We started out by getting up at 2:30 am on the 3rd of May in order to drive from Oromocto to my brother?s place near Boston so that we could meet the limo driver at 2pm for our 6pm flight to London. The flight would arrive in London early in the morning and we would have all day in London to putter about before our night flight to Tel Aviv. Everything went without a hitch but after a very long day and not sleeping a lot on the flight over. The day?s walk around London was a scouting mission for the return trip. We found the hotel, we found a place to buy discount theatre tickets, and we found out where the theatre is for ‘Chicago’. Hopefully there will be tickets for it when we get back. After several hours of walking, several stops for coffee and resting my feet, we returned to the airport by early afternoon. My feet were killing me (new shoes). We were having a two-dwarf day: grumpy and sleepy.
We slept a little better on the next flight and it arrived at 5am on the 5th of May in Tel Aviv. Thankfully Rick and Tsipy were there to meet us complete with a little ‘Cruise Ship’ sign and everything. We heard Tsipy yelp before we saw them. We drove back to Hertzelia and arrived before the traffic even started to build. We had a quick shower and a nap. We did not want to nap too long because we wanted to get our clocks shifted to Tel Aviv time ASAP. But we did have to function so a couple of hours were a necessity
Rick and Tsipy had been invited to the northern part of Israel for a picnic by a cruising couple, Jean-Claude and Patricia. They were taking their granddaughter Camilla to Gan HaShlosha. The Gan(park) is a national park and site of an extremely popular series of small hot spring fed lakes. The temp is 28C year round. Which would make it cool in summer and warm in winter. Not a bad combo. The weekends are busy but we landed mid week so we had the place practically to ourselves. It was absolutely gorgeous, with its manicured landscaping with palm trees, green grass and the blue-green crystal clear water. On the way there we followed Jean-Claude and Patricia through the scenic Gilboa Mountains. The roads were twisty and steep and gave spectacular glimpses of the mountains and valleys of Israel and even the western edge of Jordon. After a great picnic we continued on to a falafel stand owned by a relative of Tsipy?s and is considered the best around. They were the best falafels we have ever had. Part of the secret is they make their own pita bread and it is great all by itself.
The next day was the family send off for Rick and Tsipy. Both the large real and large extended family showed up to give Rick and Tsipy a good send off. And naturally this included food, more food, with snacks on friend?s boats, and then a serious dinner at Itzak?s. The breakfast started about 9 with the serious grazing starting at about 11am and ending at 11pm. We didn?t really eat much the next day and didn?t really feel hungry either. The food was spectacular. One dish I am going to try to make when I get home is a rolled pie dough with a cheese, onion, and olive filling. (OK I will probably find something other than olives to put in it.)
We were a little late rising and Rick was anxious to get moving so we moving to the fuel dock before the second cup of coffee. The fuel dock is always a shock to us. On our sailboat, we are fully loaded with a little less than 50 gallons (200 litres) on board. Rick pulls up to the dock and fills the two saddle tanks and tops up the third with the fourth being full and takes on just a bit under 5000 litres. (The big tank was the full one). After clearing out as late as we could, the security guard has to watch you go and she leaves for lunch at noon and does not come back to the Marina in the afternoon, we headed toward Cyprus.
The weather for the trip to Cyprus was supposed to be WNW 8-10 dropping to less than 5 through the night with approximately 1-2 ft seas. We couldn’t expect much better, and while the wind and waves were accurate someone missed the 1-2 meter swell. The night was cool and the wind blowing against the 64F water did seem a bit raw. The moon was non-existent so the night was as black as the inside of a cow. It was a tough trip. The world was very sloppy and life was not good at all. As much as you wanted to be inside in the warm cabin, all of the reflecting surfaces made life very unfriendly. On the fly bridge I could at least see some stars and a bit of a very dark horizon to help me from getting seasick. Bonnie even got a bit white which is unusual.
The 3-4 freighters we saw every watch gave us something to look at and watch out for while we tried to stay awake during our watches. We even had to change course a couple of times. Most were traveling fast enough and far enough away that we just watched them as they passed. If they got within four miles without making a correction I watched a little closer and if they didn’t do anything by the time they were two miles away I would tweek the course or our speed to make sure we stayed well clear.
We didn’t want to arrive too early at Limassol Cyprus and figured about 9am as a good time. This meant a 21 hour trip, and 21 hours of hobby horsing meant that the fuel tanks got a fine mixing too, which meant that all that nice goo that builds up in tanks got a good chance to do what it does best and that means clog fuel filters. Boy do turbo chargers make interesting noises when they do the surge and die. The engines restarted but did not last long before they started to be unhappy again. By this time, we were sheltered by the island of Cyprus, most of the sea swell was gone and we were in conditions that we expected to be in most of the night. We stopped the engines long enough to change the fuel filters, about two to three minutes and were off again. The Racor filters are much easier and faster to change than ours.
