I apologize for being incommunicado the past several days. Until then I had been pretty darned good about my daily satellite tracker posts (on the HJ Sailing home page) but the last couple days have been a crazy whirlwind of prepping Hazel for the winter and getting her hauled out.
After our return to Sounio on the southeastern tip of the Attic Peninsula (the peninsula where Athens is located) and waiting our one more daylong meltemi blow, we ventured out into the channel between the Attic Coast and Makronisos Island bound for Lavrio Harbor. Although the blow was predicted to be over and we were to get 10-15 knot winds, the windy Aegean did not disappoint and we found ourselves beating upwind in 20+ knots northward the 5 miles to Hazel’s winter berth.
After entering the mixed-use Lavrio Harbor (freighters, cruise ships, ferries, a fishing fleet, charter boats, and private yachts) we were directed to a comfortable water berth for Hazel for several days where we could continue our prep work. Although there was lots of open space for boats, that was Wednesday and we were told that we needed to be hauled out by Friday morning because on weekends all the Lavrio-based charter boats turnover so the water berths will be packed.
Our climax of prepping Hazel was on Thursday when Rhett and I worked on her until 10:00 p.m. before we were satisfied with our progress. Friday morning dawned clear and I headed back to Hazel from our rented room in town while Rhett stayed back to make some travel arrangements.
After morning pleasantries with the harbor staff, I motored the the sail-less and dodger-less and otherwise half dressed Hazel across the harbor to a waiting crane where she was hauled out. Later that afternoon, after the crane staff had transported her to the yard and “blocked” her (put her up on stanchions and blocks), I climbed aboard her “on the hard” and did some more last minute decommissioning of Ox (the engine).
It’s funny, moving about Hazel when she’s on the hard, even when in the calmest waters she’s also moving just a bit. Also, she’s so small that every footfall on her is cushioned just a bit by the water. Conversely, on the hard she is truly…on the hard. It feels like walking in a house (albeit a tiny house), or walking through a museum exhibit of a circa 1990 cruising sailboat.
Finally, the time had come. I climbed down the temporary ladder that had been lashed to her transom, patted her hull, and bade her farewell by saying “Good-Bye And Keep Cold” just as I had a year ago in Italy.
We’re now in Athens and have an exciting month of travel planned before we return to the US in early-November. The basic itinerary is to use Athens as a home base, fly to Venice for several days, then ferry to the islands of Hydra and Crete, and finally drive a circuit of the Peloponnese Peninsula.
Once home, I’ll be sure to update all on our travel, both across the earth and in our hearts and minds.
Fair winds and following seas! Hazel James out.