Greece 19th May, 2021.

Ariel of Hamble
Jim and Valerie SHURVELL
Mon 14 Jun 2021 14:30

After a very isolated Covid winter we were eager to get to Ariel as we

knew there would be a few jobs to do as boats love a bit of love and


We had had two jabs of Astra Zeneca, printed out our NHS

vaccination record, did our family locator form and spent £80 each on

an Express Covid test within 72 hours of the flight arriving in Athens.

The test result came back the next afternoon well in time if there was

a problem we could get another test.  The free NHS test would not

give us a Fit to Fly certificate.

At Heathrow where we were duly dropped off at 5.50 a.m. by Graham

for booking into our flight the terminal was very empty.  The PCR

certificate was requested with the locator form and our passports.  Jim

packed the bag and was upset to find he was overweight and had to

pay £60 in excess.  I took no blame for this as he had all sorts of

extras like bags of coffee, biscuits etc. plus all his boat bits like an

anode which weighed a few pounds in a bag with a heavy frame

which already started the pounds ticking up.

We were very soon through the gate of no return and sitting in the

terminal waiting for our plane to board.  Excellent homemade egg and

bacon sandwiches were consumed with a cup of coffee before we

boarded.  Luckily we had three seats for the two of us which was very

lucky as the plane was 95 percent full. 

The take off was great and we headed north for a while following the

M25 and M1 before we turned and headed over the channel and

France. David very kindly sent our flight path and we went over Paris,

down across the mountains between France and Italy and followed the

west coast of Italy until Rome and then across to the east coast and

across the Adriatic sea.  It was lovely to see Corfu where we had

spent quite a few weeks for Lizzie’s 21st birthday which we celebrated

at the famous White House restaurant.  We saw the islands where we

had anchored with Geoff and Vivienne and again with Graham after

the 2011 4 day rally which we won.  Jim caught and lost his first tuna

off those islands.

The touchdown in Athens was superb. Now non EU citizens we were

ushered to one side and Jim ended up having a Covid test. As we had

a family locator form unfortunately I couldn’t get one. Shame as the

lady made Jim jump off the seat as she stuck it up his nose. Once this

was over we were into customs and duly got our passports stamped. 

Here starts our 90 days in 180.

Met up with Mari and Brian as they had flown business class,

collected the bags and went to find the Pops Cars taxi.  No more than

3 in a taxi so Jim and Brian went off in the taxi and Mari and I waited

for it to return for us. We had ordered two cars due to the rules but

once at the office the chaps were told one car would be okay. Jim

drove us to Kilada along the motorway paying the tolls on the way

over the Corinth Canal which is shut for one year to marine traffic and

up and round the mountains to Kilada. A journey of about two hours.

Ariel was fine and we were pleased to see the cover was fully in place

and the boat wasn’t dirty.  It was nice to see Ariel again and feel the

warmth of Greece. Clive and Trisha were already in the yard having

flown two days earlier.  Mari and Brian went to an apartment as they

find it easier to manage the relaunch and not have to live on board.

The six of us had a nice meal in one of the usual Kilada restaurants

and had a good chat about what we planned to do in the next few


For the next few days we worked hard shopping, replacing two big

batteries, oiling, polishing the hull, rubbing down the propeller and

greasing, and getting equipment back in place ready for the launch on

Monday 24th May. We had brought from the UK a new large anode

but the bolts wouldn’t come out so the yard said we would have a

man come on Sunday but he didn’t appear until reminded on Monday

so our usual early morning launch was delayed until the last one of

the day.  Not a problem for us as we had been up early polishing the

hull up on the tussle and washing off the deck. Ariel was duly driven

down to the lift and we were in the water after checking there were no

leaks from the anode and the water was pumping from the engine. It

was lovely to be back anchored in the bay for lunch before a few

more jobs got done. Our first night back on the water in beautiful