Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Christmas in Marmaris ..... Dec 2008

December 2008

****There's not too many places on a yacht to put the Christmas decorations, but we do our best, inside and out!!!!!!****

Merry Christmas everybody

After a very busy month back in New Zealand and a record breaking 55 1/2hour trip from Auckland back to Balvenie things have been a little slow on board since my arrival back, I suspect they were a little slow during my absence also!!!

It is Christmas Eve, the Christmas emails have all finally been dispatched, if you missed out it must be because we have lost your email because we have sent plenty. Tonight we go down to YachtMarine, the other marina here in Marmaris, to join several friends for a pot luck dinner. We will have to tuck up warm as it is forecast to go down to 2c overnight, goodness me it must be snowing somewhere close by. The days are still mainly sunny, so ok out of the wind but it certainly does have that winter feel to it and after no winter for 5 years it is quite an adjustment for us.

Marmaris is a different place now to the rowdy tourist town of mid summer, there is not a fat tattooed belly or an oversized body bulging out of undersized clothes with bright pink sunburned skin to be seen. Thankfully in winter Marmaris reverts to a pleasant, laidback, provincial town with the locals just going about their business, it's really quite a nice place to spend some time. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, 13 December 2008

A busy month in Auckland ... Nov/Dec 2008

11Nov - 13Dec

After the huge relief of actually getting to Istanbul airport in time to make my connection on Emirates to Dubai and onwards, the following 24 hours just floated by in a haze. Emirates have just opened their new terminal at Dubai aiport which wasn't such a bad place to spend 5 hours and besides being served dinner when my watch said it was 6.30am, the onward flight via Melbourne was uneventful. After a quick stockup at Auckland dutyfree, my pack was already waiting on the luggage belt, then straight through customs and immigration, don't you just love Auckland airport. It is always so nice coming through to a great welcome and a big group hug.

Over the next couple of weeks the days were filled to the brim. Mum had done a great job and had already started packing, we had boxes stacked everywhere. We needed to sort out the "what is to be sold/given away or thrown away pile" and this took priority. We took photos of everything to go and loaded them all at my sister Denise's (faster internet access) on to which is New Zealand's answer to Ebay. It is absolutely amazing what people buy, and I think we had only one item out of 28 that didn't sell. We also had a garage sale that we advertised in the Saturday NZ Herald, the cars started turning up by 7am and it was all over with only a handful of things left by 11am netting a few hundred dollars to go towards purchases for their new apartment.

We went out on several shopping excursions, with Christmas fast approaching and a recession in full swing there were many bargins to be had, and we made sure we got every single one of them!!! Mum and Dad's new kitchen is fitted out with lovely new brushed stainless applicances and ended up costing 1/3 of budget due to some very diligent shopping, might have taken a little longer but literally saved many hundreds of dollars. The best thing is they just look fabulous.

Change of addresses, lots for Mark and I and plenty for Mum and Dad took over a day, along with organizing final readings, cancelling direct debits for utilities, setting in place new accounts. We were surprised at the time everything took when you sat down to do it all in one go. Eventually things came together, all the boxes sat neatly in the garage and moving day arrived. Of course it rained, no surprise there, but not too much and things didn't get too wet, the delivery company was excellent and all went to plan.

After a few days of unpacking and trying to make a 3 bedroomed home fit into a 2 bedroomed apartment we started to get on top of things. Shelves were purchased and fitted, all the pictures and mirrors went on to the walls and slowly but surely it has become their home and long may they enjoy it.

Mum and Dad's apartment is in the brand new Edmund Hillary Retirement Village in Remuera, they have built a range of accommodations suitable for all situations and Mum and Dad's is a self contained apartment on the 4th floor with a lovely view out over the gardens and across to One Tree Hill. There are beautifully manicured communal gardens, a bowling green, swimming pool, spa, gym, pitch n putt, free bus excursions, complimentary morning and afternoon tea daily (with hot scones!) and weekly happy hour complimentary also. Better than being in a marina, we don't get the free happy hours!!!! There is also onsite care and support if required and it's all secure and safe. We are very happy now knowing they will be safe and with loads of other people to enjoy life with.

The days flew by, I didn't take nearly as many walks along our beautiful Tamaki Drive in the sunshine as I would have liked, but Denise and I squeezed in as much as we could, always having the excuse of taking Poppy for a walk. My month was up before I knew it, I had achieved what I went home to do so it was a very successful, if short, trip.

With my backpack and dayback jammed to capacity with yummy huge Christmas Cake and Mince tarts fresh out of Denises oven, lots of boat bits (of course), a new laptop - well they have funny keyboards in Turkey, christmas presents, honey and marmite my pack weighed in at 22.1Kilos, not, I thought, unreasonable when the allowance is 20k. But what would I know, the Customer Service lady at checkin said I needed to take 2.1kilos out. Shame they didn't give me a credit on my outbound when it weighed 9.8k but it doesn't seem to work quite like that. So by taking the laptop out of the daypack I then had 800g I could put in there, mmmm still 1.3k overweight. You are allowed 7kg hand luggage plus laptop plus handbag, now my handbag is tiny so the 1.3k couldnt go in there. By this time I was losing my sense of humor so tried one last thing, I pointed out to the check in lady that I was the lightest person in the queue and that should count but what I would do was take out 1.3k of clothes and stand there and put them all on and that would be that. At last, after about 15 minutes, she agreed that everything could stay as is and we completed my check in. Personally I thought this was a total waste of time, it was all coming with me, one way or another, and in total I was not overweight. I must add that she was very nice during this whole incident and really was trying to help but they had obviously been briefed that day and no excess baggage was to sneak through.

