Australia delights

Our first few weeks in Brisbane, Australia have been a delightful combination of enjoying the peace and beauty of Ben and Sarah’s (our son and daughter-in-law’s) glorious 100 acre property on the fringes of Brisbane, unpacking storage boxes in our townhouse and catching up with family and friends.

We have delighted in the peace and beauty of our son and daughter-in-law’s new property
Their home borders state forest so there is bush all around their 100 acres
We have spent many days unpacking storage boxes and setting up furniture
We’ve caught up with some friends too

It has been so special spending precious time with our Australian tribe and particularly with Ben and Sarah and our granddoggies and grand ducks in their new home.

The entrance to Ben and Sarah’s home
It’s been so special catching up with them
Reunited with our grand dogs!
….and the grand ducks

We have so appreciated the opportunity to totally unwind from the busy-ness of getting our boat ready for her winter’s rest and to explore Ben and Sarah’s rolling acreage in this really stunning part of the world.

It’s been wonderful to unwind in beautiful surroundings
Exploring the new property
A third dam has been discovered!
Looking down the drive towards the front gate

One of the things we have enjoyed so much is the bird life here. Every morning we wake to a cacophony of raucous, rumbustious, birdsong.

A cheeky kookaburra sits in an old gum tree

We lie in bed with the sun shining brightly at 5am listening to the kookaburras cackling and laughing, the screeching of the sulphur crested cockatoos, the magpies carolling with their flute-like voices, the male whip birds “cracking their whip” and the females replying with three bright chirps, the storm birds high pitched and haunting “coo-ie” and many more squawks, chirrups and melodies from birds we have yet to identify.

Spot the Willy Wagtail sitting on its nest

We have also loved the evening walks, seeing deer and wallabies grazing in the paddocks and the turtles and wild ducks swimming in the three dams.

Wallabies in the early evening

One evening we drove in four wheel drive vehicles with Ben and Sarah and their best friends to the creek to give the dogs a swim.

Friday drinks
Then off to the creek….

After the “wolf pack” had enjoyed leaping into the creek to catch balls we headed to the top of the highest point on the property to watch the sun go down.

…,so the “wolf pack” could have a swim
Then we headed to the lookout to
watch the sunset

What a fabulous view and brilliant sunset!

Such a lovely sunset
Night has fallen
Time to go home!

Most of the many trees on the property are eucalypts but there is also a variety of coniferous trees and when we first arrived there were a scattering of jacaranda trees in bloom – their vibrant violet foliage glowing amongst the profusion of greens.

Most of the trees on the property are eucalypts

One of the unusual things about some Australian eucalyptus trees is that they shed their bark at the beginning of every summer. This seems very strange to people brought up in the northern hemisphere!

Many eucalyptus trees shed their bark

Once all the bark has peeled off, the trunks of the trees are left looking smooth and fresh, clean and beautifully renewed.

Once the bark is shed the trees are left looking smooth and fresh

We have spent most days travelling the 25km to our tiny townhouse so we could unpack the many boxes we had stored in the garage and set up the house to rent out again – but this time fully furnished.

Why oh why have we kept so many things?!

It was like Christmas – unwrapping all the bits and pieces we had in storage for seven plus years but honestly, we wondered what had possessed us to hang on to some of the stuff!

Once we had set up the house we decided what to take to the local “recycling recovery centre” (otherwise known as the “tip”), what we were going to keep in storage and what we were going to take to a charity shop or give to the charity “Bookfest”.

Cleaning up at the recycling recovery centre

In the meantime, I celebrated another year around the sun and had a low key but lovely celebration on the day because poor Ben came down with Covid!

Birthday dinner!
A delicious birthday cake

The following weekend Ben and Sarah took us to a lovely winery in Tamborine Mountain where we had a wonderful wine tasting session followed by a delicious lunch. It was a very special day!

More celebrations!

Ben and Sarah also had a very beautiful but very energetic visitor – a handsome border collie named Jessie. He certainly pepped up our elderly grand dogs who loved playing lots of games and going for longer walks than usual!

