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Living aboard

Page 1 - Passing the time

(>> page 2 - Day to day)

Beautiful anchorages, idyllic vistas and a friendly Taverna are great but you can't eat and drink continuously (however hard you try) nor always stare into the distance as the sun goes down. Most of the normal relaxation activities we do at home translate to life on board and we have incorporated them into our normal day to day living on Aderyn Glas. After a hard day of sailing or more frequently a day of drifting where the breeze takes us or even just staying put in a nice bay, we end up at anchor, bows to a quay or even, as a special treat, in a marina and we unwind and relax, dipping into our onboard store of activities or meet up for a drink, nibbles and a chat with friends old or new.

Alongside for the night - Sayiadha

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Home entertainment

Kindle in the cockpit

Generally you won't find us in the boat in the evening but if we are at home then we have homely things to do. We have a small flat screen TV receiver permanently placed on the end shelf of the saloon. In Greece we are out of the Astra satellite footprint so we use it only to play DVDs with its in-built DVD player. During the winter we record programmes from our home Sky system and amass boxed sets of series which we never get time to look at at home. So we take them out to the boat and when we're fed up with sea, sunsets and mozzies you can find us below square eyed. ♥♥♥

Most of our free time is spent with noses in Kindles. It used to be 'in books' but carrying and storage was a headache in the restricted space of the boat. Kindles are wonderful as they offer an unlimited reading material supply in a single thin format, however remember to put the Kindle safely out of reach of body parts when you flop down in the cockpit, saloon or berth as they can so easily be broken, (although Amazon are very good at replacing them without a fuss, unless you've got it wet) not like the hardy book which bounces back to be read again. Regrettably Kindles will make book-swaps a thing of the past. ♥♥♥♥♥

We have a good music supply conveniently stored on a small Ipod and phones which we play back through a speaker or the domestic radio. The domestic radio is a combined car radio and has an attached CD player which is rarely ever used now. Ann has never managed to get the world service on the radio, which she would love to have; only local stations are loud and clear and they are all in Greek! ♥♥♥

It's easy to let the atmosphere sap your ability to think and some intellectual stimulation becomes important. We enjoy our own Quiz nights so have a range of pub quiz books, paper and pens, then argue over whose turn it is to be quiz master. We also have a range of puzzle books, crosswords and magazines plus a few games on the PC, if we have any spare amps, such as Mahjong, chess, backgammon, solitaire and Scrabble. Ann is the main fiend for such pastimes. We also have many evenings just too exhausted to do any brain work so chat or just watch the world go by. ♥♥♥♥♥


Swimming in mid-ocean

It's obviously important to stay fit and strong on a boat. Although the boat is constantly moving and thus so are we, we find we still need some kind of formal exercise if only to stave off the effects of wine and food. David uses Tai-Chi and a bit of physio to prevent back and joint problems and Ann is a serious swimmer. When at anchor, in a bay or even stopped at sea if we want a swim it is easy to get into the water but not so easy to get out. We have a folding three step boarding ladder on the sugar scoop which folds down into the water. Something like this is essential. ♥♥♥♥♥ David has modified the stainless rungs with teak inserts as it was difficult to climb without shoes on our feet. We also have a small rope ladder but this does fall into the side of the boat when we put weight on it so it is not easy to use.

Folding bikes were a necessity when we were travelling through the French canals but not having used them for more than two years and since they were taking up precious space, we sold them, while chatting over the guard rail one evening, to a couple moored alongside us in Spartakhouri. We've not missed the bikes and soon filled the vacant space.

Fishing is not really exercise is it? Especially the way we do it. We have the ability to sail through a shoal of feeding Tuna with a line out only to see the shoal part in the middle like the Red Sea did for Moses and ignore all our lures. We have a good rod for trolling and all the coloured lures of varies shapes and sizes you could imagine but have only ever caught one fish in 3000 miles to date. It was a 660gm Bonito, fantastic eating so we will persevere and enjoy the challenge, but fishing is not, of course, essential.

Keeping in touch

Taverna an quay in Kioni

In this modern world it's rare to be out of touch for long but in Greece we have been devoid of internet for up to a week and it kills us. Luckily there's always the phone - is there? We used to keep in touch via email, and Skype using a netbook computer linked to the internet whenever we could find a signal, and we still do so for some tasks, but now most communication is done via one of those things laughingly still called a mobile phone (yes, you can actually make a voice call on it). So e-banking, Facetime, the Web (and thus navigation and weather) can all be done on one small handheld device if you're careful with your package and are aware of any roaming charges. Ann has an iPhone package that enables us to use a 4G connection and access the internet virtually everywhere we travel in our cruising area. The package enables her to talk across the world for free - at a price... And the phone can be configured as a hotspot so the Android tablet and laptops can piggy-back on the link to also access the internet. The package is limited to a generous 1GB per month of data. ♥♥♥♥♥ As a fallback we have an old fashioned Nokia phone (one of our cast-offs) into which we fit a Greek Vodaphone SIM card for which we pay about 5 euros a month (2014) for 500 Mbytes which we use as data. With this setup we configure the phone as a modem and plug it into the USB port of our netbook. It's remarkably slow but is sufficient for emails and weather forecasts and always manages to get access to a phone network even in the remoter places. So it's a worthwhile backup although we've not had need to use it lately. ♥♥♥ Access to the internet through WiFi can be extremely variable but we still prefer to use it for anything requiring a large data download. We do have a long range antenna made by Alfa which delivers 12dBi performance and a router to allow all the computers, phones and tablets to share access. You need to know if you're contemplating buying a long range antenna (sometimes called a WiFi extender) that as the dBi number increases the directionality also increases too so a 48dBi antenna, for example, will be of little use on a boat where the natural movement will continuously lose the signal.

Ann has always been one for keeping a diary and this extended into an on-line blog (there's a link on our homepage) and a daily activity log all the time we have been sailing. It's been great to read back through to reminisce or remind ourselves of people and places on dark winter nights. We also keep a ship's log and record not just the daily sailing activity but also fuel filling, water usage, gas, boat repairs, fridge defrosting, servicing history and any other aspect of boat maintenance that happens. It has been invaluable to us and we are on our second book in five years. It's also the source of all those statistics on the blog page though the accuracy of the wine consumption figure compared with the generality of fuel usage tells you something. ♥♥♥♥♥

One very important aspect of keeping in touch is passing around visitor's cards with all the relevant information on them: website, blog, phone number and, most importantly, email address. Almost everyone we meet these days has a stock of cards to swap. We used to make our own but now Vistaprint are so cheap we bought a stock that will last us years for a few pounds. ♥♥♥♥♥

(>> page 2 - Day to day)

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