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Saturday, November 24, 2007

On Envoy - Guests: Frank & Marie

Is this for real in ancient times??????
Frankie in the Med !
Yo Boy!

Tenzing and Edmund !

Princess Caroline took this photo!

Marie and I are close longtime friends of Laurie & Di and have spent much time boating together in New Zealand. Laurie and I have enjoyed boating for almost 30 years and enjoy nothing more than discussing boats, along with fishing and rum-and-cokes (no ice for Laurie)!

Consequently when Laurie announced his intentions of purchasing a boat and travelling the Med we were enthralled and closely followed his purchase decision. I can say that the vessel he has chosen - 46' Nordhaven - is a superb cruising boat. We spent 2 weeks on Envoy with Laurie and Di and Laurie's son John and it was both a wonderful experience and a real thrill to be invited along.

Marie and I went to Istanbul first for 6 days and thoroughly enjoyed exploring this ancient city - a bit like Rome but without the Italians! Lots of history, carpets and cats! We did a day trip up the Bosphorus and this was very enjoyable - recommended Laurie must take Envoy on this passage and into the Black Sea.

We flew to the seaside port of Bodrum to join Envoy and this was our first view of the Nordhaven. What a fabulous design for extended cruising. 2 staterooms - both with toilet and shower facilities, water maker, washing machine/dryer, DVD systems, huge library of wonderful reading material - give me the winning Lotto numbers!!!!

We cruised for two weeks down the eastern coast of Turkey as far as Gocek and had a side visit to the Greek island of Simi. I was absolutely amazed at the coastline of Turkey. Somehow we believed that any coastline on the Med would be populated with hotels and apartments everywhere. What we found in reality is the most beautiful stretches of coast that are untouched and essentially "wild". The terrain is very much like our Great Barrier Island here in New Zealand. Beautiful coves to anchor in and superb clear, blue, warm water that we have seen in photos but never believed existed in reality. We thought all those pictures of the blue Med were touched up - it really is as blue and beautiful as a postcard!

Laurie & Di are wonderful hosts and we felt very relaxed. It is very special when the guys and their wives all get along so well and it was a real bonus to have their son John with us. John is the same age as my eldest son Tony and they have grown up together from babies. John is a great guy and a full-time First Mate on Superyachts, so the Cranfield family now has three generations of mariners. John had this huge book of Su-Do-Ku "puzzles" and is a real expert. He showed me how to "play" it and it was really interesting for the logic part of the brain - I'm now trying to do these each day in the NZ Herald. Not so successful was the men playing the ladies at cards - They cleaned us out at 500 on a regular basis!

Life on Envoy seems so natural and relaxed. Laurie (The Admiral) tends to the ship every day with course/destination planning, log recording, weather information, blog notes as well as engine checks, water checks, charging monitoring, freezer temp monitoring, holding tank emptying etc! Envoy is incredibly stable with active stabilisers when under way and a displacement hull at rest - there was no rocking or slap-slap at night and we could have been on land. The coastline is so pretty and enjoyable that you could spend months exploring it. This is where the water maker and washing machine are essential and fuel is the least problem. With Envoy's massive refrigerator and separate huge freezer there is ample room to store supplies. Thus fresh water becomes the critical item. I have never tasted such pure water as that from the water maker and together with the washing machine, they virtually eliminate the need to regularly reach a port for water and supplies. I see Envoy as a true "home on the water" with every comfort of our land-based homes.

Laurie guided us to many places with ruins and it was great to go ashore and explore these. We never ceased to be amazed at the extremes of engineering feats for that period of time so long ago. Also the simple Tavernas located along the coastline were fascinating to us. We had a great night at the Ali Baba restaurant with owners Barbaross and his wife. Surprisingly the Med still has good size fish and we dined on a nice whole grilled fish with salad. We also caught 4 Bonito trolling and Marie revelled in landing some of these. I love filleting fish and these were superb to fillet. They were great eating and we had a true feast on these, always assisted by several bottles of white wine followed by several bottles of Italian red! Di and Marie excelled at dinner time and I can say the meals on Envoy were 5 stars!!!

We also visited the small Greek island of Simi. This amazed me as it is virtually all rock with no water or vegetation. Fresh water is brought to the island on a continuing basis by two rather dilapidated water tanker ships. These simply unload and return for another cargo of water - all year round. The island comprises habitation at two beautiful small ports, separated by a tall, wide ridge. The villages are simple plaster houses with a mix of well-kept homes among dilapidated or abandoned dwellings. The tide in the Med is virtually nil - about 30cm max - and therefore you have these houses and shopping strips at sea level, with boats parked along the waterfront. What an idyllic setting. We sat in the sun and enjoyed a lovely lunch. Later, Laurie and John and I did a climb up to a peak on the island. It was a fantastic view and a great experience. We had a nice dinner at a waterfront cafe at Simi, along with 15 cats - 3 generations from kittens to grandma and grandpa cat!

We experienced two beautiful meals ashore during the cruise - "My Marina" at Ekincik and "The Marina Restaurant" at Gocek. These were first class meals and absolutely superb, along with the setting - truly world-class (thank you John for Gocek).

The journey with Laurie, Di and John on Envoy was a wonderful experience for us. What a great way to see the Med and experience these destinations by sea instead of flitting from hotel to hotel as most do.

To the Admiral and Lady Envoy, sincere thanks for the opportunity and the hospitality - we loved it. To Johnny - I'm still struggling with Su-Do-Ku but my brain is getting faster!

Very Best Wishes,

Love Frank & Marie.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


John, Di & I on summit overlooking Greek Simi

End of our Med summer cruise

As I write this we are in the Marmaris marina at the end of our voyage.
Some sadness of course, but tinged by memories of all the great times we’ve had with family & friends. In a few days we return to NZ and are looking forward to seeing everybody again. Then we spend a few days in Queensland visiting Dad, Maureen & my brother Charles before returning to Marmaris to join Amy & John for Xmas.
Beyond that we will decide in the coming few weeks.
After an absolutely wonderful summer the weather is now turning distinctly cooler as its about 20d in the day time often with a cool breeze and 15d or so at night. It’s now also dark by 6 so the nights are long. Having not seen rain for months we are getting showers and even thunderstorms, and we can see snow in the 2,000m high mountains inland from the shore. Today there is heavy rain and a gale force wind, so we’re quite pleased to be safely moored in the marina. The sea is still 22d so quite warm, and we have been swimming daily.
Most of the tourists have gone, the restaurants have either closed or will do so in the next few days, and there are very few boats around. Even the Gulets are back in port in their hundreds, often moored two or three deep around the quays. On balance we preferred the warmer weather and busier conditions and, as we have stated before, it never got really crowded here.
We arrived with Frank, Marie & John in Ekincik on Sun 28th. This is from where you visit Caunos and the Lycian rock tombs in Dalyan and although we had been here before with Brian & Carol, every visit has its own special features. Normally you go up the river to Caunos, but due to heavy rain, the river was silted downstream stopping boat access. It was arranged to go by car and take a boat from upstream, which made for a new experience, and the day was completed with another fantastic night at the My Marina Restaurant. The details of Caunos and the rock tombs have been mentioned previously.
From Ekincik we headed to Wall Bay near Gocek arriving Tues 30th.
From here we did a beautiful 4 hour return walk along the cliff tops and forest to the ancient Lycian ruins at Dydae. It is remarkable with so many ruins in Turkey that no measures are taken to really protect them, and you can see wonderful rock friezes and other items just laying in the dust. There are very few birds in Turkey and we saw an example of why this is so – two hunters with shotguns and dogs were shooting all the birds they could see for food, and this is quite common around here.
Thurs 1/11 found us anchored off Gocek where we had a great farewell dinner at the Club Marina Restaurant.
On Fri 2nd Frank & Marie set off back for NZ and our final guests arrived – Tom & Dennise Thomson from Christchurch. Tom & Dennise had been in Dusseldorf attending a plastics trade fair and were only able to spend 4 days with us. Also in Gocek, John’s friend Alice arrived, so John moved ashore to do some local travelling around with Alice. On Thurs 6th we went back to Gemiler Buku – where a local couple on their dilapitated caique (dinghy) sell pancakes. There were very few people around and as we ate our pancakes we were told by Mustafa & Melia that this was their last day and they were packing up and going back to their village for the winter.
Another boat came up to us to sell us vegetables and it turned out to be Ona who we had met twice before and to whom we had given a surplus “lilo”.
Ona generously offered us the use of his car to visit the village of Kaya Koy, about 7km away, where there are extensive ruins of a 17thC Greek village.
Ona’s gesture was very touching because his car would be a very valuable possession to him, and all he wanted in return was some money for diesel.
We gave him 20 lire (about $20) and he was more than happy. The ruins at Kaya Koy (which means stone town) are extensive, covering several square km with approx 2,000 houses, two churches, small chapels and other buildings still standing minus their roofs. The Greeks who used to live here originally lived on the island of Gemiler, but moved inland about 700 AD to escape constant attacks from pirates. In 1922 they were forcibly resettled to Greece along with 1.2m other Greek speaking Christians, and 400,000 Turks living in Greek Macedonia were moved to Turkey. The Turks did not occupy the houses, partly because of a rumour that the Greeks had poisoned the water wells, so the town became a “ghost town”.
In the afternoon we explored the ruins on Gemiler Island which go back to BC times.
Later we moved back to Wall Bay arriving there by dark and the crew did a superb job of securing our stern lines to the rocks ashore in the dark.
Mon 5/11 rained all day so we stayed in Wall Bay. During the morning we saw a large Barracuda swimming around, probably about 1.5m long. A Turkish man at a nearby jetty also saw it and ran to get his rifle, although did not get close enough to take a shot. Only a few years ago Turkish fishermen extensively used explosives for fishing and you still see the odd one minus a hand or an arm.
On Fri 6/11 the morning was fine and we did some snorkelling and caught a mackerel while trolling, which was later eaten as sahimi.
Later we headed in to anchor off Gocek where Tom & Dennise moved ashore and John & Alice moved aboard. Before we went ashore for a grand farewell dinner a violent electrical storm blew up with lightning, thunder, heavy rain and 25 knot winds, which changed direction completely a couple of times. Fortunately it stopped in time for us to go ashore, where we sat Turkish style on mats in front of an open fire eating a feast and drinking (too much) wine.
We then spent a night in Boynuz Buku and one back in Wall bay before the 7 hour trip back towards Marmaris, where we spent one night anchored in Turunc Buku before coming into the marina.
This now concludes our 2007 cruising and we won’t be adding to the blog except for some photos until new plans are decided and we come back on board.