Jessie (left) is young and extremely active but learns very fast!
Two border collies together
Jessie enjoying the creek
…..and the big dam

This will be my last blog of the year so I would like to wish everyone who reads this a very Happy and healthy 2023. Thank you so much for travelling with us this year. I have been writing this blog for almost eight years now and it still amazes me that people actually want to read it and from so many places across the world – 80 countries this year which just blows my mind! So thank you everyone and happy travels (armchair or otherwise) for 2023!

Full moon in Queensland
December 1 was so cool that we lit a fire!

We still call Australia home

We had finally finished getting the boat ready to leave for the winter months and had our cases packed for an extended stay in Australia where we would spend time with family and friends.

Finally finished getting our boat ready to leave

Everything went smoothly on the trip back and although we could have done with a longer time there, we were glad to break the journey in Bali.

Glad to be breaking the journey in Bali

We literally only had one day there and we were so tired after all the preparations on board Sunday, not to mention the long flight via Kuala Lumpur to Bali, that we spent most of our time there doing nothing!

We spent most of our time in Bali doing nothing (i.e. asleep!)

We arrived in Bali in the evening and by the time we had cleared customs and met our driver it was quite late so we went directly to our modest hotel in Sanur.

We went straight to our hotel
We settled in and had a late meal nearby
Ahh first Bintang for a long time

The place we had chosen was the same one we had stayed in when our children (now both in their thirties!) were very young. It hadn’t changed a bit!

The place we stayed was just the same as
it was 25 years ago

The small villas looked exactly the same from the outside but had definitely been renovated both inside and out. The gardens were still a profusion of palms, flowering trees and tropical plants with pools and delightful stone carved figures dotted about the place.

The villas hadn’t changed
The gardens were still a profusion of palms, flowering trees and tropical plants
There were the same delightful stone carved figures dotted about the place
Spot the tortoise!

After a great late breakfast we dived into the pool – again, it looked just the same as it did when our son lost his tiny Thunderbirds 4 in it all those years ago!

A delicious late breakfast
The pool was exactly the same
The pool was where our son lost his tiny Thunderbirds 4 all those years ago

Later we took ourselves for a very pleasant stroll along the seafront, ending up at Little Bird restaurant that had been highly recommended by our good friends in Brisbane.

We had a very pleasant stroll along
the beach front
We always enjoy a view of boats
Just love this elegant entrance

We were extremely happy to be back on this beautiful island again and among other things, very much enjoyed admiring the gorgeous carvings, the incense offerings, the painted doors and all those crafts the Balinese do absolutely brilliantly .

So many gorgeous carvings to admire
Love all the statues
….and the colourful doors
These outriggers remind me of spiders for some reason!
A typical Balinese scene
Full moon in Bali

The flight to Brisbane the following day went smoothly and soon we were hugging our son and daughter-in-law in the arrivals hall. It was absolutely wonderful to see them!

Champagne celebration at the lookout

We were amazed to see all the improvements they had made to their new property since moving there in early April.

We love being at Ben and Sarah’s

Acres and acres of grassland reclaimed by days and days of slashing and mowing, the driveway and shared road regraded, painting inside and out organised, water tanks cleaned and refurbished with a water purifier installed, Wifi up and going with the installation of Starlink, solar panels and smart switches installed, new fans and fly screens put in throughout, and much more besides.

“Sarah’s “ mowing machine
Sarah and Ben’s house
So much mowing to do!

A new addition to the property since our last visit in February/March this year – before Ben and Sarah moved in – was a spectacular “tiny home” – a perfect little house on wheels with two sleeping areas, a tv lounge, fully equipped bathroom (including a washing machine) and a fabulous kitchen/dining area with a dishwasher, double sink, large fridge and loads of cupboard space. A perfect size for those of us who live on a boat!

