from my anchorage around to a couple of the other beaches figuring perhaps there was more going on than in my harbor. I took some nice pictures, but everything was either shut down or getting ready to shut down. Summer’s party season was officially over.
Finally, I enjoyed a great sail the next day from Mykonos around the North end of Syros Island, and back to our favorite little harbor in Kythnos. This harbor is actually three harbors in one with two of them separated by a narrow sand bar. You sort of get your choice of anchorage based on what you expect in terms of protection. The weather forecast was for strong Southerly winds and I absolutely made the right choice. This was good because as I sat in almost total calm for two days, I watched boats just on the other side of the sandbar riding out 2 foot swells. Not comfortable for them!!
Of course, I got my time on the anxiety bench as well when the winds shifted around into the West and blew right into my harbor for a night along with a sampling of the horrendous swells that others had been dealing with. That last night was not very fun. Up every hour to check the gps position and convince myself that I was not dragging back into the rocks that I knew were behind me but could not see. Ultimately, our new anchor passed yet another test and I have to say that it was money very very well spent!!
Deb has run off to Turkey for a few days, leaving Ita and I to backtrack our way up North towards the Marina that will be Morpheus’ home for the winter. Not much to report. The winds have been light so far so the traveling has been easy. I miss discovering new spots, but there is an advantage to returning to known harbors when single handing.
Given the lack of exciting new stuff to report, I’ll just post a few photos from the past month. I’ve started using Google Photos to back up my pictures and the service does some interesting things to some of the pictures that I upload. I like what it’s done to these.
Cruising the Greek Islands right now reminds me of my family’s arrival in Connecticut in 1969.
My father had just taken a new job with GTE and we arrived from California in the middle of the week just following Labor Day. It was hot and we were all excited to be staying at a local Holiday Inn with a swimming pool!!
Immediately after checking in, we changed into our bathing suits and my mother took us down to the pool. We were in for our first lesson regarding “Life on the East Coast”, and a huge disappointment. The Pool was empty!!!
What?? It turns out that on the East Coast things change after Labor Day. Not only can you not wear white after Labor Day, but apparently Summer is officially declared over and hotels drain their pools!!!
Here in the Greek Islands, there must be similar “rules”. I’ve know that Europeans traditionally take vacations in August, but we have been surprised at just how quickly and dramatically things changed right after August 31st. The weather has not changed much other than perhaps getting better. Daytime temps are now low 80s instead of low 90s. Water temps still in the high 70s. Clear skies. Perfect!! And yet, beginning the week of Sept 1st there was a dramatic reduction in the number of tourists everywhere, and the numbers continue to plummet with each passing week. Businesses now are starting to close for winter, and there are no more outdoor concerts on the city squares at night, reservations are not needed for restaurants, the beach clubs are empty, and the crowds wandering city streets are gone.
Its nice not having to fight the crowds, but some of the vibrancy of these locations is gone.
I guess we didn’t get the memo!!