Trip Reports

Reunited (13-Jun-2002-20-00):
8:20 PM local time, Thursday, June 13 (1720 June 13 UTC) 36 32 N 026 21 E. Temp. 79, Humidity 55%, Cloud Cover 0%. Anchored at Skala harbor on the island of Astipalaia, Greece.

Warm greetings from the crew of Maverick.

We had heard a rumor on the nets that Okiva had planned to be in Rhodes on the 4th of June. We got to Symi, a Greek island close to Rhodes, on the 5th and thought we'd take a ferry over there to see if we could find them and to see Rhodes. We hadn't seen them, some of you will remember, since Nongsa Point across from Singapore back in December, and we'd both been through quite a bit since then. We moved from a small bay to the main harbor at Symi on the 6th and planned to take the ferry on the 7th to see what we could see. But we missed it. We ended up taking the one on the 8th, and sure enough, when we got to the harbor, there was no Okiva. We knew they were trying to get to Athens by the 11th since Francis' wife, Eunice, was to meet him there, and they had left Cypress with that in mind; so we figured they'd left a day or two before, making it especially painful that we'd missed the ferry the previous day.

We were disappointed but thought we'd use the day sightseeing on Rhodes. We called on the Colossus but were told he was unavailable, as he was busy not existing. We took a bus to Lindos, a journey of about 175 stadia, and found a Byzantine castle, constructed over Greek ruins, swarming with tourists and surrounded by shops. Returning to the city of Rhodes, we headed towards the ancient walled city that makes up the center of town. On the way, we walked by the harbor and Ship's Lookout Terry Shrode thought he spotted a ketch where there was another boat earlier in the day, so we walked over and were just blown away to find Okiva. Francis was aboard and soon Paula, who had joined them in Cypress, and Paul returned. There were hugs...we'd found out in the Muslim world that it was OK for men...and big smiles. As usual, Paul and Francis were at work on the electrical system but gave us some of the details of their adventures while they worked. And also as usual, their stories were better than ours.

When their engine blew up in Malaysia they didn't have the luxury, as Maverick did, to get into a (reasonably) suitable port. They found a small harbor and then managed to contact a local mechanic for help. He told them they'd have to take the engine out themselves, which, he said, would require sawing a big hole in the cockpit sole. The engine is right underneath the sole in Paul's Freeport 41, but there is no hatch. I don't know what the deal is with that design. Anyway, Paul and Francis had a beer and thought it over. They sure didn't want to tear up the cockpit, so they figured they could detach the cockpit scupper hoses from the drains on the cockpit sole, which were located at each corner, and run lines through them from the engine to various winches. They got a couple of local guys to help and after undoing the shaft and the mounts, managed to lift the engine, an inch this way on one winch, an inch that way on another, high enough that they could get it out the engine room door and then muscle it up to the companionway, so they could use the boom to lift it to the dock. You love stuff like this, if you don't have to do it yourself.

That accomplished, the engine was repaired and then reinstalled using the same method. As the mechanics were driving away, at the beginning of a ten-day holiday, Paul tried to start the engine but there was nothing but sparks and smoke. Realizing that if they got away he would sit there for ten days, Paul ran after the guys and after much pleading they finally got him going. He and Francis had heard through the grapevine that the crew of Maverick had doubted whether they'd make it to the Med this year and claimed that it was mainly this that made them determined to go for it, so they left that same night without sea trials.

They sailed non-stop from Malaysia to Sri Lanka and on the way discovered a very bad oil leak, a gift from their mechanic, requiring about one quart every six hours. When they got there, the people in Sri Lanka said, "Oh, yeah, Maverick, they left a week ago. They went that-a-way." So they bought a lot of oil and headed for the Red Sea, but somewhere in Eritrea, they ran out. And they had also run out of cash. Without proper entry papers or money, they stopped in an obscure harbor where the locals had never seen the like and were none too happy about their uninvited guests, and asked to trade for oil. Blank stares. They couldn't think of anything much they had to trade, and then Francis remembered two "Rolex" watches he'd bought on the street somewhere for $25. When these were produced, the local folks came up with dusty and ancient, but unopened, oil containers, and Okiva was saved.

They headed on up the Red Sea but still ran short of oil, so they began collecting it in two frying pans they strategically located under the sump. Every couple of hours, whatever the sea conditions, whoever was on watch would reach past the whirring fan belt and carefully pull out the frying pans, decant them with a funnel into a container, and, after replacing the frying pans, pour them back into the engine. Using this method they made it past Maverick in Egypt to Suez and eventually to Cypress, where an attempt, unfortunately unsuccessful, was made to remedy the leak, using the method described above to once again raise the engine from its mounts to gain access to the pan. So as we write this they are heading for Athens, putting in a quart every six hours.

They were forced to conserve power because of their ailing electrical system, so before they went through the Suez Canal they had little opportunity to use their radio and therefore had no news of other boats. They had assumed we had long since made it to the Mediterranean. But in Ismailia they partied with a boat named Altair, that both Maverick and Okiva had met back in Nongsa, and the crew of Altair was none the better for it the day after. Altair mentioned the party on the SSB net on their way to Cypress, and we heard them and told them about our situation and that we were amazed and very happy that Okiva had made it. When next they saw them, Altair told Okiva we were still stuck in Egypt with our own engine problems. They are gentlemen of good breeding, and would never exult in our presence, but I know them well enough to know that they did a bit of a victory dance when they heard that. They had beaten Maverick to the Med.

Next report from this location: And A Bad Go-Getter

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