We cleared customs and settled into our slip for a few days of boat maintenance, sight seeing and relaxing before we do the overnight run to Turkey.
Rick has another 50 meters of anchor chain on order for delivery to the marina, and then we have to add another 230 gallons to replace what we used.
We walked over to a nice restaurant with VERY good food and not bad prices, a place called Chesters. Just walk up from the marina until you get to the main street, hang a left, it is a across the street and a few blocks down.
We had a car scheduled to be delivered to the marina at 9 a.m. and like clockwork it was there. The cars are expensive here (20 Cypriot Pounds per day, 1 pound is almost $3 cdn). The rental was as slick as I have ever had. Rick handed over his credit card, I handed over my driver’s license and the guy filled out the paperwork on the hood of the car. A two-minute check out of the car and he was gone. The car was delivered to us. We are to leave it in the parking lot beside the marina with the keys under the mat. The car was delivered full but we can leave it empty ‘No Problem’. We discovered this was not a big deal as the tank seems to have all of a seven-gallon tank. We are on our second tank load, after the first day of rental. The car is a SMALL Suzuki SUV 4×4. We nicknamed the car ‘The SUV from HELL’
The reason I drove rather than Rick was that Cypress drives on the left side of the road. We were told in Antigua once quite emphatically that this is not driving on the wrong side of the road. ‘You drive on the right side of the road,’ he said waving his finger in the air ‘But, We drive on the CORRECT side!’ Well Cypress drives on the correct side of the road not the right side of the road. The car is all set up for it. The wheel is on the right side (which makes driving on the correct side much easier). The stick shift is in the middle, and shifting a five speed with my left hand was a tad weird. The gears are in the same order as at home just on the left side. The pedals are (THANK YOU GOD) in the same order. The windshield wiper switch and signal light switch are opposite to what we expect, so we have a very clean windshield EVERY TIME we come to an intersection. That seems to be the hardest thing to swap over in my mind. We are cramped in quite tight. It isn’t the smallest car I have ever rented but it seems the most cramped, but the smaller cars were just Bonnie and I. By the time we were done a day of driving the right side of my brain hurt.
We traveled from Limassol toward the Fig Tree Bay where there seemed to be a continuous stream of tourist hotels, beaches, and restaurants. We checked out a marina and an anchorage for their return trip and had lunch in a wonderful little spot on the east side of the island. My first experience driving on a four-lane highway on the correct side was interesting but uneventful. The toughest problem I have was with the roundabouts (or what we call traffic circles). Every time we approached a traffic circle Bonnie and Tsipy yelled ‘left’, and Rick yelled ‘clockwise’, I just whimpered. The rental cars are sporting a red plate as opposed to a normal yellow plate (the new plates have the blue EU circle of stars with a CY under it and the yellow side on the right of the plate). I’m sure the ‘idiot’ plate saved us more than once. The truck drivers seem to give us a very wide berth in the roundabouts.
We had chain scheduled to be delivered late in the afternoon so we made our way back. We missed a sign somewhere because we were very seriously lost for a while. I finally spotted a sign that said ‘Limissol’ and drove at it. It wasn’t the main drag by any means but we at least were going in the right direction. All of the locals noticed the red plates and practically drove off the narrow road to get out of our way. We started to get a little nervous when it turned into a dirt road. The SUV from Hell was a 4×4 but the suspension was not something we really wanted to go off roading with. We have gotten lost in many islands in the Caribbean and somehow always managed to end up at the dump. We did it again. Just before the road turned back into a paved road, we arrived at the dump. Eventually we found our way back to the highway and then to the Marina.
Bonnie and I dropped Rick and Tsipy off at the boat and we went off to the bakery that Doros showed us when we were on our way through last time. I was very well behaved and only bought a loaf of multigrain bread and 4 nice pieces of baklava. We returned and started washing the boat until the chain arrived. Rick and I loaded the chain from the dock into the dinghy and then I moved the dinghy around to the bow of the boat and fed an end up to the bow. The med mooring gave us a very tight squeeze up between the boats but we had enough room so all went well.
With the anchor rode loaded and the anchor reattached we were ready to head off to Doros’ house in Nicosia after a very nice snack (the baklava). Life is uncertain, eat dessert first. We drove off up toward Nicosia and had to fill the tank of the car. They have automatic pumps here so that even though the station is closed the pumps will still operate. At home each pump would have it?s own card reader, here there is one card reader and many pumps. It ate Rick?s card, refused to let us have gas, and was the source of great frustration and concern. We fed it cash and finally got gas but the card was still gone. We found a business card, called the manager but by this time the machine had timed out and spit out the card. Greatly relieved we were off to Nicosia.
We got lost a couple of times and Doros finally came and found us and guided us back to his house. He and his wife live in a beautiful home within a couple hundred yards of the green line dividing Greek Cyprus from Turkish Cyprus. His family was displaced by the Turks. We got the chance to meet his three daughters and his son. They go to an English private school and their English is extremely good. The eldest daughter Sotia, would often translate for her father and mother. We had a huge meal and Doros gave us a tour around the walled city of old Nicosia before taking us to a coffee house for a refreshment before letting us head home for the night. It was past 2 a.m. when we arrived back at the boat. We died as soon as we hit the pillow and were late rising the next day.