Ben and Sarah’s tiny house
The view from the front door of the tiny house
Walking towards the tiny house (you can just see it in the distance)

The plan is to let out the tiny house to people seeking a peaceful haven in the bush. With their 100 acres and the massive Lake Manchester Reserve which abuts the d’Aguilar National Park right next door, it will be an absolute mecca for bush walkers and mountain bikers too.

Jonathan examining everything in
the tiny house
The master bedroom
A view of the kitchen with the bathroom
at one end
The bathroom/ laundry

On our first evening after our arrival we drove up in Ben’s 4WD to the highest point on their property to watch the sun go down and drink champagne. The perfect way to celebrate- and what an amazing view!

Sunset celebrations
The sunset view

It is such a joy to be with Ben and Sarah and the grand dogs and grand ducks in their lovely new home!

It is such a joy to see the granddoggies again
….and the grandducks of course!

On the way to Turkey in our “land yacht”

Our stay in the Netherlands was drawing to a close and we were busy getting ready to drive our “land yacht” (aka our camper van) back to Turkey.

Our “land yacht”

Loaded up with enough food and other essentials to last us for at least a few weeks, we set off on a rainy, miserable day.

We set off on a rainy, miserable day.

As usual, it was sad to farewell our daughter and son-in-law but as they were booked to fly to Turkey in just a few weeks for Christmas we didn’t feel as sad as usual. However, with Covid numbers rising and the threat of restrictions being reintroduced, it was by no means a done deal that they would arrive as planned.

One last selfie before leaving!

Our first stop was Bremen in north-west Germany. We had ordered some new equipment for our boat from the sailing megastore SVB Bremen which we had expected to be delivered to the Netherlands. When the items didn’t turn up we called to find out why and were told they hadn’t been couriered because the store didn’t accept credit card payment from new customers. Would have been good if they could have told us beforehand!

Crossing the border into Germany

So, having paid by bank draft, we once again eagerly waited delivery of the goods, hoping they would arrive before our departure date. But no, at the eleventh hour the store let us know that their bank had charged a fee when the transfer came through and they couldn’t release the goods until we had paid them the shortfall created by the charges.

By then it was too late for the goods to be couriered so we had to drive there to collect them. The irony was that because we picked the goods up, the bill was reduced and we were owed a refund!

Having finally picked up our boat bits with no further issues we looked for somewhere to stay the night. We thought it would be easy to find a spot but the camper van park in Bremen was packed to the rafters!

The campervan park in Bremen was full!

We squeezed into one of the last spaces with some difficulty as the ground was incredibly muddy and the space extremely small with bushes in front of it that we had to plough through to get into the space!

We just about managed to squeeze into the last available space!

The weather was still rainy and dull the following day but before setting off again we had a nice walk to the nearby River Weser which is the longest river to flow entirely in Germany.

The River Weser

All along the lane we walked along there were holiday homes – some reasonably large and others tiny but they were all very neatly kept and each one had a cute sign on their gate.

One of the smaller holiday homes
Each gate had a cute sign
A family and their animals!
This one was a bit fishy

Our next stop was meant to be a nice looking farm site in Leipzig Nordost but when we arrived we quickly realised that the place was well and truly closed.

Driving out of Bremen
The camper stop at this farm was well and truly closed

The proprietor was busy splitting logs with a power saw and had ear muffs on. When he eventually realised we were there, he told us that the authorities had declared the whole area closed to tourists due to Covid. He advised us to drive to Halle where there were no such rules.

Arriving in Halle – lots to see!

So we were back on the road again but before too long we were in Halle – birthplace of my Mum’s favourite composer – George Frideric Handel.

A punny sign!
A statue of Handel
A portrait of Handel

Fortunately we found a car park where we could free camp amongst circus vehicles, trucks and one other camper van.

We eventually found this car park close to the centre of Halle where we could stay

Halle has some truly magnificent buildings but we were shocked to see how much graffiti there was everywhere.

There were some truly magnificent
buildings in Halle
We were impressed with the architecture
But we were amazed by the graffiti!
The graffiti was terrible!
An antidote to all the graffiti- a dolls house sized milliner’s shop

Walking around the town we felt very moved to see on the exterior wall of the Cathedral, a memorial for the East German uprising of 1953 which was violently suppressed by tanks of the Soviet forces.

