Heading up the “difficult and potentially dangerous” Dardanelles

The long haul north before heading up the internationally significant Dardanelles Strait – the narrow waterway that links the Aegean Sea to the Sea of Marmara was almost over.

The internationally significant Dardanelles Strait, with the island of Bozcaada bottom left

The day before we left for the Turkish island of Bozcaada – our last stop en route to the Dardanelles – we moved from the safety of the landlocked bay, Çamlik Koyu in the Ayvalik archipelago, to nearby Cunda (Alibey) Island. This was to give ourselves a head start when we set off the next morning.

We stopped for the night at Cunda Island

Soon after we arrived at Cunda Island, we hopped into our dinghies to explore the village ashore. On our way over John and Sue noticed a dolphin playing with the anchor chain of a motor boat.

The dolphin was playing around this
motor boat

We caught sight of it too and went over to the boat to have a closer look. We had heard from other yachties about a lone dolphin that often likes to play around anchored and moored boats in the bay.

Sue from our buddy boat Catabella managed to get a shot of it

As we approached, the playful animal moved on to have a look at Sunday’s anchor chain but then disappeared again as we approached our boat. Later on that night we were woken up by thumping noises on our hull – I think it was a call to play from the dolphin but it wasn’t the right time for us sleepy people.

The dolphin moved on to our boat (Sunday) but as soon as we got near it disappeared

The village – which we had visited the day before with our guest Jackie for her farewell lunch – was very beautiful but the terrible history of the island involving the killing of several hundred of the Greek islanders and the displacement of many hundreds more, before the population exchange of 1923, still haunts this place.

The village was very beautiful
Sue exploring the old town

It was an early start for us the next day – our anchor was up before 6.30 am which was unusual for us although many (maybe most?) yachties would claim that it was the “normal” time to leave!

The sea was like glass and there was a beautiful rosy pink glow as we motored out of the anchorage. “We should get up this early more often” we said. However, unless we have to, we don’t! Just not early birds I guess.

Early morning departure!

We motored most of the way to Bozcaada Island but had a bit of a sail too. Along the way there was plenty to look at – including various coastguard vessels speeding to and fro (something seemed to be going on but we didn’t find out what), and a huge cargo ship steaming across our bow (the picture below looks dramatic but we were not in danger at any point!).

There were various coastguard vessels
going to and fro
Something seemed to be going on but we didn’t find out what
On Catabella’s navigation system Sunday looks like she’s heading straight for this
rather large cargo ship
Taken from Catabella – looks like Sunday is heading for a collision

In order to save a considerable amount of time, we cut the corner and sailed into Greek waters for a while, just skirting the north of the island of Lesbos. Apparently this is quite acceptable – both the Greek and Turkish authorities appear to turn a blind eye to boats taking the short cut.

We entered Greek waters to cut the corner

As we sailed close to Lesbos I really wished we could pop in for lunch in a Greek taverna but that just wasn’t possible.

Lesbos looked absolutely beautiful
We sailed very close to Greece!
Wish we could have stopped for
lunch in a Greek taverna!

We approached Bozcaada mid-afternoon and judging by the large ferry that we narrowly avoided, it is a popular holiday destination.

Dodging the ferry!

The first thing we noticed were the Greek windmills on the cliff top (Boscaada was previously known as the Greek island of Tenedos famed for being the place that the Greek fleet hid while a small number of their troops entered Troy hidden in the Trojan horse).

Look closely and you’ll see the remains of some Greek windmills

We also had a great view of a very fine castle which dates from 1455 but had been remodelled in the 17th and 19th centuries.

The very fine castle was first built in 1455

Our friends from Liberte, Liz and Steve, who had left Cunda even earlier than us, were already anchored and settled by the time we arrived in the compact anchorage.

The only settlement on Bozcaada

Before long we were also snugly anchored and ready to go and explore the town which is the only settlement on this 39.9 square km (15 square miles) island.

Catabella and Liberte anchored in the shadow of the castle

Despite its size, the island has always been strategically important due to its proximity to the entrance to the Dardanelles. It has had a rich history with many invasions and has been under the control of a succession of powers over the centuries.

A closer view of the castle
Checking out one of the many restaurants

During the 1923 population exchange the Greeks in Bozcaada were (unusually) allowed to stay and the majority of the population was Greek until the late 1960s/early 1970s, when a large proportion of them left the island.

This one looked tempting

Walking through the streets you could still see and feel the Greek influence. There were many restaurants and lots of wine shops.We learnt that Boscaada is famous for its grapes and has a burgeoning wine industry.

A beautiful “hot dog”

We stopped for a quick tasting at a “cellar door”- the varieties we selected weren’t great so we didn’t end up stocking up our wine cellar on this occasion.

The wine wasn’t the best but these
cakes looked delicious

Later on we (Jonathan and I and our sailing buddies Sue and John) met up with Liz and Steve and had an enjoyable dinner at one of the many local restaurants.

This was where we eventually had dinner
Sunday, Catabella and Liberte at anchor

Due to the possible threat of strong northerly winds coming and the hope of having a decent sail before they did, Jonathan and I decided to get going the next day while Sue and John made the decision to have a rest and catch up with us the following day.

Night time in Bozcaada
A lovely sunset
The same view first thing in the morning
See ya Catabella!

We had a good trip but we were intrigued by the strange currents around the entrance to the Dardanelles that slowed us down by almost a third of our normal speed.

Great to get the sails up
Hard to photograph but the currents were definitely visible

It was quite a thrill to “turn right” into the famous Strait which apparently is considered “one of the most hazardous, crowded, difficult and potentially dangerous waterways in the world.” (Wikipedia)

It was quite a thrill “to turn right” into the Dardanelles

We didn’t really find it hazardous and it was much less busy than the Singapore Strait which was definitely a little daunting! (Read all about crossing it here: https://dotsailing.wordpress.com/2017/07/06/nail-biting-experience-through-singapore-strait/ )

The Dardanelles link the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Marmara and at the other end the Bosphorus leads out to the Black Sea

Although the strange currents persisted, alternately slowing us down and then speeding us up again, we pottered along quite well – now under motor (sailing in the Dardanelles is not allowed unless permission has been granted).

We should have been going over six knots but the currents were slowing us down.
The entrance to the Dardanelles

Sunday was heading for Çanakkale, a small seaport on the southern shore that sits at the narrowest point of the Dardanelles and is the nearest major urban centre to the ancient city of Troy.

Along the way we sailed past the Gallipoli peninsula on the northern shores of the strait. We could see in the distance the impressive war memorials to the fallen soldiers of the Great War. One of them commemorates the service of about 253,000 (56,643 of whom died) Turkish soldiers who participated at the Battle of Gallipoli (1915–1916). Another commemorates the Anzac troops (11,025 who died).

The impressive Turkish Memorial
The Helles Memorial built by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The Gallipoli peninsula is actually the point where the continent of Europe ends while on the other side of the strait the beaches constitute the start of the continent of Asia.

Coming into Çanakkale we were impressed by the huge figure of a 1915 Turkish soldier carved in white on the hillside. In one hand he holds a rifle while his other arm is outstretched towards an inscription engraved into the hillside. Translated, the words form the beginning of the famous Turkish poem by the Turkish poet, Necmettin Halil Onan. The poem starts “Stop wayfarer! Unbeknownst to you this ground You come and tread on, is where an epoch lies; Bend down and lend your ear, for this silent mound Is the place where the heart of a nation sighs.”

One of the massive cargo ships we encountered in the Straits
The huge figure of a 1915 Turkish soldier carved in white on the hillside
An unusually cloudy but nevertheless
glorious, sunset

Tantalising close to Greece but Turkey still has a hold

The Greek island of Lesbos (Lesvos) loomed into view as our catamaran “Sunday” slid gracefully though the water. Ah Greece!

The Greek island of Lesbos (left) and the Turkish mainland (right)

Tantalisingly close but Greece was not our destination just yet. Turkey still has a hold on us with many treasures and experiences in store.

The pink line shows the sea border between Greece and Turkey

We were actually on our way to an anchorage in Bademli, a tiny Turkish fishing harbour just a few hours by boat from the northern Aegean town of Çandarlı.

The sleepy fishing harbour of Bademli

Our journey there took us along the sea border in the narrow Mytilini strait between Lesbos, the third largest Greek island and Turkey. Anchored in Bademli we were literally only 4.8 nm from Greece. So near and yet so far.

In Bademli we were literally only 4.8 nm
from Greece

Bademli was a very quiet backwater and when the crew of S/V Sunday (Jonathan, our guest Jackie and I) went ashore to explore it struck us as being very ramshackle and down at heel.

When we went ashore all looked
rather down at heel

As we wandered along the foreshore we noticed the rough track we were on joined a road ahead and beyond the junction we thought we could see a restaurant! It seemed an unlikely spot for one but then, the road was probably one used quite a bit by tourists so hopefully this wasn’t just a mirage!

This was no mirage!

A few minutes later we found that the restaurant was real and had a delightful lunch in its pretty garden. It even served Jackie’s favourite Turkish white wine!

We had a delightful lunch overlooking
the water
The restaurant even sold Jackie’s favourite Turkish wine!

Off again the following day we were enchanted by a couple of dolphins who stayed only briefly. Dolphins seem shy here in Turkey as they generally don’t play around in the bow wave for very long, if at all. It’s still a treat to see them though!

Sadly the dolphins didn’t hang around long enough for me to take a decent photo

Sailing once again very close to the border with Greece we encountered a large Customs vessel and thought we might be up for having our papers checked. Quickly trying to calculate when we had out last pump out (thankfully quite recently) we prepared to be boarded but then saw that there was going to be no Customs visit that day.

