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On 19 June we flew from Preveza/ Lefkas to Frankfurt/M, then by train to Heidelberg. Actually, we had often thought about escaping the particularly hot time in Greece in July and August. And now it was a good time: Walter's atrial fibrillation hasn't improved, and we didn't want to risk postponing the small, now necessary operation until November. 

It's funny, of course, that it's currently hotter (and muggier) in Heidelberg than in Greece, 28 degrees and a fresh wind from the Heidelberg 35. But we know that the summerheat in Greece is yet to come. 

Our jetty neighbours (from Heidelberg! The world is a village!) also had to go to Preveza and so, thankfully, we were able to travel comfortably in their car, 100km through this incredibly wild and beautiful coastal landscape on the edge of the Ionian Sea. A whole airport full of sailors: Preveza serves the whole Ionian Islands (except Corfu), there are also a lot of charter companies and thousands of boats here.

Now we are back home - we will enjoy the summer, go on excursions, visit friends, which was not possible because of Corona for a long time, sit comfortably in the beer garden - and at the end of August/beginning of September we will set off again, then probably from Messolonghi towards Crete …

New Foresail fixed

Many of our friends wished us a nice holiday when we went back to our boat in Greece at the end of May. In the many years we have sailed on charter boats, this has been a good fit. When you charter, you take over a boat that is at best well maintained for a short period of time. Most of the time, some tools are missing and the pantry is minimally equipped for proper cooking and baking. But apart from that, everything is ready for the trip to begin. 

Being a boat owner is something completely different. We are just learning that. We are not mechanics, electricians, gas and water fitters or metal workers. So we have the feeling we are just at the end of the first year of apprenticeship. Last year the main topic was the electrics, this year it's the engine. After that comes the underwater hull and the seacocks, which probably need to be renewed. We know the sails and rigging best from our many years of sailing. But there are also boat-specific details that we have learned about this year. So you have to familiarise yourself with all the systems in the boat.

For the winter, it is important to find a good berth. Where can the boat go ashore? Can we work on the boat ourselves there? What can we trust ourselves to do? Where can we get professional support and a good service? Especially when wintering out and wintering in, maintenance work is necessary every time and everything on board needs to be looked after. But we also want to make sure that we look after ourselves and enjoy ourselves. 

We have already received many good tips from other boat owners. They are all very helpful. But everyone has their own approach.

So being an owner also involves work, it's not a permanent holiday. Sometimes we worry whether we are doing everything right. We learn a lot, and that in retirement. That is often exhausting, but also nice. Because we have time. Σιγά-σιγά - as they say in Greece. And we are not alone.

All tools well-arranged
The fenders get „dresses“
Diving to have a look at the hull under water

Done! Thanks to our vaccination cards with two documented vaccinations against Corona each, our journey to the boat was without problems. By train through Austria and Italy to Ancona, then onto the ferry to Patras and after 23 hours back on Greek soil. The small rest then by cab, because our big travel bags were mega heavy, packed with an amplifier for making music, a new lamp for the salon, which we had bought with our friends Gabi and Uwe in Hamburg, a small framed etching with a view of Heidelberg, and still this and that, including material for shower and the gas supply. 

Every boat owner, who comes back to his boat for the first time after the winter break, gets anxious a while before. Has the boat been well moored? Has the wind shredded the wintercover? Is it dry below deck or has moisture gotten in somewhere? Did the batteries discharge deeply? That would be quite bad. And how is the engine? All is well on our boat. The winter cover has held, the batteries are 100% charged thanks to the solar panels, everything is dry. Good boat, our Aglaya! But we have to clean, because on the one hand the south wind has spread red dust from the Sahara everywhere on and under the wintercover. And a few small birds had their nests under the wintercover.

To welcome us on our first evening we had a beautiful full moon over the mountains of the Peleponnes and a big beer in the marina bar. Welcome! That's how we were welcomed there. Nice to see again all the people we know from last year!

Before we leave, there's a lot to do in the next few days besides cleaning: Engine check, pick up new headsail in Prevezza, hoist all sails (they are folded under deck in winter), renew a few ropes ... We take it slow and take the advice of Mimi, the boss of the marina bar, seriously: "Relax, you are in Greece."

It has something of a déjà vu. Last year we had to wait three months until we could finally board Aglaya. And this year we actually wanted to start again in March. But we didn't want to go unvaccinated. Now the last vaccination date is coming closer and we‘ll be on the way to our boat by train an d ferryboat on Whitsun Monday.

Some of our sailing friends have wintered on their boats in the Marina Messolonghi. So our boat is in good company. Every now and then a message from them and a few photos have made us very happy during the last months. The overwinterers are restricted in their freedom of movement as well, because since last November there is a much stricter lockdown in Greece than here in Germany. There will be relaxations in the middle of May. So we‘ll come just at the right time.

What have we been doing to pass the time in the last few months? The many nice meetings with family and friends were only possible to a very limited extent. But a little bit was possible. And then there were the great webinars and lectures from Trans Ocean and Blauwasser. So we were able to get ourselves further fit on the topics of medicine on board, anchoring, wind and weather in the Mediterranean. We especially enjoyed the three-part webinar "Basics of Boat Diesel" from Blauwasser. Neither of us is a mechanic and we were exhausted after the third part. But when we are back on board, we will look at our Nanni Turbo Diesel with completely different eyes and pay even more attention to it than before.

Dear friends,

we wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2021!
The past year was unusual and not easy. We are not the only ones who have experienced and felt this. For many people we know, it was a year with completely new challenges, with uncertainties and worries, with restrictions and the abandonment of beautiful projects that could not be realized.
Looking back, we can say that it has been very good for us. The first year, when we both retired, brought us more than four months on our sailingboat Aglaya in Greece. We weren't able to board in early April as planned, but we were there by early July. The change to a new life was exhausting during the first weeks, not only because of the extreme heat. So many new things, a foreign language, and our boat we had to get to know thoroughly and gain experience with it. In this time, we got to know nice and very helpful people. Now an eventful, interesting and wonderful trip around the Peleponnes lies behind us. Thanks to the digital possibilities, friends and families have also accompanied us at least virtually. That was nice, because due to travel restrictions no one could visit us on our boat. We very much wish that this will be different next year. We plan to be back on board in March.
Now we hope that during the time we are in Germany we can see our families and many of our friends again. We do not want to catch up with our "land anchor" in Heidelberg in the coming year, because we are also very happy to be in our "old" home.

Now it's the winter break for us and for Aglaya. Everything below and on deck is well stowed and supplied. Our boat is well secured with ropes, because despite of the mild winter weather there are strong winds and heavy rain from time to time. On the last day before our journey home to Heidelberg we put on and fastened the big winter cover.

Our neighbours, who spend the winter on their boats, will keep an eye on Aglaya. So we can say goodbye and start our journey home. The fact that we are leaving on the day immediately before the nationwide Corona Lockdown in Greece is more of a coincidence, but for us it's lucky. The ferry brings us from Patras to Ancona.

Then we drive through night and fog non-stop through Italy and Switzerland. The streets are empty. So we get through well and on 8.11. early in the morning we are back at our other home. Here it is also beautiful! But we are already looking forward to getting back on board next spring.