And so the journey back to Balvenie commenced. Auckland to Melbourne then the biggie nonstop through to Dubai. If you are on Emirates and your connection is over 8hours in Dubai you get a free hotel with transfers and meal vouchers. My stopover was just over 8 hours but by the time you clear customs, find the transfer desk, wait for the transfer, check in, go to your room, have a shower, zoom down for a quick meal there was only 3hours left before the transfer back again. Still I am not ungrateful and 3 hours snoozing horizontially is certainly better than none. They transfer you back at Dubai aiport 3 hours before the next flight so lots of time to kill. There is free internet outside departure gate 123, this is a very long walk from the new terminal 3 but gave me something to do (about 10minutes each way). Some of the departure lounges have chairs with attached footrests that are reasonably comfortable to stretch out, there were lots by gate 201.

Finally I arrived in Istanbul, about 1/2hour late so pleased I hadn''t booked the flight to Dalaman which was a very tight connection. I caught the subway to the bus station, straight forward enough and can take trolley right to top of escalator above platform. The bus station is all outdoors and it was very cold and wet. I had not booked the bus in case something changed with my flight, big mistake, it was Saturday night and the end of a week long Muslim holiday, all the buses were full. I finally managed to get the last seat on an extra midnight service with Pammukale Coaches, just another 5 hours to wait then a 13hour bus trip. I called Mark with my eta and waited. The good news is it got in 1 1/2hours early so I jumped in a cab and was back to Mark before he left to meet me. Total time door to door was 55 1/2hours, phew. Skipper had been working hard Balvenie was gleaming inside and out, it's good to be back to the two of them.Posted by Picasa

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Inland to Ephesues ..... November 2008

10-12 November 2008

I'm off home to Auckland for a month to help Mum and Dad shift from their home of 27 years to a lovely new apartment in a brand new retirement village complex. My Emirates flights are booked from Istanbul so we decided to do a little sightseeing up to Epheseus, then for Mark to drop me at Izmir Airport for a flight to Istanbul.It's the first time we were spending such a length of time apart so trying to think of what I need to take and what he needs to keep was quite a mission.

Finally bags were packed and we collected our hire car and headed north to Kusadasi. We had intended to stay the night here then head on to Epheseus the following morning but it was a big busy port town and didn't seem to hold much appeal from what we saw, so continued on a short distance to Selcuk.

We stayed in a great little hotel in the centre of town and the 60Lira room rate included a great breakfast, a lovely rooftop lounging area with free internet and a lovely big fire (well it's winter now) and a return transfer to the nearby Epheseus ruins.We went out for a walk, tucked up in more clothes than we had worn for years, and wandered around the cute little old town area of Selcuk, with ancient ruins and a huge old aquaduct dominating the city square. This whole area boasts more ruins per square mile than anywhere else in the Med, and they do have plenty.

The following morning we got our transfer to the ruins around 10am which in hindsight was a big mistake, we should have waited and gone later, just look at those crowds in the photo. We found out later there were 3 Cruise ships in Izmir and Kusadasi and all the passengers were at Epheseus for their morning sightseeing tour, busy busy busy. So we just walked off the beaten track and waited and waited until the bulk of the tour groups had moved on and then enjoyed this amazing old city in a little more peace and quiet. I came here years ago when backpacking around Europe and remember them as being outstanding, since then we have seen many a ruin, and somethimes feel "ruined out", but these truly are worth it and some of the building structures are still in very good repair. We spent over 3 hours there then got our transfer back and went into town for my last pide "Turkish pizza" for a while.

Mark dropped me at the airport early as we wanted him to get started on the 300km trip back to Marmaris while it was still light, as it turned out it was a very good thing I was early. I was too early to check in for my flight so waited a while until a counter opened. My e-ticket was checked, my credit card checked and my passport was also asked for, strange I thought this is only a domestic flight, but thank heavens they checked it.
We have a problem. Problem? what problem I ask, my passport is valid, oh dear this is not my passport, this is Marks passport, we certainly do have a problem!!!!! After a very frantic phonecall, which thankfully Mark heard while driving he confirmed he did have my passport, all I had to do was sit and wait, and wait. Unfortunately he was already back on the toll motorway, next exit 30kilometres in peak hour traffic. Izmir is home to 2.2million people, we are not talking small town provincal airport here. But if there is one thing Mark loves, that is a challenge and he got back to me waiting on the footpath, we did a superquick exchange of passports and final goodbyes. I tore back in, ofcourse having to do all the security checks again, ran to the closed checkin who were waiting for me, got told Gate 4, Run and run I did, last onboard, door closed and we had pushback 10 minutes early!!!! and I think sailing is stressful.