We got up very late and it was after 1 p.m. before we were back in the walled city of Nicosia. We got a quick look at a war memorial and we wanted to see it up close. My father fought in Cypress during the Second World War so it took on extra meaning for me. From there we walked around in the old walled city a short distance before trying to get back toward the market for a little vegetable shopping.
We wanted to check out a marina on the north coast of Cyprus, which meant that we had to go into the Turkish section. We stopped at the Turkish border after passing through the UN buffer zone and eventually worked our way through the bureaucratic nightmare. First we had to buy extra car insurance, then the passport slips and through the border until we worked our way to the north. I was kind of going on the idea that if I kept the sun at my back I would eventually run into the north coast. There are two mountain ranges in Cypress, one between the south coast and Nicosia and the second just before the North coast of the island. The valley in the middle was just being harvested. Large fields of hay were bailed and waiting to be picked up. The colors of the sunlight on the mountains were spectacular. As we passed through the cut in the mountains the hills suddenly became green and forested with much more moisture than anywhere else we had seen.
We checked out a marina, and had a snack. The marina seemed very empty compared to the ones in the south. The power was out on the whole north end of the island, and stayed out practically the whole time we were there. It was finally coming on as we got lost in the Turkish side of Nicosia. We eventually did find our way out with the help of the friendly turks. It was slow stop and start and my knee hadn?t done this amount of work in many years. We were also running on fumes by the time we got back to the Greek side.
We found our way back to Doros’ house and filled up at the end of his street. We were met at the door by Elenitsa’s grandmother. There are four generations of women under one roof. (Two different residences but one roof, poor Doros). We went out to dinner with them and headed home much earlier, getting back near 11pm.
The SUV from Hell was gone by the time we rousted ourselves out of bed. We decided that a slow day was in order and we basically took a day off. I worked on my journal and documented my photos. A quick walk up to the bakery yielded a bountiful harvest of cookies. We dropped them off at the boat before taking a walk on the dark sand beach (HOT). The water is still a bit cool for swimming at 64.3 F. But in the shallow water next to the hot beach sand it is very pleasant.
We checked the weather and decided to delay our departure. The weather is kicking up and rather than fight it we will delay our departure until late Saturday afternoon
The weather on Saturday was better than expected and we left about noon. The winds were less than 5 for most of the afternoon and evening. The weather is supposed to close down Sunday with a pulse of high winds spreading from Greece down off the coast of Cyprus. We would like to be settled by then and made the trip to Turkey without incident. It was a uneventful trip if you don’t count a couple of pods of dolphins that made their appearance.
We arrived early on Sunday with the sun just rising into the mountains as we tucked into their shelter. The morning was very beautiful. We were too early for most of the marina staff. One lone guy in a tender directed us side onto a dock, which made Rick very happy, no med mooring today. He went up to the marina office to check in and get the news. We can’t check in until Monday, the offices are closed on Sunday. There is a new lire (they just issued new notes and dropped the six extra zeros. So the 10 million lire note is now the same as a 10 new lire note, worth about $10 CDN. They have a variable rate for Visas here. The Israelis pay nothing, American?s pay $20US and Canadian’s pay $60US (ouch). Last year it was $45 for each of us but Rick heard that enough Americans complained that the dropped the fees for them. I guess it is time for more Canadians to complain about the fees. Since we are not able to clear customs we aren?t supposed to leave the boat but we needed a rest anyway. Bonnie and I were content to sit. It was a long night.
The next day we spent a few hours trying to clear in. The first few hours were spent walking around trying to do paperwork. Well not really we walked from office to office sitting in the chairs and not doing much of anything while someone else filled in paperwork. The Visa for us costs $60 dollars US but they won’t take US dollars they only take Turkish Lire so we had to do and get 163.50 new Lire. The first machine would not take my card so I had to find another ATM that would. The next one did. They both said PLUS on them but only one worked. It took another 6 hours for us to get the final bit of paperwork and our passports back so that wasn’t a real comfortable feeling. We did walk to the place where the street market was when we were in last year, but it was not market day. So we had to settle for one of the permanent markets. It was a nice place for getting fresh produce. We got local strawberries, bananas, watermelon, parsley, mint, oranges, and eggs and bread at another place. The stuff is incredibly fresh here.
We were also in search of a battery. The Gel cell used for starting the generator was not a happy camper and would not always start the generator so we were in search of a good old lead acid battery. We found one at the marine store for 130 Lire. So now that we had the upper end for cost we were in search of an auto store for the lower prices. Normally the boat places are much more expensive. This time for the first time I have ever known the boat place had a bigger battery with more capacity for 30 Lire less than the auto place.
