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january 2008

01/01/08   Here we go, the start of another year - and rain!  We all trooped off to the Portofino restaurant last night and had an enjoyable evening, a gathering of about one hundred people to see in the New Year with dancing, singing, drinking, eating, fireworks etc.  It rained a little around midnight, and again about 2am when the celebrations would have been in full swing back in the UK but it didn't dampen our spirits!     Gina, who is Irish, and Karen - also Irish, performed their world renown dance routine in the restaurant - turn on your sound and see a bit of it here.

Around lunch time, a few brave souls (or nutcases) emulated the Serpentine and Brighton beach swimmers by donning fancy dress and taking a dip in the bay.  That was followed by a tug-of-war between individual pontoon teams - I think there was a little cheating going on - is the end of the rope supposed to be tied to a 3 ton anchor??  About 25 of us then piled into a small bus and went off to The Three Bells in Icmeler, where they serve huge roast dinners of lamb, beef or chicken with all the trimmings (big Yorkshire puds too!) and later returned, in pouring rain, to the marina bar to round off the evening.  Kevin from Nadine, who organised the dinner has now made this a monthly event and I'm sure a lot of us will be going again!

02/01/08   A rainy, chill out and relax day, catching up on e-mails received over the New Year period.

05/01/08   The sunshine returned a few days ago and continues into the weekend although a chill North wind keeps the real-feel temperature low, especially in the evening after 5pm when the sun dips below the mountains.   Mehmet of MC Marin turned up mid-afternoon with the fabricated gantry for the first fitting. The after cabin has been emptied out into the cockpit and forward cabin, all the deck gear from the stern has been removed and piled on deck forward - and now he tells me the boat has to be turned around and berthed stern to in order to carry on welding!   It's going to be a nightmare turning it round tomorrow morning and clambering over the outboard motor, kedge anchor, dinghy, sixty metres of rope and chain, danbuoy, horseshoe and rope - all whilst turning a boat around in a space not much longer than the boat itself.

06/01/08   Up early and readied the boat for turning, but Mehmet and crew didn't turn up until after 10am and the joker boat a little while afterwards.   I turned the boat without too much difficulty - but I don't like being 'stern to' the pontoon! The pushpit was soon cut off and I took out all the cables for GPS, Sat Phone, stern light and Navtex in readiness for re-running once the gantry is complete, not a job I relish when I think of the problems encountered in Gibraltar twelve months ago.  Mehmet and his two colleagues continued working until it got dark, then I had to pull the boat away from the pontoon - a windvane only three inches away from a concrete pontoon is asking for trouble!!

08/01/08   Two workers continued yesterday with my refashioned pushpit, Mehmet obviously busy elsewhere.  Despite the language problem, we managed to get a lot done and the steelwork was cut, reshaped and re-welded until everyone was happy with the design and darkness prevented any further work. The boat is a nightmare of tools, cut pipes and heaps of various gear - I really must get some of it sorted out and dumped, whittle the clothes down and get rid of anything I haven't worn since leaving UK.  The hull needs a gardener!  Weed has grown alarmingly since being here in Marmaris - what once was a clean bottom, is now caked with weed and barnacles and lift-out is not until March.

10/01/08   The great majority of welding was completed yesterday and the new pushpit/gantry polished.   I now need to start running antenna and power cables again and I also need to have the guard wires shortened to fit the new uprights in addition to re-fitting all the associated deck gear.  The problems started immediately!  Firstly, the new stainless tube is a larger diameter than the old, so all the fittings for horseshoe, danbuoy, outboard engine etc will no longer fit.   Secondly, the holes drilled in the deck beneath the vertical tubing are too small to run all the cables through and will have to be enlarged, but I don't think that can be done without removing the entire gantry again.

11/01/08  A frustrating day because I am unable to run any of the cables until Mehmet has been contacted, but plenty of other jobs to carry on with!   Spent the evening at the liveaboard night with Gina, Jan from Luturna and Fernando from Zen, all of us opting for the delicious chicken curry before the live music and karaoke started.

12/01/08   I had a word with Mehmet re wiring problems and he's promised to come round on Monday.  Caught the dolmus into town with Gina and Astrid as we all needed a few things - including bacon and pork sausages which, given the religion of the country, are not always readily available.

13/01/08   Happy Birthday Barbara!

14/01/08   Mehmet's crew turned up as promised......but at 17.45pm when it was dark and they were unable to do anything!!  I sent them on their way and told them to come back in daylight before adjourning to the bar and restaurant where I spent an amicable evening with Mike, who arrived back from the UK this evening and is sailing  Ishtar to Madagascar.

17/01/09   0700 and I get an e-mail telling me that my mate Chris had a heart attack on Saturday last, so my thoughts are with both he and Rachael today.   I hope you make a speedy recovery mate.  Why do all the bad things always happen around Christmas time?

19/01/08  Last night's liveaboard and karaoke night had a new twist with 'Stars in Their Eyes'....brave souls dressing the part of the song/singer, and was quite rightly won by Liz of Esper with her Debbie Harry rendition - well done Liz!  We continued the party onboard Eve's boat - guess it's name - yep....Eve!   It was almost time to get up when we all eventually made our way back to our own boats and there were a few frail people onboard the 9.30 bus to Kipa Supermarket this morning, which has been arranged by Aysel of Quest as a twice weekly event (she has the advantage, as she is Turkish).   In the afternoon I continued running cables through the new tubing of the gantry, although the Navtex cable is going to be pain in the proverbial!   I started feeling a bit rough later in the day, a cold manifesting itself, and had to cry off the evening meal onboard Eve, dosing myself with hot toddies and having an early night.

