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december 2007

01/12/07   Happy Birthday Ann!   A lovely sunny start to the day, but rain is expected later.  Last night, and every Friday night, is 'live-aboard' night in the restaurant......so half price meals!   Friday evening is also 'karaoke' night in the bar....less said about that - the better!    We continue to have problems with the internet connection and the servers are being modified/up-dated, so apologies to anyone who is awaiting an e-mail from me, I will write just as soon as the wi-fi connection has been stabilised (if it ever is!).

03/12/07   Into Marmaris again for more yacht parts but I cannot find a suitable gas regulator anywhere!  Gina and I went to the cruise terminal and booked seats on tomorrows 9am ferry to Rhodes, so that we can renew our visa's on returning.  The weather is forecast to be high winds tomorrow afternoon, so I hope we can get back and the return ferry isn't cancelled!  Roger and Astrid on Storm Dodger arrived back this evening from UK, having extended their stay by taking the children to Florida for a holiday, as well as visiting friends in Gibraltar, and we all had a pleasant evening in the restaurant, joined by Mike and Sam from Master Spy.

04/12/07   Despite a weather forecast of rain and winds of 50+mph, Gina and I, along with several more yotties, were on the 8am dolmus to Marmaris and the cruise terminal.  The hydrofoil service does not run in the winter months, only a twice weekly car ferry, - and if I was expecting a similar vessel to the Dover-Calais type of ferry, then I was going to be sadly disappointed!   It didn't take long to load the two cars and we set off across the bay into the thunder and lightning.   As we rounded the protective headland and headed out to sea,  the boat started to roll and the rains started, but as we neared Mandraki harbour some two and a half hours later, the skies cleared and the rain stopped for a while. (photo)   The first chandlery we went into had a stock of gas regulators!   The ferry only stops in Rhodes for a short while, so we just had time for some lunch and a walk through the castle part of the town before heading back to the harbour to repeat a similar crossing back to Marmaris - and getting a new three month visa!

05/12/07   The high winds building from late yesterday afternoon  peaked around 5am this morning at 44.5 knots, followed by heavy rain showers accompanied by brilliant lightning flashes and thunder.  For anyone who is afraid of thunder, Marmaris is not a place to visit - it is very loud, making everything onboard vibrate.  Mike and Sam next door on Master Spy were hoisted from the water this morning and will be spending the next five days at David's house before flying home until March.

10/12/07    Sam, (Cindik) who I have chatted to on several occasions in the marina bar, finally left his berth opposite me this afternoon and headed round to one of the outer pontoons in readiness to sail at first light tomorrow.  He is intending to sail to the Chagos archipelago in the Indian Ocean, with only one stop (Port Said), in an effort to raise awareness of the appalling treatment dished out to the islanders by past and present governments of Her Majesty the Queen.   Those of you who are now saying "what's he talking about?" may better be able to remember the forcible expulsion of native islanders from Diega Garcia?   Fellow "Marmaris Bay Cruisers" Jamie and Liz aboard Esper  have started a website following Sam's progress and despite the site's infancy, it has been very successful.  Poppy, another lone sailor, has agreed to accompany Sam on his voyage, and I wish them both the best of luck.   Should anyone wish to view the site, or add their support, I have included the web address on my links page.

Meanwhile....the locals tell us that they haven't had rain like this in Marmaris for years.....so why does it pour down while I'm here?   We have had nothing but rain and high winds for days now, and there is a lot more of the same forecast for the next few days.  In these conditions, it is difficult to get any jobs done on deck, so the library of DVD's gets thumbed on a regular basis.  Best film seen to date - 'Blood Diamond' with Leonardo DiCaprio.

And for a bit of fun.....Gina and myself are always having private little 'mini quizzes" such as 'name four actors in the film Guns of Navarone, or who was born Marion Morrison'......and a recent question from her was, "who sang....here I go once again, with my suitcase in my hand?"   For the answer, click here, and it wasn't The Muppets!!

11/12/07   Cindik sailed today, not at first light but around 1pm, into a fairly heavy thunderstorm (what's new?), I suspect Sam and Poppy will be wearing full party gear for a few days!

12/12/07    Rain, rain and more rain!!  Another day of film watching in between trying to sort out the internet connection problem.  Perhaps I should just elaborate a little on that because I am not ignoring the people who have e-mailed me!  I generally use Outlook Express as my mail server but for some reason the Turkish telephone company have 'blocked' OE and I cannot use it, although it does sometimes allow incoming mail through.  My other option is to use the host server of this web-site but because of the pitifully slow download speed of the marina's wi-fi, and the number of pages I have to open in order to get to webmail, the connection very often fails during the process.  It is extremely frustrating and there seems little chance of any improvement during my stay here.  To that end, I have opened a hotmail address, or rather re-instated one I used before sailing from the UK, and whilst it is by no means foolproof, I will try to answer mails through that account whilst in Turkey.   Should anyone require that address, please contact Ann through the contact page.

14/12/07  WooHoo!  Sunshine all day!!  Woke this morning to  a bright orange ball in the sky and although the skies remained blue until nightfall, the temperature stayed low and the chill factor of the northerly wind meant that jackets were needed.  I arranged for a couple of stainless steel fabricators to come around and quote for the gantry I require, Mehmet of MC Marin, who speaks very good English arrived around 4pm and took away the measurements for what he termed 'the roll bar'.....er, not quite what I intend doing with the boat!!