The thought of missing my domestic flight, then the flight to Dubai, then onto Melbourne and Auckland was just dreadful, how we ever switched passports I have no idea, I also had my EU passport which was mine (not Marks), but would have never got out of Turkey on it as my entry stamp was in my NZ passport, thank heavens Mark thought to take the other (my)passport with him - my hero, hate to think how we would have solved it all otherwise. Anyway, no harm done just a few more grey hairs. So now its the Admiral in Auckland for a month and the Skipper unsupervised in Marmaris, mmmmmmm.
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Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Cruisin, Boozin' and Snoozin' 2008

Tug of war in the Andaman Islands
 It's 51 weeks since we untied Balvenie from her berth in Rebak Marina, Langkawi, Malaysia. Our goal for the season was Turkey and we have achieved it. We knew it was going to be a big year, with many miles to cover, some long passages to undertake, possible "pirate encounters", and the infamous Red Sea. What we totally underestimated was just how totally amazing it would be, we are both very well travelled but what we have seen and done this year has left us in awe.

After leaving Thailand we started in the Andaman Islands, governed by India and still following English traditions of the 1960's. You can not be in a rush here, the sooner you except this the more you will enjoy it. This is an island group incorporated with the Nicobar Islands. The Nicobar's are still off limits to any outsiders (including local Indians), the indigenous population roam the islands, defending them proudly and attacking any one that comes too close with bow and arrows. There are also islands within the Andaman group that are off limits, this is truly an outpost, sitting alone in the Bay of Bengal.

From here we were blown into the harbour at Galle in Sri Lanka. The unplanned stops are often the best and we had a great stay in Sri Lanka and managed to avoid the Tamal Tiger bomb blasts as we toured inland over Independence Weekend. This is a beautiful lush fertile country, but inland it is being torn apart by the fighting and on the coast they are still desperately trying to recover from the immense damage done in the 2005 Tsunami. They have a long road to recovery, unifying and rebuilding their country.
Colourful women of Eritrea
Onwards to the Maldives, hundreds of little atolls in the vast Indian Ocean, our time allowed just the one stop before moving on and completing the big ocean passages. Oman, well we had no idea what this part of the world would be like, maybe sand dunes and Bedouin nomads but neither were spotted, just rocks rocks and more rocks and many a camel! Oman is rich with oil wealth, new roads, latest design European cars and oh so dry. They may have oil, but they have no rainfall and the very rocky desert surely replicates a lunar landscape.

Next we moved along to Yemen and the southern Red Sea countries. This was a journey that took us back in time to the civilisations that were the founders of mankind. In Yemen, Eritrea and Sudan, time has stood still - they are truly amazing places and can not be compared to anything we have seen before. They take your breath away, and have left us with such deep lasting memories, they are a world apart and very special places. They are all so dreadfully poor, but they are survivors, they have been their since time began and life goes on regardless.

The men of Yemen
 Egypt was a huge challenge, the Egyptians being the most difficult race to deal with we have encountered. The history is phenomenal and we are pleased we have "been there - done that", would we return? NO! As someone recently said to me about Egypt "everything there is for dead people" and this is true. It is all about the tombs, the afterlife, and the treasures taken to the afterlife. Egypt may once have ruled much of civilisation and lead the way in many things but it seems it has never moved on.

And then we were in the Med, what an enormous relief and a huge sense of achievement. Greek Cyprus was a breath of fresh air after months in strict Muslim countries, it was great to feel normal again. It is a lovely island, lacking unfortunately in safe harbours so our time there was limited. Then we were just 180miles away from Turkey, we arrived 25 June and have enjoyed every day since cruising the magical southern coastline and a few of the Greek Dodecanese Islands.
Sudanese women
Has it been worth it? - absolutely! Obviously there is much publicity about the continued piracy attacks in the Southern Gulf of Aden, and most countries we visited had government warnings issued for travellers not to visit them. We never once felt threatened or unsafe, either at sea or on the land. Words really can't describe the truly amazing year we have had.

Countries visited - 13
Nautical miles travelled - 6743 of which 3263 were offshore
Nights at sea - 33
Nights tied up in Marinas or town quays - 90
Different Anchorages visited - 93 (several nights at some and also returns to some)
Nights spent off the boat touring - 13
Strongest winds - 38knots at anchor in Ras Banas, Egypt
Most miles covered in a day - 165m enroute to Oman from the Maldives
Fastest speed - 8.6knots, ironically on our last day cruising coming towards Marmaris!
Sleepless nights - 2 at sea Andamans to Sri Lanka with squalls, 1 in Greece and 3 in Turkey with thunderstorms late in the season and boats around us dragging
Rainy days - 1 (while on land travel to Asmara!). This should be rainy hours of which there are about 5 hours. A couple during squalls Andamans - Sri Lanka, 1 hour upon arrival in Maldives, and a couple of hours in recent weeks at night in Turkey
Cloudy days - 3 in Massawa while passing through the convergence zone, 1 in Turkey mid October
Sunny days - Every other day and long may it continue, currently 10.30am at 26c in Marmaris!!!!!
How much did it cost - When we were planning on going cruising it was so hard to find out how much people were spending, as I was told by one long term cruiser you will spend what you can afford which is very true. During these 51 weeks we spent an average of just under NZ$600 per week. This includes everything except for the cosmetic work we had done in Thailand (new galley bench, sail cover, fibreglass repairs to hull). I have also included all the food and alcohol provisions purchased in Langkawi before our departure from there Posted by Picasa