20/01/08  Not a good night, hot but shivering!  However, it can only get better now.  Good news from the UK this morning, my mate Chris is out of hospital following his operation and is recovering at home, so that cheered me no end.  Also, my Mum, who has been unwell since Christmas, is seemingly returning to her normal self which is really good news.

Congratulations to Francis Joyon, who today crossed the finishing line in a record breaking round the world single-handed sail, making the circumnavigation in 57 days, 13 hours, 34 minutes and 6 seconds - more than 14 days faster than our own Ellen MacArthur's record, set in 2005......though why anyone would want to rush around and not actually see anything is beyond me.  Maybe he just wanted to get back to France as quickly as possible, in which case....good on you Monsieur Joyon!

24/01/08  Sunny and very warm today following yesterday's cold north wind.  The boat is still a pigsty, with equipment and gear piled in both the forward cabin and cockpit while I continue to wait for MC Marin to actually finish the small amount of work outstanding on the pushpit and gantry.   The work carried out by Mehmet and his men is, in my opinion quite good, but his time keeping and reliability leave a lot to be desired.  It seems most companies in and around here work to "Turkish Time."

25/01/08   Burn's Night - "Wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie"  wrote Rabbie Burns, born this day in 1759 and one of Scotland's most celebrated icons, though it appears that he was himself far from 'timorous' when it came to the ladies!  His wife bore him nine children and there were at least two other children from affairs......probably why he died aged 37!   Here, the chilly north winds have returned and are increasing in strength, with a forecast of more to come.  It really is keeping the temperature down and if the windguru forecast is to be believed, it will drop as low as 20C on Tuesday and -20C on Wednesday.....let's hope it's wrong!   Opting to give the liveaboard night a miss, I settled down to watch a DVD and have an early night, however the strengthening wind forced me on deck around 2245 to tighten the bow rope as much as possible in an attempt to pull the stern away from the pontoon but the laid mooring is too close to my bow, so winching it in only serves  to pull the bow downwards rather than outward.

27/01/08  Strong winds again last night, up to 39 knots, blowing on my port quarter and heeling the boat over, creaking fenders betweeen myself and John & Maggie's boat Calidore. Fortunately, all ropes held OK and the wind subsided around 2am, leaving  us with a peaceful night.  Just after lunchtime, 36 of us set off for Sunday dinner with Kevin from Nadine to The Three Bells in Icmeler  .......you have to see these roast dinners to believe it.   They are as good as anything you would get in the UK, without any hint of 'Turkishness' about them, it's all roast potato, mashed potato, broccoli, peas, carrots, lamb/beef/chicken and enormous yorkshire puddings that Aunt Bessie would kill for!   Top that off with apple pie and custard, then wash the whole lot down with a couple of pints and  I'm sure the dolmus sits much lower on it's suspension returning along the mountain road to Yacht Marine!

29/01/08   We seem to have little respite from the gale force winds.   At mid-day, my wind instrument alarms were going off in an almost constant cacophony of sound, indicating speeds in excess of 40 knots from the NNE.  I added extra mid-ship springs this morning in an attempt to lessen the amount of wind induced roll on the boat, which seemed to work for the time being.  Should the winds go around to southerlies .....well, I would have major problems!!   Boats on the opposite side of the pontoon to myself were surging into the pontoon and crews were on deck doing whatever they could to alleviate the problem, aided by around six marineros who were getting soaked as waves broke over the outer, exposed end of the pontoon.  Although the sun shone, the wind made it feel very cold throughout the day, and it was a chilly walk to the restaurant with Roger (who returned from UK last night) and his Mum Yolly (here for a holiday) during the evening.

Historical interest.....on this day in 1790, the first boat specialised as a 'lifeboat' was tested on the River Tyne.  Henry Greathead, William Wouldhave and Lionel Lukin all claim to be the inventor of the 'lifeboat'.   The RNLI was founded by Sir William Hillary on 4th March 1824 as the National Institution for Preservation of life from Shipwreck, adopting it's present name in 1854, and has since saved some 150,000 lives around the UK coastline.

30/01/08  Almost all the work on the climbing frame has now been completed by MC Marin and I can get on with the wiring of the re-positioned stern light, the Navtex antenna and various other bits and pieces.   Had lunch with Storm Dodger's lot in the staff canteen, vegetable soup, chicken adana, chips and salad with bread and as much tea or coffee as you like, all for 5 lire (5YTL)....that's about £2 and great value.  The wind is finally subsiding and things are getting back to normal.

31/01/08   Re-fitted the kedge anchor and stowed away the chain and rope in the new 'bin' before helping Roger to move Storm Dodger from the hoist, where his engine had been lifted from the boat, back to his berth on Juliet pontoon. 

For some weeks now, we have all been enjoying a 'Marina Newspaper' written by yotties, for yotties, and called "The Porthole."   The publication of this paper has been undertaken by friends Jamie and Liz on Esper, (their website on my links page).  Now,.... the paper is available on-line and details our lives in the marina  much better than I could ever do on this site.  You can view and read the back issues at www.followtheboat.com/porthole


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