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Saturday, December 03, 2011

BACK IN MARMARIS MARINA

We came into the marina on 15 November after 28 weeks away, covering 2,218NM.
It’s a fantastic feeling to finish another season having cruised in great locations with no major problems or issues, bar our accident ashore with the broken glass.
Also to have shared experiences with wonderful family and friends (chronologically) Amy, Morris & Gail, Ian & Patsy, Kevin & Diane, Doug & Sharon, Amy, and Chris.
We have clarified the situation about hospitals in Turkey. When treated for our accident with broken glass we were charged Lira 694 (about NZ$485), and have been told it should have been either free, or considerably less.
Apparently the mistake we made was giving our New Zealand address. If we had given our address as Marmaris Marina for example, we would probably have received free treatment. In any case we don’t want a reason to test this theory!

Envoy in the slings after coming out of the water - the hull was very clean



Envoy on the hardstand in Marmaris, snug under her protective cover



The marina here is only about 70% full. This is partly due to less boats visiting Turkey, and partly due to more marinas having been built. The cost for our 14m boat is Euro 271 (about NZ$475) per month in the water and Euro 488 (about NZ$857) per month on the hard, including the cost of lifting in and out of the water. We spent only six nights in the water and then got lifted out. Envoy has a very good position – on concrete, directly outside the chandlery, and close to toilets, superette and bar. We spent a further six nights aboard Envoy on the hardstand, then returned to Auckland for a New Zealand summer.
Next year we plan to arrive back in late March, and head west via the Greek islands of Simi, Tilos, Niseros, Astipalaia, Ios, Sikinos, Folegandros, Milos and Kithera to Peloponnisos – this is the southern area of Greece, separated from the rest of the mainland by the Gulf of Corinth and the Corinth Canal. From there we will head north into the Ionian to position ourselves to visit Croatia in 2013.
TECHNICAL
On lifting Envoy from the water the hull looked excellent with negligible slime or growth. The difference this year was having two coats of antifouling rollered on rather than sprayed on. The contractor has since told us they have stopped spraying altogether and now only use rollers.

Mechanics assist us with pickling the water maker. This is not difficult, and next time we can do it by ourselves.



With help from a mechanic we inspected the main Lugger engine’s exhaust system, and found there is corrosion and thinning of the metal wall sections of the exhaust elbow and flange. These are the parts closest to the engine’s exhaust manifold. We’ll source replacement parts from Lugger while in New Zealand and replace them in April.

Mechanic Yilmas dismantling Envoy's dry exhaust system for inspection



The forward aircon is not working correctly. Servicemen had a look with no success, so we’ve removed the control unit for checking in New Zealand.
I reported earlier in the year that one of our four diesel tanks was leaking. There is no easy solution to fixing this due to the inaccessibility of the tank, so we’ve decided to leave the tank in ballast (to keep Envoy’s trim) using water in pet bottles. This leaves Envoy with a capacity of 2,900 litres in the other three tanks, and at around 8 litres per hour of usage, that’s plenty.
FINAL LOG FOR 2011: 196 days aboard since leaving Marmaris, 2,218NM cruised for 453 engine hours (total engine hours now 5,804).
In the next posting I’ll report on maintenance and cruising costs for this season.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

FROM BODRUM TO SIMI AND BOZUK BUKU

In the last three years of cruising we’ve spent quite a bit of time around Bodrum, so on 1 November when we left Bodrum probably for the last time, it was with a twinge of sadness. However new horizons beckon next year!
Our first stop on our journey south was Knidos with its still-impressive ruins dating back over 3,000 years. At first we were the only boat there, but later two other cruisers came in, and then 12 charter yachts moored to the jetty, making this one of the most crowded anchorages we’d encountered all year.

Envoy anchored in ancient Knidos harbour with sun on the lighthouse to the right



While anchored at Knidos we were joined by a fleet of 12 charter yachts



Laurie examines some remains of the city walls dating back some 3,000 years, and still in good shape (the ruins and Laurie!)