Sunday, 2 November 2008

The Season ends ... Oct 2008

25-31 Oct 2008

***Looking down from the citadel ruins into Bozuk Buku, Balvenie lies at the top of the bay***Mark is King of the Castle at the excellent ruins at Bozuk Buku***

We left Khalki with 2 reefs in the main and the headsail reefed and poked our nose out and had an excellent sail with 20knots on the beam headed northeast towards the southern coast of Symi. Plan A for the day was to anchor in Pedhi for the night and we made great time up in solid winds until we closed in on Symi. The winds died, the seas calmed down, the reefs were taken out and we pottered along for awhile. When we got into Symi straight it all livened up again to keep us on our toes with up to 25knots on a very tight reach, full sail up in flat water. Balvenie and skipper were very much enjoying stretching their legs, the admiral, well she wasn't minding it too much either!! We decided that Plan A may just have to wait another day and we thought the anchorage in Pedhi might be just too gusty with these winds so we bore away and had a great beam reach sail across to Bozburun, always nice to return to a familiar anchorage after a day at sea. We met up with English friends Jo and Dennis onboard Aurora, and also Peter and Brigette onboard White Rose, great to see some familiar faces again. We had a couple of nights in Bozburun while the winds kept blowing, then had a pleasant sail back across to Symi for a night to alcohol, pork and fuel up for winter.

Our cruising season was drawing to its end. If we were in New Zealand with this weather we would never be heading for a marina, the days are still brilliant with blue skies, still no less than 18c overnight and around 25c during the day and even the admiral has been in swimming again (by choice!!!), but we are constantly watching the weather now and everyone says we have had a good October, the storms will come soon.

So we say goodbye to Greece for the year and head from Symi back across to the bottom of the Datca Peninsular and have a very gentle sail downwind across to Bozuk Buku, a beautiful big sheltered bay overlooked by the ruins of an impressive citadel, it was a fitting site for our last night at anchor for 2008. We enjoyed a big walk and climb through the ruins the following morning and got in one last swim for the season before we up-anchored and had another very unpredictable sail with winds from all directions and from 5-25knots, keeping us on our toes until the end!! We are now at Netsel Marina in Marmaris, home until mid April 2009.

Anchorage info:
Bozburun and Pedhi same as before.
Bozuk Buku 36 34.44N 28 00.65E 12m swinging, three restaurant docks stern tie with bow lines, but plenty of room for several boats to swing at anchor also. No wifi signals, impressive citadel ruins ashore to explore

Fuel info for Symi Island - you can side tie up to the dock in Pedhi (rough concrete dock, nasty big black tires for fenders) and walk up to the fuel station on the road that heads for the hill (about 5 minutes walk). They have a little tanker truck and will come to the dock. Cost was 1.29Euro per litre. Credit card accepted. They are closed between 1pm and 4.30pm. They had run out of diesel when we were there so the other option is you can go round to Symi town and as you enter the harbour on the left is the fuel station and dock, nice clean big orange fenders and they throw you mooring lines, didn't look very deep by wall but ok for us, water is just so clear is looks shallower. Cost was 1.15Euro per litre (much better), credit card accepted. Only negative about here is if a ferry comes in while you are tied up, the wake is dreadful as they go by.
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Saturday, 25 October 2008

Dodecanese Islands of Greece ... Oct 2008

18-25 Oct 2008

***Balvenie at anchor in front of the big monestary at Panormitis, on the Southwest corner of Symi***Morning light on the harbour at Khalki***

We had a couple of plans of what to do once Lesley left us to fill the time before our marina booking from 01 November, however like with most plans sailing you have several back ups. We stayed a few days in Bozburun, Turkey as there were very strong winds forecast for the Southern Aegean. Then we ventured out and started by having a great sail pointing towards southern Symi, until the wind died and the motor came on. We had a night in the sheltered enclosed harbour at Panormitis, and went for a big walk along to the monestary and all the way around to the windmill at the harbour entrance.

The following day we hoped to head for Kos, but plan B came into place when there was no wind at all and very confused seas. We headed back to Turkey and had a couple of nights up in Datca. Yesterday we tried to go to the Greek Island of Tilos, but messy seas and 20knots right on the nose put plan C into place and we bore away for a more comfortable ride an headed down to Khalki (Chalki, Halki - the Greeks seem to have 3 names for everything). We are tucked up in the small harbour here, just with one other yacht, its a cute little place but almost closed up for winter. The skies are still blue each day and its only just under 20degrees at night so still very nice. Tommorow (25th Oct) we will start heading back towards Marmaris.
Anchorage info:
Panormitis 36 33.07N 27 50.75E 7.2m swinging, excellent shelter better than it looked in guide book, could get possible roll, entrance straight forward but if strong winds seas may build outside, could be very lumpy. Monestry, small store and taverna ashore. Irregular bus to Symi town. No wifi