On our way back to the boat we helped a vessel L’Ami Libre get onto the dock. They were expecting the dock hands to do one thing, the dock hands were expecting them to do something else and together it was not coming together at all. I stomped on their stern spring line to stop their progression into a wall and that seemed to please them on end. After a few minutes the lines were settled and things relaxed a bit. Rick invited them to join us at a local restaurant for dinner and they did. They are from Indianapolis and have been cruising the Med for a few years now.
We were off the next morning to Gokkaya Limani(bay) a run of about 13 to 15 miles. A very nice and short day the winds were near calm and we had only the local Gulets (tour boats). When we arrived there were about 6 or 7 boats snuggled in different little coves around the bay. By about 2 hours later almost all of them had moved on, but the cove started to fill again with boats. There is lots of space in the bay but one of the Sunsail charter boats anchored practically on top of us before Rick waved him off.
The bay has a couple of sites where there are ruins as well as a very good restaurant according to Tony, a professional captain and formerly a Sunsail flotilla captain on the Turkish coast. He thought the Smuggler’s Inn was one of his favorites. Bonnie and I took the dinghy out to explore while Rick and Tsipy had a nap and relaxed. The meal didn’t sit well with Tsipy, as she was sick during the night. We all had basically the same food and the rest of us were fine. She is ok now after another couple hours of sleep. We explored the ruins and got a few photos of the ruins at the NW corner of the bay. They extend back quite a ways into the hills. We walked around and took lots of pictures. We then got in the dinghy and zipped over tho the ruins on one of the small islands about a kilometer out the bay. It is amazing the difference in what you are willing to do when you have a dinghy that does over 30mph at the push of a lever compared to our little 2.5hp put-put. Bonnie’s hat stays on much better on ours. The ruins on Kisneli Adasi(island) were occupied by a large quantity of goats when we arrived so we decided to go looking for the cave instead. The cave is listed as being large enough that the local small fishing boats go inside for a siesta in the hot summer days. The cave on Asirli Adasi had a high ceiling and looked like it was formed by the waves pounding on the exposed coast rather than what we would expect on a limestone cave. The mountains here seem to be mostly granite and very rugged.
The depth sounder is reporting the water temp to be 68F which is cool for us wimps. Rick goes in and gives a little yelp that is a pretty good indication that I’m probably going to go for a very short swim if at all. When Tsipy when in and came out with a swear word, something she NEVER does, I knew it was too cold for me.
Most of the gullets look pretty good, some look as if they are on their last year or two of service, but one today had to be one of the prettiest ships I had ever seen. It looked like it was made out of teak or dark mahogany and the boards had to be selected for the look of the grain in the wood. Under about 10 coats of varnish it did look fantastic. We went over for a closer look and the captain waved us over and gave us a business card with a web site. http://www.bahriyeli.com for those interested. Bahriyeli is the name of the vessel.
We went over to the restaurant for dinner and we were relaxing at the bar with a beer for the guys and island tea for the ladies. In came with a large sprig of green stuff in it and when they asked what it was they were told it was just a weed that grew on the island. ‘Come I show you’ and they were off on a botanical lesson by the waiter. The island tea is actually sage. They also came back with large quantities of sage and oregano another local weed. Did the oregano ever taste nice.
The mezzos (appetizers) were good but the main course was iffy. I had the lamb and Bonnie had the chicken and we swapped as always. They were ok but nothing speculator. I would have the mezzos again but skip the main course. The bar would be a definite repeat. The beer is pretty good but the atmosphere is great.
When we got up in the morning we wanted to try a stern tie to the rocks so we went investigating with a hand held sonar and checked out the water depth and then pulled anchor and moved over. The first try didn’t set and by the time it did we were a little closer to the rocks than we liked so we pulled and went a little farther forward and tried again. It set well and we were able to get the line ashore. What did not work was the brake release on the winch. We were only anchoring in 15 to 25 feet of water so the slow rollout of the winch is slow but tolerable. A lot of the places we will be anchoring will be 65+ feet deep so we will have to have the chain freefall for it to work at all. Later that afternoon we dismantled the winch and found where the rubber brake pads had bonded to the chrome capstan and I can actually pull chain out of the locker. It is a still a pretty hard pull but hopefully it will work as it is supposed to. We will try it later.
While we were anchoring Cloverleaf arrived in the anchorage. Cloverleaf is a trawler owned by friends of Rick and Tsipy. They have been cruising for over 18 years and two on this side of the Atlantic. When we got talking they heard our boat name and remembered it from the Bahamas in 2001. She looks very familiar and they knew Ray from Exuma Park, maybe we met them there.
