After a week away staying in a luxury hotel in Amsterdam, it was a relief to be back home on the boat in Thessaloniki! All these “luxuries” are all well and good – but I’ll take the luxury of our own boat any day of the week. I missed the lap of the water on the hull, and being gently rocked to sleep – as well as my own decent shower, my own bed and having drinks and a kitchen on hand. Can’t stand hotels!!!! This must come from spending too much time in them in our previous life.
The Dutch exams were a bit of a challenge but quietly confident they will be OK – unfortunately I have to wait 8 weeks for the results, so we won’t know for a while. Some of them were not quite what I expected as they seem to have changed the exam format from the papers I revised from, but fingers crossed!
Anyway – we arrived back on board at Thessaloniki Marina around lunchtime on 2nd August – which given the hour time difference and the four hour flight meant we had left Amsterdam at silly o’clock in the morning. Transavia weren’t bad – tiny uncomfortable seats but they did the job – and Thessaloniki Airport was pretty efficient and just a stone’s throw from the marina. The marina is actually right under the flight path – so when we left we flew right over the top of our boat which was a bit weird!!
All was well back on the boat – the wind had been blowing while we were away but we had secured everything well and there were no problems. We set about offloading all the coffee pods we had brought back from Holland (we both have a thing for Costa Cappuccino and nothing else will do!) – and prepared for a week or so of hard work fitting our new toys.
The new Mantus anchor arrived – and we were relieved to have a new anchor that we can hopefully trust. It will have to earn that trust though – so we’ll wait and see. It doesn’t look as good or solid as the Rocna but if it holds the boat better, that’s all the matters. Unfortunately, it’s bigger in size than the Rocna – although it weighs around the same so Ed needed to do some temporary reconfiguration of the bow roller. The shank of the Mantus is much longer and the bow roller is actually not quite long enough so there is almost no chain out of the locker when it is on board. After much deliberation and measuring, he made a couple of wooden blocks which retained the Mantus pretty well and we’ll just have to work around the fact that it won’t self launch for the moment. Over the winter, he’ll get a proper job done as the bow roller is now a bit of a mess having been “temporarily” redone to take the Rocna, and now “temporarily” redone again for the Mantus.
Our new Fin Delta riding sail arrived in a package sent from our office in the UK out to Thessaloniki – so that is hopefully going to stop us sailing around on anchor and will help the holding power by keeping the boat in the wind. We can’t test this until we’re out on the water again but looking forward to that! The package also had my new PC (which had been replaced under warranty) and a few other bits and bobs, all of which meant work for Ed.
There was also some routine maintenance to do – with a full service and oil change due on the water maker. We decided we are experimenting with cheap water filters from the run of the mill DIY shop in the big Thessaloniki shopping centre – which cost around £5 each, as opposed to £30 for the genuine Parker Racor ones. We purchased a second filter housing and now have a 20 micron wool filter (which are two for 3 euros!) before the 5 micron filter – hopefully this will take out most of the rubbish and improve the quality of our water.
Over the course of the few weeks we were there, we explored the local area a bit. The suburb of Aretsou/Kalamaria doesn’t have a massive amount going for it – there are a few shops hidden away in the back streets, and a couple of bars and restaurants on the front. The best discovery was Thess’Gyros – a takeaway shop who did really quick deliveries to the marina with the most amazing Gyros (and other things!) – we ordered there most nights to be honest as it cost us only 10 euros a night for us both to eat!
When we were almost ready, we hired a car for a day and went out on a big provisioning trip. Thessaloniki is an ideal place for that, since there is a big out of town shopping centre with just about every large store you could wish for – including 4 LIDL’s within a few miles of each other! We were finally ready to leave on 14th August – however, the Gods were against us as usual. In the afternoon we hoisted the dinghy back on board ready to leave early in the morning as it’s 80 miles to the nearest decent anchorage so we planned on a long day.
Well, that went wrong! After three weeks in the marina water the dinghy was horrendous!! There was no way we were going anywhere just yet …..
The jetwash was ineffectual …. Ed went in search of chemicals and started scrubbing. After a solid afternoon and the whole day the following day, the dinghy finally looked spanking new again – this is the SECOND major issue we’ve had with the dink in a marina this year so we have to do something about anti-fouling it next year!
At the end of the day on 15th August, we were at last ready – but too late to pay the marina that night, so our plan for an early start was scuppered. We’re all ready – so the alarm is set for the morning so Ed can be at their door when they open at 08h00.
Can’t wait to get out of the marina …. as marinas go it’s not bad – and it’s cheap – but longing to be back on anchor! Goodbye Thessaloniki!!!!