Khalki 36 13.35N 27 36.91E 14m swinging. Very good shelter, slight roll came in. Stay as close to shore as possible, we were asked to move after dark when very big inter-island ferry came in. In summer there is apparantley a swim platform that you can stern tie to, it had been removed for winter. Two reasonable stores, a few bars and cafes ashore. Small sleepy place. Bus service to beaches and monestry during summer (stopped now). Reasonable unlocked wifi Posted by Picasa

Friday, 17 October 2008

Datca Peninsular & Symi ... Oct 2008

11-17 Oct 2008
***The ruins at Knidos***Pedhi houses and harbour***Lesley - flat out on Monday morning*** The ancient sundial at Knidos***Pedhi on Symi, this one looks like a "do-up"***The cats of Symi with Balvenie at anchor in Pedhi in the background***

Lesley has arrived (see Dalaman Airport info below). Her flight was delayed so we didn't get back to Balvenie until 2.30am so we had a very slow start and cruisy day with some afternoon exercise kayaking to the head of the bay to Orhaniye, there are a few restaurants with docks up this end of the bay and the small Sunsail Charter base dock. Another blow was forecast for the night so we were very happy to stay put in our sheltered spot in Keci Buku. (anchorage details on previous posting). Sunday dawned bright and sunny again and we had escaped the wind so headed out and tacked along the peninsular in very light winds to the small town of Datca. There doesn't seem to be much in Datca, its a sleepy fishing village with a few day trip boats as well, a pleasant town quay and a few restaurants crying out for the tourist lira. We had a walk round town, lovely dinner ashore, a pleasant quiet night and pulled out the next morning.

More light winds with a very pleasant but slow sail along to our next stop at Kalaboshi. Lesley enjoyed the calm conditions to lie on the foredeck and top up her tan before that long English winter! The days are cooler now, even we are enjoying the suns warmth after years of escaping it in the shade. Winter is coming. Kalaboshi is a tiny cove tucked into the southern peninsular with a little pebble beach, a couple of restaurants and backpackers accommodations, very low key and a good stop for the night. We went ashore for a walk and happy hour but had dinner onboard. We heard Oguns did 60 for dinner though, all from yachts on the dock, it may be the end of the season but there are still quite a few of us out here. They have a good reputation.

Another day of light winds so we had to motor some of the way to the ancient city of Knidos on the end of peninsular. These Dorian ruins date from around 400BC. It was a thriving city in its time as it is an excellent spot to wait for favorable weather before stepping out into the Aegean. The ruins are spread over several kilometres and are great to rummage around in, with so many artifacts just "lying around". There has been some work excavating the ampitheatre and buildings and although they are not the best ruins we have seen we certainly enjoyed our time there. Entrance was free, we maybe just got lucky as we had heard it was 10Lira. There is a restaurant with a somewhat drunk owner ashore, he may be the reason the dock was empty!!

Just as we were supping on nightcaps we started to notice lightening in the distance, and sat and watched as it got closer, and closer. We, like all yachties hate lightening. A nearby strike can cause absolute havoc to the boats electrics, in some cases wiping out all electrics, navigational equipment, radars - the lot. We put what we can remove into the oven and microwave then cross our fingers and toes. It came closer and closer to the east of us and at one stage we saw 4 forks coming down at once. We had another long night on anchor watch, the winds in the end didn't exceed 25knots, but a couple of yachts dragged and some were way to close to each other. We are never comfortable enough just to go below to sleep in these situations, better to know whats happening. We have now done more anchor watches in Turkey/Greece than in our previous 4 years. Not so much because of the wind strengths but because of bad holding, too many yachts close by and other less experienced sailors who don't anchor well enough for the conditions.

So time again for a dip into Greece. We were looking forward to a great downwind sail back to Pedhi on Symi. The forecast had shown wind for the day but it must have been what came through in the night. There was much disappointment when we had to motor the 25miles back to Symi, with very grey skies and even a little drizzle at times, out came the sweat shirts - a first during the day for a very very long time!!! The skies did start to clear as we approached Symi, and by the time we anchored the world was looking a brighter place and it was even starting to warm up again. We got the small local bus over to Symi town. Everywhere was so much quieter than when we were there 10 days ago, the town quay was almost empty, some restaurants have already closed for the season and the last bus home is now 10pm. We had a lovely wander through the streets, it is such a quaint place, the postcard images of a perfect Greek Island. We completed it all with a fine Greek salad, souvlaki and mousakka before getting the last bus home, another peaceful night. We had a big walk around Pedhi in the morning in glorious sunshine yet again, while hoping and waiting for some wind to fill in.

Eventually we had enough puff to make our way back across to Turkey and have ended up at Bozburun, another well protected anchorage at the head of a bay, with a small quay (heard its 35Euros a night) a small town with a few restaurants and stores and a dolmus (minibus) service to Marmaris. We found a great fish restaurant ashore for Lesley's last night with us. Bozburun is famous for its boat building yards, and although we went for a big walk in search, so far we have only found gulets afloat and a couple of abandoned projects on shore, we are definitely missing something so further excursions will need to be made!! Sadly it is time for Lesley to leave so we get the dolmus to Marmaris (7Lira pp ow) where we have organised a transfer for her to Dalaman (see details below). We have had a great week with her exploring new territory and fitting in a return to delightful Symi.

