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  February 2008



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01/02/08   Liveaboard Night....had a great evening with Jan from Luturna, Ted and Pam from Radha and half a dozen others, all of us enjoying the meal and the live music/karaoke into the early hours of the morning.  Jamie and Liz's attempts to get me singing were to no avail despite several glasses of the local brew ......I really would have to be out of my mind to get up and sing in any place other than the shower....so if you can come round to the boat  tomorrow morning guys........!!     It's the Istanbul Boatshow on the 20th of this month, so I booked up my hotel in Istanbul and put my name down on the transport list, I will be away from the boat for 3-4 days along with about 160 others from Yacht Marine.

02/02/08   Out again this evening!  This time to the Portofino for the six nations opening match between England and Wales.  A crowd of us went, including Jan, Ted & Pam, Gina, Richard, Paul & Jill, to see England lose miserably to the  Welsh side....but the fish and chips were good!!

03/02/08   A quiet, sunny Sunday!   Astrid and Roger very kindly invited myself and a small group of others to share a lovely roast turkey dinner onboard Storm Dodger (photo), the extra 'oven help' coming from Gina on Impulse across the pontoon.   The problems with internet connection go from bad to worse.  Firstly, I only have a small Netgear wi-fi antenna in the cockpit, I'm three quarters of the way down the pontoon and distant from the location of the marina antenna, so the already weak signal has to battle through a forest of masts to get to me.   We have an IT guy in the marina office who has taken it upon himself to be the power crazy censor of Turkey, all incoming and outgoing packets of info are filtered - which slows the whole system down, until it crashes - what used to be 'broadband' is now so slow that you would think we were on the old 'dial up' connection, and a faulty one at that.   IP addresses are blacklisted at the push of a button whenever he decides you have breached his rules.  There have been several meetings between he and representatives of the liveaboard community and despite some hardware improvements, the connectivity problem continues to worsen.   The Turkish authorities also monitor and censor sites, cutting off whatever they don't want you to see, last week it was 'You tube' because of a video, alleged to be an insult to Ataturk,  was uploaded by someone in Greece.   Couple all this with my now old computer (which is playing up), and you can imagine the problems I  have when uploading this log, or even sending and receiving simple e-mail.   After twenty four hours of trying to update the log, perhaps I'll get lucky tomorrow!   Whinge over!!

04/02/08  OK, I managed to update the log at some god-unearthly hour this morning!   Kevin from Nadine is making a special trip back to the UK to purchase various bits and pieces of wi-fi equipment in a few days time......I have my list ready for him!   Today, I borrowed his 15db gain antenna and booster and what a difference it made, 80% signal strength (a 25% improvement) and a link quality of between 90 -100%.  It doesn't stop old 'jobs worth' in the office cutting you off though - as he did to me,  presumably because I was 'hogging' the signal.  This guy does not realise that in today's world, internet connection is very important to yotties, and without it.......the marina will lose boats to other marinas.   I wonder if he has ever heard of customer service?

06/02/08  Fifty years ago today, after a 3-3 draw against Red Star Belgrade, the Manchester United football team were returning home on a chartered Elizabethan aircraft.  After a re-fuelling stop in Munich, the aircraft crashed on it's third attempt to take off, and 23 people onboard lost their lives, including eight of the players.  It was a sad day for all Man. U. fans.

Onboard......A hot, sunny day and Macit the electrician turned up to take out my cockpit instrument panel and rewire it, the boat is now in an even bigger mess!   The panel is a design fault, the engine ignition switch corroding when goffers come inboard and twice I have broken off the key in the switch when I've caught it with the heel of my shoe when stepping down into the cockpit!  Now, the switch has been removed and replaced with a push button starter, isolated by a switch and 70amp relay in the saloon.   In the early evening I went round to Storm Dodger where Roger has also got an electrical problem.  At some unknown time, all the wiring in the forepeak has burnt out leaving  melted wiring and charred woodwork - it could of course been much worse and he and Astrid could have been dealing with a full blown fire at sea, which is every sailor's worst nightmare.  It is going to require a total rewire of the windlass, the genoa furling motor and the bowthruster - none of which I have onboard, all my gear being 'handraulic!'.    I stayed for a drink with them and that in turn evolved into a pre-birthday celebration with the crews of Impulse, Eve, Pink Panther, and Nisroc which lasted until the early hours.