Technical: In Ekincik we had a problem with our forward head. I was having a swim and John called me to advise that marina staff noticed we were discharging sewage. At first I denied this, but it became obvious that we were the guilty party. We have a “Vacuflush” loo which is very much like an aircraft toilet. It took Frank & I a while to work out what the problem was during which we joked that whatever boat Frank is on he seems to end up with his head stuck down a loo trying to fix it! It turned out that the plastic sliding valve had not closed properly and the vacuum unit in its “hunt” to create vacuum inadvertently pumped the contents of the holding tank over the side.
We have prevented a re-occurrence of this by always keeping the discharge seacock closed except when pumping out the holding tank.
The marina authorities understandably take a very dim view of such things so we had a lot of apologizing to do.
Apart from that no real change, but quite a list of things to be done in Marmaris before Envoy sets to sea again. In particular the Naiad stabilisers’ water pump (for cooling hydraulic oil) has a leak which has steadily worsened. Added to the list a slight diesel leak (1 drip per 30-60 secs) from the Lugger’s fuel pump coming from a supply line, where none of my spanners reach the nut that needs tightening.

About 3,583 miles covered in 248 days on board with 683 engine hours.
By the time we leave we will have slept aboard for 252 consecutive nights or 36 weeks. Fuel purchased 5,977 litres.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

With Frank & Marie

With Frank & Marie
Couple of things I meant to mention earlier.
While we were anchored in Bozburun a fisherman motored up to us and offered us a snapper about 5 kg for sale for Lire 200 (about $200). We didn’t buy it but were impressed that there are some decent size snapper around !
In Greece & Turkey there are loads of feral cats in the streets, on the marinas and in the restaurants. Of course Di & I are “cat people” so no problem and often we’ll feed cats on the marina with a tin of tuna. Recently we ate ashore in a restaurant and we had 15 cats around our table all wanting a share.
Also one morning recently we awoke to find a cat we had fed asleep on the dinette seat. Cute as she was there was no way we could keep a cat on board.
I have mentioned before the weather is very stable and predictable in the Eastern Med. There is a weather predicting system here called the “Coptic Calendar”. Developed by the Copts – a Christian sect living about 500 BC it predicts the dates of all major gales expected during the year which are the same for every year according to their Calendar. Rod Heikell (the author of the major Med Cruising Guides) says this is about 60% accurate and in our limited experience we have found it also accurate and not to be ignored.

After leaving Datca we made our way back to Bodrum Marina arriving Weds 17/10. On the way we landed our 2nd tuna and again lost something quite big showing there are fish to be had by trolling. Since then we have had several strikes without success until yesterday when we landed 3 small tuna.
While in Bodrum we did the 1 hr ferry trip across to the Greek Is of Kos for the day so that we left Turkey, re entered and got new 90 day Visas.
Here we also met Richard & Jane from “Curved Air” who we had first met ashore on Simi. We had drinks and dinner one night and then on Sat 22nd had dinner and watched South Africa win the World Cup. That was the night our son John joined us in Bodrum so he came along too. That night the weather turned very rainy with blustery winds (predicted by the Coptic Calendar).
On Sunday 21st Frank & Marie arrived so of course it was “party night”.
But this was also the night a full gale and electrical storm arrived, fortunately not worrying us too much as we were safely secured in the marina.
Not a good intro to the Med for Frank & Marie though. The gale continued thru Monday and where just days before people had been dining under sun umbrellas on the waterfront, waves were now crashing and drenching the promenade with spray.
On Tuesday 23rd we departed Bodrum in about 20-25 knot headwinds and up to 2m waves heading for Knidos. On arrival the anchorage was safe but blustery and we were the only boat there – a stark contrast to our last visit.
We were feeling a bit sorry for Frank & Marie as the weather was overcast, showery and windy and not the idyllic scenario they had been reading about on the blog. On Wednesday 24th we went ashore to walk around the ruins of 5thC BC Knidos – which has been described in an earlier posting. While we were ashore a Coastguard cutter came roaring into the bay and after circling Envoy a few times sounded it’s siren. We guessed they were looking for someone from Envoy and I left Di, John, Frank & Marie and made my way back down to the jetty. They asked me to come aboard their vessel and said they thought we had been scuba diving (which is not allowed around much of the Turkish coast due to the historical relics laying in shallow water). With 5 of them standing around me I assured them we had not been and they eventually accepted my word, asked me to sign a statement and all was fine. At the time we had the paravanes extended out and possibly they look like arms of a crane.
Anyway all ended well after probably our 6th or 7th “encounter” with Coastguard in the Med.
Next stop was back to Pedhi on the Greek Is of Simi. I have mentioned this delightful place already on a previous posting and we had a great walk over to the very picturesque town of Simi and back. We spent 2 nights there and Friday 26th was the first time Frank & Marie awoke to truly fine weather. Frank is a keen tramper and so Frank, John & I had a quite tough 2 hour hike to the summit of a nearby hill. We also took on some diesel there as the price at Euro 1.07/litre is cheaper than in Turkey.
Later that day we made the short 8 mile trip to Bozburun, back in Turkey. Once again this has already been described. Yesterday we were in Bozuk Buku where our favourite Ali Babas restaurant is located and the owner – Barbarossa – was very pleased to see us as there were only we five and two others there. With the season coming to a close the numbers are really thinning out.
As I type this we are en route back to Ekincik.

Technical. All going well & no changes since last update. Have completed oil & filter changes on all engines while in Bodrum.

3100 miles covered in 234 days on board with 647 engine hours.
Fuel purchased 5,977 litres.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

On way back to Bodrum

After leaving Ekincek we went to a nice cove called Gerbeske.
On the beach there are ruins of a church and trading post from the Byzantine era which was about 6th-13th C AD. There we met a British couple who were on the boat in front of us – “Lancashire Lass” as we came through the Corinth Canal in June. Here also we got the txt reports from Amy & Frank re the All Blacks disastrous loss to France. Bugger !
Next day we spent a few hours in a superb bay called Arap Adasi.
There was a huge number of goats on the beach and the goatherd rowed out to us to try and sell us produce. In a lot of bays in Turkey there’s someone trying to sell things and we generally end up buying something, even if it’s just a small packet of dried fruit. This time we bought a nice hand woven blanket for $30. The goatherd was quite a young guy about mid 20s and every day walks 5 km over the hills each way to and from his village to tend his 300 goats and to try and sell stuff to visiting boats.
That night found us in Bozuk Buku where we have been previously of Ali Baba’s restaurant fame.
On Monday we explored the area close by and found a small and very secluded cove in which we anchored and spent a few hours cleaning the hull of the dinghy (which is not antifouled and has been towed since early July) and of Envoy. The clean and clear water was 26d so no problem to stay in for ages. Later that day we had a long walk up a valley and came across many ruins (although nothing standing very high at all) of people long gone - this was the site of ancient Loryma from around 400BC.
Prices in Turkey have gone a bit crazy since we visited Charles and Marie here 3 years ago, I guess they are catching up to the rest of the World and it’s no longer a very cheap place. We had drinks ashore after our walk in an extremely run down “taverna” (read “shed on the beach”) and for 1 beer, 1 sprite and 2 glasses of very average wine the bill was $25 which we considered a rip-off.
For example in Greece you get a litre of much better wine for the same price as we were charged for a glass. Many restaurant owners etc have told us the visiting boat and tourist numbers have reduced in Turkey this year and we think the rise in prices has had much to do with this. Also they are suffering because there’s just too many gullets, tavernas, restaurants and junk “souvenir” shops.
On Tuesday 9th we went back to nearby Bozburun, having really enjoyed our previous brief stay. Here we anchored in a perfect anchorage protected on all sides by small islands covered in ancient ruins and were hailed by a yacht called “Alcid” which turned out was owned by an American couple – Frank & Gale Adshead who had cruised with the previous owners of Envoy – Wayne & Pat. So we ended up having drinks on Envoy one night and dinner on Alcid the following night and parting as good mates.
During our stay we went ashore to do some shopping and went into a fishing tackle shop to buy some more lures (we’ve got the fishing bug !)
Shopping in these places is generally an event not just a transaction and the guys in the shop insisted we sit down for a cup of Turkish cay (tea) and a long chat. Even in the grocery stores the people are really friendly and often give you a small gift such as a free bottle of wine.
On Thursday 11th we arrived in Pedhi on the Greek Is of Simi.
This is the island we visited once before and stayed at Panormitis where there is a large Monastieri. Pedhi is a great anchorage and we ended up staying 3 nights. Here we met Mike & Betcheva Scouse from “Windsea 2” who we had previously met when Don & Peta were on board at Paxos in the Ionians. Windsea 2 is only about 2 years old, designed in England and built in Croatia. Anyhow Mike advised he had severe problems with hull flexing, deck not properly secured to hull and with the mast step so they had sailed to Croatia and spent 2 months in the boatyard having a major refit, including the deck being removed from the hull, the hull being strengthened etc. All this was done at no cost and they are now happy with the result but was no the best way to spend the summer. Mike has been a professional yachtsman and sailed in many races including the Whitbread on “Steinlager” with Peter Blake and the ill-fated 1998 Sydney to Hobart on the winning yacht - Larry Ellison’s “Sayonara”. This was the race where 5 yachts sank, 6 yachtsmen lost their lives (including friends of Diane’s brother Noel) and 55 yachtsmen were winched to safety by helo in the 80 knot winds and up to about 70 foot breaking waves.
Of 115 yachts which started only 44 reached Hobart. Larry Ellison said after the race: “Never again, not if I live to be 1,000 years old will I never do a Hobart race.” A great book to read about this is “Fatal Storm” by Rob Mundle.
Mike also had some interesting things to say about Russell Coutts who he knows very well. After NZ won the America’s Cup there were no jobs on offer by Team NZ – they procrastinated. On the other hand Alinghi offered Coutts $10m to race for them, a $10m bonus if he won the Cup and a guaranteed position in the ensuing challenge. Mike advises Coutts left Alinghi because he wanted 50% of the total revenues from TV rights and Alinghi was not prepared to grant this. Obviously they did OK without Coutts who has now joined Larry Ellison who would dearly love to win the Amcup.
In Pedhi we also met NZers Graham & Kathy and their daughter Jo on
“Red Herring 2” a Spencer designed approx 44 footer. They have been aboard for several years having sailed from Nelson. Like us they are wintering over in Marmaris so no doubt we’ll see more of them.
Twice we walked from Pedhi over to the stunning harbourside town of Simi for “essential” supplies like bacon and pork and we also found our favourite Lambs Navy Rum at Euro 11 per bottle. On Saturday we lunched in Simi and a thunderstorm suddenly hit. We later found out from Mike that at Pedhi where we were anchored winds reached 30 knots from all directions, but Envoy just swung into the wind and held fine.
Now we have come over to the Turkish town of Datca. Because our 90 day Turkish visas expire next week, we need to legally exit Turkey here, cruise to Greek waters and then re enter Turkey at Bodrum to get new Visas.

