It is now Monday afternoon and although we were due to leave Iskenderun late yesterday, we are still stuck here due to very windy weather.
The eighty visiting yachts in Iskenderun have caused quite a stir. The town which is a Moslem community has had little exposure to the outside world. We have been asked by the EMYR committee not to wear shorts in town and to respect their ways. The people are very friendly and never fail to say hello and welcome. The shop keepers speak some English and go out of their way to help. The town has experienced a power black for the past two days. It must be a regular occurrence because nearly every shop has a generator running. No internet cafe's open so Andrew and I sat outside the only hotel to send photos to the blog site. You better enjoy them!
Saturday night we had a 'Pot Luck Dinner' on the wharf. The local council provided alcohol, nibbles and a terrific musical quartet for dancing. It was a happy night and many of the locals strolled along the wharf. Our trusty local barber, who has been a permanent fixture since we arrived, invited himself for dinner. The council nibbles provided for us, were eaten mostly by the locals (as it is their culture to share). One local family stopped at our table helped themselves to our 'Pot Luck' dinner, nodded and moved on. Ron took a couple of trays of nibbles over to the local police who were in attendance around the clock. They were very grateful and scoffed the lot.
We headed out late yesterday as planned and motor/sailed into a strong head wind. We traveled ten miles before the Coast Guard requested that all EMYR yachts return to port as the wind was 27 knots and gathering with 2 meter seas. A few miles ahead the wind was clocking 35 knots. By this stage we were all drenched by unexpected waves that jump into the cockpit. Pat and Ron were in good spirits and in fact didn't want to turn around - I think they have gone crazy!
We arrived back in the dark to moor up three deep. The volunteer co-ordinator for this procedure, had by this time, completely lost the plot. We were told to come in stern first (so we prepared the bow anchor and stern lines) then we were told to come in bow first (so we got out the stern anchor and prepared bow lines) then stern first, then bow first. We were swapping anchors and lines at a frantic pace (muttering a few obscenities) until I managed to smack myself just below the left eye with a piece of retracting sock cord and hook. Believe me the muttering gave way to something else - today I look like a battered wife!
While all this was going on Pat went below, and in very hot and stuffy conditions, prepared a fabulous dinner - what a legend, what a team! We ate about 9.30pm and after a few G&T's we felt much better.
Now for the good news. My wonderful Andrew has repaired the watermaker. After trouble shooting with the manufacturer (Spectra) he found small hard pieces of blue plastic blocking the inlet and outlet area of the pressure pump. It is a mystery how this material got there. The offending bits have been taken into custody and photos have been sent back to the manufacturer, so the inquiry is underway.
Now for the bad news. We made 50 litres of good water last night when sailing but Andrew didn't reconnect the pipe going to the water tank and so the fifty litres ended up in the bilge. When I came below after docking I could hear bottles of wine rolling around in the bilge. Initially they were tightly packed away in a cardboard box but the 50 litres of water had made pulp of the box. Poor Andrew spent a couple of hours sponging out the bilge, but every cloud has a silver lining - the wine bottles didn't break.
Today has been a pretty quiet day, we all had a sleep this afternoon in preparation of leaving for Syria around 10pm tonight.
Let's hope this time we make it!
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