Friday, 2 November 2007

Two months on Monty B

This is what we’ve been doing

The weather has dictated the past month to a large degree. Autumn arrived with the onset of spring, or so it seemed. Clusters of miniature cyclamen, Greek variations on crocus and snowdrops and lush green grass have appeared. With each rain, the mountains have turned from white to green and the crevasses have begun to run with water. Citrus fruit trees are heavy with oranges and lemons ready to be harvested. The olives now look big enough to eat.

The pseudo-spring then gave way to violent storms. Evening meals have been lit up by breath-taking lightening displays over the mountains towards Lefkas. Finger-like forks running horizontally across the sky producing an almost constant distant rumbling. When the storms swing our way, there is little warning. The wind signals its arrival with a growing roar, increasing in strength and volume within a minute while we chuck everything below and batten down the hatches. Then the storm hits. Winds spinning us around on the anchor, continuous lightening flashes illuminating the whole bay, thunder crashing and echoing against the mountains. The rain comes pelting down, drenching us from our positions under the sprayhood, completely overexcited and immersed in one of the finest spectacles on earth (and boat). I have video but it's a .mov file and cannot find anything to edit it with - help anyone?

Then we had the gale. For three days we waited and prepared for it. I will stick some of my diary on here at some point for anyone who can be bothered to read that much of my blether. It will be entitled The Gale. You can witness what happens to a fragile mind when you are stuck on a boat for days on end.

We’ve achieved a fair bit on Monty B this month. Our sailing is coming along. Met a lovely couple called Lesley and Barry who own a wee 20 footer called Antares which had a buggered engine. They were dog people so came over to see the lads – and we spent a v pleasant week or so hanging out with them – including going for a fantastic confidence building sail. We’ve been building on it ever since and have decided to throw caution to the wind (poor turn of phrase for this type of activity) and enter the Round the Island Race which takes place on Saturday (3 Nov). The game plan is to drop out half way through so we can walk the dogs. Nothing cowardly about that.

(At this point in proceedings, I had to stop writing as a NE wind appeared from nowhere – we were facing SW – and within a minute we had travelled twice the length of our well laid out anchor chain (40m of chain thus 80 metres) and were hurtling towards a pontoon. Stopped about 6 metres from it but scared the living daylights out of us and spent the next 2 hours waiting for the weather to make its mind up and ended up having to re-anchor at midnight. Lesson learnt? Always make allowances for a complete change in wind direction despite the forecast and make sure you are not going to hit anything). As Tim just pointed out, in all the years he’s lived in a house, he’s never woken up in the night to find it hurtling through the air towards another one.

Monty B is a great deal more sea-worthy than she was a month ago. We have had the standing rigging serviced and tightened up, new steering cable and replaced 40 metres of crap chain with shiny new anchor chain (now total 80m of good chain). That’s a good test of how much you trust each other – my knot has attached the chain to the shackle which attaches the anchor to the boat. That’s taking responsibility – how the fk did I ever work in an office?

Tim has spent much of the month with his head in the diesel engine armed with the instruction manuals. He has completely serviced it and the engine is now ace. It’s running like a dream and we’re confident it could get us out of trouble. There was mention of how women should come with a similar manual though Tim seems to think he could write one about me – sections on How to diagnose a problem, Troubleshooting Tips, Lessons Learnt – very droll (and at the moment would be in its infancy).

So, the Race is on – tomorrow. It will be a sizeable challenge and it might all go wrong - but we've decided we've got to be more brave. The dogs disagree. Photos will follow.

And finally, we’ve found a shop where you fill up plastic bottles with wine from a barrel which costs 3 euros for 1.5 litres. If only we could've got Banrock Station like that in England. That’s £1.00 for a bottle of perfectly drinkable red wine. With prices like these, you could find yourself becoming an alcoholic…………..


Rich Edge said...

Good luck in the race tomorrow...drop out halfway through though eh? (where's the bulldog spirit gone then Tim?!)


Gareth said...

So who won the race? Gx