The weather forecast was again for strong northerlies, so we moved on to Kargi Koyu, near Datca, which has excellent shelter and plenty of room to swing. We stayed there three nights until the wind gusting to 25 knots abated.

Kargi Koyu provided excellent shelter from three days of 25 knot northerly winds



Turkey is definitely a blend of the ancient and the modern, and this is well illustrated by this wooden sledge used to pull boats out of the water for maintenance in Kargi Koyu



Wrecked fishing boat ashore in Kargi Koyu



It was then only a couple of miles to Datca, where we anchored off the harbour.

Envoy anchored off the town of Datca



Later an Australian yacht, Kondili, came in and after meeting her owners ashore in a bar, we had a roast lamb dinner aboard Kondili. Plenty of wine flowed and later we had an impromptu music session with guitars and harmonicas. Kondili’s owners, Phil & Robbie, are heading in the same direction as us next year, and we’ll definitely be meeting again.

Laurie aboard the Australian yacht, Kondili, with Karen, Jimmy, Phil, Robbie & Josh



Laurie alongside ancient lion statue in Datca. This was early November and starting to get cooler



These fishermen are peparing to antifoul their boat. There is negligible tide here, so they used a car to pull their boat out of the water, and will later get help from about 10 friends to push it back down the ramp



From Datca we moved on to the Greek island of Simi, which epitomizes everything great about Greek islands with its picturesque harbour and old buildings.

View of Simi's spectacular harbour



Church overlooking Simi harbour



By now time was getting short for our return to Marmaris and we moved back to the Turkish bay of Bozuk Buku, a sheltered bay overlooked by the ruins of an ancient citadel.

Laurie well wrapped up against the cool outside Alibaba’s restaurant at the entrance to Bozuk Buku bay



This picture taken from Alibaba’s restaurant shows how sheltered Bozuk Buku is



TECHNICAL
There is nothing to report except we are now planning Envoy’s winter lay-up in Marmaris. This will mostly be very routine, as we are only leaving Envoy for about 18 weeks, and here in southern Turkey we don’t need to allow for freezing conditions. Envoy will be left on the hardstand with her full cover on, and a reputable guy we know is going to check the boat every two weeks, and charge the batteries and run the dehumidifier monthly. The cost for this service is Euro 60 (about NZ$105) per month.
Envoy has a dry exhaust system, and this has not been checked for at least eight years. On advice from the previous owner we will get some help to strip away the heat insulation from the exhaust system and check it for corrosion and leaks.
LOG (to 8/11/11): 190 days aboard since leaving Marmaris, 2,190 NM cruised for 447 engine hours.

Friday, November 04, 2011

THE GULF OF BODRUM

After going to a café in Bodrum to watch the All Blacks beat France and win the Rugby World Cup, we went to the Bodrum private hospital to have our stitches removed. As we studied a map to find the hospital a Turkish man asked if he could help us, and then guided us the few hundred metres to the hospital. We bought him a cup of tea in gratitude, but he seemed to want to stay with us until eventually he asked if we’d pay him Lire 10 to buy some cigarettes. I was happy to give him Lire 5 and say our farewells. This was rare, and usually the Turkish people are extremely helpful and ask for nothing in return.

Laurie & Chris look on as the atmosphere is readied to watch the Rugby World Cup final ashore in Bodrum



We had decided to explore the Gulf of Bodrum – an area we’d not visited since 2007.
Our first stop was the village of Cokertme, and we had a great dinner ashore in Hasam’s Cokertme Restaurant. This was a nostalgia trip, as we’d had several memorable nights here previously with family and friends. The food was delicious, but we made an old mistake of letting them organise the food, resulting in a bit too much food and cost.