Now we just have a couple of weeks before we are due into Netsel Marina for winter and we have to decide what to do, where to go. The weather is looking a bit blowy for a few days so we have finally decided to stay tucked up here then make a run out into the Aegean and visit a few more of the Dodecanese Islands in the Southern Aegean, like always that is plan A, stay tuned!!!
Anchorage info:
Datca 36 43.20N 27 41.38E mud 8.5m Good protection from N and W. Ample room to swing. Took dinghy into town dock. Wifi good signal but needed codes
Kalaboshi 36 41.00N 27 34.43E dropped 14m stern tied to rock wall (may be turned into dock by 2009) Restaurant dock was busy, room to swing anchor for one or two boats only and more exposed, bottom mix of weed and sand, very clear water. Oguns Restaurant good wifi, got password from bar. Also got water from them.
Knidos 36 40.99N 27 22.52E 10m think hard sand, swinging. 2 attempts to get anchor set. About 12 yachts & 2 gulets and still plenty room. Dock was empty despite attempts by staff to fill it, don't know why. Good shelter, had 20knots for a while during the night, 1 boat dragged
****The above 3 can be rolly we have been told if the meltemi is blowing, we had very settled conditions except for Knidos where we had an electrical storm during the night****
Pedhi 36 36.82N 27 51.49E dropped 12m settled 17m, swinging. Opposite side to where we anchored last time, holding seemed better and larger shallow area. Also picked up wifi at random to check emails. Fuel info - see "The season ends... 25-31Oct"
Bozburun 36 41.42N 28 02.46E 14m mud outside the town quay just to the west. Beware of the shallows further west which are easy to see in good light only. Good shelter from all but south. Several wifi-one unlocked, or have drink at Gordons Restaurant and ask for their code

Dalaman Airport Info:
To/from Keci Buku (Marti Marina)
We hired a car from the marina travel office from 2pm till 9am for 100Lira (120Lira for 24hours) and needed 50Lira fuel for the trip to Dalaman and back. Airport car parking was 9Lira. Keci Buku is 30mins from Marmaris on the Bozburun Road
To/from Bozburun
We caught the last dolmus into Marmaris at 5pm, takes 1 hour and is 7Lira. We walked to Netsel Marina and connected with a transfer from Yacht Marine (shared with 7 others and booked by phone earlier) at 6.50pm for Lesley which was 30Lira. The last dolmus back is at 6.30pm so we negotiated a taxi back to Bozburun for 100Lira, took about 50-55minutes.

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Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Datca Peninsular Turkey ... Oct 2008

05 - current October 2008

***Out kayaking to the ruins of the Byzantine Fort***Balvenie in Keci Buku, if you look closely enough you can see the olives on the tree***

We slipped out of Pedhi Harbour with a gentle southwest breeze, rolled out the headsail and had a very relaxing sail north to the Datca Peninsular and headed for the large bay of Kuruca Buku. As the wind was from the south we decided not to anchor off the beach, although there have been reports of wifi onboard from there (always a bonus!!). We went in search of a shallow enough spot to swing on the anchor but ended up stern to in a great sheltered spot. The next morning all the yachts that had anchored off the beach came over to join us as they had had a bumpy night, but by then we had heard that a northerly blast was due later in the day so we decided to move on to somewhere with better shelter and had another lovely sail east to the end of the Peninsular into the big bay Keci Buku.

We are in a great spot and have now had 3 nights here, dead flat water, wifi from Marti Marina and just getting a few jobs done. We have been getting some exercise in the kayaks and have been out and around the small island in the bay. We climbed up the Byzantine Fortress ruins right to the top for a lovely vista.

The weather is definately autumnal now, down to 18deg this morning but still getting up to mid 20's during the days and this week we have had lovely clear days., long may it last. We are not far from Marmaris by road here so can get to Dalaman Airport to collect Lesley on Friday and then we will explore the rest of the Peninsular with her.

Anchorage info:
Kerucu Buku 36 44.89N 27 53.81E dropped 18m settled stern tied in 13m. Had trouble setting anchor further out as thick weed bottom
Keci Buku 36 45.80N 28 07.22E dropped 13m settled stern tied in 5m. Can swing on anchor, very protected spot, access to marina for water, store, chandlery and wifi onboard (no password, very good signal) Beware of underwater large rock about 20m north of this waypoint close to shore if stern tying. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Dipping into Greece again - Symi ... Oct 2008

02 - 04 October 2008

***View ashore from the anchorage at Pedhi on Symi***Symi town leads steeply up the hill from the harbour***Walking around the harbour in Symi***

We had very calm seas for our short trip across from Turkey to the Greek island of Symi. Symi Town is at the northern most part of the island and is a busy harbour with many yachts, gulets, superyachts, fishing boats and ferries all wanting to tie up to the town quay. It is also an offical port of entry for Greece and a bustling little place. We decided to anchor in the next bay/harbour around on the eastern side called Pedhi, its alot quieter and you can just swing on the anchor - if you can find a spot. Like so many of the anchorages of late there is very deep water until quite close inshore but we managed to nestle in, in the far right corner and set our anchor. The difference between the Greek and Turkish architecture is so pronounced, there is no way of mistaking what country you are currently in!!