Warning coast guard vessel ahead!

Of course not. We soon realised that the reason for their presence was because this narrow strait is frequently used by illegal boats carrying refugees trying to reach Greece with the aim of seeking asylum in Europe.

As one of the islands closest to Turkey, Lesbos has borne much of the brunt of the European migrant crisis that began in 2015. In that year alone, over a million migrants and asylum seekers, fleeing wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan arrived in Greece.

Lesbos has been one of the islands where refugees have been kept in camps for endless months in terrible conditions. Fortunately, the number of refugees has eased but conditions for those who remain there are still simply awful.

We pressed on to Ayvalik but in the meantime the wind had started to increase and the white horses were dashing over the waves so after a quick look round a few of the lovely anchorages of the Ayvalik archipelago we decided to head for the spot that was most sheltered from a northerly blow.

There were white horses were
dashing over the waves
Approaching Ayvalic

We found the perfect spot – an almost landlocked bay called Çamlik Koyu (Paşa Koyu) where there was excellent holding in mud and beautifully sheltered by steep wooded slopes. We had to go through a narrow gap with jagged rocks either side to enter the bay which looked a little hair-raising but was actually fine.

Çamlik Koyu (Paşa Koyu) looked like a safe haven from the low
There were jagged rocks on each side of the narrow entrance
It looked daunting but was actually fine

Once again we found that we had chosen the same anchorage as our friends Liz and Steve from Liberte.

Liberte anchored in Çamlik Koyu (Paşa Koyu)

Liz told us it was market day in Ayvalik so we went off for a look and to restock with fruit and vegetables.

It was Market day in Ayvalik

The old town of Ayvalik was a maze of narrow lanes and finding the market was easier said than done but eventually we made it and were amazed by its size and the variety of goods for sale – everything from clothes to household items as well as wonderful cheeses, fruit and vegetables.

The market had an amazing variety of goods
We were able to stock up on
fruit and vegetables

The following day the girls (Our guest Jackie, Sue from Catabella and I) splashed out on a beach club experience and drank cocktails on the beach while lying on sun beds. It made a nice change!

The girls had a beach club experience
It was very relaxing!

Later on we had an excellent “pot luck dinner” aboard Sunday with the crews of Catabella, Liberte and new friends Barbara and James from Complexity.

Pot luck dinner aboard Sunday

The high winds and choppy seas persisted so the following day we decided to enjoy a land based day and visit the wonderful ancient site of Pergamon.

Arriving at the wonderful ancient
site of Pergamon
Many of the buildings and structures were built on terraces with strong outer walls

The settlement can be traced to prehistoric times and by the time the 1st Century BC rolled round it was described as “the most famous and respected city of Asia Minor”.

This was once described as “the most famous and respected city of Asia Minor”.

This once magnificent city sits high up on a 335 metre (1,100 feet) hill with commanding views to the vast plains below.

The city had commanding views
Amazing how far you could see from
this once imposing city

It was captured by Alexander the Great in 334 BC and established as the capital of the Pergamon Kingdom around the third century BC. It was in this period that buildings such as the palaces, temples and amphitheatre were built.

The views from the hill were breathtaking and it was easy to understand why this majestic city was so important for such a long period.

The views from the hill were breathtaking

The amphitheatre was just spectacular. Capable of seating 10,000 people, the theatre is literally perched on the hillside at an incredibly steep and alarming angle. As a theatre goer in ancient times you would have had to have a strong stomach and not be affected by vertigo!

This amphitheatre was built on an incredibly steep angle – an amazing engineering feat
Theatre goers in ancient times would have had to have a strong stomach and not be
affected by vertigo!

Another highlight were the remains of the library which was renowned for housing more than 200 thousand books during the Hellenistic period.

The library was renowned for housing more than 200 thousand books during
the Hellenistic period
How elegant these buildings must have looked in ancient times
Many of the treasures from this site (and others) were stolen and are now in museums across the world
These would have once had magnificent friezes but they have long since disappeared

We were amazed to learn that during the same period the Greeks constructed a very effective high-pressure water pipeline which rose up to a height of 900 metres, and was 45 km long. The 240,000 ceramic pipes laid up the hillside supplied the city at the top with fresh water from its source below – a miraculous feat!

How amazing to think that all those centuries ago the Greeks constructed a very effective high-pressure water pipeline which travelled up the hill and was 45 kilometres long

The taxi driver who drove us to Pergamon suggested that we take the inland hill-side route home which was absolutely lovely. We went through thickly forested areas with many varieties of pine trees and past mile after mile of wonderful olive groves.

We travelled past mile after mile of olive groves

We were told that the best olive oil comes from this district so we asked the driver if he could stop at an olive oil shop which he did, so we bought oil, olives and a few other goodies to take home.

Sadly, the time had come for Jackie, our temporary crew member from Sydney Australia, to leave Sunday and embark on the next leg of her world trip. On her last day we took a taxi across the connecting road bridge to Alibey Adasi (also known as Cunda Island) where we had a wonderful lunch (thanks Jackie) in a waterfront restaurant.

Travelling over the road bridge to Alibey Adasi (also known as Cunda Island)
Thanks for the lunch Jackie!
Love these windmills- a legacy from the Greek population pre 1923

Waking up the next morning we all felt a bit muggy after a farewell to Jackie night on board Catabella.

John and Sue having a dance on
Jackie’s last night

Fortunately Jackie’s flight from Izmir to Istanbul wasn’t too early so there was plenty of time to drink cups of tea before she stepped sedately into our dinghy for the last time this trip.

Jackie about to step on the dinghy

Hopefully she will be back again one of these days!

Off she goes!
Last wave!

Protected seals, Siren calls and shapes in the sky

We all fell in love with Foça – a gorgeous little fishing village with gracious historical houses, old hill-side windmills, lots of open-air waterside restaurants and the remains of a Genoese medieval castle.

A sculpture reflecting how important
fishing is in Foça
One of the many delightful restaurants in Foça
We liked this cool shady cobbled street
So much colour in this village

Formally a Greek village, until the population exchange of 1923, the village has a rich maritime history and the busy little fisherman’s harbour stands testament to its salty heritage.

The village has a rich maritime history
There were loads of pelicans around
the fishing boats
The mad cat lady (our guest Jackie) and the cat mad skipper trying to make friends with Mumma so they could stroke the kittens
The kittens had other ideas!

We anchored very close to the castle walls in Küçük Deniz (“Small Sea”). Round the corner was another harbour called Büyük Deniz (“Big Sea”) where there were lots of tourist boats and other craft tied up to the harbour wall.

We anchored close to the old castle walls
The view was particularly lovely at night
A model of a penteconter (50-oared sea going vessel) called Cybele

Today there is not much left of the Medieval castle – just remains of the fortifications and some traces of a turkish bath inside.

There isn’t much left of the castle
apart from the fortification walls
Considering it was built in Medieval times it is still pretty impressive
Beşkapılar (“Five Gates”) in the castle wall.

The windmills that stand atop the hills behind the village are much younger – they were mainly built in the 19th century. Sadly they are in a dilapidated state even though some of them were still functioning until the 1960s. They are still lovely to look at though.

Looking across town to the
dilapidated windmills

On a happier note, there are numerous large mansions along the seafront that have been beautifully renovated. These date back to when the village was inhabited by people of Greek heritage before the population exchange of 1923.

The stately Greek mansions have been beautifully renovated
Jonathan admiring one of the
Greek-built mansions
One of the mansions along the seafront
Heading to our favourite bar
(with the white umbrellas)
A great spot for a sundowner
There were some amazing rock formations behind the town
Some of the rock formations were being used for abseiling

After we had left Foça, we discovered that the ocean surrounding this area is the site of one of three marine protected areas established in Turkey for the preservation of Mediterranean Monk Seals.

Although we didn’t see any in Foça, we had previously seen these rare and beautiful creatures in both Finike and Didim marinas where they loved to splash about amongst the moored boats.

This was a Monk seal we saw in Finike marina

There are only a few hundred of these seals left in existence and as they are a critically endangered species, people are encouraged to report sightings to the Monachus guardian organisation or a local marine conservation society.

A lovely close up of a monk seal
in Didim Marina

While we were in Foça the captains of Sunday and Catabella, Jonathan and John, were persuaded to get their hair cut. For John, who had previously had a discombobulating and somewhat world shattering experience at a barbers involving hot wax and burning coals, another hair cut was a daunting prospect.

And so it begins….

Jonathan was therefore the first victim and he agreed to sit in the barber’s chair once we made it clear to the barber that he wanted a haircut only and no nose or ear hair grooming whatsoever.

The first “victim” looks much better

They both came out looking much neater and with their dignity and extraneous body hair intact!

Definitely neater but with dignity and extraneous body hair intact
Turkish doughnuts street-style
They looked very yummy!

After a very pleasant stay in Foça we sailed to our next destination, Çandarlı.

On our way to Çandarlı

On the way out of Foça we noticed some unusual rock formations and realised these must be the Sirens’ Rocks that are mentioned in Homer’s epic The Odyssey.

We noticed some unusual rock formations
just outside Foça

Homer describes how ships crashed and sunk after sailors lost their way by listening to the spell-binding voices of the Sirens.

We realised these must be the Sirens’ Rocks that are mentioned in Homer’s
epic The Odyssey

These strange rocks were originally formed by volcanic eruptions, waves, wind and rain and would have presented a real hazard to the unmanoeuvrable ships of Homer’s time.

