Photo 1 Clare on the way up Photo 2 Andrew at the top Photo 3 the view from the top Photo 4 leaving Marmaris Photo 5 anchorage in Milos REPAIRS COMPLETE Well we have a lot to be thankful for, the noise in the engine was a blown head gasket and not a cracked head. We returned to the marina Thursday 6th, extended our contract for a week and phoned a few known mechanics to get the work done. Fortunately for us this break down did not happen half way across the Aegean or we would have been faced with arriving in an unfamiliar country and trying to find a decent mechanic, who hopefully speaks English. Anyhow the job is now done and we have motored for twenty two hours and the engine sounds better than it has for a long time.
BACK TO MARINA LIFE We settled back into marina life with our friends who were delighted that we were staying for another week. So we had some more drinks in the bar, dinner in the restaurant and I had a girl's day in town with my English friend Jean who I have known for four years. Andrew helped Jean's husband Keith with boat repairs and he installed Sea Map on the South African boat next to us; they are circumnavigating the world with two small children. Their five year old has been on the boat for three years, so the boat is the only home he can remember
UP HILL ALL THE WAY Sunday we went with about twenty others for a ten kilometre walk up to the top of a nearby hill. It was a very friendly and compatible group from Canada, America, England, Wales, New Zealand, Australia and Denmark. We did our bit for Turkey on the way back and collected two large garbage bags of litter for disposal. It was hard yakka walking the five kilometres up to 400 metres elevation at the top. The reward was a picnic lunch, cold beer and a great view of the surrounding bays. Unfortunately the visibility was poor and we got rained on, but hey who cares. The return trip was much easier but my thigh muscles complained for the next few days. (Photo 4 Leaving Marmaris - the highest peak in this photo is the hill we climbed).
HELP IS ALWAYS CLOSE BY When at home I made some fly screens for the hatches, windows and doorway. I messed up the measurements and two didn't quite fit. I was very upset as we need the breeze and mosquitos can ruin a good night's sleep. Andrew mentioned that our American friends Bill and Bunny, have a sewing machine on their boat. Thankfully I was made very welcome to use their boat and machine to do my alterations. People in the cruising world are so helpful. Every day on the marina radio net someone will ask for help or advice on all manner of topics and without exception help is close at hand.
One such call came out the other morning saying the butcher was back. We had no idea what that meant but one of our friends told us that a couple of cruisers have befriended the locals who go shooting wild boar. They buy the whole carcass and as one of the cruisers is a butcher by trade, they cut it up and on sell it to the cruising community. Our friend (no names mentioned) went across to the boat where the butchering was occurring. She said the beast was on the table with blood and guts dripping off every surface. The butcher suggested that she not eat the liver as (being a wild boar) it would probably have worms, but the rest of it would be OK providing she cooks it properly. She was courageous enough to buy some and said it was delicious.
THE PRESSURE IS ON Late last season I bought a pressure cooker which I use on the gas top. At the time a Turkish girlfriend married to an Australian gave me a few recipes for pulses which were delicious. I wasn't game to try anything else as I had no idea how long to cook things. My daughter Susan gave me a The Pressure Cooker Recipe Book by Suzanne Gibbs for Christmas and so now I am having a wonderful time coming up with new meals in a hurry. Last night it took only twenty minutes to cook a whole chicken in lemon and garlic with jacket potatoes. By the time I prepared the steamed beans the meat was done, brilliant! Just in case you are wondering, I won't be trying out the wild boar. The other advantage of pressure cooking is the saving on gas (which isn't always easy to buy) and also the reduction of heat in the cabin without having to turn the oven on.
So we left the marina on Thursday 13th with the intention of seeing our Turkish friends Steve and Kaori. However they were leaving for Japan on Saturday morning and so thanks to our delay for engine repairs, we missed the window of opportunity. In some ways we are sad to leave Turkey as we have had a good time here. However we need to move on and see some new places.
THE MONEY OR THE BEER We travelled over to Datcha in Turkey to check out of the country. There is a new ruling in Turkey that if your boat weighs more than ten tonnes, you must employ an agent to do the paper work. Our boat weighs 8.5 tonnes and so we don't need to pay an agent. However when we got to Datcha the Port Police told us, regardless of weight, we had to use an agent as the Harbour Master wouldn't accept a hand written transit log and only the agents have access to the transit log system. So off to the agent and 40TL (Turkish Lira - about A$1.30) later we had our printed document which was a simple copy and paste from the entry document already on their system. We then went to the Harbour Master who couldn't speak English but was busy stamping a hand written transit log for a Swiss couple. Andrew was furious; we had just got done 40TL for no reason. So not one for rolling over on a matter of principle, Andrew stormed back to confront the Agent's boss and retrieve our 40TL. Once we received the refund, Andrew calmly shook the boss's hand, thanked him and told him he had done the honourable thing. The boss just smiled and tilted his head sideways in acceptance; a typical Turkish gesture. We then hot footed it down the street and spent the refund on cans of beer for the boat and departed Turkey.
We are now in Milos which is a Greek Island in the middle of the Aegean Sea. We did an overnight passage to get here, leaving Turkey about 11am Friday and arriving 8pm Saturday night. As planned we arrived in time to anchor and settle before the westerly change arrived bringing gale force winds. So here we sit waiting for the wind to drop which will probably be Wednesday. It is no surprise that the Greek Islands are so barren, the wind is either howling or non existent and then it's very hot. The poor plants haven't got a chance.
When we leave here we will do an overnight to Pilos which is on the western side of the Peloponnisos, Greece, and then a two or three night trip to Sicily. We are in radio contact with cruising friends Peter and Bridget on their boat White Rose. They are already in Siracusa, Italy and if we hurry we may meet up with them there. We also hope to meet our Australian friend Colin there, who is flying in from London after his son's wedding. We heard on the BBC this morning that air traffic in London is being disrupted once again by the Iceland volcanic cloud. So we will just have to keep our fingers crossed that we do have the pleasure of Colin's company. If he gets there we may have to take him up to see Mt Etna!
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