Technical. All going well and with the end of season now so close (we will go into Marmaris on about 9/11) we are leaving things that need doing until then if we can. I need to do an oil change on all three engines which I’ll do in Bodrum. It’s quite easy on Envoy as there is a central pump with a manifold through which you can drain and refill the oil from any engine and replace the spin-on oil filter at the same time.

Miles covered 2970 in 221 days on board with 622 engine hours.
Fuel purchased 5,093 litres.

More photos related to last blog posting

Laurie & Brian on summit overlooking Kastellorizon harbour

Lycian cliff tombs - the view from our lunch table
Diane & Carol with Fethiye carpet salesman

Brian with the 1st and so far only fish caught on Envoy

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

First rain in 5 months

After leaving Kalkan we went to a bay called Gemiler Adasi where there are numerous ruins. Here we had drinks and snacks ashore as the sun set and the following morning dined on pancakes made by a Turkish couple who came alongside in their colourful “caique” or small fishing boat (see photo posted previously). On Monday 1st we arrived in Fethiye. This is a great little town with the added advantage of a very secure all weather anchorage.
We went to visit a shop recommended by Brad & Rosie where the owner Fatima and her assistant Ozlem looked after our needs of tablecloths, cushion covers etc at very reasonable prices. There we also met some kiwis – Peter & Raewyn Kearney from Bucklands Beach with their yacht “Sallyander”.
We talked about fishing and Pete said he had caught several tuna including a 50kg yellowfin and showed us the photo to prove it. He mentioned there is a preferred method of rigging lures and the shop on the marina sell trolling lines pre-rigged which work really well. Needless to say Brian & I were off like a shot to buy a line – read on !
The next day we set off across Skopea Limani for Ruin Bay.
As we approached an island called Domuz we got a strike and Brian hauled in a small tuna. I guess only about a kg but big enough for sashimi starters for four of us for 3 nights. Anyhow this was the very first fish we’ve landed on Envoy – well done Brian ! About a mile later we got a huge strike that peeled off three quarters of the line in seconds. Brian tried to stop it by adding more drag but whatever was on the line was like a train and broke the line.
Anyway this showed us there are some big fish to be had.
Incidentally we have trolled a few miles since with no further strikes.
Ruin Bay is very atmospheric and we thought we had it pretty much to ourselves – how wrong we were ! This is the bay where there are the ruins of an ancient bathhouse – reputed to have been used by Cleopatra (that lady did get around !) After about an hour the first of several day tripper boats arrived and moored so close we had to fend one off. This only lasted for a couple of hours though and then we had this idyllic spot to ourselves, snorkelling through the ruins in warm and crystal clear water. Here we also met up again with Nick & Jo from “Kiwi Spirit” and their kiwi friends Maurice & Heather from “Baracca”. The afternoon had been clouding over and as we motored over to Baracca for pre dinner drinks we encountered our first rain since May – shock ! horror ! We had dinner ashore which included being serenaded by an elderly Turk playing his Turkish 7 string “guitar” in return for a large glass of raki (similar to ouzo).
Wednesday 3rd we cruised about 6 hours to Ekincek. This place had been recommended by Kevin & Diane O’Sullivan as having probably the best seafood restaurant in Turkey. During the day there had been extensive low cloud causing quite a dullness. We arrived at Ekincek and moored stern to rocks close to the My Marina and then the heavens opened with torrential rain accompanied by thunder and lightning plus a dramatic drop in temperature as rain changed to hail. The rain lasted only 45 mins or so but the spectacular lightning strikes continued for about 2 hours at one stage extinguishing all the lights of the village. We expected some strong wind gusts but fortunately there were none. This marked for us, the beginning of the end of the “Endless Summer”. The next day we organized a small caique with her skipper Harby for a 5 hour trip up the Koycegiz River to the small town of Dalyan where the ruins of ancient Caunos are located. Theoretically it may be possible to do this trip in your own tender but the bar at the river mouth has a maximum depth of about half a metre and there is no marked channel. Also the river runs through extensive marshlands with bullrushes and many different channels so you could easily get lost. Finally it is mentioned that the local skippers “are hostile” to people taking their own boat – whatever that means. The 5 hour trip cost Lire 300 but was well worthwhile. The river trip itself in the caique is great – the skipper had a trolling line and caught a small fish on the return journey.
The beaches on either side of the river mouth are protected as they are breeding grounds for turtles. The highlights are the ruins of Caunos and the Lycian cliff tombs. Caunos was first settled about 10th C BC ! It is now about 2 miles up river but originally the site of Caunos was on the shore.
Subsequently the river carried silt down and the river mouth moved.
There are some incredible ruins at Caunos even though so far only a quarter of the site has been excavated. In particular is a very large Theatre with seating for 3,000 patrons and a walled fortress on the hill overlooking the site.
Many of the ruins have Carian script etched into them and so far this has not been able to be deciphered. The heyday of Caunos was from about 7thC BC to 1stC AD and then the town started to suffer from malaria caused by mossies living in the swamplands resulting from the silting of the river.
So soon after then it was largely abandoned. The cliff tombs date from the 4th C BC and it is hard to imagine how the artisans of those days were able to carve such elaborate edifices in such inaccessible places.
That night we went to the My Marina Restaurant and it certainly lived up to its reputation. The setting is superb and without any of the “tattiness” that you generally find in and around Turkish restaurants. The service and the food is fantastic and with a dessert trolley to die for. This is obviously quite a famous restaurant as photos on the walls showed many famous people having dined here over the years from royalty to politicians to hollywood stars.
Many nights we were playing 500 and things were getting fairly competitive with the “girls” v “the boys” and with all “table talk” banned. In the end those extra wines that Brian & I were having started to tell and Carol & Di won the series.
On Saturday 6th Brian & Carol departed for Dalyman airport after 18 nights on board and swims every day. We had a great time together and it was sad to see them depart. We have now started on the journey to Bodrum where we meet son John and Frank & Marie Curulli on Sunday 21st.

Technical. Most of the time we cruise at 1400 to 1600 rpm with a speed of 5.5 to 6.5 knots. If we increase rpm to about 1900 we can get up to 7.5 knots but I think its not so economical and we’re in no hurry so we keep the rpm down.
On a boat like Envoy there is a lot to constantly monitor eg sufficient fuel in the “day tank” (totally filtered fuel which supplies Lugger, Yanmar & Genset), water levels and use of the Watermaker, hot water availability, battery voltages, gas bottles, sewerage holding tank levels and lateral stability – ie as fuel and water are used or if we haul the 350 kg dinghy onto the boat deck, the trim of Envoy changes and we need to pump fuel or water around to keep Envoy in level trim.
Alternator played up again but contact cleaner applied to the same plug-in pin as before has fixed. The Yanmar auxiliary engine is leaking a little sea water through an exhaust hose. Have tightened hose clips but looks like the hose will need replacing as its exhuding some red compound.
I have gone around and tested all the seacocks to ensure they still close and open – they do.
Apart from this the same issues as in last update.