These strange rocks would have presented a real hazard to the unmanoeuvrable ships of Homer’s time.

We arrived at Çandarlı without hearing any Sirens’ voices and fortunately without crashing our boats!

I’m not sure why, but we were not so drawn to this village – we just didn’t really warm to Çandarlı as we had to Foça.

The 15th Century Ottoman Castle is a real landmark when approaching Çandarlı

We were however, very impressed by its fine looking 15th Century Ottoman Castle which was in an excellent state of repair.

The castle was in an excellent state of repair
Unfortunately it was closed when we arrived so we didn’t get to see inside
It certainly gave a very good impression

After a pleasant meal in a beachside restaurant we went back to Sunday for a nightcap and were treated to a wonderful full moon.

We had a pleasant meal on the beachfront
The sun was soon going to set
Time for a post dinner drink aboard Sunday
Sue and John from Catabella and Jackie our Australian guest enjoying sundowners
Good night sun
Hello moon

Later, the night became cloudy and the dark clouds scudding across the sky combined with the bright moon to produce amazing shapes that in our imaginations looked like various animals and birds in the sky. Ah the joys of the cruising life!

The clouds combined with the moon to make animals in the sky
This looked like a dachshund to me
Was this Godzilla?

Windiest spot didn’t disappoint

One of the windiest spots in this part of the world – Alaçatı – didn’t disappoint. After a great sail from Sığacak we arrived at Turkey’s windsurfing capital to find a good breeze blowing.

Arriving at the windsurfing capital of Turkey

Alaçatı is in the province of Çeşme, located in Western Turkey and a short ride from the country’s third largest city of Izmir.

The protected bay is a windsurfer’s paradise (apparently the wind blows consistently for more than 300 days a year) but there is more to this place than wind and holiday resorts.

The wind blows consistently in Alaçatı for more than 300 days a year

A short taxi ride away was the delightful old town of Alaçatı with its cobblestone streets, colourful laneways, brightly painted stone houses that have been turned into boutique hotels and boarding houses.

The cobblestones of Alaçatı
There are many colourful laneways in the town
Our guest Jackie strolling through Alaçatı

There were many, many restaurants but also little shops selling art, jewellery and all kinds of bric a brac.

There were many, many, restaurants
A crazy flower bed with glass flowers
A pretty laneway
One of the little shops selling art, jewellery and all kinds of bric a brac.
An interesting door into a shop

We found one little workshop/store which was making and selling beautiful pens made from blown glass. Such an unusual product that would make a unique gift.

The glass blowing workshop
The pens were made in lots of different colours
The three wise monkeys

We noticed that the graceful Alacati Market Mosque had a plaque with Greek writing on it and discovered that it was originally built as a Greek church in 1874 but became a mosque immediately after the proclamation of the republic of Turkey in 1923.

The graceful mosque
The mosque was originally built as a Greek Orthodox Church
The plaque with Greek writing

In the centre of Alaçatı there are many houses from the Ottoman period and the ones that belonged to the Greeks are distinguishable by their enclosed balcony areas, that are often painted lilac or a shade of pale blue.

The old Greek houses are by their enclosed balcony areas

The wind was blowing quite strongly and we were just a little concerned about our boats (Catabella and Sunday) so we decided to go back to check them out.

All was well so we the Sunday crew (us and our Australian guest Jackie) had a meal at the resort where we left the dinghy.

This resort allowed us to moor our
dinghy at its jetty

The next day we went to fill up with diesel at the bowser in the marina – carefully avoiding the many wind surfers ( beginners and experts!) as we motored in. We were amazed to see the speed at which the new style “foiling” windsurfers travelled. Even more amazing was to see how they travelled completely off the water except for the foil underneath the board.

Catabella on the way to the fuel jetty
at the marina
We had to be careful to avoid the many windsurfers
Only the foil remains in the water with these windsurfers – they go at such a speed!

Then we were off headed for Çeşme, a resort town famous for its restored Ottoman castle built as a precaution against further attacks after it was invaded in 1472 and again in 1501.

Heading for Çeşme
Time for a new NZ flag (to show where Sunday is registered)

On the way we encountered a NATO warship which announced its presence on our chart plotter’s AIS (automatic identification system) in no uncertain terms.

Warning, a NATO warship ahead
Apparently it was a supply ship

It was only a quick hop to Çeşme where we anchored round the corner from the town in sheltered Dalyan Koyu as Cesme Bay was too open to swell and wind.

The anchorage at Dalyan Koyu

We were surprised to receive a visit from our friends Liz and Steve from Liberte who, we found out, were anchored in the same bay as Sunday and Catabella, although we hadn’t noticed their boat when we first anchored.

Steve and Liz paid us a surprise visit

The following day we decided to walk into Çeşme town as we hadn’t given our legs a good stretch for a while.

Sue from Catabella entering Çeşme
Lots to look at in Çeşme
These cakes looked fabulous
I wasn’t tempted as I think they look better than they taste!0

It was well worth the hike as the castle was very interesting and had a great little museum which had a display about the 1770, Ottoman-Russian Naval War, of which I knew nothing about previously (I have to confess that I hadn’t even heard of it!)

Walking down the hill next to the fortress to find the entrance
Cezayirli Hasan Pasha (an Ottoman Admiral and Grand Vizier) and his pet lion he brought from Algiers.
Çeşme International Music festival and Çeşme festival are held in the castle
The castle houses a good museum
The typical dress of an Ottoman sailor
A Russian army sword and scabbard dating from the 18th Century
I always enjoy seeing beautiful
glassware like this piece which dates from the 1st Century BC
The design of water jugs hasn’t changed much over the millennia
The fortress was built in 1508 and is well preserved
View from the battlements overlooking
the marina
Inside the fortress

We had a few lovely get togethers on board with the crews of Catabella and Liberte before leaving for our next destination – Foca.

Jonathan receiving some barbecuing tips from John skipper of Catabella
The evenings are long at this time of year
Drinks on the foredeck of Sunday
A great curry night aboard Catabella
Another lovely sunset
Arriving at Foça

Another day – another drama x 4

Before we started our new adventure on S/V Sunday in early 2020 quite a number of friends from Australia had said they would come and visit us. And then Covid hit.

S/V Sunday sailing

Fast forward to this year and we have our very first Aussie visitor- our friend Jackie, a former colleague of mine from Sydney in the 1980s!

Jonathan and Jackie at dinner

As she was our first Aussie guest (we have had visitors from England and the Netherlands) we decided we should go and meet her at Izmir airport in a hire car so she didn’t have to mess about with taxis or other means of transport to get to our anchorage at Sığacak.

A few days before she was due to arrive we took the small shuttle bus (dolmuş which means “stuffed to the brim”) to the nearby town of Seferihisar to try and find a place where we could hire a car.

On our way to hire a car on the dolmuş

As Seferihisar is a fairly sizeable town we thought we would find a place to hire a car easily but that definitely did not turn out to be the case. After chasing up various possibilities we ended up at last finding a place that advertised car hire in big letters at the front of the building. When we walked in and said we wanted to hire a car they looked totally blank!

Jonathan on the dolmuş

Not sure what they did for a crust but at least they directed us to a genuine car hire company. So it was that we were there when Jackie arrived on her flight from Istanbul for a three week stay aboard S/V Sunday.

Jackie arrives at Izmir airport!

Unfortunately a big northerly wind was blowing persistently for a number of days which meant we had to spend a few more days than we had planned in Sığacak but as it was such a great spot we didn’t mind at all.

Discussing our plans on the
waterside in Sığacak

We spent time introducing Jackie to the delightful alleyways and narrow pedestrian streets behind the ancient town walls and eating at some of the great spots we had found before she arrived.

Jackie going through the ancient gatehouse into the lanes of Sığacak
The delightful alleyways and narrow pedestrian streets behind the ancient town walls
So many interesting things on sale
Anyone for a basket?
A well camouflaged cat hiding in
the town walls
A well deserved lunch after a walk
around the water front

As we wandered through the tiny network of lanes Jonathan found a walking stick that he declared he “might need one day” and which was calling to him. He’s called it Michael (Michael Caine – get it? Ha ha)

The shop where Jonathan found
his walking stick
Jonathan’s new friend Michael (Caine)

One evening soon after Jackie’s arrival we met up with sailing mates from Didim Marina Lyn and Brian and discovered that Brian has just had a lucky escape from serious injury when his finger and thumb were caught in their anchor chain. Luckily he has completely healed but the accident served as a reminder that we all have to be so careful when working on boats!

Brian and Lyn telling us about
Brian’s lucky escape
Dinner out with friends!

Talking of which, we had another timely reminder that accidents happen when your guard is down AND that alcohol and boats don’t mix! After a big night out I nearly fell in while trying to get in the dinghy to return to Sunday.

Jackie and I pose before the potential disaster

There are photos to prove this (thanks to Sue on Catabella) but I don’t want to publicise my loss of dignity! I have to say they are very funny and make me laugh every time I look at them but it could have ended so badly.

All was going well at first!

Another day, another drama – I was mopping the deck when I realised the wind was blowing a rubber dinghy closer and closer to our starboard bow. It seems his engine had conked out and he’d tried to anchor it while waiting for the coastguards to rescue him.

Another drama aboard!

The anchor definitely wasn’t holding so we took his painter rope to the stern (rear) of our boat and tied it off. We invited him aboard (using our own sign language as our Turkish is pretty basic) but he declined and before too long the coast guards arrived to tow him away.

