Sunday, 25 May 2008


Hi from Clare,
Photo 1 The outdoor shower
Photo 2 Tread the seawall or wade through water
Photo 3 The Turkish barber on the phone
Photo 4 Diner service was slow
Photo 5 Traditional Village Dancers

We left Mersin around 3pm and set sail for the 80 mile trip to Iskenderun Turkey. We had some good sailing and also some motoring. Pat has mastered cooking underway and was busy stewing apricots when I came below to see her holding the pot on the stove. I put the stove on gimble as this allows the stove to stay level when the boat heels over. It started swinging wildly, Pat looked totally alarmed and stood in a crouched position waiting to catch the pot. In the end she went upstairs because she couldn't bear watching it and promised "if the pot ends up on the floor, I'm not cleaning up the mess". The cooking went without incident and Pat now understands, but doesn't necessarily enjoy, the advantages of a gimble stove.

On a earlier occasion (when underway)Pat heated Pizza for dinner and as she lurched across the cabin towards me the pizza flew off the plate and landed on the table next to me - she said "There you go, express delivery - better than Dominoe's" we both roared laughing!

Pat and Ron did their first overnight watch from 9pm to 1am giving Andrew and me an opportunity to sleep. Andrew then did 1-4 and I followed 4-7am. It was a terrific help and I wasn't my usual grumpy self after a night sail.

The town of Iskenderun is the last stop before Syria. Tourism hasn't reached this part of Turkey yet and the fishing port has very few facilities. One outdoor cold water shower on the brick wall; privacy is covered by a large smelly fishing boat; one problem - there are men working under the fishing boat. The few power outlets available have numerous adaptors and cords running off in all directions to the yachts (definitely wouldn't pass safety regulations in Australia). The power trips out regularly when the pins arc. Andrew tested the local water and it is six times more salty than what is consider acceptable according to Australian standards. No one is filling water tanks here, no surprise! A walk into town means wading through knee deep water (there's a dip in the wharf) or climbing onto the sea wall via whatever junk has been stacked up against the wall. The walk along the sea wall (although dry) is far from safe. The width narrows dangerously and we have to straddle a water pipe before descending the wall via a make shift ladder. The whole process would be a lot safer if we could stop breaking up with laughter.

Shortly after the eighty rally boats tied up, a Turkish barber arrived on his motor bike equipped with a stool and started cutting hair and shaving faces. Of course (being Turkish) there was no sterilizing of the comb between cuts, (let's hope no one has nits)big clumps of hair were left on the dock behind the boats. He chatted on his mobile during haircuts which might explain why some of his work wasn't too good. He also offered the service of "defluffing" women's faces with a piece of fine string like dental floss. He came up close to Pat, inspected her face and said "Not too bad" - I was hiding below!

We went out last night to the Iskenderun Yacht Club for dinner. We soon came to understand why the club couldn't cater for 80 visiting yachts. They were totally stretched coping with 250 people for dinner. The waiters were running around in circles, three came to our table when we ordered a bottle of wine. One waiter carried the bottle, one opened it and one poured the wine, it was quite comical. The dinner service was slow and some people nearly fell asleep waiting. The meal however was very good with a Mezze Platter (variety of cold and hot appetizers) local fish and fruit. Once again we were entertained by local village dancers. The local dancing throughout Turkey has been wonderful, not only are the participants talented, they are just aglow with smiles.

Today we decided not to go on the organized tour as the boys want some time to fix the water maker. It has failed us and although there is never a convenient time for the watermaker to die, we really want it operating for the trip to Syria, Lebanon and Israel. I will give you an update on progress when next I write.