Saturday, 26 April 2008

We made it!

Hi from Clare
Well we are now in sunny Marmaris, perfect days and cool nights. We found the inside of the boat spotless and thankfully she still smells like a new boat. However the outside is coated with desert dust and it will be hours of work before she looks like Eye Candy again; all to be expected.

The flight over with Singapore was good. We were 7 kilos over our 40 kilo luggage allowance but fortunately they let us through. The plane was packed with Aussies heading over to Gallipoli for Anzac Day, certainly no spare seats to spread out on for a sleep.

Arriving at Istanbul airport (after 23 hours) at 7.30am we booked the overnight coach to Marmaris. Last year when we did this we took a hotel room for the day for showers and sleep. This year however it didn't quite work out that way. Being a bit later in the season, we had difficulty getting a seat on a coach (even though there are a number of companies doing this trip). Eventually we got seats (or so we thought) with the most expensive and reputedly the best coach line. By this time it was about
9am and we had to present ourselves at the bus station by 2pm to pay for our trip at 5pm. Not much point booking a hotel room and so we just hung around the airport, which believe me, is a better option than sitting around the bus station. Arriving at the bus station at 2pm, we discovered that not only didn't we have seats on the 5pm trip; there in fact wasn't a 5pm trip. The only trip to Marmaris with that company was at 10.30pm and it was full.

This was the last straw for Andrew, we were running out of time, the airport agent had clearly messed up the booking and in addition he told us that the metro line leaving the airport didn't go close to the bus station and organised a taxis "ride" (probably his brother) for the price of $45. The metro line in fact was 50m away from the bus station and it would have cost us $1 each, (we are back in Turkey - stay awake) Standing next to Andy, I could feel his blood pressure rising. He had his teeth
fairly sunk into this guy's ankles and he was not letting him go until a suitable solution was found. After much arm waving and a number of phone calls we got two seats on the 10.30pm coach. It was now about 3.30 pm and we had to be at the bus station by 8.30pm to be relocated to another bus station in Istanbul to pick up the 10.30pm coach to Marmaris. We checked in our luggage and spent the next 5 hours trying to amuse ourselves.

The coach trip which usually takes 14 hours started out OK (in flight TV and 8 music stations, more leg room than Singapore airlines, plenty of drinks and refreshments) and we slept most of the dark hours. But about 50 km out of Marmaris Andrew heard a bang underneath the coach then lots of smoke passed our window as we slowed at the traffic lights. The driver pulled over just out of town and the bus dumped all its coolant on the road. To their credit the drivers (2) put on overalls and crawled
under only to find a hole in the cooler. A second coach was ordered and we all had cups on coffee on the side of the road and waited.

Eventually we arrived in Marmaris and caught a taxi to the boat. We felt pretty good considering and after the basic settling in, we showered and caught up with some friends for a drink. Since arriving we have been busy putting the boat back together and Andrew has been installing some of his new electronic toys, so over to him.

Hi from Andrew
All the equipment has arrived safely and as usual we were waived through customs at Istanbul. I think it is the colour of our eyes. All the "brown eyes" from Arabian countries get to be xrayed.
As Clare said, the boat was good except for the dust all over the outside. So the first job was washing the deck, topsides and the bottom in preparation for painting. The first coat of antifoul is now on. The mainsail is back on the boom and all hooked up and last night I got into the new AIS receiver and Gyro upgrade for the autopilot. Like the man said "it isn't rocket science" and in about 3 hours I had both units installed and working. We can now see the ferry to Rhodes leaving at 25 knots
plotted on our chart plotter. We can also see their name and MMSI number should we need to call them on the VHF to see if they have seen us - a great safety asset. I have yet to test the autopilot but that needs the boat to be in the water. The second chart plotter can wait till we are in the water and as we relaunch the boat on Tuesday, this will not be long and I have already borrowed a jigsaw to make the hole.
So all in all, a good start to a promising season.
There is lots of work to do today like the second coat of paint on the hull and sending this email so I will say bye now.

stay tuned

Andrew & Clare