We caught the local bus across to Symi town, it leaves hourly at half past and is 1Euro. The view from the top of the hill before you drop down into Symi town is spectacular, oh so postcard perfect Greece. I closed my eyes as the bus made the final approach downhill along the one lane right on the edge of the water, it realy didn't look like we were goin to fit, but I guess he has done it before!!! We had a big walk wandering along the very busy town quay and right around the other side of the quaint harbour. Then time to relax with a cold Greek beer and people watch. We were joined by friends Robin and Marion off Simba who were tied to the town quay and we had a lovely evening with them and a great dinner out. We caught the bus home again, in this direction it goes on the hour until 11pm.

Everything was perfect, but that never lasts long and an unforecast blow came up about 1am, together with just enough rain to collect dust enroute to earth and make a right mess all over the boat, again. The anchorage was very busy and the wind direction put us much closer to the shore than we were happy with so we maintained yet another anchor watch until things settled down after sunrise. There was plenty to watch, a couple of boats dragged on the other side of the harbour, the water tanker left the town quay then another large cement freighter arrived, never a dull moment.

Wanting to add yet another country to his ever growing list of "Maintainence in Exotic Places" skipper needed to address a newly discovered problem of our leaking raw water pump. This was the same culprit that caused us to postpone our departure from Thursday Island in the Torres Strait, many moons ago, so we had a rebuild kit and a replacement pump onboard. After a few hours and not TOO much swearing the new pump was installed, the engine going and no leaks. We are not altogether happy with the replacment hosing that needed to be added but can save that for another day. We stayed another night, did a trip ashore to stock up on a few goodies not available in Turkey, mainly pork products. There is a small deli/supermarket right at the end of the pier, not a huge selection but adequate and their is a fuel station only a couple of minutes walk away for much cheaper diesel and petrol than Turkey.

Anchorage info:

Pedhi 36 36.94N 27 51.42E dropped in 12.8 settled in 5.5m. Larger shallow area on left side of jetty but too busy. Keep well clear of the jetty and allow turning space for reasonable sized freighters to come and go - all hours. Some yachts tied to left (south) side of jetty, ones on north side told to leave.

Town quay in Symi - drop anchor and back into concrete quay, imagine underwater looks like spiders web. Will be instructed where to go by harbourmaster. Standard Charge for any size seems to be 8Euros per night including power (maybe water too?). Lots of surge/roll from the endless traffic. Maybe asked for Greek papers, maybe not, may also have to show proof of insurance, maybe not. We decided Pedhi was a better option for us for a short stay. Posted by Picasa

Time to move on ... Oct 2008

30 Sep - 02 Oct 2008

***Digital cameras have so many uses, always a good idea to take a photo first so you know how to put it all back together again!!!***Our anchorage at Serce - onshore for a morning walk with the cows, its a while since we have woken up to the cows mooing***

We now have 10 days before our friend Lesley arrives from England for a week, so we have many discussions as to whether we stay in Fethiye Bay or move on to anchorages new. First we need to address our power problem. Over the last few weeks our batteries have been dying after 4 years of active service. We are now down to just 50% and struggling so it is time to invest in some new ones. Gocek has a good selection of chandeliers and we found "Blue Yachting" to be very helpful, competitive and they spoke good English. After delivering Mark and batteries by scooter down to the dinghy dock and removing our old batteries we then had the fun job of getting them back to Balvenie and onboard without getting them wet. Of course the sea breeze had kicked in by then, but we did it, eventually. Skipper spent the rest of the afternoon wiring them all up, while Admiral finally hard wired in our hot water cylinder we installed in Finike. By the end of the afternoon we were all wired up and made the big decision to move on the following day. A last trip ashore to get a few provisions, phonecard, and a delicious pide at "Gocek Pide". We have been in and around this general area for a couple of months now, we are sad to say goodbye.

We left early the following morning for our longest day sail since the Red Sea, just on 50 miles. It is a good idea to try and get around Kurdoglu Burnu (the bottom of Skopea Liman) before the sea breeze kicks in as it gets somewhat confused at the cape. The winds were light to begin and we motored sailed most of the way across, ending up bashing into 25knots on the nose before entering the very enclosed and sheltered anchorage at Serce on the southern tip of the peninsular west of Marmaris. When we came through the gap into the anchorage we were met by two rival restaurant owners in dinghies offering mooring buoys for the night. We explained that we wanted to eat onboard and the one from the northern end of the bay (which looked more sheltered) was happy to have us anyway so we slowly made our way up and they gave us the end buoy in 4meters, shallow - but enough. I quickly tied on the buoy then went ashore with stern lines to secure us there while skipper held station.

