Chapter Forty Five     March - April, 2009 

 

Work. Work. Work. That's all we do is work. Just kidding. But we have been on a tear for the past three weeks. Sailing season is just around the corner so we were forced to prioritize! But not without some reluctance. As you know, in the past we have chosen the option of play. This year we sort of eased into the work. Not a method we had tried in the past. John started with sitting jobs. This meant servicing the winches and only on sunny days. This was February.

 Once John got his hands dirty he eased into the job he has put off for about eight years. He replaced the masthead light. We still can’t figure who had the harder job, John wiring for an hour or Sharon hoisting him for twenty grueling minutes. (It turned out to be removal of the 32-year old screws!)  It didn’t matter in the end because we achieved success.

                                                                                                               

The real work began creeping up on us and Week One, late February began with preparations. Things like unloading and stowing the gear on deck. Life Raft, dinghy, outboard dinghy engine, cockpit cushions, anchors, etc. Next was supplies gathering and purchasing. Then the actual haul-out, staking and power washing.

                                           

Our annual maintenance list has two dozen routine jobs and a smattering of new ones. This year the biggest job was replacing all nine thru-hull fittings in the boat which are all thirty years old. The first challenge was getting the replacement parts (hand-carried from the States). Of course we paid a surcharge for the extra luggage but that beat shipping them. Now for the installation. John fretted about the job for about six months and had every step ironed out in his head about a week before the job began. Of course he lost a lot of sleep over this during the course of the winter but it was all worthwhile. Mission accomplished. Not a single drop of water appeared when we dropped Seraphim back in the water just four days ago.

 

You might be asking how or even if Sharon is involved at this point. Not to worry. She was chief cook and bottle-washer, gofer, transportation queen, varnisher, laundry lady, scrubber, polisher and sanding assistant. And anything else needed. Fortunately she had wheels.

                                                                                                                                                                                       

We usually shed our winter weight in the ten days we are hauled. Not this time. This time we spent evenings with our friends, the Ege family. They live a six-minute bike ride from the marina and offered us their vacant apartment. And so much more.  John spent a few evenings challenging nine-year-old Cem to a game of chess. After one Stalemated game, they taunt each other every time they meet. Night after night we were served home-made meals, Turkish and otherwise including a proper Sunday dinner with Yorkshire pudding. Few pounds were shed but it was the loveliest haul-out we’ve ever had.

                                

Well, almost. We developed a problem mid-week that we put off to Week Two because of time and what appeared to be priorities. But the septic odor grew stronger and stronger every day. John tackled the problem but was losing the battle; he resorted to replacing the head hoses even though they were only two years old. Next day he returned with optimism and hoards of hope. But the system failed and the odor was worse then ever. It wasn’t until he was sound asleep the following night and woke up with the answer: a clogged vent valve. Voila. Problem solved.

 

We had a week of challenges with lots of rain and the coldest temperatures of the winter. But we persevered. And Seraphim is launched on schedule, ten days later.

                     

If all goes as planned we will depart on April 30th and head for Mykonos. We expect a leisurely four-week sail before meeting friends there. Following the week in Mykonos we will cruise the coast of Turkey this summer. We are really looking forward to a relaxing pace and some highly-recommended sights and quiet anchorages. Life is good.