Diane, Chris & Laurie in Hasam’s Cokertme Restaurant



Our next stop was the Snake & Castle Islands, which have impressive ruins dating from ancient times right up to the Byzantine period, as well as a well-preserved amphitheatre. We arrived around 1600 just as the gulets were leaving with their tour groups, so we had the area all to ourselves.

Envoy anchored between Castle & Snake Islands



Chris & Laurie in Castle Island’s amphitheatre



Cleopatra’s Beach on Castle Island is reputed to be where Cleopatra swam with Mark Anthony, after importing galley loads of Egyptian sand. Scientists have determined that the sand is of a special silica type not from this area. Chris is not usually a swimmer, but even he couldn’t resist having a dip here. All swimmers have to shower after their dip to ensure no sand leaves the beach.

Chris after swimming at Cleopatra’s Beach



Diane & Laurie relaxing with Cleopatra’s Beach all to themselves



We moved on to English Harbour, a well-hidden, perfectly sheltered bay used as a base by the British Special Boat Squadron during WW2. We visualized their camouflaged motor torpedo boats anchored in the bay, and their base camp on a flat section of ground nearby.

Envoy anchored in perfectly sheltered English Harbour



Mermaid statue near English Harbour



We had a great two weeks with Chris, and like last year greatly appreciated his assistance with numerous small maintenance jobs aboard Envoy, including the supply and installation of a new DVD player and 510mm wide flat screen. Chris’s nickname of “MacGyver” was once again well justified.

Chris with our new DVD player and flat screen he supplied and installed



We enjoy a BBQ breakfast with Chris on his last day



TECHNICAL
Nothing to report so some comments re communications.
When cruising, communication costs are significant. Typically we spend about NZ$100 per month for internet access (using USB plug-ins), and about NZ$50 per month for phone (separate phone and sim card for each country). Sure you can use free WiFi, but this involves going ashore to find out passwords, and we want to have internet access every day.
“Rebtel” keeps our cost down for international phone calls. We can speak to family in NZ for 30 minutes for a cost of about Lire 2 (about NZ$1.30). We don’t understand how Rebtel manage this, but the system works well, and we highly recommend it for international calls – see their website.
LOG (to 31/10/11): 181 days aboard since leaving Marmaris, 2,121NM cruised for 434 engine hours.

Monday, October 31, 2011

CRUISING SOUTH TOWARDS BODRUM

Just before Chris arrived we had a cold spell with temps down to about 15d, and as we cruised south from Sigacik we encountered a classic cold front with low cloud, lightning, thunder and squally showers. Since then it’s warmed up again into the low 20s with a sea temp of 22d.

Classic cold front passes across Envoy’s bow



While having a walk ashore at Kazikli Iskelesi we noticed a couple of tethered sheep, and a Turkish man told us they were his, and he was fattening them up for Kurban Bayrami. This is a highly important holiday festival for Turks - lasting about four days when the head of a family provides a beast to sacrifice, and for his family and friends to feast upon. According to Lonely Planet about 4m cows or sheep are eaten every year at this festival.

This sheep is being fattened for the festival of Kurban Bayrami



Nearby was a very rough floating platform, which a fisherman and his wife used for sleeping, with their boat moored alongside.

A home away from home



Once you get away from the tourist resorts to where real people live and work, most of the Turkish women dress quite traditionally.

This picture shows a typical Turkish lady selling her goods in a market



This picture shows the new (news reporter on the left), and the traditional (lady with headscarf on the right)



There are many barbers to be found everywhere in Turkey, and I generally pay a very reasonable Lire 12 (about NZ$8). The slightly scary part is where they use a lighted taper to burn the hair from your ears and nostrils!

Here I enjoy a haircut with a traditional razor



Like most of the year, there have been very few cruising boats around, but one day near Altinkum we anchored in a bay where a yacht, Wight Egret, flew the British flag. The next day I went over to meet David & Beverley Evans from the Isle of Wight, and invited them over for a beer. We had a great time and ended up going out for dinner a few days later, the first time we’d socialized with anyone since Sharon & Doug left six weeks ago.

