Tuesday, June 28, 2011

And the BeBe has arrived

Yesterday our granddaughter Elisabeth, a/k/a BeBe, arrived.  Bill had to stay on the boat for reasons explained below.  Zachary stayed with him.  So I made the trip to the airport to fetch Elisabeth by myself.  This is very easy from Zea Marina.  

I walked the mile or so to the main port of Piraeus where all the ferries dock.  About a block from there I caught the X96 express bus from Piraeus Port to Venizelos Airport.  This trip takes about one hour as the airport is located SE of Athens and the port is on the western side of Athens.

BeBe was all smiles when she exited the baggage claim/Customs area with the airline attendant.  I presented my passport and signed the forms to accept delivery of my granddaughter.  Then we located her luggage and found our way to the area to catch the bus back to the port.  This is a little bit confusing due to lack of signage at the airport.  There is a sign directing you to go outside for trains, taxis and buses.  But when you get outside there are signs only for taxis and trains.  Eventually we found someone to ask and learned that the buses stop all the way down to the right after you exit the arrival hall areas.  We arrived there just as the X96 bus arrived.  Lucky us.

BeBe chatted constantly all the way back to town. -- she had so much to tell me, none of which I think she even remembers talking about.  She was very tired.   She recently participated in the National American Miss in the Junior Preteen Class and I think her participation in this organization helped her mature.  The purpose was to encourage her to not be shy and to be able to speak with poise to strangers.  The added benefit were the lessons in manners and proper behavior for young ladies.  She placed in the regionals but did not rank in the nationals.  But she enjoyed the experience and thinks she will do better next year because now she understands how the pageant operates and what is expected of her.  She is much more grown-up than when we saw her last during our trip to Houston in November.  So, even though I have always thought of beauty pageants as frivolous, the National American Miss Pageant does serve a purpose.   Certainly helped this little girl become more self-confident.  And much more polite.

We exited the X96 bus at the destination point next to the yellow building where the train/subway starts.  On the side street next to that building we caught the 904 bus.  The 904 winds through Piraeus downtown and then around the point to Zea Marina.  We exited in front of the Carrefour supermarket right across the street from where our yacht was docked.  The buses were more convenient than taking a taxi from the airport because the taxi drivers rarely know how to get to the marina; whereas, the bus runs on the street right around the marina.  And the buses cost a small fraction of the cost of a taxi for that long ride to/from the airport.

Tired BeBe after traveling 18 hours
I unpacked her duffel bag and stowed her clothes while she chatted away with Zachary.  Then she fell asleep while sitting on the companionway steps.  This was a very early night for her!  Shortly after she fell asleep the marina staff arrived and said we had to move to another berth because the big motor yacht that berths full time in this spot had returned.  We pulled in the stern lines and dropped the bow lines back into the water; motored over to the other side of the marina; and backed into another empty space on a perpendicular pontoon.  

Too bad that we are now much farther away from the supermarket and no longer on the wall.  We are checking out of the marina today and moving to an anchorage -- probably Varkiza because it is so nice.  The holding tanks are full, so it is time to leave anyway.  They do not have pump-outs here.  So boats go out several miles to dump their holding tanks.  That will be our first chore when we leave; then decide where to visit next.  Elisabeth wants to visit the Temple of Athena.  As long as the weather is nice, we should be able to anchor in Varkiza and take the bus to central Athens, then take the subway to the Acropolis.  Turns out that the Temple of Athena is up on that hill right next to the Parthenon.  We were right there last week but did not know what we were looking at!  Guess we will be going again.

BTW, American friends visited the Acropolis last week.  A pick-pocket got to them on the subway.  Lost wallet with cash and all credit cards.  Be careful of pick-pockets if visiting Athens.  They are very proficient.

Oh, yes.  Almost forgot to explain the reasons why Bill had to remain on the boat today.  Firstly, we had diesel delivered.  There is no fuel dock here.  Instead, diesel is delivered by truck.  Price today was 1.5 Euro per liter, which is $8.16 USD per gallon.  $789.97 for 370 liters to top off our fuel tank.  Glad we don't have to do that every week!!!!  

Secondly, Bill wanted the generator checked out.  It had become impossible to start unless we first started the engine.  Bill had already replaced the starter but that did not solve the problem.  He really did not think it would, but it was worth a shot and we had a spare starter.  He had checked all the batteries and they all registered 13.2 volts or higher.  He had switched the starting battery with one of the house batteries to see if that would help -- it didn't.  Bill had tried everything he could think of but could not solve the generator starting issue, so it was time for a real Onan serviceman to solve this problem.  The Onan guy came out yesterday and performed exactly all the steps that Bill had already tried.  Problem was not with the generator.  

Our AGM batteries were purchased 18 November 2006, so they were 4 years 7 months old.  As I said, each registered a minimum of 13.2 volts when tested with everything turned off.  After the Onan serviceman could find no problem with the generator, Bill called a battery shop.  They delivered and installed 13 new batteries yesterday afternoon.  This time we bought sealed lead-acid batteries rather than AGMs.  There are exactly like the ones Amel originally installed in this boat at the factory.  $3,059.45 USD for 13 batteries, and they carted off the old batts.  That is way more than it should have cost, but was the best price Bill could find locally.  Just another example of the overvaluation of the Euro.

Note added 28 June:  Good thing she arrived yesterday.  Today the airport controllers in Athens went on strike and thousands of protesters almost shut down the port area. 

Note added 1 July:  Zea Marina does have pump out facilities.  They just don't bother to tell transient yachts about it.  There is a charge to pump out and there was a pump out station right behind the last berth we were assigned to.  Can't believe the office staff doesn't bother to tell visitors about these pump out stations.  Bill found out simply by accident just as we were leaving the marina.


  1. Did the new batteries fix the issue?

    Personally, I think I would have just replaced the starting battery...

  2. Yes, the new batteries fixed the starting issue. Made no sense to us to delay replacing all of them. They were all the same age and all getting weak since fully charged they were only 13.2v. Better to replace them in Piraeus because it would have cost more and been harder to source any place in Greece away from here.

  3. AND, most importantly, they were delivered and installed while we were at Zea Marina at no charge for delivery and installation. Also the old batteries were removed at no charge. These things are heavy and tough to get on and off the boat. Ultimately, the free delivery, install and removal along with the above mentioned facts led me to make the decision...



Your comment will be posted after we confirm that you are not a cyber stalker.