Hanging off the back off Sunday
waiting for the coastguard
The coastguard arrives
The coastguards give our new friend a tow

Later on that day we decided to take a look at the ancient site of Teos, just up the road from Sığacak.

The ancient site of Teos

Teos was one of the twelve cities which formed the Ionian League in the mid-seventh century BC (Ephesus was another of these cities). Sadly, there isn’t that much left to see but excavations appeared to be happening so there might be more to see in the future.

Teos was one of the twelve cities which formed the Ionian League
The remains of some fine columns
Nicely carved detail
The amphitheatre at Teos

A highlight of this site was a 1,800-year-old olive tree which still produces olives. In fact in 2018 there was an auction held for a half a litre of olive oil produced from this tree that sold by a charity for 30,000 TL!

The 1,800-year-old olive tree which still produces olives!
Resting in the shade of the ancient olive tree

A couple of days later the weather had settled so we were able to head further north at last. As we hauled up our anchors John and Sue discovered theirs was caught up on something on the seabed (this was the second time it had happened while in the bay!) Whatever “it” was, it was a) very heavy and b) well and truly stuck.

Jonathan with his special kit for detangling anchors from nasties picked up on the seabed

We had pulled up a lot of our anchor chain by the time we received the call for help but Jonathan quickly got the dinghy down and left me in charge of Sunday.

You can just see Jonathan
between Catabella’s bows
Jonathan under Catabella trying to disconnect the anchor from the rubbish it had picked up (photo by Sue Done)

It took almost three quarters of an hour to untangle the mess. In the meantime, Sunday was slowly dragging her anchor as Jonathan had dashed off to assist Catabella while we were in the middle of raising it and she was left without enough chain down to hold it in place. I should have put more chain down immediately after he left but we thought the untangling wouldn’t take long! I just put on the engines and kept edging forward to keep out of harms way.

Eventually the anchor reset near the marina entrance and although we got a bit too close for comfort, I just used the engines to steer away. A dock worker from the marina came out to see if we were in trouble but I told him everything was under control. I explained with gestures that Catabella was the boat in trouble but he didn’t seem at all interested in going to see if he could assist.

In the meantime Sue on Catabella was getting worried that we were too close to the marina wall and sent Jonathan back. We would have been fine but it was good to be able to pull the anchor up and reanchor.

Sunday dragged her anchor and ended up at the entrance to the marina
Jonathan came back to help me reanchor

Eventually Catabella’s anchor was free from its iron prison and we were at last heading north.

Eventually Catabella’s anchor was free
from its iron prison

As we left we had helicopters constantly flying over and around us and in the distance we could see the NATO fleet that had been on exercises in the vicinity for at least the previous week. It would be good to move on, if only to escape from the distant but threatening booms of the mock explosions and the persistent slap of helicopter blades overhead.

It was good to move on from the persistent slap of helicopter blades overhead.
Can you make out the warships in the distance?

Death of a scooter and splendid Sığacak

After our window drama we felt in need of a bit of rest and relaxation so we stayed put in Çam Limanı, near the Turkish town of Kusadaşı, for a couple of days.

A beautiful evening in Çam Limanı

Once Jonathan (aka Capt’n Birdseye) had completed his clever repairs we realised there was no harm done accept that his birthday gift from me – an electric scooter – had stopped working.

The day Jonathan received his now very dead electric scooter

Unfortunately, when the window slipped out and sank to the bottom of the ocean, the poor scooter took the brunt of the water that washed in through the gap that was left.

When the window slipped out the scooter took the brunt of the water washed in

For quite some time after our mishap the scooter’s rear red light kept on flashing forlornly as if it didn’t really want to flee its non-mortal coil. Gradually the blinking light got slower and weaker and eventually it stopped altogether. For those of you who remember 2001-A Space Odyssey, it reminded me of Hal, the on-board computer in the doomed space ship singing “Daisy, Daisy, Give me your answer do”, getting slower and slower until the song became completely incomprehensible.

Our next destination was Sığacak, a small harbour village that sits on a peninsula not far from ancient Teos. The day we travelled the winds allowed us to hoist up the sails and switch the engines off for once. Lovely!

A lovely day aboard Sunday
Enough wind for a great sail!
Thanks to Raylee for this photo
of Sunday sailing

In Sığacak we anchored in Cemetery Bay, not far from the entrance to Teos Marina. Sue and John from S/V Catabella with their guest Raylee, were already anchored when we arrived.

Catabella already at anchor when we arrived

Once we were settled we took our dinghies into Teos Marina – Sue and John wanted to enquire about staying there for a couple of nights at the end of Raylee’s stay and we thought we would be able to tie up in there to visit the office and then leave the dinghies while we explored Sığacak. Unfortunately that was not the case!

When we entered the marina precincts we were intercepted by marina attendants in a dinghy and told firmly and unequivocally that we were not allowed to enter the marina in our dinghies. I think that’s the first time we’ve ever been turned away like that. So we turned back and headed for the sea wall where fishing boats and pleasure craft were tied up and managed to scramble up from there.

The sea wall where pleasure boats and some fishing boats were tied up
We had to scramble up from the dinghy

We could see some ancient walls from where we tied up the dinghies but we had no idea what lay behind them nor did we realise that the old village was completely surrounded by the these massive fortifications.

We could see the ancient walls along
the seafront
Except for this section (behind the chairs and tables) the walls were totally intact

We saw a huge timber door ajar and on pushing it open entered an airy stone chamber with an amazing ceiling which I later realised was part of the ancient fort.

We saw a huge timber door ajar..,,,
..,,,,, and entered an airy stone chamber

Walking through another door opposite we entered a large courtyard where a few days later, we found the Sunday Farmers’ Market.

Raylee going out of the doorway
on the other side…..
…….It opened up into a courtyard
The following Sunday we found a
farmers’ market in the courtyard
Amazing herbs for sale
As well as lots of fruit and vegetables there were some lovely plants on this stall
The defensive tower that we walked through to get into the village

Our first glimpse of the village really surprised us – we hadn’t realised that it would be so charming!

Our first glimpse of the village
really surprised us
We hadn’t realised that it would
be so charming
Some of the restaurants were
colourfully decorated
Glass decorations for sale

We all fell in love with the pretty laneways, the brightly painted houses, the abundance of vines of jasmine and bougainvillea, the cute shops and the wonderful smells of Turkish baked goods being sold fresh on open air stalls.

We fell in love with the pretty laneways
There were so many restaurants
The brightly painted houses were delightful
We loved the bougainvillea everywhere
Lots of gorgeous plants in this street
One of those shops which sold everything from eggs to a bag of nails

There were so many restaurants that we were spoilt for choice. Unfortunately on the first night we didn’t make the best choice but the beer was cold and we had a good time.

There were so many restaurants
we were spoilt for choice
Not our best choice of restaurant!

Those of us disappointed about the quality of the meal were soon cheered up by the lovely little cheesecake shop that we came across in our after dinner ramblings.

In the cheesecake cafe

The homemade cheesecake was really delicious and the lady who owned the little shop was delightful.

Liked the glass decorations in the
cheesecake shop

We had first met fellow Australians Bryan and Lyn from S/V Ariel at Didim Marina and when they heard we were staying in Sığacak, suggested that we try a restaurant called Monza.

Definitely the best restaurant in Sığacak

We absolutely loved the food and ambiance there and the delightful manager “Bullet” (real name Bulut) made us feel super welcome.

On Raylee’s last night we returned for another fabulous meal at Monza and we went back again a few days later when Lyn and Brian returned from their trip up north. It was great to go there again after a rather boisterous and boozy catch up the night before aboard S/V Sunday.

Another fabulous meal at Monza
The number of bottles says it all
Back at Monza with Brian and Lyn

On another interesting night we went to fish restaurant where they assured as beer and wine was served. What they didn’t tell us was that the beer came in cracked coffee mugs and the wine served by the glass in a small water tumbler with the bottles hidden away from disapproving eyes!

Jonathan drinking beer from a coffee cup

The Catabella crew decided to go into the marina for a couple of nights to make it easier for Raylee and her luggage to disembark before she returned to Australia.

Off to the marina for Catabella

In the meantime we stayed in the anchorage and enjoyed watching the young kids sailing their little Optimist sailing dinghies, all in a line (well almost) like ducklings in a row with their instructors shouting instructions from a motor boat alongside.

Watching the kids go by in their Optimist sailing dinghies
The wind dropped and this little lad
got left behind

Less enjoyable were the constant low-flying military helicopters overhead. Every day we were buzzed by these noisy flying machines – usually about six of them but sometimes more! It seems there were NATO exercises taking place in the area and the helicopters obviously played a vital role – judging by the amount of flying they were doing. We could also hear intermittent explosions which I had first thought to be from a nearby quarry but were obviously part of the war games.

There were low-flying military helicopters constantly flying overhead
When there was a large group flying overhead it was spectacularly noisy

The night after Raylee had sadly left us to return home we found a pizza/pasta place with an excellent guitar/violin duo playing a a fabulous selection of Turkish and Western music. Another great evening in Sığacak – such a splendid place!

We found a pizza/pasta place with an excellent guitar/violin duo playing
These guys played really well
– splendid Sığacak

Inundation aboard Sunday as window drops out

Our adventure travelling north from Didim to Istanbul had been pretty uneventful so far but that was to change.

Travelling north had been uneventful so far

On our second night we anchored at Port St Paul, a quiet inlet purported to be the spot that was chosen to rest the oarsmen propelling St Paul towards Ephesus.