We were up relatively early and decided to take the dinghy a few miles over to Demre and see the Myra Necropolis and St. Nicholas Church. It turned out to be about 15K to Demre so we ended up renting a car from one of the local characters and heading up to Demre. The car was in pretty tough shape. I ended up driving again. The seat would not go back and Rick?s knees were up close and personal with his chin when he tried to sit in the driver’s seat. When Bonnie got in the back she could actually see the ground under the driver’s seat. We had to put gas in the car and it was actually AutoGaz otherwise known as natural gas to be exact. The car made the 15K to the Myra Necropolis. But we did slow down for every bump so as to not loose the driver, ME! Every time I made a bump the seat would rock back and forth and I held onto the wheel very tightly if I hit a bad bump, just in case the seat decided to leave. It was a tossup if the seatbelt was a good idea or not.
The Myra Nechroplis is a set of tombs cut into the mountain dating back to the 5th century BC. Myra is mentioned in the bible as being visited by Paul and Luke. They are also mentioned in Homer’s ‘The Illiad’. The tombs are cut into the soft rock of the cliffs and are very well preserved. According to the plaques even some of the original coloring still survives in some of them. They were pretty impressive and were well worth the trip to Demre. There are relief carvings in the rock as well as the tombs meant to resemble the Lycian homes.
Besides the Necropolis there is a large amphitheatre in remarkably good condition. The stage area has shown damage from an earthquake or two over the years. Many of the stones are now resting safely on the ground which allow people to get a good view of the intricate stone carving and relief done by people thousands of years before. The skill and workmanship are impressive. Rods and jacks to help support the structure have reinforced a number of places. The plants growing on the wall of the amphitheatre are pretty but are probably not doing anything to help the preservation of the site. On the way into the site is a gauntlet of shops to be traversed. We are very good at saying no but I must admit Bonnie might have looked pretty good in one of those fancy harem costumes! The carpets, fabric, beadwork, and tapestries are impressive.
Demre’s claim to fame comes in the form of St Nicholas. He may live at the north pole now, but he originated in Demre Turkey. St Nicholas was the bishop who served in many places in the Med, where it never snowed. The belief which indicates that he saves people in bad situations unites with the belief of the north, which accepts Nicholas as a holy personality from the Idea of a pleasant old man who brings presents to children on Christmas Eve? Rick told of one of the myths that had St Nicholas saving many a young bride from prostitution by dropping the required dowry down the chimney.
The church was in pretty hard shape and has seen millions of pilgrims over the years. They are trying to restore parts of the church without closing it down. It is off limits behind a door but the door had a small gap in it at the top and I stuck the camera in and (without a flash) took a couple of pictures. The difference between the protected area and the unprotected area was staggering. The murals on the unprotected surfaces are bleached and worn and are barely discernable in some cases. Inside the protected area the pieces are fresh with bright colors and when they are done restoring the church it will truly be a sight to behold.
When we returned, we untied ourselves from a rock, pulled anchor and made our way down Kerkova Roads, a small channel between the mainland and a long thin mountainous island. The channel is less than a mile across and is hundreds of feet deep. There is a large castle that looks to be in fairly good condition from a distance. There are lots of gullets tied to the restaurant docks and it looks like it should be busy but we could not see anyone inside the walls, so the castle may not be open.
We turned into Ucagiz Limani and passed between the shore and a few small islands that block the entrance. The very narrow entrance was about 150 feet wide and over 95 feet deep. Only inside the Limani(cove) did the depths shallow to reasonable depths. We anchored in 17 feet well away from town. Our days travel was less than two hours.
We heard of two brother’s whose restaurant?s share a common wall were feuding. One built a dock to attract customers the other built his dock so that the entrance is so close as to block one side of the dock from being used for big boats. We went between the two with our dinghy and found the inside docks very rough steel and not at all friendly. We were able to get tied up to a dock further along that was rickety wood but this was better than the rusty jagged iron. We watched as people on the docks waved the flag of whatever boat came by the harbour. British one minute, German the next, Sunsail the next. It was entertaining to see the two brothers run up and down the dock trying to attract the dinghys and even a couple of larger boats. The only boats that tied to those docks were charter boats. They took our garbage, and were happy with us walking around town before coming back to have a beer.
We walked around town and Ucagiz really is just a small settlement. There are lots of little shops selling spices, carpets, clothing and beadwork. There was small market where we picked up essentials: tomatoes, walnuts, and beer (1.75YTK per bottle). We were able to find Apple Tea at one of the sidewalk markets. It tasted like very hot apple cider to us so we were fine. Rick and Tsipy were under instructions to buy some for a friend of theirs in Israel so that was a couple of sales for her. She gave us a small sample of Lemon Salt. (PURE crystalized Lemon juice WOW is it strong!) There is a really nice light blue dress that I think Bonnie would like but she wasn’t interested even in looking at anything.
We were originally going to have just a beer at the restaurant but stayed for the dinners of mezzos, with a shish kabob (called just a shish here) of shrimp, calamari, and lamb. The lamb and calamari were very good, the shrimp was overcooked.
We went back to the boat and were happy to be home. I worked a few hours on documenting my photos. Something that takes a fair amount of time, I was practically asleep documenting the photos so I packed it in. The night was very quiet and very peaceful.