07/02/08   Happy Birthday Roger!    I think we've already done that in song early this morning!  The southerly wind has brought warm air and rain, so the planned deck birthday party on Storm Dodger has to be postponed for a few days, and in any case we drank all the supplies last night!

09/02/08   Last night was another great liveaboard night and Liz's karaoke skills get better and better with  even one or two dancing on the bar Coyote Ugly style (?)  I somehow finished up in the middle of a 'girls night out' at dinner when Jan (Luturna) had friends over from Marmaris - but I drew the line at their demand to wear lipstick as 'an honorary girl'....so, hot chicken curry for Jan, Linda, Joyce, Sarah, Trish, Julie, myself and last minute reinforcement - Paul.    As usual, there are some photo's.   Today, the weather has been awful, it hasn't stopped raining and we've had possibly the loudest crack of thunder that I've ever heard.  Strong gusts of wind from the south had me continually checking my distance from the pontoon and I did have occasion  to start the engine and hold the boat away to avoid damage to the self-steering gear.

12/02/08   After a couple of days of rain, we have the sunshine back.  During the morning I caught the courtesy dolmus to Kippa to stock up on essentials and late afternoon saw Astrid and myself onboard Gina's boat ostensibly for coffee but which turned into a bit of a wine tasting event and then developed into an impromptu party (the best kind)!  The usual crowd dropped by, Jordan was despatched to the restaurant for fish and chips and we were  joined by Maxine ("I don't drink red wine"...yeah!) and Steve (Pania), Michi (Cirque de Soleil) plus one or two others who had the odd drink.   So.......thirteen litres of wine later and an unscheduled dip in the marina for Dave of Sunshine, I decided to call it a night and made my way back home.

14/02/08  St Valentine's Day = party time.   Oh, no.....not another one!  The theme in the bar/restaurant is 'Vicars and Tarts', however, I decided to give this one a miss and stay onboard.....leaving it to the 'couples'.  It was a cold night anyway, and much more comfortable in the warmth of the saloon with a DVD.    Giri-choko would be better, but as far as I know there are no Japanese ladies in the marina, so there is little chance of that.   If I can steal any photo's of the evening from Jamie, I'll add a couple to the web, I'm sure they would have all had a great party.

16/02/08   Returned to Kippa with Astrid on the courtesy dolmus for more shopping, then collected freeby jacket for the Istanbul Boat Show before assembling outside the gate for a group photograph.  Kev and I decided to have a lunchtime drink in the bar on the way back......big mistake!  A few others joined in, then it started to rain hard and we couldn't get our new jackets wet could we?   We had to wait until about 11pm before it stopped, it was a terrible experience being cooped up in the bar for so long!

17/02/08   A cold day!   The kids in the marina got excited when we heard it was snowing in Marmaris, just 8 kms away - fortunately we didn't get any here!  The north wind drags down cold air from the land mass north of us whereas the southerlies bring us the warmth of Africa and Egypt.  It is a bit strange to be wearing fleeces and coats today when just two days ago whilst having lunch, I was watching two girls swimming and sunbathing at the marina pool.

18/02/08  Another cold one, the Accuweather connection below is showing a temperature of 6oC but with a real feel of -11oC......I can vouch for that!   The wind is again from the north, blowing at 25-30 knots and is bitingly cold.  We are still due to go to the Istanbul Boat Show the day after tomorrow and at this very moment the snow is six inches deep in the hotel car park there, and it is still snowing.  The motorways into Istanbul are all closed because of heavy snow.    However, the temperature is forecast to rise to around 14oC on Wednesday, and the coach driver is confident that we can get through, so fingers crossed that we will be OK.  I'll be taking warm clothing nonetheless!!