S/V Catabella scoping out the possibility of anchoring in Port St Paul

The main anchorage was crowded so we tried a couple of small inlets and decided to anchor in the second, Port St Nikolai, where we had a good but slightly swelly night, lit by a glorious full moon.

Who said we have a dim masthead light? A brilliant photo of the full moon on top of Sunday by Raelee
Waking up to a swell

The following day we headed for the bustling tourist town of Kuşadası – on the way sailing very close to Greece as we transversed the narrow strait between the island of Samos on the Greek side and Cam Daği on the Turkish mainland. The strait is less than a mile across at the narrowest part. We had to pay close attention so as not to stray into Greek waters!

Catabella on her way to the narrow strait between the island of Samos on the Greek side and Cam Daği on the Turkish mainland.
Greece on one side and….
….Turkey on the other

As we approached Kuşadası we could see a number of massive cruise boats in the harbour.

There were a number of cruise boats
in the harbour

Rather than stopping anywhere near those monstrously sized vessels, we decided to anchor in the shadow of the picturesque Byzantine fortress.

we decided to anchor in the shadow of the picturesque Byzantine fortress

The bay where we anchored was close enough to town to walk in and also very handy to get to the castle for a visit so we felt very happy with the location.

We were handy to get to the fortress

Later we strolled into town with the crew from Catabella and stopped first to have a look at the caravanserai, built in 1618. Here travellers, along with their camels, donkeys and mules could safely stay – protected from pirates and other vagabonds – to rest and recuperate from their long journey.

The caravanserai, built in 1618

On the roof, there is apparently a wide aisle behind the battlement and merlons designed specifically to enable the pouring of hot oil on any intruder or invader!

The caravanserai courtyard – safe from marauding intruders

We had an annoying and upsetting incident in Kuşadası when buying ice creams. The guy did the usual amusing performance that Turkish ice cream sellers are famous for, using sleight of hand to make your ice cream disappear just when you thought you had it firmly in your hand.

Raylee hanging onto her ice cream –
come what may!

His next trick was not such fun – he charged 300 Turkish Lira – the equivalent of $25 Australian (16.5 EUR) for three ice creams. We knew it should be more like 30 lira per ice cream and were left feeling very unhappy about being exploited. In the end, Sue managed to get 200 TL back but the whole situation – our first ever such experience in Turkey – left us a bad lasting impression of Kuşadası.

The colourful lanterns weren’t enough to make up for the ice cream upset!
Military WWl hero and former mayor of Kuşadası Kasım Yaman, who attached great importance to education and in
particular, to reading
Every town has several monuments to Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey
A fearsome grass shark ….
……who sadly had lost its teeth

After a wander round the town we returned to our boats only to find the most awful and uncomfortable swell had built up in our anchorage.

Wandering through the fish market
A delightful sculpture near the fish market

It was really extremely, glass-crashingly, crockery rattlingly, uncomfortable so we decided to move round to the town anchorage but it was really bad there too.

Looks peaceful enough but it was rocking and rolling out there!!

It was only 6.15pm and sunset wasn’t until at least 8.30 pm so Jonathan and I decided to make a dash for Çam Limanı just 12.5 nautical miles away. In the meantime Sue and John and Raylee, their guest, made an escape to the marina.

Bye bye Kuşadası
Making a dash for Çam Limanı

On our way to Çam Limanı the cross swell was really messy and combined with the strong wind right on our nose, made for an uncomfortable and jarring trip.

We just sat tight on the skippers seat and waited for it to be over. About two-thirds of the way through, however, Capt’n Birdseye went down below and discovered to his horror that the portside forward cabin was awash with sea water! It only took a nanosecond to discover the reason for the inundation – the large window had popped out and completely disappeared into the depths of the sea! Suddenly our trip ceased to be uneventful!

The window simply “popped out” and fell into the sea below

Feeling grateful that we weren’t on a long passage in the middle of an ocean, we pressed on, relieved that the pumps in the bilge were going for gold and that the swell wasn’t increasing.

It was almost dark by the time we arrived at the small sheltered cove in the western side of the bay. There were two gulets (traditionally built vessels used nowadays for tourism) that had lines ashore making it difficult to find a spot where we could swing freely without the danger of hitting a rocky reef if the wind changed.

After a couple of futile attempts at anchoring safely we eventually dropped our anchor a little further out and settled down for the night – all fine, just minus a window!

The following day the ever resourceful Capt’n Birdseye set about making a temporary repair using a piece of trim made of marine ply from under the window which he flipped upside down, and a shelf we no longer used which he cut up and used for strengthening. He then sealed the repair inside and out with lashings of Sikaflex (a marine version of bathroom sealant) and it was better than new!

The ever resourceful Capt’n Birdseye set about making a temporary repair
We were charmed to find the signature of the person responsible for fabricating and/or installing the shelf
Ready to be fitted!
Batons helped to secure the repair

To avoid future disaster he checked the rest of the windows and found that the one in the rear cabin of the starboard hull was also on its way to leaving the hull – so more sikiflex to the rescue!

The rear deck became a workshop

We thanked our lucky stars that he didn’t have to do any window repairs while we were on the move!

The repair in place – it worked excellently!

That afternoon we decided to move around the bay to the anchorage in front of the small village so we could go ashore later with the crew of Catabella, who were on their way from Kusadasi marina.

The beautiful clear water of Çam Limanı
S/V Catabella arriving in the anchorage

Soon after the Catabella crew had arrived we had a pleasant stroll along the seafront, admiring the sculptures of various musicians along the way and ended the day with a lovely meal in a beachside cafe.

Our boats taken from the seafront
One of the sculptures we admired
Sadly this guy’s accordion had gone AWOL

Up close and personal with the locals

After the excellent end-of-winter barbecue at Didim marina, we were absolutely ready to start the new cruising season but first we had one more “last time” thing to do – a meal at the amazing Yacht Club restaurant.

Didim Yacht Marina with the Yacht Club restaurant behind

Our cruising buddies Sue and John had suggested this as they had a guest aboard – Raylee, from Sydney – and no visit to Didim would be complete without a delicious meal at the Yacht Club.

No visit to Didim would be complete without a delicious meal at the Yacht Club

As usual we were given the best possible care by Nuri, the floor manager and head waiter. We were going to miss his warm and attentive personality!

We were going to miss this view!
Nuri was always so warm and attentive!

The ambiance and food at the Yacht Club restaurant were also going to be missed!

A gorgeous photo (Credit Raylee)

The following day we set off – our intention was to turn north towards Istanbul but as this was Raylee’s first sail on a small cruising yacht we collectively decided to head back to Iasos (our favourite anchorage in these parts) as it was a short and easy trip.

Lovely to be be sailing!

Aboard Sunday we were able to raise our new Code Zero (a large and very light foresail) and had a great ride most of the way there. Raylee took some great photos – thanks Raylee!

Thanks Raylee for the photos of Sunday sailing with the new Code Zero up

As usual we negotiated our way through the various fish farms – this time we saw some action (usually there doesn’t seem much going on!) – a boat with a big scoop, looking like a mechanical digger and scooping up something, maybe fish?

Unusual sight at a fish farm

At another farm a large group of white pelicans sat two by two waiting patiently for any fish that might have managed to escape from the farm or wild fish attracted to the smell of food.

Pelicans lining up, hoping for a feed of fish!

We were happy to see our friends Lesley and Phil from Paseafique already anchored in Iasos and later we all took our dinghies to shore for an excellent dinner at the small hotel in the village (Kiyikislacik).

At dinner in the village of Kiyikislacik

As we sat there soaking up the last golden rays of the setting sun, an elderly man drove his unruly gang of sheep, goats and cattle right past our table. Up close and personal with the locals – not something that happens every day!

Up close and personal with the locals!
Not something that happens every day!

We all had a laugh at the naughty goat who decided to have a nibble of the potted plants and the sheep who decided to take a separate route from the other animals.

The sheep on the right wanted to go
another route
Lesley (left) and I enjoying the view
Catabella and Paseafique (and another yacht) lined up in the anchorage

The following day we decided to visit the museum which had been closed on our previous visits. It wasn’t that easy to find, although the village of Kiyikislacik is really tiny with one main street and a couple of small lanes branching off. We tried following Google maps but found ourselves ending up in a farmer’s field where we met a very cute donkey. After walking straight past our turn off we retraced our steps and found the correct dusty track to follow.

We met this little donkey on our search
for the museum

As it’s called Iasos Fish Bazaar Museum we had thought we might be looking at ancient fishing implements, weighing machines and reconstructed boats but actually it was full of antiquities from the nearby archeological site of Iasos.

Apparently Italian archeologists who first uncovered and excavated this site in the 1960s, thought this area was the site of the ancient fish market but later discovered it was in fact, a 13th Century AD mausoleum.

Archeologists thought this was the remains of the ancient fish market but later realised it
was a mausoleum
The mausoleum dates from the
13th Century AD

We walked through the grand entrance to the museum and were instantly captivated by the numerous sculptures, stone carvings, urns, parts of columns and other architectural artefacts such as marbles, friezes and decorated blocks, perfectly executed Greek inscriptions and of course, the mausoleum itself.

We walked through the grand entrance
to the museum
We were instantly captivated by
the numerous sculptures
There were many architectural artefacts
We admired the stone carvings
Such perfection in this Greek writing – it gives valuable information about the history
of the Iasos site
Peering into the mausoleum
Captain Birdseye posing

On our way back to the boat we found the village butcher’s shop and as we were expecting our carnivorous Kiwi friend Jackie to join us soon, decided to go in and buy a few meaty items for her.