Miles covered 2970 in 216 days on board with 612 engine hours.
Fuel purchased 5,093 litres.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Origins of Santa Claus

With Peter Jennings in Finike - see text

Kale Koy and the 15th C Crusader's Castle - see text

Just as Spring started on 21/9 in NZ (not 1/9 as retailers would have you believe), Autumn has started here on that date – the “Autumn Vernal”.
It is still warm eg mid to high 20s with cloudless days & sea temp of 26d, but the days are shortening and the evenings are cooler. We still have not seen one drop of rain since 24/5. Numbers of tourists are thinning out rapidly and there are many stock clearance sales in the shops as a result
On Saturday 22nd we arrived in Finike marina. Finike has special significance for us because its here that my brother Charles & Marie kept their yacht “Acrobat” for two years and when we visited them there in 2004 this ultimately led to our plan to do this cruise. Secondly Charles & Marie’s friend Peter Jennings lives there and we wanted to meet him. Finike is a non touristy small town which in ancient times was Phoenicus but nothing remains to tell that tale. Saturday is market day in Finike so Di, Brian & Carol went to see that while I found Peter, working on his yacht in the marina. That evening we had drinks with Peter who is an ex RAF electronics engineer who has served extensively in the Middle East but after retirement bought an apartment in Finike overlooking the marina where he keeps his yacht “Friba”. We also met another yachtsman, Anton who told us that now is the time to troll for small tuna and we “should catch a bucketful“. This certainly got Di’s & Carol’s interest especially when Peter donated several lures to Envoy which we supplemented with a few from the chandlery. Since then we have towed lures for about 40 miles with no strikes and this is the first time we’ve had lines in the water (probably the last too !). The next day Peter spent a few hours with us fixing our Watermaker which was highly appreciated (see under Technical for details). Peter (see photo) is a mine of knowledge about the area as well as having a great sense of humour and we all had a great time meeting up with him.
We arrived at the Kekova Roads on Monday and anchored in a beautiful bay close to a rustic, atmospheric bar called “The Smugglers Inn”. This bar doesn’t open until 10pm and we went there after dinner for what turned out to be a very late night. When we climbed aboard the dinghy to go back to Envoy, Brian slipped into the water at the jetty – fortunately without any injury and the evening ended with four young Turkish guys coming on board for a drink. Tuesday was a slow start but Brian discovered he couldn’t find his wallet with about $1,000 in cash, credit cards and driving license in it. We thought that most likely it had slipped out of Brian’s pocket when he fell in the water and was hauled into the dinghy. We went back to the jetty and I snorkelled around in about 1 metre of reasonably clear water but couldn’t see anything (but the swim was great to clear my head !). So we theorized that it had been washed into deeper water. We moved to anchor a couple of miles away off the village of Ucagiz and arranged for a local scuba diver to do a search the next morning, then we took the dinghy to KaleKoy (ancient Simena) from where you climb precarious steps to the summit of the Castle (see photo). This castle is 15th C and built by the Crusaders on the foundations of an already existing ancient fort. The site was first occupied in 400 BC and there are many ruins and tombs dating from Lycian times in the surrounding area, including some which are submerged due to earthquakes. All of the tombs were long ago ransacked by grave robbers looting the valuables which were buried in the tombs.
That night as we all went to bed Brian told us he’d just found his wallet – under his pillow. So that was a worry behind us and we cancelled the diver.
Nearby is the village of Demre where St Paul stopped over on his voyage to Rome and where in the 4th C the Bishop of the Church was St Nicholas with his alter ego “Santa Claus”. His remains were there until 1043 when some Italian adventurers stole them and removed them to Italy where they still lie.

Legend has it that St Nicholas threw bags of gold down a chimney to save 3 sisters from a life of prostitution and this is where the whole Santa thing started. Turks are of course Muslim but they too have Santa complete with red costume and white beard as part of their New Year celebrations.
Thurs 26th found us in Kas, anchored in Bayindr Limani to the South.

Kas was Antiphellos in ancient times and founded about 6th C BC.

Unlike Finike there are ancient ruins here including a Theatre and many rock-hewn Lycian tombs. Also quite interesting shops and bars set into colourful lanes. During our time in this area we also crossed over to the Greek Island of Kastellorizon which is only 1.5 miles off the Turkish coast. Here again there is the remains of a Crusader Castle and a town which once had a population of 20,000 but now has only about 200 with most of the residents having emigrated to Australia. There was a local wedding the next day and the town was full of Ozzy accents as loads of them had come to the island to attend it, we asked how many people were going; ‘everyone!’ was the answer ‘you too if you’re here!’ Unfortunately we had to pass as we had to move on.
Sat 28th we arrived in Kalkan and spent the afternoon ashore. Kalkan would be the prettiest Turkish village we’ve seen so far with narrow lanes and rustic old buildings with extensive plants growing over them adding to the colour.

It was originally a Greek village until 1922 when it was resettled with Turks.

At that time many Turks in Greece were relocated to Turkey and vice versa in a huge population exchange.
As we type this we are cruising NW up towards Fethiye.

Miles covered 2870 in 207 days on board with 591 engine hours. Fuel purchased 5,093 litres.

Technical: mostly going well. On our way to Finike we found the Watermaker was not working. It seemed like an electrical fault in that the main electric motor was not running. So we arrived in Finike and my brother Charles’s friend Peter Jennings said the electricians at the marina are pretty hopeless and that he would come and check out the wiring for us. Peter was an electronics engineer in the RAF so well qualified to do this. So on Sunday Peter arrived and we went through the system. The unit has a High Pressure Pump and a Booster Pump and it was the HP pump not activating. Peter looked at the circuits and then looked into the high voltage (110v) control cabinet.

I said “wouldn’t it be great if we could see a loose wire”. Peter said “here’s our loose wire” and found that a return to earth wire was very loose and had arced causing high temperature, melting of the insulation and a short.

So Peter replaced that short section of wiring and we were operational again. Obviously we could manage without a watermaker but its definitely nice to have, especially here because there is little potable water available.

What most people seem to do is use bottled water for drinking and marina water for showers, dishes etc. But we like not having to go into marinas and having the watermaker does give you that extra independence. Also Envoy uses a little more water as the toilets are fresh water flushed (which makes them more maintenance free and better smelling).
The pump which provides cooling water for the Naiad stabilizer hydraulic oil has a leak which is worsening (leaking sea water into the bilges). I have a spare and when Brian & Carol leave us I’ll replace this and get the present pump serviced.
We are very disappointed with our antifouling job done in Rome as after only 7 months we are getting considerable growth and its getting worse.

What we’ll do now is haul Envoy out in Marmaris during the Winter for a clean up and re-antifoul.

Friday, September 28, 2007


Turkish couple selling us pancakes cooked on board at Gemiler Adisi

With Brad & Rosie @ AliBaba's - see posting 10/9/07. Rather amorous waiter also !

Envoy in Tekirova

Friday, September 21, 2007


We spent 4 days in the Kokova Roads area and during that time met a charming German couple – Dieter & Anita on their yacht “La Blanche”. One night we went ashore to a Taverna with them and had some really nice fish soup with big chunks of fish in it. On Tuesday 11/9 we headed further East to a great bay called Cavus Limani which is really sheltered, has no road access so is reasonably quiet and is where Captain Beaufort once anchored. On arrival we met a NZ couple Nick & Jo on board “Kiwi Spirit”, a Bavaria 39. It turned out that Nick knew my face as he used to work in East Tamaki just a few hundred metres from Hunt Agencies’ office. They bought their yacht in Germany, launched it in Croatia and then cruised down through Greece to Turkey.
By Saturday 15/9 we arrived at our most Easterly point – Antalya. We tried to get into the old Kaleci marina right in the heart of town but this marina no longer accepts vessels except Gulets and local charter boats so we went to Setur Antalya Marina about 5 miles West of the town. On arrival we met some more NZers – David & Lindy from a steel hulled yacht – “Raconteur”.
They sailed their yacht from Whangerei via the East and in another coincidence David like myself is a Mt Albert Grammar old boy. Antalya is a reasonably large place with about 700,000 people and a very quaint section which is the Old Town. Antalya was first occupied about 7,000 years BC and the present city was founded in 158 BC by King Attalus from where the present name derives. One highlight to see is the “Fluted Minaret” built in the early 13th C and still standing proud. Another is a gate called “Hadrian’s Gate” built during the reign of Roman Emperor Hadrian about 100 AD. In Antalya we met up with our friends from Hamilton Bruce & Jill Sheridan and had a great night out in a restaurant overlooking Kaleci Harbour.
On Tuesday 18th Brian & Carol Restieaux arrived. We have done a lot of boating together through the Coastguard years and then as co-owners of our last vessel “Rapport”. With Brian & Carol we had a look around Antalya before setting off on Wednesday 19th. We no sooner cleared the Marina then stopped so that Brian & Carol could have their first swim in the 27d sea before heading for Tekirova. Here is the ancient city of Phaselis founded in 690 BC by colonists from Rhodes. The City had 3 distinct harbours, the remains of which can still be seen together with extensive ruins including a Theatre which is still used for performances, an Aqueduct erected in Roman times and various bath houses etc. In the Theatre the perimeter had some sort of green powder evident and we were told this powder keeps out the scorpions from the surrounding rocks and scrub ! Also in this bay is a nice Taverna up a short creek and where they have a small camping ground and cabins. So we naturally went ashore for a beer there and found out that next week there is a jugglers’ convention to be held here with about 200 jugglers from all over the World attending.
While there we also met Alan Holmes from Cairns on his yacht “Alice” and we did an exchange of surplus books and CDs. Alan originally comes from Brighton, England and knew the street where I used to live there. He has been living on various yachts for about 20 years including a circumnavigation but is now mostly cruising the Med.
We came further West back to Cavus Limani and have stayed here 2 nights enjoying the sunshine, swimming and walking ashore. We are generally heading West via Finike, Kokova Roads, Fethiye, Gocek and Ekincik until Brian & Carol leave us on 6 October.

