I had anticipated sailing the 30 mile trip from Porto Heli to Poros alone but when a couple of good friends, Mike and Sam, offered to come along I readily accepted the kind offer. Not only are they very competent sailors but they had also sailed this particular route many times before, and apart from that they are very enjoyable company. The weather was perfect for the trip with calm seas and just enough wind to fill the sails. The ten waypoints I had programmed into the navigator turned up one after the other right on track. So it was a very relaxing trip. On arrival at Poros they helped me tie Aquarella on to a mooring buoy that some of their friends had kindly let me use while they are away sailing in the Ionian.
The mooring is quite a distance from Poros itself which lies on the other side of the sound. This means I'm dependant on my dinghy with the outboard engine to get backwards and forwards to the town.
The evening after my arrival I was invited to a get-together of British expats at a cafe there. It was late and very, very dark when I started off in the dinghy for the trip back. It's not easy to navigate diagonally across the sound in almost constant collision course with the countless caiques, car ferries, high speed craft and arriving flotillas of yachts and catamarans. The amount of traffic is only a little less at night. There is a speed limit of 4 knots here but the high speed ferries and hydrofoils charge all the way in to the harbour at 32 knots!
Half way across, the engine started coughing. In the light of my miners lamp I could see the cloud of black smoke surrounding me as I came to a standstill. Grabbing the oars before I started drifting backwards I put as much strength as I could into every stroke. Finally, completely exhausted I arrived back at the boat drenched to the skin in sweat and salt water.
Next morning I rowed a short distance to the nearest jetty in search of a mechanic.
I had suspected the impeller (that takes cooling water in) was damaged. The mechanic I was recommended to had his workshop nearby in a house that looked like it had only just survived the last earthquake.
I was right, not about the earthquake, but about the impeller. Of the 6 rubber paddle wings only 2.5 were left. The bits of rubber that had broken off were firmly lodged in the cooling system.
After a couple of hours the engine was repaired and assembled with new parts.
The guy asked me what oil mixture I had put in the tank and I had to admit I wasn't quite sure. I explained that it was always my husband who had looked after it, but he died.
The guy then laughed! I don't know what was funny but I paid, took the engine and left.
My sense of humour doesn't stretch that far.
I was angry but thinking about the situation afterwards, I came to remember this quote:
Laughter gives us distance. It allows us to step back from an event, deal with it and then move on.
- Bob Newhart
(Now I know the oil mixture is supposed to be 100/1 for the 2 stroke engine.)