Monday, 29 June 2009

Return to Turkey June 2009

Breakfast in Istanbul
Blue Mosque behind

Eye Candy ready to launch Steve , Kaori and Clare in Bodrum The new rope bags

Hi from Clare,

HARD YACKA We flew with Korean Air stopping overnight in Seoul and Istanbul. With two night's sleep under our belt the overnight bus trip to Marmaris was not so bad. We arrived at the boat on the 8th June in good shape and ready for work. What we didn't anticipate was the higher temperatures in June than our normal arrival time in April. We worked for ten days getting the boat ready to set sail. Most days we would start at 6am and work till 11am then have a break and start again at 4pm and continue till 8-9pm. The temperature was in the high 30's and sometimes low forties. At least the marina has a pool so our routine in the middle of the day was to swim and sleep in the shade. The boat was filthy and covered with rust and over spray of white and navy blue paint from neighboring boats under repair. Andrew had his work cut out rubbing the underneath down and applying a new coat of antifoul paint. - oh happy days!

A LITTLE RESPITE We went with a group of cruisers to the ballet Othello performed in the ancient Marmaris amphitheater. The ballet was quite good and some of the dancers were excellent. The stone theater was fairly warm after a hot day and the poor dancers perspired profusely. The atmosphere was a little ruined by cars and crowds in the nearby streets, not to mention the flashing neon lights from the neighboring bar. I couldn't help but wonder what the original builders would think if they could see it now. However we did enjoy the ballet and it was certainly a pleasant break from the work.

FREEDOM AT LAST We set sail out of Marmaris on 21st June, in a beautifully clean and shiny boat. We made our way to the Greek isle of Simmi to met up with friends Alison and Roger Brown from Sydney. They have a Barvaria 40 and this is their second season in the Med. We spent two days with them sharing experiences, future plans, drinks and dinner at one of the many local restaurants. It was great catching up and sharing in their dream come true. The last time we saw Alison and Roger was a few years ago at the Pittwater Yacht club when Andrew and I gave an informal talk about cruising in the Med. At that point Alison and Roger had not taken delivery of their boat in Slovenia. Now, they are just part of the Mediterranean scenery - how easy was that!

RENEWING OLD FRIENDSHIPS We headed for Bodrum, Turkey to met up with our Turkish friends Steve and Kaori. Steve worked with us at the paper mill in NSW and Andrew has had a long association with him. We had lunch with them in their home overlooking Gumbet bay in Turkey and with spectacular views across the water to the Greek island of Kos. The following day Steve and Kaori sailed 15 miles with us to Gumusluk where we met up with with other Turkish friends Mihael and Meri. We met Mihael and Meri through Steve when we first arrived in Turkey in 2005.

We had a wonderful day together and we were thoroughly spoilt. Before boarding, Steve and Kaori had visited the local bakery and bought a variety of very tasty Turkish pastries for breakfast and that evening we all went to Mihael and Meri's holiday home in Gumusluk for a special Turkish dinner cooked by Mihael. We had barbecued egg plant and cheese encased in fine pastry and shallow fried to perfection, spicy meat with peppers cooked in tomato, onion, and garlic, Turkish salad with homemade tzatzki dressing, fresh chunky bread and a bottle of red.

The holiday house is in a complex of identical but individual white washed homes. The patios have balconies with bougainvillea festooning down the buildings. To complete the picture Michael has a rather large, well padded and inviting looking hammock in the breeze way on the corner of the balcony. Such an idyllic setting, it could have been a movie set.

COOLER WEATHER AND FEWER CROWDS. We are now on the Greek Island of Patmos. The weather is noticeably cooler than previous years. Usually in June we are sleeping with only a sheet covering us and the sea water is very warm. At present we are sleeping with a light cotton blanket and often I pull up another one before daybreak. The days are pleasant and the sea water is refreshing. We are enjoying relaxing in the sun and swimming every morning after breakfast. We arrived at Patmos yesterday and were amazed at how few people are here. Usually in June the streets are crowded and it is almost impossible to get a place on the wharf. The cruise ships still come and go but the beaches are virtually empty of tourist and there are noticeably fewer yachts.

LET THERE BE WIND We didn't intend coming to Patmos but that is where the wind took us. We had a terrific sail from the Turkish coast to here averaging 6-7 knots on a close reach. It was a comfortable trip and I sat in the sun and read most of the way. Today we intended going to Naxos but there is no wind, so we are having a day off. We moved to a quiet bay away from the town of Patmos and found an Aussie couple we first met two years ago in Croatia. Unfortunately they were leaving as they had to meet friends elsewhere, but we had a chat and exchanged email addresses. If we don't come across them again on the water we have planned to get together in Marmaris in early October.

Until next time, stay safe and our love to all. CANDY

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