Miles covered 2780 in 198 days on board with 566 engine hours.

Technical: again all going well and no major issues since last posting.
The main Alternator stopped charging and I found a slightly corroded 3-pin connector. Once cleaned up it ran again fine.
We have been looking for a large plank of wood for some time and finally found an ideal one in Antalya marina. A plank is useful for 2 reasons – one to use for getting ashore in situations where the passarelle can’t easily be deployed and two to use between your fenders and a seawall if the seawall is rough and their is a surge (otherwise the rough concrete will tear your fenders apart in no time).
During our cruising we check the engine room every 30 mins firstly using the engine room camera which depicts 3 views of the engine room on our navigation computer screen and secondly by looking into the engine room to ensure all appears & smells OK. Every couple of hours or so I also go into the engine room for a better look around and using a laser thermometer I measure and record the temperatures of the Lugger water reservoir, oil filter, alternator, generator, all v-belts, Naiad stabiliser hydraulic pump body and oil reservoir, gearbox, prop shaft and housing. By having recorded these, I now have a good data base of what “normal” temperatures are and will be aware of a problem developing.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Brad & Rosie

Firstly a few things I meant to mention earlier.
1. Flying insects: most of the time we BBQ dinner on the aft deck as the galley gets too hot in this climate. We often BBQ after dark with the deck lights and interior lights on and thankfully we get virtually no moths, mossies or other flying bugs. I mention this because in our experience boating around Auckland you are bombarded with every type of flying creature at night and it’s such a pleasure not to have that. Here we have found the occasional wasp during the day and in some places a few flies in the daytime too.
2. Origin of Turkish flag: the Turkish flag is absolutely revered and to be seen flying everywhere. The flag consists of a crescent and star on a red background. Amy found out that the supposed origin is that one night after a major battle several hundred years ago (Turkey has a violent history) a Turkish General saw a river running red with blood with the reflection of the Moon and a star on it – and that became the flag. Talking of flags we have a huge black silver fern flag donated by Steve & Jane and which they used for the NZ camp during the Rocky mountains mountain bike race.
3. The mysterious restricted area near English Harbour: in this harbour is an area where boats are not allowed to enter, where the surrounds are patrolled by soldiers and where gunboats control the waters when the owner is in residence. Amy found out that the villa is owned and used by non other than the President of Turkey which explains the high security.

The extreme heat of the summer has reduced a bit now and the daytime is mostly high 20s. Night time is cool enough that you want to sleep under a sheet and without the cooling fan going all night. The sea is around 26d and in the last week we’ve noticed the odd cloud appearing.
After Amy left we stayed in Bodrum marina for one night and then headed south to Knidos. This is a bay with spectacular ruins detailed in a previous blog entry. The next day we had a long walk over quite a rough “goat track” to a peak with a lighthouse where we got a spectacular view of our bay and the ancient but now shallow, silted tyreme harbour. We also saw a NZ motor vessel “Pacific Memaid” – about 90 feet long and spoke with the skipper who lives on the North Shore. That night we anchored in another bay we had visited previously – Kargi Koyu. The geese remembered us and had a good feed from Envoy. Next stop was Panormitis on the Greek Island of Symi. In this bay there is a taverna and a very large monastery. Although there has been a monastery on this site since the 5th C, this building dates from the 19th C.
But it is still a beautiful structure and houses 2 interesting museums. It also houses a collection of model boats and messages in bottles. People from all over the Eastern Med have attached religious messages to model boats, put them in the water at various locations and a considerable number have turned up in this bay months or years later. We decided to go to the township of Symi about 8 km by road and we caught a bus without problems. Apart from Symi being a beautiful town we wanted to buy some pork which is very hard to buy in Turkey being a Muslim country. We were getting a bit full of chicken and lamb !
So we found a butcher and bought 7 kg in total of 3 types of pork chops.
But getting back was difficult. 3 people told us there was a bus at 1300 so we got to the bus stop at 1245. Eventually a bus came over 3 hours later at 4 pm and we had been mostly standing in the heat all that time. We tried to get a taxi but they thought 8km was too far to take us. We were glad to get back to Envoy for a swim and cold drink and noticed an Australian yacht in the bay called “Foxy Lady”. Shortly afterwards Brad & Rosie from Foxy Lady who had seen our NZ flag came over to say “Gooday” and we arranged to meet on Envoy for morning tea the next day.
Brad & Rosie turned out to be a beautiful and most interesting couple from Sydney.
Brad is nearly 70 years old and retired in the late 90s from his very successful fibreglass insulation business which he sold to Carter Holt Harvey. This is an interesting story in itself and briefly there were 3 insulation producers in Australia each protected by a process patent and these three thought there were no other patents. Brad found a fourth patent, bought that process and rapidly gained huge market share. He subsequently set up a safety equipment business which he’s now in the process of selling. Brad had done some power boating previously and wanting a new challenge decided to enter the Millenium round the World yacht race. This race attracted about 50 entrants many of whom had professional skippers and / or crews. Brad bought Foxy Lady – a 48 ft pilothouse cutter - set it up for the race and in order to qualify for entry entered a race from Sydney to Lord Howe Is which was his first ever long sail. He won that race and gained considerable experience along the way.
The Millenium R-T-W race started in Israel so Brad shipped Foxy Lady over and his friend Rosie asked if she could join Brad - and she did. Rosie had no previous boating experience and was terribly seasick most of the way.
The race visited 35 countries and once again included pro skippers and crews but Foxy Lady was the overall handicap winner. Brad keeps Foxy Lady at Marmaris where we are going to winter over and Brad & Rosie were able to give us a huge amount of information about Marmaris and the adjacent coast.
Brad still dives and as scuba diving is not generally allowed in Turkey does snorkelling. He explores most bays and says he has seen the occasional quite large crayfish and relics from shipwrecks in some quite unlikely places.
We left Panormitis and arranged to meet at and have dinner at Ali Baba’s restaurant – detailed in a previous blog. We had drinks aboard the superb Foxy Lady and a fabulous Turkish dinner. Di said that if were ever to get a yacht she would want a pilothouse yacht like Foxy Lady. The vessel is airy and spacious with plenty of space and no need to brave the elements while sailing. The winches and in-boom reefing are hydraulic and the boat has a genset, great refrigeration and aircon. No need for seaboots and wet weather gear on board Foxy Lady.
Bypassing Marmaris at this point we headed to the Gulf of Fetiye and spent one night at Sarsila Koyu or Daliman Beach. This area has numerous well known bays but as we are returning here with Brian & Carol we didn’t stay at this point but moved on to Gemiler Adasi and then to Kas. On the way to Kas the wind increased quite sharply up to about 35 knots on the stern with a following 2 m sea. We anchored in a bay to the South of Kas – Bayindir Limani - but it was too windy and rough to make the nearly 2 mile trip across the bay to Kas in our dinghy. From Kas we moved further East to the Kokova Roads. This is an area of beautiful bays, a castle and many Lycian ruins. This area has special significance for us as it was here that my brother Charles and Marie brought us to three years ago in their yacht “Acrobat” and it was then that we made our plan to cruise the Med.
From here we keep cruising East towards Antalya with about 75 miles to go but 5 days to do it.
Just as Captain Cook was responsible for charting much of the Pacific, Turkey was charted by Captain Beaufort from 1810 to 1812 and modern charts are still based on his surveys. Captain Beaufort is also responsible for developing the widely used “Beaufort Scale of Wind Strength”. This scale starts at Level O with sea like a mirror, calm, glassy, less than 1 knot of wind, no waves and goes up to Level 12 with air filled with spray & foam, visibility severely impaired, hurricane winds over 63 knots, sea state “phenomenal” with waves over 14m high.

Miles covered 2676 in 186 days on board with 540 engine hours.

Technical: again all mostly going well and no major issues or changes since last posting. The gearbox leak is no more following my fix in Bodrum.
I am starting to focus on some of the longer term issues like injectors, fuel injection pump and think about the timing of checks in these areas.
During the winter in Marmaris we’ll haul Envoy out for hull and running gear maintenance plus antifouling.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Guest Blogger: Amy

Thanks again Mum and Dad for a fantastic trip! I had a great time. As promised, here are some photos:

After leaving Bodrum Harbour on Saturday morning, we anchored off St Peter's Castle and went for a swim. I think the water temperature was about 25 degrees - probably the warmest water I've ever swum in... and also warmer than the air tempertaure in London at the moment!

This is Hassan's restaurant, where we had dinner on Saturday night. The staff are so lovely and friendly there, and they seemed to know Mum and Dad quite well.

Here's Mum and I at dinner. We had a lovely outside table.

And here's Dad and I at the dinner table. You can see how Dad's keeping the kiwi colours flying at all times - the boat has a big silver fern flag on it and Dad often wears this T Shirt out.