About 15 minutes later a couple of dinghies came by selling wares and as one was leaving he called that we were not attached to the mooring buoy any longer. Thinking of course that the buoy line had parted, and while getting a long enough line to take in the dinghy to reattach, we were doubting whether we should be on a mooring. This doubt was cast aside when Skipper realised the line wasn't attached to the cleat on Balvenie any longer, whoops. Admiral has been fired from the job of attaching lines!!!!!, personally I think someone must have come along and undid it (yeah right). Anyway, no harm done and we had a very peaceful night and awoke to the sounds of cows mooing. We had a good walk ashore to stretch our legs then let the lines go and motored in very calm water around to Greece, time for pork chops!!!!
Anchorage info:
Serce - Mooring buoy at 36 35.05N 28 02.89E each restauarant had about 8 buoys which took up most of the room in the bay, probably able to find somewhere to anchor with stern line though if necessary.
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Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Back in Skopea Liman .... Sep 2008

24-30 September 2008

***Mark and Mum in Skopea Liman watching the scenery go by***The partly submerged ruins in Ruin Bay***Mum at the helm under Skippers watchful eye***Out for a morning walk in Ruin Bay, looking across into Wall Bay

Oh dear, at last our amazing spell of months of perfect settled weather has ended, unfortunately this has coincided with the arrival of Mark's Mum Jackie from London, however we are not blaming her!!!!
After a stormy night at anchor in Fethiye with a couple of boats dragging, the weather perked up and we had a nice easy sail back across Fethiye Bay into the sheltered waters of Skopea Liman.

We headed back to Tomb Bay where we had spent a couple of perfect days while Neil and Barbara were on board and anchored back in the same spot. Although the weather has cooled it is still warm enough for swimming and much more pleasant for getting out and exploring onshore and we did a dinghy ride across the bay followed by a walk up to one of the Lycian Tombs carved out of the rockface, many moons ago. We went ashore to the small restaurant for dinner which was good but cut abruptly short when the sound of distant thunder suddenly seemed very much closer. Whilst zooming back to Balvenie the skies opened and we had the simultaneous sound of thunder cracking overhead while the world lit up around us, this was not on the holiday itinerary!!!!! Another night for the crew on anchor watch, as the bays here are very deep you need to drop your anchor in deep water then reverse into the shore and tie lines ashore to rocks, trees or bollards. Normally we swing to the wind, so when we are tied ashore we feel very vulnerable, and never at ease if there is any wind. But these storms pass and the following day dawned clear and sunny again.

We moved onto Wall Bay and tucked up all snug in the corner and enjoyed a dinghy ride around into Ruin Bay where we explored the partly submerged ruins of an old stone building. There is no information on these ruins so we sat and wondered who had lived here and when and what their lives would have been like. There is a walk from here right back around into Wall Bay or in the other direction you can follow the red painted arrows on the rocks and walk right up to the top of the ridge (45mins one way we were told), we have saved that for another time. A gale warning was issued for our 2nd night in Wall Bay so we put extra lines ashore and made sure everything was secure on deck. Marmaris, Gocek and Fethiye all had high winds and rain but we were lucky and had a peaceful night.

Mum's week was nearly up so we motored in flat seas up to Gocek for her last night in Turkey with us, we were treated to very calm conditions in the anchorage. We went ashore and spent time at the weekly Sunday market, tasting Turkish Delight and Apple Tea while Mark happily watched the latest Grand Prix at the "West Cafe" (good free WIFI here too). We stayed ashore for an early dinner at the "Kebab Hospital", something went a little wrong in the translation to English, no its not Hospital food, it is very good!!!

And then it was time to say our goodbyes. We had a lovely week with Marks Mum onboard, we are sorry she didn't get the picture perfect weather we had been having but as she kept reminding us it was much much better than anything they had experienced in England this summer, it was sunny every day, warm enough to swim and she finally got to experience life on Balvenie, in all its ups and downs!

Anchorage info: All the above were places already visited, see details below under "Fun in the Sun ... Sep 2008 - Cruising Skopea Liman 07-11 Sep 2008
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Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Off out Cruising again ... Sep 2008

24 Sep 2008

***Getting in and out of the dinghy is never easy but Mum mastered it no problem!!!!***Dinner out in Fethiye, spot which meal is on fire***

Marks mum, Jackie, has arrived from London to spend a week with us. It is the first time she has seen Balvenie, so after us being onboard for nearly her 5 years it is quite an occasion.

Yesterday we drove over to Calis Beach while we still had the hire car, and had a look around that part of Fethiye Bay. It's all pretty much tourist hotels and the waterfront is lined with small shops and restaurants catering to the English and Polish package holiday markets.

Enroute we took in some historical sites and visited the Lycian Tombs behind Fethiye town, passed a couple of sarcopogus and the ancient amphitheatre. Then we took in the weekly market and topped up on all the fresh produce available.

A stay in Fethiye wouldn't be complete without a visit to our favorite little restaurant "Kervan" @ Carsi Cad 36, (the first road after the central market covered area). Tastefully decorated with orange and white satin tablecloths and chair covers and big orange bows, lovely! The food, service and price are great though and we had a lovely evening.

Checking in and out: Our 90days are up so we need to check out of Turkey. All the offices in Fethiye are close together and it was only about an hour of skippers time to complete formalities. Cost for checking out was just 6Lira. We returned and checked back in after a few days, all very quick. Harbour Master 12.50L, Transit Log 77.50L (cheaper than our last one in Finike) and no cost for visas on our NZ passports. All took around an hour.
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