First thing in the morning Ibrahim was running around the anchorage delivering bread to all of his customers, and within a few seconds, Hassan was visible delivering bread to his customers nearby. Weird.
The windlass didn’t work as it was supposed to it, so we decided to try another round of diagnosis. We tore down the winch and tried to figure out why it wasn’t working. After a few tries of partially assembling the winch we decided that what was wrong was the wildcat on the top of the windlass was being pushed down and binding rather than moving up and down on a spring. The fact that we had to use a gear puller to remove the wildcat meant that it was too tight to properly move up when the nut on the top was loosened. Bonnie took a great picture of us working on the front deck it is covered in tools. Rick and I are busily working away and we almost look like we know what we are doing. Like they say cruising is boat maintenance done in nice places.
Bonnie and I took the dinghy over to the Kalekoy Castle, a Byzantine fortress of the Knights of Saint John, while Rick and Tsipy stayed on board. The places you can go a 38mph! We docked at a restaurant and we got a couple of escorts up the mountain. We stopped at an amphitheater inside the Castle dating back to 300BC. They tried to sell us some nice embroidery, headdress, and sarongs but we weren?t buying. I have tried to find something that Bonnie would be interested but no dice.
We walked around the Castle and down the hills to the various tombs that are plentiful in the area. All in all, it was a short outing but it gave us a little exercise and a nice trip to the top of the castle.
Dave and Bev Fiegas on Cloverleaf have arrived and we are going over to their boat for Shabbot dinner. It was interesting to talk to them. They know a lot of the same people as we do in the Bahamas. The world shrinks when you meet someone from Sioux City Iowa in Turkey and they tell you the sad news that a friend of yours in Oromocto NB died a few days ago. Ena Milburne died, when we saw her last in Georgetown she was not well. We were sad to hear she had passed and our sympathies go out to Gerry.
We spent the day playing around in the dinghy. We tried to find the sunken city of Simena. It is on the opposite side of Kerkova Roads from the where we are so it was a bit of a dinghy ride. There are ruins of a settlement below water and all you can really see are walls and a few bits of pottery. We went over and the winds were starting to blow up, so looking around with the looky bucket wasn?t very profitable. By the time we turned around to come back the weather had kicked up to 15-20s judging by the whitecaps. The dinghy did very good but there were a number of times we were airborne, and I kept the little kill switch in my hand incase things got out of hand. We tucked back inside the protected bay and we were up on plane and zipping along. We did a circuit of the bay and looked at the shoreline. There isn?t a lot here but there seems to be ruins everywhere.
Turkey is an old place. The people are friendly and they smile when you smile. There seem to be ruins everywhere. The coast is lined with mountains; the coastline is a treasure-trove of coves, bays, and islands. The water is deep and clean. The mountains are craggy rock and suited to the goats that inhabit them. The tough green trees that hold onto the rock provide a wonderful panorama of hundreds of shades of green. Walking through the hills provides a wonderful array of aromas, sage, mint, oregano, and flower?s galore. Turkey is certainly not off of our list of places to come and explore.
We went back in town to try to find something that might be of interest in the local shops. There are a lot of neat things in the stores. We really don’t want anything, so shopping is difficult. The cutwork tablecloths are pretty, so is the linen clothing, beadwork and lacework. We contribute to the local economy by eating in the restaurants. We stopped at Ibrahim’s where we ate a couple of nights ago. We were having a drink before we worked our way back to the boat. The cook was getting ready to cook the meses. The empty 10 litre cans of olive oil have been recycled into planters and used around the restaurant. They provide brightly colored flowers, as well as many of the spices the cook uses. She was out harvesting herbs beside our table while we were having our beer. No wonder the food was good.
Earlier that day Bev and Dave ran into friends of theirs that were on a dock at a restaurant hotel (called a pension) and they invited us along. We ran over to meet them and go out to supper. The food at Onur was not as good as Ibrahim’s but it was good. We kind of joked that we might get 4 loaves of bread 2 from Onur and 2 from Ibrahim but Ibrahim was watching and we only got 2 loaves of bread the next day. All the bread seems to come from the same bakery.
The next morning we were off to Kas., an ex-hippie turned tourist haven. There are quite a few pensions, lots and lots of restaurants, a Byzantine amphitheater, cisterns, tombs and other ruins. We were able to use the winch in free fall mode and that made for a lot faster and easier anchoring for our Med mooring.
We walked around town and found an internet cafe. Rick uploaded a lot of pictures to his web site. I had left most of my stuff at home so I couldn’t do a lot while I was there. I did try to send a note to everybody but had a problem with the message going out. Such is life. We stopped and bought groceries, cheese, eggs, potatoes, bazanti flavored corn chips, oranges, and a bunch of other stuff.