The memorial for the East German
uprising of 1953
Halle Cathedral

After finding the “Handel Haus” where Handel was born in 1685, we found ourselves near the Domplatz (cathedral square) where a kind of Christmas market was set up in the grounds of what was once a monastery. Because of Covid there was nothing actually on sale but there were plenty of Christmas trees, baubles and other festive decorations in little huts. Each hut was decorated differently – we weren’t sure if it was a competition or just different interpretations of Christmas decorating but it was fun to experience a bit of pre-Christmas festivity.

The house where Handel was born,
now a museum
The ancient monastery where we found a Christmas market
Reindeer maybe?
One of the little huts at the Christmas fair
Each hut was decorated differently
We weren’t sure if it was a competition for the best decorations or just self expression!

A couple of hours drive out of Halle we arrived at the border of the Czech Republic. As soon as we crossed the border we saw snow! Great big piles of it by the roadside and all the trees were sparkling in the weak sunshine. It looked very Christmassy!

Driving out of Halle
The Halle water tower completed in 1899
We enter the Czech Republic
Great piles of snow!

We stopped to buy our motorway “vignette” just over the border and were hoping to fill up with water but the promised taps were switched off because of the extreme cold (to prevent burst pipes.)

Here’s where we bought the vignette

We weren’t too worried as we were still had enough left for that day and we were bound to find somewhere to fill up again in Prague where we were heading next.

The snow was sparkling on the trees

Alas! Absolutely all the camping places in and around Prague that we had picked as potential spots to spend the night were closed. We ended up parking near the Zoo car park (not actually in it as there was a police car parked in there).

We were underneath a steep hill with what looked like a lonely monastery on top and close by a very austere and creepy house was the only sign of habitation.

The lonely monastery on top of the
hill in Prague
Our only neighbour – an austere and creepy house!
We had a lovely walk along the banks of the Vltava River
There was quite a lot of snow in the ground!

The great thing about a van is you can pull all the blinds down and you could be anywhere! Once you sit down to a good meal in the cosy and warm atmosphere you can forget the world outside.

Once you pull the blinds down you could be anywhere in the world!

We drove through the outskirts of Prague the following morning and the impressive buildings we passed gave us a hint of what a glorious city it is. We will definitely be back!

The impressive buildings we went by gave us a hint of what a glorious city it is
More gracious buildings in Prague’s outskirts

We still hadn’t filled up with water. This was a worry as we were almost running out of the most essential of resources.

A very wintery view in the Czech Republic

Jonathan turned to the Internet to research for a solution. One of the very helpful websites for people travelling in a van mentioned a tap in a village just over the border in Austria.

A few hours later we were at a very small border crossing and were stopped by a very forlorn and extremely cold soldier who asked us our purpose for visiting Austria.

The small border crossing into Austria

Bearing in mind that Austria was in complete lockdown, we were a little anxious that we might get turned round but when we told him we were looking to fill up with water he waved us through with as much cheer as could be mustered when standing in the freezing cold!

We found the small village of Wolfsthal quite easily, we even found the tap but sadly it was switched off!

The good news is that we found the tap. The bad news was that it was not working!

Our only option was to keep going to the nearest town – Hainburg an der Donau and hope we could find water there.

As we drove towards the town we were interested to see a massive castle perched on top of the hill. The original was built in the 11th Century AD and it was destroyed in 1683 by the Ottomans but rebuilt in 1709. We wished we could go and look round it but of course it was closed.

On top of the hill we could see
the massive castle

Hainburg an der Donau was a lovely town with a 13th Century gate – the largest existing medieval gate in Europe. It also has a 2.5 km long town wall and a total of 15 towers!

The largest existing medieval gate in Europe
We could just squeeze through it!

The town also happened to have a small fuel station with a very friendly manager who kindly agreed to let us fill up with water much to our relief.

