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Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea

Day 2 – Last Mango in Athens

September 12, 2009

We awake too early (in Melissa's opinion).  Good news is that Dave is feeling MUCH better than the day before.  We take it easy and visit the Acropolis and have lunch with Dad and Marla who have been in Athens for three days.  One day too long according to them.  We had frequently been told one to two days in Athens was plenty.  After one day, Melissa and Dave are in agreement.  We also understand why Ravital won't come back.  The city is dirty, graffiti is everywhere, the cab drivers are insane, and amazingly there isn't really much to see.



Just outside our hotel, we find that is it pouring rain.  Dave snapped a great photo of all the umbrellas in the rain. Feels like we never left Seattle!


We head for the marina in a couple of cabs with the two tons of luggage we are carrying with us.  With a few sail boat charters behind us, Melissa and Dave have learned to leave nothing to chance.  In the "gear bag" there is: a good kitchen knife (no boat has one), a whisk (how can you make hollandaise sauce without one?!), a multi-meter (Dave uses it for one diagnostic or another EVERY trip), two water activated life vests (one of the purchases for the future round the world trip), 10 books (might not be enough for Melissa for 2 weeks but she can buy more along with way), a coffee maker (good thinking as the boat is without one).

One of the things Melissa (and Dave truth be told) were fretting about was that the Greeks require that all "crew" particularly the Capitan have sailing licenses.  The charter boat company requires two fully certified captains.  Dave is really the only qualified captain aboard, and Melissa's back up plan involves pleading for help via the radio.  The Greeks are all about formal beauracracy.  Dave has never taken a formal sailing course - simply sailed in the Pacific Northwest (some of the toughest sailing waters in the world due to tidal levels and currents) his entire life.  But that isn't good enough for the Greek apparently who require some official looking document to prove they are qualified.  Dave and Melissa pondered what to do for weeks when that requirement came down.  The sailing charter company said in essence "make up a formal certificate" and that will be good enough for the Greeks.  Hmmmm...  Dave has his "Washington State Boater Education Certificate of Completion".  Looks official enough.  Meaningless though - seeing as how Melissa managed to get hers in less than an hour of on-line education and quizzes.  Melissa's Dad did his in even less time - having failed the course the first time, he just reviewed the questions he got wrong and took the quiz again.  Having passed, you pay your money and then get a driver's license looking card saying you passed the boater certification.  Apparently that was enough for the Greeks as we have now been signed off by the port authority on the basis of having shown these "certificates" to the port police, the port authority, and one other agency we never did figure out the name for to take the boat out.  Dave didn't even have to run a sea trial.  (Back in the US - you can't rent a boat without showing somebody somewhere along the way you have a clue).

Melissa and Marla arrive at the local supermarket to find that while the store has most of the goods we need, there are no shopping carts to be found.  It takes Marla the better part of ½ hour to find one.  Melisa had to leave her passport with the clerk to be able to take the cart back to the dock once we paid for the food.



Groceries were mostly identifiable with a few interesting twists that will be discovered in the days to come.  Wine was particularly problematic as Melissa knows none of the Greek labels.  Chatting with a fellow English speaking boater at least gained the knowledge of what a reasonable price range was $7to $12 Euros.  So she bought one of every bottle in that price range.  We shall see how that turns out...

Dinner was at a local restaurant.  Cheap really - $50 Euros for the four of us, and that included a carafe of wine.  We had the Mousaka (fabulous!), the potato balls (also to die for), the swordfish (some of the best ever), and some muscles that they must have found lying in the sun for hours (Yuck!)

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