After dropping the load at the boat (we even got the baggie of eggs home safe and sound, no refrigerated eggs or egg cartons here) we hiked up toward the amphitheater and climbed around it. I climbed up to the top of the hill and was able to see the cove on the other side of the town. The protected cove would be wonderful in anything but a west wind, and you guessed it, the winds are predominantly westerly.
We arrived home to see Lara, a boat we have seen several times in the last week docked beside us. It was nice to see them but Lara anchor had been tripped by someone trying to come in and do a Med mooring. When they tripped their anchor Lara went forward and smacked the dock causing minor damage, Then when Lara left they tripped a boat’s anchor and we helped them as they reanchored and backed into the dock, nearly tripping our anchor in the process. (Med mooring works great when there are lines provided but when you have to anchor all hell can break loose and usually does.) So even in a marina you can have 2.am anchor drills. OH JOY).
Rick was checking out our Lonely Planet guide to Turkey and found a local Jazz club. Rick is from New Orleans and this was something he had to check out. I like Jazz so we all went up to the pub and sat at the bar and talked to the bartender for a hour or so. The Jazz was all recorded but it was interesting to talk to him and the owner of the bar. They were both interesting characters. It was late when we got back to the boat so we crashed quickly.
We were up late and having a lazy cup of coffee when Cloverleaf arrived. They are anchored in a cove not far away. It is deep 110ft but most of the shallow (60+ft) places are full.
We had a great day walking and shopping and not buying anything. We seemed to cover all of Kas from one end to the other although we never did find the really big mosque we went looking for once. Rick and Tsipy took us out to dinner at a French Restaurant ‘Chez Evy’. The food was the best we have had in a while. Roast leg of lamb, Filet of Beef with four peppers, Calamari appetizers. It was all very good.
On Tuesday morning we were up relatively early 6:30 and were away from the dock shortly after 7. We were extremely lucky and no-one had laid over our chain. A couple were within a couple of feet but both missed. We were able to pull up cleanly. That was a great relief.
We motored the 50 miles or so to Fethiye. Our first place in Turkey last year. It was really nice to see.
We pulled into the same marina and Rick went to check out the possibilities of renting a car. We got a van for the 6 of us (Cloverleaf joined us for a day of traveling) to be delivered at 9 a.m. the next day. We spent the day relaxing, recovering from the trip, and updating web sites, journals and logs. The marina as free wireless access and we are doing our best to make use of it while we can. I even updated my web site, which I am usually lagging far behind on and quite negligent about generally. That evening we went over to Cloverleaf and celebrated Dave?s 75 birthday. I hope to be doing as well at 75.
We did a trip up toward the interior of Turkey. It is incredibly mountainous terrain and the valleys are lush, fertile and the agriculture in this part of the country is intense, well organized and very productive. We drove by dozens of large green houses full of ripening tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. The fields were covered with ripe oats. There were tractors everywhere even a John Deere or two for Bonnie. People were busy everywhere with picking, packing, and at packing houses. The school kids were noisy and playing in the yards of the school when we drove by during lunch. There seems to be a mix of schools some with uniforms and some without.
We stopped at the ancient city of Tlos, really a ruins of multiple civilizations that have passed through the area, Lycian tombs, a Roman amphitheatre, an Ottoman Castle on top, and probably more than that. We walked all over the place. Bev and Dave did very well keeping up even though they are both in their 70s and Bev was traveling with two canes and a camera. She had lots of photos to take as there were lots of plants to be investigated. She loves identifying plants and was able to help us out quite a bit. We even found a carnivorous plant in the castle.
In the little distance we traveled into the interior of Turkey we were amazed at the incredible agriculture that was underway. Hundreds of large greenhouses were bursting with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, etc.
There were tractors hauling loads of tomatoes to the packing plants. People were busy. It was the agriculture of Bonnie?s youth before the large processing machines. There was ample evidence of people harvesting the fields by hand, bunches of oats were cross piled, we saw a group of people bringing their wagons to a thrasher for harvesting. It was interesting to see. The view of the fields from Tlos was amazing, a patchwork quilt of fields in the colors of crops, as far as the eye could see.
We continued up into the mountain and stopped at Yaka Doga Park. It is really a fish farm turned restaurant. They have rerouted one of the mountain?s many streams and used the fresh water for fish pens, fountains, waterfalls provide aeration for fish pens and backgrounds for bars. They even have a stream of water flowing around the bar. The cold water keeps your beer cold and the live fish swimming around your beer provides entertainment. The food was pretty good and the fish was very fresh.
From there we traveled up to the Saklikent Gorge. It is a canyon cut into the mountains by the running water. The gorge is hundreds of feet deep and 18km long. You can actually walk 11 km of the icy river gorge, after you loose all feeling below your ankles, it is actually not all that bad. We walked a couple km up the gorge and it was awe-inspiring. The polish on the granite is as good as on any chess piece you have ever seen. There are cave-like stalactites and ribbon high up on the walls. It was an amazing place. There is a restaurant in the gorge that has built the tables over the stream so that there is an air conditioned area for you to relax in the hot summer sun.
