A new book

After sailing to my favourite island Poros, I tied up to the mooring I have hired before in the middle of the channel betwwen Poros and Galatas.
Here I can relax and take it easy for a while, knowing that the boat is safely secured.
After months of hard work with paintings and exhibitions in Finland, Sweden and Denmark it was time to take a break and do something else. Something I have wanted to do for quite some time.
So I am now sitting here in my cockpit writing a book. This time the book will printed on real paper and not an ebook.
A few of the pages

Actually “writing” is not really a description of the work I’m doing as the book will mostly be comprised of photographs of my artwork. There will be short descriptions of each piece and small anecdotes about the work. The theme of the book is the sea, so as I sit here surrounded and inspired by the sea, the book is gradually taking shape.
Bit by bit, page after page the layout is created on my computer with the over one hundred photographs of watercolours and acrylic paintings. 
I know I can’t keep away from painting and sailing for very long so I willl get back to that in due course. Until then I spend every day in front of the computer while rocking gently in the breeze.
In the cockpit, working on the book.

The fresh air of freedom

I'd forgotten it was the Whitsun holidays so I had to manage without my dinghy being repaired for 5 days. In the mean time, with help, I was able to squeeze Aquarella into the local fishing harbour so I could come ashore. The four year old dinghy was in worse shape than I'd feared and came back with two big patches and two new valves. 
My dinghy with the patches concealed under it's new cover
 which doesn't quite fit yet 
The next day I started off by taking up my stern anchor for the first time alone. I only have an electric anchor windlass on the bow and Aquarella with her long keel was not made for steering backwards. It took me 45 minutes to pull the boat by hand towards the anchor and raise it from the sticky mud.
The first sail of the season was just over 2 hours to Porto Heli. I'd looked forward to having the full use of the navigation app Navionics on my new Ipad air. 
That wasn't a great success, It stopped getting a fix as soon as I left the harbour! It turned out the ipad air version I had bought only has the option of a wifi connection and no cellular data. I could use the chart function but without the red marker updating my position. I found my way easily though using the boat's built-in, 20 year old AP navigator.
Arrived at Porto Heli
Greece has introduced a new cruising permit this year which is obligatory for all boats over 7 meters. The paperwork for this is not made easy however. The skipper must apply at the nearest port police/coastguard after paying the amount of 50 € to a bank, not over the internet. (the police are apparently not entrusted with handling money) There's no bank in Kilada nor Porto Heli. The nearest is a 20€ taxi ride away inland to the town of Kranidi. 
With bank receipt in hand I knocked on the door of the Port Police office and presented all the other necessary papers: passport, certificate of competence, old cruising permit, boat license, insurance. The officer in charge did not ask me to sit down, he yawned, sipped his cold coffee and leafed through the documents. The proof of paid insurance was translated into English, German, French and Spanish but not Greek. He struck the paper with the back of his fingers in disgust and declared his outrage in no uncertain terms! " Greek law demands this document should state in Greek that it is valid according to Greek requirements and the insurance sum must be written in Euro. This must be officially verified by your insurance company" He told me to contact them and demand they immediately send the Greek translation to them by email. I obediently phoned the office in Mariehamn on the Åland islands. The lady in charge of the Mediterranean boat section was at lunch and would call back after an hour. I asked the officer if it was okey to come back when I had talked to her. "You are not going anywhere" he said while closing the door. 
He then asked who the captain of the boat was.
That's me
The names of crew members?
There's just me
Then with loud bangs he proceeded to stamp all the papers and hand them over.
"Give me 2 euros for the photocopies and you may go."
He got them
I got the papers
Wow, what a feeling! Out into the fresh air of freedom!

That sinking, deflated feeling ...

I'm back at the Basimakopulos boatyard in Kilada, Greece after a long busy winter in Sweden.
For months I had been looking forward to completely relaxing on my boat and just looking at the horizon in the warm Greek sun. 
It didn't turn out that way at all.
climbing up and down the ladder every time I'd forgotten something
Firstly my brother in law Uffe who usually helps me for the first week couldn't join me this time as his wife Kerstin was ill. We had to cancel his tickets at the last moment. Really sad, especially for Kerstin who was so sick but also sad for him as he'd been counting the days to the trip. My thoughts were with them both but the prospect of being alone with all the work of making the boat seaworthy before launching was nevertheless daunting. 
With only 3 days to the launching date,  I had to work non stop 12 hours a day. 
And where was the warm Greek sun? It was pouring with rain and 15 degrees!
I quickly realized I could only manage to do the absolute necessary. That was: cleaning the hull and painting the antifouling on the bottom, polishing and waxing the waterline, changing the zinc anode on the propeller shaft and replacing the bottom plug. Everything else had to wait.
Aquarella about to be launched (notice the fully inflated dinghy on deck) 
The sun came out at last, Aquarella was launched on schedule and I could tie up to a mooring buoy in the middle of the bay.
I'd inflated my rubber dinghy, the only life line I now have to civilization ashore. The first trip with it went fine and the engine started on the first pull. It must have looked very entertaining though when I collided with the quayside at full speed without being able to slow down or stop the engine. I had to use the choke to stop it. This problem resolved itself without my intervention on the way back. 
I noticed in the evening a little air had gone out of the dinghy but I thought it might be owing to the cooler temperature. The following morning I realized there must be a leak somewhere. I climbed down to attach the air pump and the next thing I knew the dinghy was rapidly on its way down! 
Nearly all the air had gone and the engine was sinking fast. I quickly took a line and secured it, then took the first dip of the year, albeit unintentional. I had to unscrew the engine mount from the transom in order to pull it aboard. Wearing my life-jacket as an extra precaution I swam around taking oars, the pump, the seat etc before I could climb aboard again to hoist the dinghy on deck.
I still don't know what the problem is but I suspect it must be the valves. I won't be able to get help or get ashore before Monday so I'm stuck for the time being.
The deflated dinghy just after I had secured the engine with a line
To be continued...