16/12/07  Muhuddin of Kadioglu Stainless came round yesterday to measure up and gave a quote on the spot, also received quote from Mehmet.....both expensive!!  Another fine, cold day but managed to get some jobs on the boat completed.  Last night was perhaps the coldest experienced so far, it almost made me get up and put the washboards in  (that's 'close the front door' for you non-sailors!!)

17/12/07  Very little happening at the moment.  The Turks appear to be winding down in preparation for their 'feast' holiday which starts on the 20th and ends on the 24th.  The weather today has been superb and we are all back in t-shirts and enjoying the sunshine.   A somewhat large exodus from the marina today, crews leaving boats and flying off to their respective homelands for the Christmas break, including John and Maggie from my stbd side - which means I now have no neighbours to annoy!

19/12/07  We have continuing sunshine in the run up to Turkey's Bank Holiday.  Tomorrow sees the start of Kurban Bayrami, one of two important religious periods celebrated throughout Turkey.  'Bayram' in Turkish means holiday, and 'Kurban' means sacrifice.    If you're familiar with the opening verse of Bob Dylan's 'Highway 61' then you'll know a little about the origins of Islam's most important religious holiday. The ram that Moses ended up sacrificing in lieu of his son Isaac is probably not popular amongst Turkey's livestock, many of which meet their respective makers during the 4 day festival.
The feast is an important affirmation of one of the key tenets of Islam, - shared social responsibility. Families who can afford to sacrifice an animal will do so and there is a complex code stipulating how the carcass should be distributed amongst friends, family and charitable concerns. It's a major public holiday and many shops and businesses close down, perhaps for the whole week. The burden on the transport system is severe and we have already  noticed the build up of sheep, goats and cattle on the outskirts of town as their owners bring them in to be sold. On the day itself the more squeamish may want to keep out of the way as many animals are despatched in gardens or the street.   Anyone for salad?

20/12/07   A relaxed day, spent mostly on Storm Dodger with Roger, Astrid and their visiting son Jamie, along with Gina......a bottle of Jameson's and a bottle of Bacardi.....sitting on deck and putting the world to rights.  During the course of the day, Leah inadvertently knocked one of Roger's bikes which was propped up on the pontoon - and it toppled into the marina!   Surprisingly, the depth is over 20 metres so our attempts to fish it out with a grapnel anchor were fruitless and it now looks like Roger will be taking a cold water dive tomorrow.    Meanwhile, back in the UK, it's a bit chilly as shown in these photo's sent to me by my brother Clive today.

23/12/07  Marina rules prevented Roger from making his bike dive and the marina's own divers had to be used  yesterday, but the bike is back!  Because it was a child's cycle and Christmas time, the marina waived the dive charge - a nice touch!

24/12/07  Christmas Eve - and another beautiful sunny day.   I'd like to wish all family, friends and fellow sailors a very Happy Christmas, thanks for the messages throughout the year, they are really appreciated.

Where is everyone?  Well, Roger, Astrid and family are here in Marmaris, so is Gina.  Colin and Trish are at home in UK.  Rob, Karen and family have temporarily given up cruising and are in UK.   Darren and Vicki are in Cadiz (last I heard).  Werner, the kayak guy from Gib. finally gave up because of political problems with visa's and is now presumably in either UK or South Africa.  Sam and Poppy on Cindik are in Port Said, heading through Suez.   Best wishes to you all.

A slight change of plan to the day's programme when Roger was unable to drive due to celebrating a little too much onboard Twixter last night, and needed to get to Dalaman to pick up his daughter Sarah.  His son Jamie had also surfaced a little worse for wear from the same party, sporting some decorative facial artwork!   I volunteered my services as driver, so Roger hired a car and we made the three hundred kilometre or so round trip to the airport, taking Tom and Louise from Freya there, and bringing Sarah back.


For me, a quiet Christmas, apart from going to the restaurant with around twenty-five others for lunch at 2pm - the younger members of our party having a great time with their new toys, costumes etc.   The 'party' continued for some of the adults .......well into the following day!!

26/12/07  I left Storm Dodger around 2.30am, where Roger had again fallen foul of the evil raki drink - Jamie getting his revenge and with the help of Sarah, improving Roger's looks!!   Sounds of the continuing revelry drifted across the marina as I cycled back to Rhumb Do.   Gina and I ate in the marina restaurant later in the evening and watched some of the antics of the Boxing Day karaoke where the barstaff were roped in to demonstrate their version of Turkish dancing.

29/12/07   MANY HAPPY RETURNS MUM!   It won't be long  before Liz has to send a telegram! 

31/12/07   Another year draws to a close in sunny Turkey and Roger flies back to UK again!  Tonight, a large group of us......Astrid, Leah, Jordan, Gina, Karen, Kev, Aiden and Caitriona, along with many others from the marina will be going to the Portofino restaurant in Marmaris to have our own little party and to have a change from the marina menu (you can only eat so much steak!)   A bus has been laid on to collect and return us to the marina, it's just great when you don't have to drive anymore!

Thanks to Ann for her help throughout the year, and to Sandra and Angie for their company.  Thanks also to Ann, Clive and Babs, Trev and Babs, Vic, Rob and Karen for putting me up when I came back to the UK.  And thank you to all who send messages of support and keep in touch with me via e-mails, - Chris & Rachael, Andy, Tracey, Darren & Vicki to name but a few......your mails keep me sane! (no comments please).    Hope you all have a good evening and a Happy New Year.

Christmas Photo's

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