After dinner we listened to a group of Turks having a bit of an impromptu jam in the restaurant. They sounded great, and after I took this photo they insisted on taking a photo of me, too!

Below is the amphitheatre at Snake and Castle Island. We went there very early to avoid the hordes, and were lucky enough to have the whole place to ourselves.

Mum and Dad at the amphitheatre

Dad and I with a tortoise that Dad spotted on Snake and Castle Island. Very cute!

Cleopatra's Bay on Snake and Castle Island

Thanks for a fantastic trip Mum and Dad. Many more good times aboard Envoy to come!


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Gulf of Gokova with Steve & Jane Wilson 21-24/8 and Amy 25-29/8

Photos – Steve & Jane and Amy are going to post some photos onto the blog relating to this commentary.
We’ve now been in the Gulf of Gokova for about a month and that has suited us well as there’s plenty to experience here and we really did want to spend more time in one general area, get to know it pretty well and “sniff the roses”.
This Gulf is roughly 40 miles from West to East and varies from 20 miles to 5 miles from North to South. It is bordered by the Greek Island of Kos to the West, Bodrum on the Turkish mainland to the Northwest and with interesting and quite isolated anchorages, particularly on the Southeast coast.
Steve & Jane Wilson from Christchurch arrived on the evening of 20/8 having flown in from Canada where Steve had been competing in a gruelling mountain biking event which crosses the Rocky Mountains. We half expected Steve to be carried aboard but he was remarkably well, albeit looking forward to a more relaxing time with no training or competing.
On Tuesday we left the marina and anchored under the walls of the imposing Castle of St Peter for a first swim in a water temp of 26d, the warmest sea temperature that Steve & Jane had swum in. We then had a journey of several hours to English Harbour, mentioned in the last blog entry. We moored stern to shore in the perfectly sheltered bay and during our first of many swims Steve said he could see a cannon ball on the seabed. To belay our sketicismSteve prodded this with his foot and found it was made not of iron but of unfriendly sponge and Steve had a slight tingling sensation in his foot for the next few days. The next day we moved on to the Snake & Castle Islands where Cleopatras Beach is located. There were only a couple of boats anchored overnight in this enchanting anchorage and we all had a snorkel around the ancient harbour to see the considerable amount of pottery remains scattered across the sea bed. We were also surprised at the number and variety of small fish along with some “sea cucumber” and some snake like sea worms which grow to about 400mm long and traverse the sea bed. We had a BBQ on board and after the boys cleaned up the girls at 500 we had a wonderful midnight swim under the moon and stars before going to bed.
On Thursday we went ashore early to explore the ruins on Castle Is before the crowds of day trippers arrive. There was hardly anybody there and after looking over the approx 2,700 year old ruins we had a swim at Cleopatras Beach with only a dozen or so other people in the water. An engineer among us tried to convince us that this sand was not brought over by galleys from Egypt on Cleopatras orders but was the product of some local geological process, however we prefer the original story. When we returned to Envoy there was a large number of Gulets anchored in the bay, one so close that our stabilizing “flopper stoppers” were almost under his hull. Di yelled out to the Gulet skipper who had a look but was totally unconcerned.
We explored the Northeast coast including Akbuk Limani and Oren where there is a very large power station using locally mined low grade coal before anchoring for the night in Cokertme. For the 3rd time we had dinner at the very special Hassan’s restaurant where the atmosphere is fantastic, the food is exotic and the live Turkish folk music provides an intimate background.
We asked for the best Turkish red wine available and were served “Dikmen” which was a great red and which Jane & Di thought the brand name appropriate to the drinkers ! On Friday we went ashore for a look around Cokertme and the time came all too soon for our return trip to Bodrum where we had farewell drinks on board, a great dinner ashore and a walk along the very colorful and busy Bodrum night waterfront.

Amy arrived from London early Saturday morning eager for some sunshine and fine weather after a so far non existent English summer. She was not to be disappointed as the weather here is still great with clear and mostly cloudless blue skies, temperature in the low 30s and sea about 27d.
We started off again with a swim under the Castle of St Peter and its impossible not to enjoy this experience. We then headed to Cockertme and had a rest in preparation for a big night at Hassan’s. Every night there has its own special features and on that night the restaurant was not so busy and there was a Turkish birthday party in progress (they sing Happy Birthday with the same tune and Turkish words). So about 11 pm the two singer / guitarists came off stage and joined the birthday party group in an impromptu jam with one of them playing the flute and several singing. We had such a great time it was 2am when we went to bed. The next morning Amy & Di went to see “the carpet lady” and then we set off for English Harbour where we moored in the same spot as we had with Steve & Jane. Now we had to be careful of a few Compass Jellyfish floating around. These are a brown jelly fish about the size of a dinner plate across and can sting although not dangerously but best avoided.
This is the first time we’ve seen anything in the water you need to be careful of. We went ashore to a taverna for drinks and then had a BBQ on board.
On Monday we set off for the Snake & Castle Islands and we did a snorkel around as we had with Steve & Jane but this time had to avoid a few Compass Jellyfish.
Shortly after 1800 the last gulet departed and we had the whole anchorage to ourselves. As with Steve & Jane we went ashore bright and early and were virtually by ourselves, in fact at one point we were the only swimmers at Cleopatras Beach. While ashore we saw quite a large tortoise – the first one we’ve seen so far on this visit.
Later in the afternoon we arrived at a beautiful bay called Alakisla Buku.
Very clear water, sheltered, a nice sandy beach and only a small fishing boat at anchor there. It was so nice that we decided to have some nibbles and drinks ashore and we had a beautiful 3 hours or so doing just that and we thought of Alistair Ward who had given us the beach blanket and Frank & Marie Curulli who had given us the going ashore backpack which we were using.
On Wednesday we got back to Bodrum Marina by 1030 and Di & Amy went for a look around the bazaar so that Amy could practise her bargaining skills. Then after a wonderful 5 family days with Amy it was time for her to go but with all of us keeping in mind that she’ll be back to see us in Marmaris for Christmas.

We have now left Bodrum and are heading SE about 200 miles to Antalya where we will meet Brian & Carol Restieaux and cruise back towards Marmaris. It is now confirmed that we will winter over in Marmaris Yacht Marine marina.

Miles covered 2510 in 176 days on board with 510 engine hours.

Technical: mostly going well and no major issues. After Amy’s departure I repaired the oil leak from the gearbox cooling pump hose. I’m always reluctant to do such jobs either away from marinas or when people are about to join us in case of complications so this was the ideal time. I now had the correct 21mm spanner to do this so took the fitting off completely, cleaned it up and then secured it using Loktite. Not leaking yet after 4 hours so fingers crossed.
Our fuel transfer pump seems to be running very slow. This is the pump which transfers fuel from tank to tank and filters it at the same time.
Brian is bringing a spare pump to Antalya so we have this one covered.
Our water purifier’s u/v tube has become disconnected from the power wiring. I’ll need to check if there are polarity issues with this before reconnecting. We’ve got a sea water leak from the pump which circulates cooling water around the hydraulic oil for the stabilizers. I have a spare pump on board so can replace this.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Photos taken during Ian & Patsy's stay

Crowds at Cleopatra's beach on Castle Island - see out of bounds sand section as mentioned in text below.
Our anchorage at Castle Island - see text below.

