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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.