Follow by Email

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.