Diane, Laurie, Chris, Beverley & David together for dinner



While in Didim marina we noticed a “Sailors Pub”, so in the late afternoon decided to go and have a drink. We asked the waiter for a beer and a shandy, only to be told they don’t serve alcoholic drinks. We found this highly amusing and feel sure they wouldn’t attract too many sailors. Fortunately they had another bar nearby which did serve beer.

Didim marina’s pub with no beer



After a couple of days around Altinkum with Chris we headed further south to Bodrum, and moored stern-to the dramatic looking Castle of St Peter to spend a few days watching the remaining two RWC matches. In the 15th century the Ottoman Turks gave the Christian knights the opportunity to leave peacefully with their possessions, and they wisely accepted.

Envoy moored to the Castle of St Peter, Bodrum



One day we took the 90 minute ferry trip over to the Greek island of Kos. Here we collected two alternators for the main engine – one new one ex US, and our old one repaired in Piraeus.

Chris & Laurie enjoying an ice cream in Kos



On the return ferry trip the ferry seemed to go rather close to a container ship



More about Chris’s visit on the next post.

TECHNICAL
All going well and no problems, but just one unusual event.
Envoy has a Northern Lights genset M753 used in conjunction with a Freedom Combi inverter / charger. After an engineer at Didim Marina installed a new fresh water circulating pump on the genset something electrical has somehow changed.
Previously I would start the genset, turn ON the Battery Charger breaker and the batteries would start charging.
Now when I start the genset and turn ON the Battery Charger breaker nothing happens. But if I turn ON the Refrigerator breaker, the fridge will run fine, and then the Battery Charger will work too. Nothing happens unless the Fridge breaker is ON first.
This is not a major problem, but it means I can’t run anything from the genset unless the Fridge is ON too.
Obviously in changing over a water pump nothing electrical has been changed (the only electrical aspect to the job was to remove and replace the temperature sensor wires), so this is a bit of a mystery.
LOG (to 22/10/11): 172 days aboard since leaving Marmaris, 2,007 NM cruised for 413 engine hours.

Monday, October 17, 2011

AROUND ILDIR AND ALTINKUM

Our last visiting friend for the year - Chris O'Brien arrives today. Just happens to be the coldest day so far at 15d due to a front coming through - yet another gale warning. Will get back over 20in a day or two.
Our cuts are healing and we hope to get the stitches out tomorrow.
A Turkish gentleman has left a comment on the last posting that if we paid that much money it must have been a private hospital. In fact it was the Didim Public Hospital.
Going ashore in Turkey and Greece is always a bit of an experience, and even mundane things like grocery shopping or having a coffee or a beer can become exciting, especially away from the main tourist areas. We saw an interesting-looking café in Sigacik partially built into the crumbling walls of the medieval castle. It had a décor reminiscent of Gaudi, with basic wooden furniture, the floor being a mosaic of broken pottery, and decorated with marine artifacts and shells. We were the only customers and the owners made a real fuss of us as we had our cup of Nescafe at Lire 2 (NZ$1.40 each). They couldn’t speak any English, but they showed us the huge pumpkins they grow in their garden behind the café. They also showed us an article about their café in a tourist guide, and the owner pointed to a photo of himself. His name was Captain Pasha, a retired sailor, and that explained the nautical flavour of the café.

Captain Pasha’s café in Sigacik



Rustic interior of Captain Pasha's cafe



Nearby was a derelict, rust-streaked, steel-hulled yacht, and we found out the Greek owner had been suspected of using his yacht for smuggling, so it had been impounded. The owner is still fighting a legal battle to get it returned five years later.