Cleopatra's Beach

Ian & Patsy Ristrom from Christchurch joined us on Friday 10th at our spectacular anchorage under the Castle of St Peter, Bodrum. This castle was built by Crusader knights from Rhodes in the early 15th C. Later when the resident approx 200 defenders were confronted by many thousands of Turks they sensibly left peaceably without resistance.
We set off for a bay with the exotic name of Amazon Creek about 25 miles East. We had a brisk 20-25 knot wind on our starboard quarter with a 2 m following sea so Ian & Patsy found their sea legs pretty quickly. As happens, the creek did not meet expectations and the wind was funneling in there so we moved to a bay called Bayuk Cati. Here we had a great first night. We tied to shore in
2-3m deep clear water of 28d and not another boat in sight. We swam during daytime and after dinner by starlight. Another thing – not a mosquito or any flying insect to be seen and this seems common. Of course nothing in the water to worry you either. It was interesting to hear news from NZ and also of Ian & Patsy’s travels through Europe prior to joining us. The next day we cruised to a large bay with many small coves called Degirmen Buku. We secured ourselves to shore at a cove called Okluk where several tavernas are located and had a great meal ashore at a restaurant which had no menus but displayed options in a refrigerated display case which an unexpectedly dignified maitre de explained.
On Sunday 12th we cruised a short distance to Sehir Adalari - the Snake & Castle Islands. Here we anchored in a lagoon surrounded by 3 islands and the mainland but which was still open to the NW so until sundown we had quite a chop coming through the bay. This island group has considerable historical interest and some ruins to explore. Only 50 metres from the boat was the underwater remains of the old jetty and I snorkeled around there and was able to see the remains of quite a lot of pottery jars fused into the stone of the jetty. The area was originally part of the Rhodian confederacy and then occupied by the Romans in 129 BC. You can still see the remains of a theatre which held 5,000 people, various temples, houses, tombs, defensive walls etc.
On Castle Island is a once beautiful sandy beach about 50 metres wide with clear blue water. I say “once beautiful” because now there are hordes of day trippers who come over by ferry from the mainland and invade the surrounds with their numbers, deck chairs, umbrellas, loud disco music and ice cream stalls. The sandy beach itself is deserted though as its fenced off from the public with a security guard in a tower at each end to ensure nobody goes on it. This beach is composed of sand imported by galleys from Egypt by Cleopatra so that she could enjoy the beach during her time here with Mark Anthony.
The sand has been analysed by one Professor Tom Goedike and confirmed as being not of local origin but as coming from North Africa. Amazing to think of the effort which would have been expended to bring over many hundreds of tonnes of sand ! That evening we saw a 62 ft catamaran flying the Australian flag so made ourselves known and later went over for a few beers.
The cat is fantastic – built in Poland and sailed to the Med by the owners Roy & Janice - South Africans who had emigrated to Brisbane.
On Monday we went back to Degirmen Buku and anchored off a cove called English Harbour, so named because during WW 2 it was used by the English Special Boat Squadron (SBS) as a base of operations. The SBS was a marine version of the SAS and mostly used local caiques for their operations.
There is a book about them called “Improvise & Dare” by John Guard which would be a good read. We had a few drinks ashore and had some funny times with language. Patsy had a glass of white wine and Ian was trying to find out from the waiter what type of wine it was. Ian got into more and more trouble and eventually the waiter bought another full bottle which he thought Ian had ordered. Needless to say we did manage to polish it off. You have some funny situations and they are all the more enjoyable with 4 of you.
On Tuesday we headed for Cokertme (where we previously went to with Sharon & Doug) and Ian & Patsy were able to see the carpet making and enjoy the traditional café including a look into the very traditional kitchen.
While we were there someone managed to set a rug on fire and we saw a lady running across the yard with a burning rug which got thrown into a water trough. That night we were well looked after by Hassan, Mayot and the team at the restaurant and enjoyed the live music.
Wednesday 15th came all too soon and it was time for Ian & Patsy to depart by Dolmus (bus) back to Bodrum about 1 hour away, but not before we saw quite a few fish swimming around Envoy. There were fish which looked like Piper being stalked by large fish about the size of mullet.
It was great to have Ian & Patsy aboard - they are real “water babies” and a lot of fun.
As I write this we are again anchored off English Harbour which has turned out to be a favourite area. We’re going to stay around here until next Monday 20th when we have Steve & Jane Wilson from Christchurch joining us, followed by Amy on Saturday 25th. Then we are going to head South West in the direction of Antalya to meet Brian & Carol Restieaux somewhere around there and enjoy a cruise with them back to Marmaris. We are currently thinking that we will winter over on the marina in Marmaris or somewhere nearby from mid November.

Miles covered 2298 in 162 days on board with 454 engine hours.

Technical: all going well, touch wood !
Gas bottles are an issue over here. When we bought Envoy she had 2 large bottles suitable only for USA plus 2 supposedly suitable for Europe.
However we were unable to get the European ones filled in Italy.
These bottles take up considerable storage space measuring about 2 ft high and 1 ft in diameter so we tossed out the USA bottles and bought 2 bottles suitable for Italy. We found these could be refilled in Greece but not in Turkey.
Also the “European” ones it turns out are Spanish. So here in Turkey we had to buy an additional 2 gas bottles and we now have 6 on board hopefully suitable for most parts of the Med.
I have just completed oil changes on the main engine, wing engine and Genset. On Envoy this is quite easy and there is a reversing oil change pump with a manifold which can connect the pump to any of the 3 engines.
It’s a simple matter of removing the old oil filter, pumping out the old oil, fitting the new filter, pumping in most of the new oil and then fine tuning the oil level against the dipstick.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Cruising in Turkey

Well we are back “on line” again. Thought we had a computer problem but saw Vodafone in Bodrum today and we had simply used all our prepay on the SIM card – probably due to downloading photos. Incidentally Vodafone coverage is great here and there’s hardly a bay where you can’t get coverage booming in.
My last update mentioned the cloudless days – well since then we’ve had several days with a bit of cloud so I spoke too soon. When describing weather, the degree of cloud cover is described as “eighths” – you look at the sky, roughly divide the area into 8 and say how many of those bits of sky have cloud.
So we had one to two eighths of cloud the for a few days but now its back to cloudless – I’m sure you’all back in NZ will feel really sorry for us ! A feature of Turkey is their amazing nationalism expressed in flags of Turkey everywhere – on mountains, trees, buildings and of course boats. Even the smallest dinghy or tender will have a Turkish flag.
Another thing we’ve found in Greece & Turkey is an absence of mosquitoes and sand flies. Mostly you can sit outside without any problem. We did have some mossies in Piraeus and then for a few days we did have a lot of flies but in the main, flying insects are not an issue.
It also has been much less crowded than we expected. Most of the boats we currently see are Turkish and then most common (here in Turkey) would be Greek, German, British, French, Italian, American and then a smattering of Swiss, Norwegian, Dutch, Danish. In the while time we’ve been away we’ve only seen 3 NZ and about 7 Australian boats.
In Turkey there is a large number of what are called “Gulets”.
These are wooden two or three masted vessels of about 70 -120 feet which look like pirate ships and are charter vessels, usually having a whole mixture of people on board. Although they are yachts they rarely sail and their skippers have little regard for the common courtesies of boating. They travel everywhere at full throttle and worst of all are likely to anchor so close to you that you feel intimidated by their size and proximity and end up moving. Of course it is “their country” but they could show a little more regard for others particularly as the anchorages are rarely crowded and there’s plenty of room.
My brother Charles warned us of this and he was dead right.
After Sharon & Doug left us in Bodrum our next stop was Knidos – a beautifully sheltered small bay surrounded by the ruins of the ancient city. This city was established in 360BC and was known as the City of Aphrodite due to a naked statue of her done in the 4th C BC. Naked statues of men had been common but this was the first naked statue of a female. Although the existence of this statue is well proven its current location is unknown except for the plinth on which it once stood. Knidos has a considerable area of ruins and wandering around the ruins its easy to imagine what the city would have been like.
We then headed East to Datcha, a pleasant small town with a nice waterfront, plenty of tavernas and some shops. Actually Datca is where the founders of Knidos lived before they built Knidos. Little to see of historical interest here but nice just the same with North & South bays separated by a narrow isthmus. We departed Datca Mon 30th and saw dolphins leaping out of the water – what a shame we never saw any during Sharon & Doug’s stay.
That night we anchored at Kuruca Buku - nothing amazing but a nice sheltered bay with clear and clean water, trees coming down to the shoreline and nice tavernas ashore to check out. The following day we explored a long narrow inlet called Bencik but decided to keep going and evening found us further East at Kuyulu Buku which was in fact quite similar to the previous night’s anchorage. The next day was really interesting as we went into the inlet of Keci Buku.
This inlet has the ruins of a Byzantine fortress on an Island as you enter and the very nice Marti Marina to port. We spent a pleasant day and evening at anchor behind the island under the ruins.
Thurs 2nd we moved to Selimiye and the next day to Bozburun. The latter is very interesting as you pass through quite narrow channels which were once protected by fortifications – now just ruins. We had a good look around using our dinghy and the harbour frontage here is also really nice and we had a good explore followed by a drink or two in a nice taverna. We stayed the next night at a particularly nice place – Bozuk Buku. This harbour is only accessible by sea so is fairly quiet and is dominated by the ruins of a Hellenistic Fortress on the hilltop close to and overlooking the harbour. This fortress and associated ruins are what remains of ancient Loryma, an outpost of the Rhodian empire (the island of Rhodes can be seen in the distance). Beneath the fortress tucked into a small bay is a makeshift jetty and Ali Baba’s “restaurant”.
This is rustic in the extreme and Diane & I discussed how sadly such a venture could not exist in NZ. The jetty would never get planning consent and use of seabed consent and the structure would not pass Health & Safety regulations. The family owned business was fronted by a guy with the unlikely name of Barbarossa and is open all year around. We asked where they lived and he said their house was a few hundred metres behind the restaurant. Later Di and I walked up there and it was primitive in the extreme. They had a couple of shacks made out of driftwood, hessian and corrugated iron.
Envoy is an unusual vessel and always attracts a lot of attention in marinas, harbours or at anchor. People often cruise slowly around us in their dinghy looking at Envoy and sometimes asking questions. In this way we met a charming Turkish couple Ilkay & Meta. They invited us aboard their 17.5m planing launch powered by twin 750 hp Cats. This was supposed to be for a drink but turned out to be for dinner. Their launch is a well appointed boat and as Ilkay has retired and has some back problems he employs a permanent crewman. The cost is about NZ$1200 per month and he works for Ilkay full time, all year round helping on board and maintaining the vessel.
The use of paid crew is quite common here, even on relatively small vessels and you often see either Turkish or Sri Lankan crew. Ilkay mentioned that when he bought the boat in Italy he spent 3 months cruising it back to Turkey and used 40,000 litres of diesel. An interesting comparison is that we’ve spent nearly 5 months cruising and so far used about 4,000 litres with our single 143 hp. However lkay and Meta do get to travel at 25 knots or so.
Ilkay & Meta live in Istanbul and are well connected, Ilkay being the Chairman of Lloyds Turkish agent. Interestingly he mentioned they recently had Winston Peters at their home for dinner and that they found him to be very charming, urbane and interesting – a small world !
Sun 5th & Mon 6th we stayed in an unassuming bay called Kargi Koyu.
Nicely sheltered and we basically couldn’t be bothered to move so stayed two nights and did some cleaning up and maintenance (as well as plenty of swimming).
We are now back in Bodrum, anchored beneath St Peters Castle and getting organized to meet Ian & Patsy Ristrom on Friday.
In the last few days we’ve seen small yachts called “Tramp” (the name Brian gave to our Markline 700 when he bought her from us) and “Harmony” (the name of our Markline 800 when it was formerly owned by Frank).
I meant to mention before that around the Greek Islands you see a lot of outboard powered rigid inflatable boats, about 7-8m in length with very large canopies installed for sleeping under. People use these to go from bay to bay, mostly eating meals ashore in tavernas and just using the RIBs for travel and sleeping – looked like a great idea.