From the gorge we went to Olu Deniz (Dead Sea in Turkish) It really is a small bay with a narrow entrance. Years ago it was a haven for all of the local gullets and cruisers until it became polluted due to very little tidal flow. It is prohibited to enter now and the bay looks pretty clean. There are now hotels that surround the small bay. (So much for not polluting it.) We all went swimming (EVEN BONNIE) and had a good time lay around in the sun, not a bad way to end a very good day. We returned home in time for Dave and Bev to get home in daylight.
The next day the four of us were off to go to the hot springs near Dalyon. They wanted 90 YTK for the four of us. Which we thought was too much but he suggested 70 quite quickly but we passed on that too. ‘How much he asked’? Tsipy said 50 and we walked away. We were on our way into a restaurant when the guy came after us and said ok to the 50. So we went. It took about a half hour to get to the upper hot springs. We noticed lots of mud people so we knew there were mud baths as well as hot springs.
The road up and back was an experience all by itself. The mountain pass is steep and unforgiving. The switchbacks are relentless and the guardrails non-existent. From the passenger seat is was easy to look down and see where you were going to be in a few minutes. Often it was no more than a very big step straight down. It was also the route we will have to travel from the boat to the airport very late at night, and that may not have been a good thing to know. We are not far from our departure date and unfortunately we will have to be returning home. Turkey is certainly on our list of places to come see again.
From Fethiye we moved west another 10 or so miles and arrived at Gocek. We have reservations in for a Marina slip on Monday for our EARLY Tuesday departure. We anchored off the NW corner of the bay in relatively shallow water less 15 feet by the time we were finished our rear end is in about 10 so we don’t want to drag far. We are in very settled weather with very light winds so we should be fine.
The town of Gocek is very boater tourist oriented with tons of shopping, restaurants, marine supply places with serious boat bits, a couple of very good grocery stores, pastry shops and even an open air fruit and vegetable market. There is a big Sunsail base as well as a smaller Moorings bareboat charter companies.
We will have a few days to look around before the we have to ramp up for the trip home. We have started to gather our stuff together. I downloaded the last GPS track and put the GPS away. We only had seven travel days. There were two long ones, one from Israel to Cypress one from Cypress to Turkey, the rest were all pretty short. Short days are easy days and we are taking life pretty easy.
Our Global star phone is still hooked up to Rick’s external antenna so we can receive calls if needed. I think they are surprised we get as few calls as we do.
We will probably have a quiet couple of days as Shabbot is coming up and we will be having a day of rest.
Rick and Tsipy will probably stay on the boat and give Bonnie and I a day in town. We finally found something we actually like as a souvenir.
Sunday was market day in Gocek. So we had to go in for the market. Last year Turkey seemed really cheap and this year the prices aren?t much better than the prices at home. The selection of fruits and vegetables available are very impressive. Apples, cherries, bananas, loquats, oranges, lemons, and lots more that we only vaguely recognize. There are lots of nuts available here, the pistachio nuts that were incredibly well priced last year were $5-7 a pound this year. Maybe we are out of season. Bev and Dave were at the market and we stopped to talk to them for a few minutes. We were wondering if the prices had changed that much or if it was just the differences in markets. The market had clothes, pots and pans, fruits and vegetables, cheese, eggs, meats, and sausages, shoes, as well as books and tourist trinkets. People at the market were locals, cruisers, tourists, charters, young an old alike. It was an interesting mix of cultures, religions, rich and poor.
Turkey is an interesting place. Something like 98 percent Muslim, many women wore traditional dress as you would expect, the older women were more likely than the young, but young women wore every thing from robes to the tightest western clothes available. Kids looked much the same as you would expect anywhere. There were some in school uniforms and some without. Many wore western style clothes.
We left the boat at 2 a.m and were picked up at the dock by a taxi driver for the long drive to Dalaman airport. Our flight was at 4:30 and we had a flight to Istanbul we had lots of time to watch the other people arrive at the airport. They have an interesting mechanism for doing luggage. All of your luggage is sitting beside the plane and as you walk by you point at your bag, and it gets loaded on the plane. If no-one points at a bag it doesn?t get loaded. A couple of bags were left on the tarmac and the woman beside us was asked to come out and identify her bags. She did and we were off. We should have spent a few days in Istanbul but didn?t we left in a few hours to head to London.
We checked in to a cheap hotel in downtown London, the Regent Palace. It is just off Piccadilly Circus, a great location in walking distance to the theatre district and lots of good restaurants. We did get tickets to Les Miserables as Chicago was full. Our late flight allowed us to spend most of the day at the British Museum, and it was a really neat. The Elgin Marbles are incredible. We also saw part of the section on the Lycians (the part of Turkey where we were). The next time we come over we should stop at the British Museum before we actually visit the area so that we can actually get a good run down on the history before we arrive.
We were back to Canada the next day and crashing soundly at Paul and Debbie’s before we figured out what time zone we were on