Derelict yacht impounded in Sigacik harbour for suspected smuggling



We often see tractors with trailers carrying people and goods around



Herd of goats on the road in Sigacik



Sadly Turkey has a major litter problem despite the provision of numerous rubbish bins



We saw this tortoise crossing our path



Sunset on Envoy in Ildir harbour



Envoy at anchor in Ildir



View from Envoy of Ildir. In ancient times there was an acropolis on the hill



After an early morning swim we left Sigacik in a cool 20dC temperature with dark grey skies, thunder and lightning bolts. All the previous night the sky had been growling with distant thunder, and the portholes illuminated with lightning. This was not close-by, but kept our attention as we know too well how a thunder storm can quickly whip up violent, unpredictable winds.
Five hours later we anchored in Port St Paul, where a boat carrying St Paul is believed to have stayed. This is not in fact a “port”, but a sheltered bay, and once again we were the only boat there.
Later we saw a large Coastguard patrol boat passing outside the bay. It was around 25m long, with a large cannon on the fore-deck, and machine guns on the bridge. It stopped about 200m from our position and the crew seemed to be looking at us. Then we saw them launch their RIB, and soon it was speeding towards us carrying three crew. Their leader, wearing a pistol in a holster politely asked if he could come aboard – who were we to refuse! He wanted to know why Envoy has so many antennas.

View of Envoy’s antennas and radomes



To explain, Envoy has a total of eleven antennas for 3 x VHF, 1 x SSB, 1 x Navtex, 4 x GPS, 1 x Weather fax, and 1 x Satphone. She also has radomes for the 2 radars. We explained that Envoy is an ocean-going vessel and described the function of each antenna. They still seemed mystified, but must have been satisfied that Envoy wasn’t a spy-ship, and after checking all our documentation they left us.
For the last week we've been anchored off Altinkum as they have many sports bars, and we were able to watch some Rugby World Cup matches. Altinkum has a great sandy beach and attracts mostly British visitors. It is south-facing so provides good shelter from the prevailing northerlies.
One day we saw a seagull on the water that was unable to fly, and decided to investigate. We took the RIB over and discovered the seagull had a long-line hook in its mouth. We weren’t able to remove the hook, but cut the monofilament very close to its mouth and saw it happily fly away. Hopefully the hook will eventually drop out.

TECHNICAL
All is still going well. The fresh water circulating pump on the generator, which was repaired with cold weld, lasted for about 70 hours before it failed again. We used an engineering firm in Didim Marina to install the new one that we’d flown out from US. It’s a difficult job due to very limited accessibility, and it took 2 engineers about 3 hours to do the job. They also patched up the failed one for use as a short term spare.
I’m going to talk about cosmetic maintenance.
The most important thing to do in maintaining your stainless steel, gelcoat and varnished teak in good condition is to regularly wash all the salt off with fresh water. Many days we don’t take any salt spray at all, but on the days we do we always wash all the salt off after anchoring, except for the hull topsides.
Every couple of weeks we spend about two hours going over all the stainless steel with a product called “Miracle Cloth”, and this gets rid of any blemishes or rust stains, and brings it up nicely.

Diane polishes stainless steel bow rails with Miracle Cloth



To get stains off gelcoat and most other substrates we use “Power Sponge” – a sponge made up of melamine microfibres, and it’s amazing to see the difference this makes compared to a normal sponge. This also works well on stainless steel.
Our windows are coated with RainX, and this is great for keeping them clear of spray (we never use the pilothouse windscreen wipers). To get any salt residue off the windows we only need to use fresh water with a lamb’s wool mitten.
When we purchased Envoy all of the exterior teak was varnished. We’ve now stripped the varnish from some areas and gone for the natural look. In other areas we’ve maintained the varnish, and find this needs to be re-applied annually. It’s not a big job – we just wash the teak, lightly wet-sand it, wash it again, wipe it over with thinners, and then apply two or three coats of Epiphanes over consecutive days without sanding between coats.
LOG (to 2/10/11): 152 days aboard since leaving Marmaris, 1,913NM cruised for 393 engine