Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Bottom Pinching.

Major works on the north entrance to Lefkas Canal
We were all geared to leave Cleopatra Marina this morning. Up early to fill tanks and wash the red dust off the decks – a high altitude present from Africa. I feel I now don’t need to visit the continent, it’s coming to see me! The shore power cable was stowed, outboard topped-up with petrol and we topped ourselves up with coffee. By leaving just before nine we’d have a gentle potter down to the Lefkas Canal in time for the 11 o’clock bridge.  All we had to do was pay-and-go.

But the office remained closed…we thought it opened at 8.30am. A quick check revealed it does – but not on Wednesdays, on Wednesdays it opens at 9am. Things were getting a bit tight. At 9.15 the staff arrived and then there’s a problem with the card machine – it may have taken our mooring fees twice. More delay as the bank was contacted – but all’s well.  We eventually got off and decided to give the 11am bridge a miss and aim for the noon bridge. However, with a bit of current flowing east we were doing a bit better than we imagined and so decided to make a sprint for the 11am bridge after all.

Just about to have our bottom pinched.

There are massive works underway on the entrance to the canal and we followed our usual route in – mistake. We touched the bottom and with minutes to go before the bridge opened we were aground. OK not hard and fast aground, not beached, not stuck until some tug pulled us off but keel was definitely in contact with the soft sand. We had definitely pinched the bottom. A bit of astern engine and a wriggle of the rudder and we eased free – and made it through the open bridge. Phew.

New quay being constructed just north of the bridge. Big improvement and long overdue.
We continued past Lefkas Town and into the canal. The dredging works which started last year are still going on and it’s not obvious until pretty close where the deep water lies as lighters and dredgers straddle the narrow canal.

The new ‘J’ pontoon at Lefkas Marina creating around 50 extra berths following Sunsail taking over ‘H’ Pontton
We are now at anchor in Vliho Bay – a place to rest and relax for a couple of days before heading for Spilia Bay and Ben and Jerry.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

It’s raining - there’s thunder and lightning - and still we love it.

Mrs. T. being very selective about her lettuces.
Today’s weather has not been the best. It’s been cool (circa 18°C), it’s currently raining and an hour or so ago a thunder storm echo’d around the distant hills. Despite all that, we love it here. It’s like coming home. We bump into people we know, get greeted as long lost friends in the shops, and re-acquaint ourselves with Greek cuisine…OK, so not all good.

We restocked ship yesterday, mammoth trips to the supermarkets. Today we topped up supplies, reinstated the Greek mobile phone and MiFi, reordered the boat storage and prepared for departure tomorrow morning.

Off now to the marina taverna for a feast…one of the few places we know that serves sauces with the meals. Perfect.

Monday, 18 May 2015

We made it

Despite fears for the worse the trip out was not too bad. Gatwick was heaving, even at 7am, but the check-in was fairly swift. Breakfast meant we could avoid the inflight catering. Thomas Cook Airlines were efficient and pleasant. We took off on time and landed on time. By 3pm Greek time (1 pm in London) we were on the boat…and what a great job Akis and Olaf had done of the upgrades and preparation. Supper last night in gthe marina taverna was just perfect…and we bumped into Gill and Adrian who launch shortly. It’s amazing how quickly we slip into the sailing lifestyle.

Sadly I can’t find my card reader so cannot, yet, share any pictures but trust me Breeze is  gleaming and the new solar panels are maintaining the batteries at 100%. Bliss.

Off now to raid the supermarkets for food and booze, reinstate the MiFi, get the mobile phone recharged, meet up with Akis and Olaf, get the port police to stamp our DEKPA…. and but a card reader.

Until later….

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Polls Apart

The market research companies that monitor voting trends and predict election results use political polls as a shop window to promote their commercial services. Oh dear.  Imagine trying to sell a market research contract the day after the election. The polls were way off track – the predictions were so wide of the mark there are now calls for polls to be banned in the three weeks before an election. That, at least, could save the pollsters some embarrassment.

The massive failings of the psephologists casts enormous doubt over their models, their processes and the fundamental basis of the polls. Put it like this; if a structural engineer used a set of calculations to build a bridge and the bridge fell down then that’s pretty conclusive evidence the calculations were wrong. Imagine then, ignoring the wreck of the bridge and trying to sell the same formulae to another bridge builder.

Well, the bridge analogy is not altogether lost on the politicians because amid the political wreckage the landscape has dramatically changed. The Tories can’t believe their luck – in power with a majority and no need to keep Nick Clegg happy. Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems have all but vanished as has the Labour Party in Scotland. Actually the Labour Party in England and Wales are doing no better and are in meltdown with some saying they may not ever govern again – and, given the constituency boundary changes about to come in, that could very well be the case. David Miliband has clearly delighted in rubbishing his brother’s catastrophic election campaign and the Cheshire cat that is Ed Balls, is smiling no more. The Labour leadership battle will groan on until September and already the first casualty, Chukka Umunna, the favourite, has chucked in the towel. Poor old Nigel Farage is one minute the UKIP leader, the next he’s not and in the blink of an eye he’s back again meanwhile he’s being sniped at from inside the party he almost single-handedly built. Maybe there are dark EU forces at work?

The polls predicted a contest so close it was impossible to call….and what do we have? The annihilation of three parties and the unexpected triumph of one. I am driven to the conclusion that ‘expert pollster’ is an oxymoron.