The village butcher

Between the butcher’s limited English, my limited Turkish and with the assistance of Google translate, I managed to ask if he had some lamb chops for sale. (Vegetarians please do not read on!)

The butcher preparing our lamb chops

The butcher produced a half carcass and proceeded to dissect it to produce around 16 cutlets from one side for us and the same on the other side for Sue and John.

Lamb cutlets in the making

Through a series of graphic gestures we learnt that the lamb had been born and bred in the village and had spent its life wandering the Iasos hillsides, and the butcher himself had slaughtered it.

He was very happy to have made such a big sale and gave us bags of fresh home grown oregano to sprinkle on the lamb when we got round to cooking it.

Next stop was the bakery where a wonderful aroma of fresh bread wafted from the wood fired oven. We bought many delicious loaves and yummy looking rolls to nibble on.

Bread about to be baked in the wood fired oven
We bought lots of lovely loaves between us

On our way back we admired some of the street art that we had seen being painted by locals the previous year.

Street art that we had seen being painted by locals the previous year
The public toilet block

Later on we showed Raylee the fascinating ancient site of Iasos and also walked up to the Roman Villa to see the mosaics.

The ancient site of Iasos.
Walking up to the Roman villa with Raylee
One of the mosaics discovered at
the Roman villa
Raylee at the Roman villa

The following day we bade farewell to this delightful anchorage for what must surely be the very last time, finally heading north, past Didim to pastures new.

And off we go! This time it
really was “farewell”

Welcome to the Lucky Bastards Club

From Turkbuku – the little seaside village with a reputation (“it’s the place to see, and ‘be seen’”) – we headed off to one of our favourite anchorages in the Turkey’s Aegean Sea.

Yes, letting the headsail out!

Kıyıkışlacık is that delightful village mentioned in previous blogs where time appears to be standing still.

Delightful Kıyıkışlacık

On the way there we were very excited to unfurl our new Code Zero sail for the first time. This large light sail rolled out perfectly and we had a lovely sail despite the light winds – getting to a modest five knots in ten knots of wind which wasn’t bad at all.

We unfurled our new Code Zero sail!
11 knots of wind, 4.3 knots showing
on our new chart plotter, we managed
five plus knots in the end!
Our new sail rolled out perfectly

We had one scary moment when a large carrier ship and Sunday were on collision course. The ship was miles away but those things travel fast! As it got nearer we changed course slightly – and so did the boat. It ended up overtaking us ever so sedately!

The container ship was just a
dot on the horizon
Getting closer!
It ended up changing course and overtaking us

We arrived at the lovely anchorage and anchored snuggly behind the remains of the old fort at the entrance.

Arriving at the anchorage at Kıyıkışlacık

When we woke up the next morning we were delighted to hear several thrushes nearby singing their little hearts out. We could also hear the bleating of sheep and goats and the gentle lowing of cattle. What a great way to start the day!

We walked round the promontory that once was an island. Every time we walk round this headland we feel transported back in time.

There’s always something new to discover

We love strolling between the elderly and wizened olive trees, watching the sheep graze and gazing at the spectacular views, as well as finding parts of the ancient wall that once encircled the whole area.

We love strolling between the elderly and wizened olive trees, watching the sheep graze
We love to discover parts of the ancient wall that once encircled the whole area
and other structures

There are many ruins – some that look like stone warehouses which probably housed provisions brought in via the small harbour for many hundreds of years since before the current era.

There are some spectacular views
One of the stone warehouses we discovered
Another of the buildings we stumbled on
The remains of the amphitheatre
Most of the marble from the amphitheatre was dug up and used for the harbour wall in Constantinople (present day Istanbul)

Our wandering eventually reached the wonderful site of ancient Iasos – inhabited since before 500 BCE. For the first time we entered from the north.

Beautiful poppies amongst the ruins
Entering Iasos from the north for the first time

As we scrambled down into the excavated area we were very surprised to see three cows grazing amongst the ruins.

Spot the cow!
We were surprised to see cows
amongst the ruins
This must have been the mama
A curious little calf
Strolling alongside the Agora

Later, when we were enjoying a wonderful meal of fresh sea bass in the local hotel, we watched as the local cows walked slowly home from their feeding grounds amongst the historic ruins on the opposite shore.

The local cows walking homewards
in the evening

After a couple of days in Kıyıkışlacık we set off to return to Didim for the “break up” barbecue with all the other cruising yachties that had wintered their boats in the marina.

Leaving Kıyıkışlacık
We had never seen so many ships at
anchor in these parts before
Post Covid the world is a much busier place

We anchored very comfortably outside the marina and in the late afternoon took our dinghy to join the others for the BBQ.

Back at Didim Marina
We anchored comfortably outside the marina

It was a great evening although bitter sweet as we were saying goodbye to so many friends – both old and new.

Firing up the barbie
Friends old and new
It was a great evening but bitter sweet
Sad to say goodbye to this lot

Adrian, from “Aussie Anthem” who is very fond of the saying “Aren’t we all lucky bastards” and “Here’s to all the members of the Lucky Bastards Club” (there’s a story to this that is his to tell) was presented with a Lucky Bastards Club t-shirt by John and Sue from S/V Catabella.

Marianna with Adrian – president of the Lucky Bastards Club

We all loved the t-shirt and agreed we were indeed, very Lucky Bastards for meeting such wonderful people and living such an amazing life despite there being many challenges and difficult times in between times.

Good night everyone!

Tulips, terrible tailbacks, terrific get-togethers and back on board Sunday

Freshly back in the Netherlands from my whistle stop family visit of England I had four days to sort out my possessions, repack my bags and spend some precious time with my daughter Hannah and son-in-law Pieter before leaving for Turkey again.

Tulip time in the Netherlands

It had been only two weeks since Jonathan and I had returned from Australia so it was good to have a few days to take things quietly and get over the flights, train and car journeys of the past 14 days.

What a fabulous array!

I was so fortunate to have arrived back in the Netherlands just at peak tulip time. Hannah and Pieter took me (in the campervan!) to a wonderful place called The Tulip Barn in Hillegom where a very enterprising young lady had turned her family’s tulip bulb growing business into a fabulous tourist attraction.

Enterprising young entrepreneur who started the Tulip Barn
I was fortunate to have arrived back in the Netherlands just at peak tulip time

As well as having 175 varieties of tulips (a total of 400,000 individual blooms) on display, there were various objects (a swing, tractor, a motor scooter etc) in the special “tourist” fields to help create the perfect Instagram shot.

There were various objects (a swing, tractor, a motor scooter etc) in the special “tourist” fields
A wolf wandered in from somewhere to take advantage of the photo opportunities!
There were 175 varieties of tulips

This magnificent display allowed visitors to really enjoy the tulips and to take all the photos they wanted without trampling over the fields where tulips were being grown for the sale of their bulbs. Such a great idea!

These tulips were being grown for their bulbs which are distributed to nurseries and garden centres throughout the world
More tulips whose bulbs are destined for garden centres and nurseries the world over

The Tulip Barn also had a large greenhouse open as a cafe, a food truck selling great food and the winning floats from the recent annual tulip festival.

One of the winning floats

The colours and different varieties of tulips were mind blowing and so glorious that even now I can’t help smiling when I look at the photos!

The colours and different varieties of tulips were mind blowing
They were so glorious that even now I can’t help smiling when I look at the photos!

What a lovely day we had.

I couldn’t believe that these were
actually tulips!
A last look at tulips this year

A couple of days later I was on my way back to Turkey. We organised a taxi to the airport as it was a work day for Pieter and Hannah. The run in was great and my driver had grown up with boats so we had plenty to chat about so I had no time to wallow in the sadness of saying goodbye to Hannah!

I was booked on a flight leaving at 12.30 and I arrived in what I thought was plenty of time (around 9 am). This was more time than I would normally leave but we had heard of big queues and hold ups going through security at Schiphol Airport.

Nothing prepared me for how crazy this normally ultra efficient airport was that day. For a start, it took me well over an hour just to check in.

Once checked in I went to go airside and found the entrance was closed due to the enormous queue, so I had to walk to the opposite side of the terminal building to find the queue. Once there, I found the end of the line was out of sight and trailed back all the way into the adjoining terminal building.

The end of the line was out of sight and trailed back all the way into the
adjoining terminal building
It took 45 minutes to get to this point – the normal entry to go airside (there was still a huge queue upstairs for security to negotiate)

By 10.45 I was back in the correct terminal but only just, and it took me until 11.10 before I was able to get airside and up the stairs to join the queue for security.

Nothing prepared me for how crazy this normally ultra efficient airport was that day

By this time passengers in the queue were being given water (more plastic bottles destined to pollute our oceans!)

More plastic bottles destined to
pollute our oceans
My heart sank when the queue upstairs
came into view

The wait continued until midday when I finally went through security and then passport control. I arrived at the departure gate at 12.30 – the exact time that take-off was scheduled.

The wait continued until midday when I finally went through security
Almost there!

Fortunately, the plane was delayed and hadn’t even arrived at Schiphol.

After a long wait for the plane to arrive passengers were finally able to board and we took off at 3.15. The long delay of course meant I missed my connecting flight but very fortunately when I got in the long line at the transfer desk, an airport employee asked which flight I was meant to be on, took my boarding pass and immediately brought me a new one, with my name on it for the next flight. All very efficient!

I had to go directly to the gate as the 8.30pm flight was already boarding.

Poor Jonathan had been waiting for me at Izmir airport for a couple of hours – he knew I’d been delayed but had no idea which flight I was going to arrive on. What a way to spend our 36th wedding anniversary!

