Week 82 - A harbour view

We’re back on the edge of the water in an apartment, waiting to start cruising the Mediterranean on our boat Matilda.

Week 82 - A harbour view
Temple of Zeus near Aegina. A deceptively nice looking day, it was only 4 degrees C out.

We’re back on the edge of the water in an apartment, waiting to start cruising the Mediterranean on our boat Matilda.

Little by little the season starts to open up here in Greece. We’re seeing more boats start to pull into port, a few live-aboards that are settled here waiting for warmer weather and several charter boats which seems to be mostly sailing schools.

Boats in for the weekend.

The ferries are starting to add more routes (you can go from Aegina to Methana now which you couldn’t two weeks ago) and there’s a daily cruise ship from Athens we’ve seen a few times now as well. It’s been surprisingly full, about 60 people or two buses worth got off yesterday.

It makes us increasingly impatient to get back on board Matilda and start the season ourselves, but then on Thursday it was snowing again in Athens and even some sprinkling of snow here in Aegina which has made us happy to be inside and apartment with a nice warm heater!

Matilda is progressing. The water maker installation is now complete and tested. The major thing we have left to go is the air conditioner. Unfortunately it’s still in transit and hasn’t arrived yet — perhaps next week. The cold weather has also delayed the last couple of jobs on the outside as well — it’s been too cold to do the bottom paint or reseal the windows. With luck it will all happen this coming week, but realistically I think we are resigned to it taking another two weeks yet.

Progress on the apartment in Athens.

The delays on the apartment in Athens have finally been cleared — they couldn’t move the rubble out because of water works outside preventing them getting a truck close enough to carry it away. That’s finally happened now and when I was back in Athens on Thursday it was nice to pop by the apartment and see the electricians starting on running cables.

Aegina is a really lovely place to spend our time however. It’s obviously a lot more picturesque than Athens, being able to look out over the harbour and the neighbouring islands is wonderful. The people here are incredibly friendly as well — everyone is willing to help.

Of course, it doesn’t always pan out! We are trying to get curtains made for the boat and we figured there must be someone here who could do the work, even if it was just at home of an evening. We asked a local “Atelier” who has a small shop working on gowns, but she’s too busy — however she recommended somewhere on the other side of the village. We got lost, asked in at a store, the shopkeeper tried his best to understand, then flagged down a local who speaks very good English who then directed us back to the other side of the village. The lady in that store couldn’t help, but we had a lovely conversation and she directed us to try somewhere else. I then got called by the first lady with good English, she recommended we go to the Atelier, but we said we’d already tried there. No worries, she knows three or four locals who’d love the work — I’ll get back to you. Along the way we met the local “Pakistani” (“actually he’s really from Bangladesh, but no-one cares about that here, they just call him the Pakistani”) to see his samples of fabric we might use.

The end result of all this is we feel like we’ve chatted to half the people in the village, all of whom are willing to help, but we’re still yet to find anyone able to make the curtains for us. Oh well — we might just have to take the work back to Athens.

On one of our trips back to Athens, we took the slow ferry for a change and honestly, it was actually a lot more enjoyable than we expected! A friend of ours Michael, says he always catches the slow ferry (which to Aegina is 1hr 20 instead of 40 minutes) and we were a little mystified as to why. It worked out that the slow ferry was the best available option given when we needed to get into Athens and it was great! More comfortable seating, snacks, more scenic and a lot more comfortable. And cheaper too (8.50 instead of 14 euros). I think we’ll be taking it again, especially on a nice day with warm weather it would be a great trip.

The reason for the trip was to take Rosie to get her teeth cleaned. This has been delayed several times, firstly because the vet caught covid, then because the big snowfall back in January. Finally we made it.

Because the process involves anaesthetic, they ran some tests and told us that she has a severe heart murmur. They were able to run some additional test, an ultrasound and an ECG, on the spot. In typical Greek fashion they said “normally this would be 150 Euros, but because it’s being done right now it will only be 100” which is the opposite to how this would be charged in the US!

Unfortunately for Rosie she has Mitrial Valve Disease. A valve in her heart isn’t closing properly so blood goes backwards causing additional pressure and the lower chamber to become enlarged. At this stage there are no physical symptoms (beyond the heart murmur detectable with a stethoscope), but the medium to long term prognosis is that her heart will eventually start failing, at which point with dedicated care she might have 12–18 months left. There’s no real way to know when this might happen — for now she’s fine and has started a course of medication that will help delay the disease, but can’t prevent the inevitable failure. It might be 2 or more years before this happens, or 6 months. No one can really tell.

For now she’s quite content and happy and getting lots of extra cuddles. Frankly she has no idea what all the extra fuss is about, but she’ll take it. Fortunately she also has lovely fresh breath now which is a nice bonus! As to us, we’re fine and we’re glad to know about it. At almost 9 years of age it was inevitable that she’d start to have health issues sooner or later, now we will do what we can to manage it and continue to enjoy her company while she’s still fit and well which will hopefully be for a few more years to come. The boats not a bad place for her as she doesn’t have to move around or exercise too much and can relax and enjoy the sun.

Beyond walking, eating, lazing, travelling back and forth to Athens, we’re doing . Small jobs here and there on the boat, but really it’s hard core waiting on the weather and the supplier before we can move forward.

Until next time,

Tim & Karina