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.
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.
|Arrived at Porto Heli|
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.
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
I got the papers
Wow, what a feeling! Out into the fresh air of freedom!