23/02/08  Well, the last few days have gone by in a blur of partying....I really must get back to sea and out of this social debauchery!  About a hundred and fifty of us left Yacht Marine at 06.30 on Wednesday and journeyed north westward to Istanbul, skirting Izmir along the way.  The change was noticeable in the dress of the local people, from western fashion to shepherds tending their sheep dressed in traditional cloaks and headgear,  like a scene from a biblical tableau.  In the mountains we came across the snow, and at one stop for refreshment, the anticipated snowball fight broke out!  On arrival in Istanbul some 14 hours later, the evidence of heavy snowfalls remained but the temperature was high, although that didn't stop the coach having some difficulty with wheel spin whilst negotiating the narrow cobbled streets to our hotel, The Antique Hostel, in the Sultanahmet district of old Istanbul .  After a few beers in the Istanbul Hostel, (1am), we turned in for the night.   Next morning we boarded the coach and drove the 25km or so to the boat show where marina management had laid on food and drink, some choosing to stay at that stand rather than look around the show!!   In the afternoon, we decamped from the show and joined the river cruise boat for a trip up the Bosporus toward the Black Sea, management again laying on a superb meal and free drinks, followed by music and dancing.  On our return to Istanbul, we again found ourselves in the Istanbul Hostel until the early hours, after which Roger, Eve and I hailed a taxi to Taksim Square on the other side of Istanbul, and the nightlife scene.   It was 6am before we got back to the hotel, somewhat worse for wear!!   On the Friday, the three of us wandered around Sultanahmet Camii Muzesi - the Blue Mosque.   This mosque was completed in 1616 and dominates the skyline of Istanbul, vying with the Suleymaniye for the title of supreme imperial mosque of Istanbul.  Inside is unusally light, with 260 windows and it's dome is supported by four marble columns, each 5 metres in diameter.   Later, we walked up Divan Yolu, then downhill through the markets of Tayahatun, which were jammed solid with local shoppers,  to the Egyptian Spice Bazaar, savouring  the exotic smells and colours of eastern spices and feasting on wonderful spicy doner kebabs.  Roger was suffering a little from the previous night and cut short a repeat performance in the Istanbul Hostel that evening, though Eve and I continued until 2am before having an early night!   All too soon it was Saturday morning and time to head off back to Marmaris, the coach leaving around 10.30am and arriving back in Yacht Marina at midnight, bringing one extra passenger in the form of a tiny Siamese kitten (nicknamed 'Velcro') which sat next to me the whole way back and was a gift from Nazli, the marina manageress, to her father-in-law.   A midnight arrival at Yacht Marina meant we just had time to have a few beers in the bar until 2am!!!    (photo's)  

24/02/08   Is there no end to this?  Party time again, .....Sylvaine Ilario, the French classical pianist featured in Issue 6 of The Porthole (see Links page) gave a superb performance in the club bar,  which was enjoyed by all present - how she manages single-handed sailing and public appearances is beyond me.  We were indeed privileged to hear her play and you can experience a little of her music at www.sylvaineilario.com     This was followed by the liveaboard karaoke evening postponed from Friday because we were away at the boat show.  I now began to feel the pace and as Roger had already left the bar, I decided at 10pm that it was time for my bed too, leaving Astrid with all the others to party on.

29/02/08   Into town on the 0800 dolmus, catching the 0900 ferry to Rhodes to renew my visa.  I should have gone on Tuesday but another impromptu party onboard Impulse the previous night was responsible for my oversleeping and missing the ferry!   However, today went without hitch and unlike the last crossing, it was calm and sunny all day.  It's a bit of a pain having to do the trip, but at least I now have another 90 day stamp in my passport and it made a pleasant change to have Greek food again.....I think this one was called Giuvesi...or something like that!  Just as we started the month, so we end it with liveaboard/karaoke night.......another 2.30am finish!

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