Spring had sprung in Didim
Wonderful colour in the marina gardens

We had a busy week of preparations ahead before leaving Didim Marina on 6 May but had some great social events too.

It was such a delight to catch up with Phil and Lesley from Paseafique who we first met on the Indonesian Rally seven years ago.

Phil and Lesley’s S/V Paseafique

We had met up with Phil in Gocek in Turkey last year but hadn’t seen Lesley since the rally ended. Covid travel restrictions had prevented her from joining Phil as planned – he had left Australia a few weeks earlier than her to do some prep work on the boat. They were separated for many long months but happily they were now both back on board and ready for a new adventure.

Friends reunited!

We had some great times with them, along with Jan and Jack from Anthem and Adrian (and Marianne) reminiscing about the rally and South East Asia.

It was also good to catch up again with our friends Sue and John, from our buddy boat Catabella, before they flew off to Copenhagen to celebrate John’s 70th birthday on a cruise with their three boys and other family members.

Our buddy boat friends Sue and John

Too soon the day arrived for us to drop our lines. It was really exciting to be out of the marina and on the water once again.

On our way out of the marina
Great to be off!
Thanks D Marin Marina it’s been fun

There was enough wind – from the right direction for once- so we managed to sail much of the way to Turkbuku which was a fabulous start to the season. We even saw dolphins which felt very auspicious.

Jonathan checking out the sail
Using our new chart plotter
Seeing dolphins felt auspicious!
One of the many fish farms in this
part of the Aegean
Arriving at TurkBuku
Looks peaceful but the music was loud

Last time we went to Turkbuku it was during Covid and the place was deathly quiet with very few shops or restaurants open. This was one there was a real buzz as we strolled along the promenade.

There was much more going on compared with previous times in Turkbuku during Covid
One of the many lovely restaurants open
There were even people on the beach

Although early in the season, there were lots of lovely looking places to eat and have a drink and plenty of stores selling “resort wear” and souvenirs.

Wall decorations in the village
More tempting restaurants

We had a couple of very laid back days in Turkbuku relaxing and enjoying the transition from land lubbers to our life afloat.

This pretty lantana is a massively troublesome weed in Australia
The view from the back of Turkbuku

One day we came across a sleepy dog enjoying a snooze in the shade and then spied seven roly poly puppies and realised why she seeemed so exhausted!

Poor tired mama
Seven roly poly puppies

One by one the pups woke up and before long Mum’s peace was over and there were seven wriggling demanding bodies nuzzling her awake!

“Come on, let’s go wake up Mum”
Seven wriggling demanding little bodies nuzzle their Mum awake

Sun shines brightly for family time

I was in England for just over a week and unbelievably the sun shone brightly every single day.

Unbelievably the sun shone every day while I was in England

While I was enjoying the warm spring weather and spending time with my family, good old Captain Birdseye was back on our Lagoon 420 Catamaran, S/V Sunday, overseeing last minute projects before we were to leave Didim marina for the new sailing season.

Jonathan went back to Turkey to oversee various projects- including the installation of our new “Code 0” sail

Quite honestly, looking at some of the photos of the work-in-progress I was very grateful not to be aboard! What a big mess was caused – just for a little wiring for the new chart plotter!

What started as a simple task turned into a massive untidy mess
Glad I wasn’t around when this happened!

Back in England we (my sister Julia, daughter Hannah and I) spent a lovely day at Dunorlan Park in Tunbridge Wells in the beautiful Kent countryside, catching up with one of my nephews, his wife and their toddler daughter, my nephew’s Mum, Stepfather and Nan. I last met my little great niece when she was just a couple of months old and for Hannah, this was the first time she had met her so it was a very special day.

A lovely day at Dunorlan Park

The beautiful park was once the private grounds of a large and very grand mansion. The big house is long gone but the gardens, laid out in the 1850s and 1860s, by the renowned Victorian gardener Robert Marnock, thankfully still remain for the public to enjoy.

This beautiful park was once the private grounds of a large and very grand mansion

We found a beautiful spot to sit under a massive tree and had an excellent picnic while catching up on family news. Later, the younger members of the group went for a paddle boat ride on the ornamental lake.

We found a beautiful spot under a massive tree
We had an excellent picnic while catching up on family news
Younger members of the group went
for a paddle boat ride

As it was the day before Easter we were able to organise a small Easter egg hunt – our grand niece’s first one ever. She loved it!

Our grand niece’s first ever Easter egg hunt

A whole series of Easter egg hunts unfolded at my niece’s (Julia‘s daughter) house the following day. Her two children and their friends enjoyed the first hunt so much that after sharing their spoils out equally and recording the number and type of eggs each one was to end up with, persuaded us to hide them again (and again!).

Sorting out who gets what!

How they managed to run around with such high energy after the long and amazing Easter feast that Julia had prepared for us I really don’t know!

And they’re off again – egg hunt #2!

One of the things I love to do when I return to Beckenham – the place where I spent most of my childhood and where Julia now lives – is to visit Kelsey Park, just a few hundred metres from her house.

A visit to Kelsey Park is something I love

This well loved and much frequented park was also once the grounds of a grand house. As with Dunorlan Park, the original stately home (built in the 15th Century) was demolished (in the 19th Century) and a later Manor House was also pulled down in 1921. The gardens were bought by the council and was officially opened as a park in 1913.

The original stately home in Kelsey Park (built in the 15th Century) was demolished – a later Manor House was also pulled down. This tree looks as though it has witnessed many changes

The park has many magnificent and very elderly trees, a beautiful lake with ducks, geese, moorhens, herons and other water birds nesting on its banks and on small islands, and always lots of bold, cheeky, grey squirrels and at night even cheekier foxes.

One of the magnificent and elderly trees
Kelsey Park’s beautiful lake
One of the hundreds of cheeky grey squirrels
Dusk and a fox walks boldly in front of us

On Hannah’s last day in England we took the train to the wonderful city of Cambridge to visit my sister Sarah and husband Martin.

My sister Sarah and me
Sarah and Martin’s garden is chock full
of colourful plants

We had a great catch up and were thrilled that Sarah’s two granddaughters were also able to join us for a delicious dinner.

The delicious dinner in Cambridge
Cousins!

The following day we had a quick walk into the centre of Cambridge before having lunch at Sarah’s son and daughter-in-law’s in their amazing new house a short drive away. There we were introduced to my great niece’s guinea pigs, and rabbits and watched her perform on the trampoline.

A typical Cambridge scene
Always so good to be in amongst the glorious university buildings

After another delicious meal it was time to leave Cambridge – Hannah making for Gatwick Airport to catch her flight home and me back to Julia’s house in Beckenham.

Time to leave Cambridge

It was almost the end of my stay too but there were still more family members to catch up with. Julia and I had a great dinner out at our favourite Tapas restaurant not too far from Julia’s house with my brother Pat, wife Marie and our niece.

Dinner at our favourite Tapas restaurant
So great to be with the family

In the early hours of that morning my eldest niece (Sarah’s daughter) and her husband crept in after flying in from an overseas holiday. They had arranged to stay at Julia’s so we could catch up and later continued the journey to their new home on the Kent coast the following day.

Julia with our niece and husband

We had a lovely breakfast together and later went for a long walk in Place Park – yet another wonderful local park that had once upon a time been the grounds of a grand house.

In wonderful Place Park

Later that day it was time for me to return to the Netherlands. I decided to try to do the trip by taking the Eurostar rather than flying as the train stops in Rotterdam where I could easily transfer to the Metro. From there, it is just a few stops on to Pijnacker where Hannah and her husband live.

I had to change trains in Brussels!

Although slightly more expensive than than the plane trip, it was a lot less hassle and quite enjoyable.

Here comes my ride

As I whizzed along – the English countryside a mere blur – I counted up the number of family members I’d caught up within the nine days I’d been in England – a total of 23! Not a bad tally, especially as some of them I had spent time with on several days.

Feeling very fortunate to have such a large and close family I sped my way to the Netherlands where I was to spend a few days before returning to Turkey for more sailing adventures.

Back in the Netherlands

Special memories made in London Town

It was extremely hard to say goodbye to our son Ben and daughter-in-law Sarah (and indeed all our family and friends in Australia) when we left Brisbane. Six weeks just didn’t go very far to make up for the long gap of two and a half years since we had seen them last. However, we are planning to go back again in November for longer so that kept us feeling a little less devastated!

It was extremely hard to say goodbye to our son Ben and daughter-in-law Sarah

The queues to go through security at Brisbane airport were absolutely massive and we were really thankful that we had left plenty of time to get airside.

The queues to go through security
at Brisbane airport were absolutely massive

We flew to Amsterdam via Singapore and Paris and we had a good flights until we reached Paris. We just made it to the gate in time to board our last flight when we discovered there was a long delay due to shocking weather in Amsterdam which apparently had caused havoc at the airport.

Fortunately we were able to let our daughter Hannah (who was meeting us at the airport) know that we would be delayed. We eventually took off and arrived safely an hour later at Schiphol.

Made it to Amsterdam – tulips
everywhere of course!

After an easy passage through customs and passport control (some new machines were being trialled and we happened to walk past at the right time) we had an inordinate wait for our luggage to appear. In fact it didn’t arrive all!

It transpired that our cases had been left behind in Paris – but that was fine by us as we had left clothes at Hannah’s and in fact had all that we needed in our hand luggage anyway. Besides, it made our journey back to Hannah and Pieter’s house via train and metro much easier!

Lovely blossom seen on the way back
from the station

Spring had really sprung in the Netherlands during our stay in Australia – evidenced by the tulips on sale at the airport and the green buds, new leaves and glorious blossom we noticed on our walk back to Hannah and Pieter’s house from the metro station.