Miles covered 2040 in 143 days on board with 400 engine hours.

Technical: The navigation computer problem (cursor jumping around the screen) has been solved by my friend Peter Mott. He explained that the computer must be turned on before theGPS and not vice versa. Simple as that. Envoy has a cockpit canopy that we never got around to putting up.
Well we now have and what a difference – really cools down the cockpit and makes the area useable during the day – should have put this up weeks ago.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

More photos

Doug & Laurie enjoying a typical Greek taverna - this one in Mercini
Piraeus - port of Athens where we spent a couple of weeks getting various jobs done and where Sharon & Doug joined us. This is an ancient port but nothing left of its history and now all apartments and tavernas.
This is a typical "Chora" - hilltop village with castle. This one is Skala where we visited with Sharon & Doug.
Laurie opening our weekly ration of wine (yeah right !) in the galley. Dinette is to port.
The entrance to the Corinth Canal - we followed this ship through with Kevin & Diane on board and Kevin took the helm for a while.

This very small door is the only entrance to the Monastieri of the Panayia. Now it has the staircase but in former times had a wooden ladder which was lowered from the door.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

From Paros to Bodrum, Turkey with Sharon & Doug.

Di, Sharon & Doug in front of traditional Greek boat which an elderly couple live on and sell marine "treasures" - sponges, shells etc

With editor of Turkish cruising guide at Amorgos - see text below
The Monastieri of the Panayia - see text below

We have arrived in Turkey and once again had communication problems until we bought a new Turkish SIM card for our computer
We finally cleared our delightful bay in Paros when the gale warning was cancelled on Tuesday 17th. There was still about 25 knots of wind and 2 m breaking seas but no problem, particularly as most of our passage was to be SE with the N wind behind us.
We wondered if we should have left earlier but when an “official” gale warning is in place a safe anchorage is the place to be.
Our next anchorage was Ormos Mirsini on Nisos Skinhousa. This is a delightful small harbour where we put out a bow anchor and tied stern to the shore. Typically at these spots we walk into the village (usually at the top of a steep hill and called the “Chora”, pronounced “Hora”) to buy some milk, bread etc, check out a couple of tavernas and then sometimes eat out or sometimes eat on the boat. Nearly all of our cooking is on the BBQ on the rear deck as its too hot to cook in the galley. Next stop was Katupola on Amorgos where we stayed a couple of nights.

A highlight of this stay and of the whole trip was visiting the Monastieri of the Panayia (see photo). This dates from 1088 and is set high into a cliff face and only accessible by a steep 350 step path from below. There are still a few monks there and visits are allowed provided that men must wear long trousers and shirts to the elbow and women must wear skirts at least to the knee and have their shoulders covered. One lady climbed all those steps in jeans and was denied entrance. In the monastery you can see icons, religious artifacts and handwritten manuscripts and books dating back to the 11th C. It is said this site was chosen because an ancient wooden icon of the Virgin Mary which had been missing for hundreds of years was found washed up on the beach below where the Monastieri was subsequently built. Many of these ports have shops & tavernas on the quayside and Katupola was no exception. I was in a shop looking at a Cruising Guide of the Amorgos and Small Cyclades when a guy approached me and we got talking about boats etc. It turned out he was the Editor of the book I was holding and he gave me a free autographed copy, a real character! (see photo). We moved on to Skala on Nisos Astipalaia. This island is said to have the “best anchorages of the Greek islands” and there were some great bays and coves, some with buildings ashore and some totally unspoilt.

At Skala there is the almost obligatory castle on the hilltop and we took the bus up to explore. This one was built in the 13th C and survived virtually intact until the 1950s when the interior buildings were mostly destroyed by an earthquake. Nevertheless you still get quite a feeling for the castle and its dominant position. Next stop was Maltezana a short hop up the coast where we had one of our most delicious meals ashore yet. Doug discussed our menu with the taverna owner and we were given the most enormous platter of delicious prawns with pasta.
The prawns are caught locally and were much bigger than Australian prawns. Needless to say we ate the lot and washed it down with a bottle or two of some rather nice Greek wine.
On Monday 23rd we did a 6 hour trip to Southern Kos and stopped at Maltegara before heading the next day to Kos to sign out of Greek waters (see Bureaucracy) heading below. Also here we were able to collect Sharon & Doug’s air tickets which had been couriered from NZ.

Kos is dominated by a huge castle and would be a nice enough place but it ashore it was crowded with visitors and very hot so our stop was only to sort out paperwork which took about 4 hours before we headed the short distance across to Turkish waters and an anchorage West of Bodrum called Baglar Koyu. On arriving in Turkish waters we immediately noticed how green the land is compared with the Greek Islands which are largely brown and desolate looking.
We visited Bodrum and completed our entry formalities – again see under Bureaucracy and then set off East to spend a couple of nights at Cokertme. It was so nice here that we anchored for a couple of nights and had a great Turkish meal ashore at the Cokertme Restorant.
The staff were really friendly and we were all soon on first name terms. We promised Hassan that we’ll go back and we will.
Yesterday, Friday 27th Sharon & Doug departed after spending a great month together during which we cruised 300 miles from Piraeus to Bodrum. During this time they never saw rain and I think saw a cloud once.
Diane & I are now heading South to explore the Southern side of the Dorian Promontory.

So far we have yet to experience the much talked of hordes of boats and crowded anchorages, in fact we’ve frequently had bays to ourselves and so far its been much less crowded than for example Kawau or the Barrier at Xmas. Most boats prefer to go into marinas or harbours, or they tie stern to the shore with an anchor from their bow. We mostly anchor out in 10-25m depth and always have plenty of room and privacy. Envoy’s hull makes no noise and rolls quite gently so we don’t have to anchor in perfectly calm seas.

Weather: There is no doubt the weather in this area is fantastic. Di & I have not seen anything except cloudless blue skies since 8 June. When I say “cloudless” I mean that literally – not a single cloud in the sky all day. We have not had any rain since 24 May. Everyday the temperature is mostly around 28-35 d but sometimes up to 40d – but there is no humidity so you don’t feel too bad, also the u/v level in the sun is not intense so you can stay in the sun OK. When you want to cool off the water temp now is 25 to 27d and that’s even in deep water.
Of course we have experienced some strong winds and mostly in Paros where we had to wait for 5 nights for it to drop below “gale”, but it was a great place to be stuck in. During that time the wind blew nonstop during days and nights but mostly the wind reduces to under 5 knots overnight. In the open sea we have experienced winds up to 45 knots and frequently winds in the 20-30 knot range but have not had waves over about 2.5m so far. With the stabilizers working as they are, Envoy really doesn’t notice seas of this size unless you are heading directly into them in which case there is pitching. Of course the best cruising is with the seas behind in which case Envoy surfs down the waves and we pick up extra speed. So far we have mostly towed our dinghy (instead of lifting it up onto the top deck) , in fact it has been in the water since we left Piraeus. It has been no problem in any winds or seas we have so far encountered.
Miles covered 2040 in 143 days on board with 400 engine hours.

Bureacracy: To sign out of Greece in Kos we had to go with our Transit Log first to the Passport Control then to Port Police and finally to Customs, all separated by about 1 km. There was nobody at Passport Control so we waited around until someone came. The process took about 3 hours and we got a bit of a scare when the Customs Officer said that since we had been in the EU over 3 months, we had violated the Schengen Treaty (under which non EU residents are allowed to stay in EU only 3 months) and would have to pay a fine of Euro 1200 each. I pointed out that Diane & I had not in fact slept ashore at all and were living on a boat which means we can stay indefinitely. After some muttering the Officer agreed and we were on our way.
In Bodrum things were slightly more organized and we had to go to the Marina Office to buy a Transit Log, then to Health Office, then to Passport Control and then to the Harbourmaster. Only the Skipper has to go with all the vessel documentation and Di, Sharon & Doug did the shopping for supplies . No real problems in Turkey except that every time someone leaves or joins the boat you are supposed to report to the Harbourmaster and get approval (this is the same in Greece too). After every three changes you have to get a new Transit log which requires the whole nine yards of visits again. In this area there are various Greek Islands very close(ie within 5-10 miles) of Turkey and we had assumed we would be able to visit both Greek Islands and mainland Turkey up and down the Coast. It turns out this is not so easy as everytime you leave Turkish waters you are supposed to sign out and the same applies for Greek waters – has anyone reading this done this and can offer advice ?

Technical: all OK currently and nothing of significance to report (which is great !). Except one – our Toshiba laptop used for navigation with C-map has a built in fingerpad to control the cursor instead of a mouse. I guess there’s a name for this “fingerpad” but I’m not sure what it is. Anyway sometimes when we switch the computer on the cursor jumps all over the screen and does not respond to commands via the fingerpad. After I reboot the computer a few times it comes right. Any ideas please? We have been dealing with various issues as they arose but have now completed a maintenance schedule based on both hours run and time which we will base our ongoing maintenance on.