Wednesday June 18, 1997
Corinna and I arrived in Athens. My brother Nikos met us at the airport and drove us straight to Thetis where we left some of our luggage and then we drove to Nikos’ house in Voula. My cousin Dr. Chris Iliades and his son Nicky, who had arrived the day before, were there. Chris is the son of my mother’s brother, my favorite uncle who died the year Corinna was born. Chris came with Nicky who has a summer job in Rhodes servicing charter yachts for Vernicos Yachts. I had only seen Nicky many years ago when he was a very young boy. We spent the afternoon at Nikos and then I borrowed his Morris Mini and Corinna and I drove back to Thetis to pick up my luggage keys, which were left there, on our way to Athens to stay at my mother’s.
Unfortunately, the boat keys I had did not work because during the service they had changed the locks and Rohalio, the Filipino who takes care of Thetis and Faneromeni (Nikos’ boat) did not mention it. So on to Athens we drove with my locked duffel bag containing all the clean clothes and my bathroom kit. Fortunately my mother Pitsa who never throws anything away had a box full of old keys and we found one that worked. Later Nikos, Rozina (his girlfriend), Chris, Nicky, Mirka (Nikos’ ex wife), Byron (my younger brother), and Ivi (his wife) came for dinner. After dinner Mirka showed us her video tapes that she took in Arizona during my daughter’s Cynthia wedding. This viewing took some time, and although the tapes were quite good and interesting Corinna and I were falling asleep by the time they were over.
Thursday June 19, 1997
I left Pitsa’s apartment by 9:00 and took a taxi to the marina. I met Rohalio who fortunately had two sets of the new keys. I started going over my pre-cruising check list, starting from the most troublesome electric systems. The green navigation light and the bilge pump did not work. There was no power on the GPS and on the auxiliary plug by the chart table. I called the electrician and he will meet me tomorrow morning. This a new electrician, Petros who seems more careful then the old one, Vasilis. It seems that he did all the work I told him do last year. We shall see. The tent needs stitching. One fender is missing. Nikos does not remember how to operate the Navtex and the Autolink system which were installed last fall after I left. Neither does he remember the code numbers needed to operate the Autolink. The Navtex is a middle frequency weather receiver/teletype. I found its manual and figured out how to use it, it is very straightforward. The Autolink is a dialer/pager system via the VHF but it is more complicated and does need knowledge of frequency channels and a coded Id number. Nikos called the OTE (the Greek telephone company) and the man who installed the system will meet me at the boat tomorrow. I was very disappointed that despite the new AC battery charger and my written instructions no one had charged the batteries nor checked their electrolyte level. Also disappointing was that the interior wood surfaces had not been varnished and the storage bins were not cleaned. The second autopilot had been tampered with and its plug was missing, so that I could not check its operation.
I drove with Nikos to Piraeus to repair the tent and to get spare Navtex paper and a plug for the auto pilot. Also we stopped at Vernicos Yachts to arrange for the paper work with the Limenarcheio (the Greek Coast Guard) and at nearby Pelagos (a chandler) to buy a new bilge pump and a new fender. Corinna came later and we went to the AV supermarket and bought all the provisions, which we then got back on Thetis. It was a most exhausting day! Worse, it is still not clear whether we will be able to sail tomorrow or not. We had dinner in Voula and drove very late back to Athens to sleep. There was a full moon. Pitsa’s appartment was very hot and despite my exhaustion I could not sleep.