Spring had really sprung in the Netherlands

We had a wonderful few days of absolutely overdosing on the beauty of it all.

The last of the daffodils- now it’s tulip time
The local gardens were “blooming” gorgeous
I just love the Weeping Willows

Jonathan left on his own after a few days to go to our boat in Didim Marina, Turkey. There were a few projects that he had to oversee and ensure were completed before our contract at the marina expired and we had to leave to begin the 2022 sailing season.

Time for a new chart plotter
The new chart plotter installed
Supplies for the new “Code Zero” sail
ready and waiting
Jonathan was busy overseeing the installation for our new sail

In the meantime I had planned a quick trip to England. I was very excited to see my family who live there as Covid had prevented me from visitIng since early 2020 except for a fleeting trip in the camper van to reset our visa status just before Christmas 2020. Due to lockdown restrictions on that occasion we had only managed to see my eldest sister Sarah for a quick get together in her garden.

Lovely to see these tulips in a local garden
Sheep enjoying the juicy new grass near Hannah and Pieter’s house

Other than that, my other sister Julia had visited us aboard Sunday twice in Turkey and Sarah and her husband Martin had recently visited us in the Netherlands for a weekend but I hadn’t seen my brother Pat or any of my nieces, nephews or great nieces and great nephews at all since February 2020 when we had a massive family celebration at a big mansion house near Stratford-on-Avon for my Martin’s 80th birthday.

Hannah had arranged her work schedule to allow her to take a few days off, so very early one morning she and I took off from Schiphol Airport bound for Gatwick.

Everything went very smoothly and soon we were happily eating a second breakfast at my sister Julia’s place in Beckenham, a suburb in London’s South East bordering with the beautiful county of Kent.

It was just wonderful to catch up with all the family, especially with my brother Pat who had recently been involved in a life-threatening accident but despite his injuries had made a miraculous recovery.

The Kentish countryside not far from Beckenham

Among other things, he and I caught up on a marvellous walk in the Kentish countryside and saw some lovely sights including glorious bluebells in a small wood.

It’s hard to capture bluebells in a photo
The blue of these pretty flowers is much more intense in “real life””
Bluebell woods on a walk with my brother Pat
Such a delicate flower
More wild flowers!

During our short visit Hannah and I went up to London one day to meet my sister Sarah at the Victoria and Albert Museum. On the way there at Victoria station, we were amazed to see a fabulous 1930s style train with smart Pullman coaches complete with coats of arms emblazoned on the side and smartly dressed staff in crisp white jackets waiting to welcome guests aboard.

Pullman coaches complete with coats of arms emblazoned on the side
Smartly dressed staff in crisp white jackets waiting to welcome guests aboard

Peering in the windows we could see bottles of expensive champagne and cut glass flutes on the linen covered tables with exquisite tea cups and delicate matching plates accompanied by silver cutlery and white linen napkins. All so luxurious!

Linen covered tables with exquisite tea cups and delicate matching plates
Travellers really dressed up for their train ride!

Just at the entrance a group of young women were singing thirties-style songs in three-part harmony. We were very tempted to climb aboard for an “Orient Express” experience! However, we had an important date to get to so we carried on towards South Kensington.

This group was singing thirties-style songs in three-part harmony.

We had a wonderful time catching up at the amazing Victoria and Albert museum and enjoyed a wander through some of the galleries – the highlight being the sumptuous and sparkling jewellery exhibit.

It was warm enough to paddle in the shallow pool at the V and A museum
The sumptuous and
sparkling jewellery exhibit – this coronet belonged to Queen Victoria
There were some really interesting
pieces on display
I wouldn’t mind owning this
A striking spiral of gemstone rings – all from one collector – a Victorian clergyman!

Later on we met my sister’s eldest granddaughter in the fabulous gift shop and went for lunch in the amazing V and A cafe – the first museum cafe ever built!

The entrance to the cafe is under those arches on the building to the left

There are three rooms in this delightful establishment – the Gamble, Poynter and Morris Rooms, opened in 1868 and serving excellent refreshments ever since!

Each room is decorated in a different style – one is covered in pottery tiles decorated with colourful lead glazes and has the atmosphere and pizazz of a richly adorned, dazzling, Parisian cafe.

The Gamble room
Reminiscent of a Parisian cafe

Another of the rooms has fabulous blue and white tiles reminiscent of Delft tiles but painted by female students from the National Art Training School.

The Poynter Room
This room used to serve chops and other grilled meats – this is an ornately decorated cast iron and brass grill, designed by Sir Edward Poynter in 1866.
The blue and white tiles were painted by female art students- a rare commission for a woman in those days!

The third room was designed by William Morris – one of the most famous designers of the Victorian period – early in his career. Painted a deep mossy green, with stained glass windows, this room feels cool and mysterious and is decorated with signs of the zodiac which adds to its mystical ambiance.

The mystical Morris room
Somof the stained glass in the Morris Room

Later we were joined by my brother Pat and returned to the lovely cafe for tea and cake!

The wonderful day ended with some of us meeting my other sister Julia for a meal and then on to a West End Show – the Andrew Lloyd Webber version of Cinderella, a completely new take on the old fairy tale and one with several plot twists! It was such exuberant fun and we all thorough enjoyed the experience.

So good to be back in the West End!
Waiting in anticipation for the curtain to rise

It was so brilliant to see a West End show after such a long time.

It was a really well produced show
The amazing cast takes the curtain call

What special memories were made that day – I will treasure them always!

Togetherness, termites, tractors, temporary tenants and a farewell feast

What a great time we had on our short visit to Australia! We did lots of socialising – catching up with family and friends for wonderful lunches and dinners plus some excellent meals out, going on walks and having coffee dates together and attending book club meetings.

Our grandbirdie Gidget trying to extract honey – usually it comes from a spoon!

A big thank you to everyone for hosting us – we promise to have all of you back to “the doll’s house” (our small town house) when we come back for a longer visit at Christmas.

Bird life of another kind – a beautiful owl we encountered on the road one evening

Between the aftermath of the floods and most of an entire household catching Covid, we didn’t get to see enough of our extended family although we did have a fantastic family picnic day at Ben and Sarah’s new property.

Family picnic day!
We had plenty of camping chairs
to sit on for lunch

Despite there being very little furniture in the new house, as Ben and Sarah were yet to move in properly, we had a lovely shared meal there and later went down to the nearest creek on their property, just a short walk/drive from the house.

Down by the creek
The children loved paddling

There was much splashing and swimming on the part of the children and the dogs but the highlight of the afternoon for the bigger kids was to tumble into the back of Ben’s 4WD to drive back to the house.

We found a water hole which was deep
enough to swim in
Enjoying watching all the splashing
and swimming
The dogs had a great time too
A stick and water – the best combination!
Driving back to the house in the
back of the 4WD

Or maybe the absolute highlight was to be allowed to sit on Ben and Sarah’s tractor and toot the horn endlessly until it “ran out of battery”?!

Sitting on the tractor was a bit of a hit

Just before we arrived in Brisbane we had heard from the agents who were overseeing the rental of our townhouse that termite activity had been found when the tenants moved out.

Inspecting some of the damage

So we had to organise termite treatment and repairs to the affected areas. There was also a big mess left in the garage wall and ceiling (and we later found, the floor upstairs in one of the bedrooms) created by an unreported leaky shower.

We had to organise termite treatment and repairs to the affected areas
There was also a big mess created by an unreported leaky shower

In the meantime, our nephew’s family had been made homeless as their apartment was badly flooded so we offered them the townhouse while they sorted themselves out. Fortunately, they were able to stay with his parents (my brother-in-law and sister-in-law) for a few weeks and then house sit while his parents were away travelling. However, they asked whether their friends who had also been made temporarily homeless, could “camp” in the townhouse for a few weeks, which they did.

As the required repairs were quite extensive it meant some repainting would be needed so we decided to have the whole house done while we were at it. New flooring was also needed downstairs as the old marble floor had some big ugly cracks and stains. So we were busy organising trades people towards the end of our visit.

The floor was stained and had a
massive crack in it

We also decided to pull our remaining possessions out of storage and use our garage to keep them safe.

Why pay for storage when you have a garage?
The removal van arrives to unload
our scant possessions
It all fitted in very nicely
Taking a few bits up to Ben and
Sarah’s new place

In the days leading up to our return to Europe it poured with rain again and we were anxious that there might be more flooding to come. The creeks near Ben and Sarah’s new place did in fact rise but we were still able to get in and out of the property for the remainder of our stay.

It poured with rain again
The causeway was covered but passable
Just before the driveway was pretty soggy!
The sun came out again and all was well
The doggies taking me for a walk
One of the glorious views from
Ben and Sarah’s new place

Although we didn’t spend a night up there, we visited most days and tried to help them with the various jobs they were tackling such as cleaning up the garden around the house, filling holes in the walls left from picture hooks, then touching up the paint and organising food for Ben and Sarah and their friends who amongst other things, helped them with fencing for the duck/dog run.

Working bee to construct an enclosure
for the duckies
And the gate is installed!
Starting to look good!
The completed enclosure
A well deserved drink and paddle at the creek after all the hard work
Another day, another job, cleaning the big shed

The day before we left for the Netherlands Ben and Sarah took delivery of their brand new ride on mower (more of a mini tractor really!) – one well up to the task of keeping their many acres of grass under control.

Mine, all mine! says Sarah who loves mowing!
Newly mowed paddock at the back of the house