Monday, 7 November 2016

Post Voyage Ramblings

Having eventually returned to work in Kazakhstan at the end of September after a 3 and a half month break I have been using my free time to bring "The Voyages of Tra Bhui" and our other Blog up to date.

Our voyage around Greece was originally planned (last winter) to be undertaken in four stages. Each stage being 3  weeks or so long. With all our flights already booked our plans had to be changed when as a result of the worldwide drop in the price of oil my contract in Tengiz was wound up in May.

This meant that I had a lot more time on my hands than I had foreseen back in December and so we were able to make the most of this by being able to stay in Greece for longer stretches at a time.

There were two downsides to my new freedom

  1. My need to look for and apply for another position necessitated being able to pick up emails every few days, something that I had not planned for. We were fortunate and found that Wi-Fi was readily available most places we went and that restaurants would happily charge my laptop while we ate there. Charging a computer is, I found a justifiable excuse to have another beer or two while we waited for the battery to reach 100%!
  2. Being at least a week away from home I had to consider when I would be available for work if something suitable was offered to me. Potential employers would need to know my availability and as we were a week from home, I had to be realistic about what I told them. We therefore decided that we would aim be home between the middle of and the end of July. Knowing that once we were back in Italy we could get home in three days if pushed we could wait until the second week in July before we had to leave Greece.
Overall our voyage went pretty much as planned. The weather was generally hot and sunny, but the wind did not do us any favours as we either had absolutely no wind or we had gale force winds ( and generally on the nose)! This meant that we motored a lot more than we had planned to which in turn meant that we tended to take a straight line between points to cut down on the time spent under motor. 

We did not follow the coast line around some of the large bays in the Southern Peloponnese as we had originally planned to. When we arrived in this area we found ourselves between three competing weather systems. This made forecasting the next days weather a bit of a challenge especially as every weather site gave conflicting forecasts.

Our longest days on the water were when we were in this area as we made use of the calms to jump from one safe anchorage or harbour to another knowing that gales were likely at short notice. 

Wherever we went we found the Greeks to be friendly and genuinely interested in Tra Bhui and our voyage. I think some thought that trailing Tra Bhui from Scotland was more of an adventure than any sailing we planed to do, but I suppose that just depends on your perspective!

Something else that was unforeseen was getting a sore knee!

I initially thought that I had got a splinter of teak from the fore deck in it. Neither Kathleen nor I were able to find any foreign body so it was just a case of ignoring it in the hope that my body would reject it and that it would heal itself.

However it did not go away and eventually I found out I was suffering from Prepatellar Bursitis otherwise know as Housemaid's Knee, which had been caused by sitting for too long on one side of the boat with my right leg bent under me when helming. This stayed with me until well after we were home and it was not until late August that it went away altogether. It would be interesting to know if this is a recognised Drascombe skipper's affliction.

In the end we left Greece slightly earlier than we may have planned to, due to finishing at Preveza and not Igoumenitsa some 80 miles further north.

Travelling back through Europe with Tra Bhui restricted our campsite options as it was peak season and pitches that could accommodate a 30' trailer were limited.

We therefor modified our plans again and we decided to go home in mid July and review our options then.

So between July where this Blog stops for now and September we managed to go back to France for a few weeks, spend time on the Kintyre Peninsula and to go to Cuba, all of which will appear in our Travelling Blog.

Since returning home Tra Bhui has been cleaned and polished, her woodwork has been oiled and she has been put away for the winter.

We did not manage to attend the Drascombe Association Drascombe Rally on Loch Lomond which we organised as I was about to return to work, so for 2016 that is it!