In the meantime, the local post office van nipped in front of us and blocked access to the tap. We had to wait for ages while the post woman sorted out the post she had collected at the garage.

Waiting for the post woman
to sort her mail collection.

By the time we had filled up it was getting quite dark and we set off in search of somewhere to stay the night.

By the time we had filled up with water it’s beginning to get dark!

First we headed for the nearby river, thinking there would be a car park or somewhere else suitable there.

We ended up travelling along a very narrow lane through a deserted area of farmland. It didn’t seem to promising so we headed for a sports centre – a good option that we have used in the past when we have had no luck finding somewhere to stop.

We ended up travelling along a very narrow lane which did not look promising

This one was by a pretty pond and was surrounded by fields so we had a very peaceful and quiet sleep before heading onwards towards Turkey.

Our parking spot at the sporting centre was next to a pretty pond

Lowdown on Lockdown

A full lockdown began in Turkey on 29 April in an attempt to get Covid cases down before the tourist season begins in earnest. Tonight (Sunday 16 May) we have heard that restrictions will start to be lifted at 5 am tomorrow (Monday).

The aim of the full lockdown was to get cases to around 5,000 a day instead of the almost 62,000 reported on 21 April.

The vaccination program has been going well – on 21 April more than 12.5 million people had received at least their first dose (about 15.4 per cent of the population.)

Now, as we near the end of lockdown, cases have dropped to around 11,400 and over 14.8 million have received at least one dose of the vaccine (18.1 per cent of the population.)

Love to go bird watching around the marina

Rather than stay out at anchor during lockdown we decided to go back to Finike Marina as we had various boat jobs to complete and appointments organised.

Even saw some eagles this week!

The lockdown rules said that we could only leave the marina to do food shopping and even then we were, strictly speaking, only allowed to walk to the nearest supermarket. It seemed that even a walk outside of the marina for the purpose of exercise was not allowed.

Fortunately the marina includes four jetties and a reasonably sized area where the offices, shower block and laundry are situated, so we have been able to walk around to get some exercise.

There are also some fish to spot

Behind our new mooring spot over near the sea wall the fencing is topped with razor wire so sometimes it feels a bit like we are in a prison exercise yard while we watch people stroll or power walk past to and fro in the mornings and evenings!

View from our boat!
The razor wire sometimes makes us feel we are living in a prison exercise yard!

The rules around socialising are a bit vague and apply only to residents rather than those on a tourist visa. Basically there is a 24 hour a day curfew but of course, in the marina it appears that there is no expectation that even those with temporary residents cards should stay aboard 24 hours a day. This would be impossible to achieve anyway as we have to use the facilities at the toilet/shower block and visit the office for various reasons, for example to collect mail or parcels.

Yes we received some post!

Some people have refrained from having other people aboard their boats and kept themselves to themselves during this time while others have mixed with others in a reasonably low key way.

Beautiful flowers by the bathroom block

It has been the holy month of Ramadan which ended with the beginning of the Eid al-Fitr celebrations on 12th May 2021.

Pretty colours

This is a time of great joy and is normally marked with huge get togethers, feasting and the giving of gifts to children. The lockdown has meant that many family celebrations have been cancelled throughout Turkey but yesterday (Saturday) around 30 Turkish marina residents and some friends and family held a low key open-air Eid celebration in the community garden.

Around 30 Turkish marina residents and some friends and family held a low key open-air Eid celebration

The past two weeks have gone by quickly. I have been joining two other ladies for a game of scrabble every afternoon and in the last week we have sometimes played a new (to me) game called Rummikub with friends from another catamaran instead.

Deva the cat watching our game of rummikub

Early morning yoga has also begun over the last week. I have to admit, arriving for a 7.30 am start has been a challenge for me but I can honestly say I feel so much better which has been a great incentive to get up in time to attend. Since it is probably against lockdown rules I won’t mention the name of the person who has been leading us but all the participants have really enjoyed the sessions and definitely feel the benefits!

Getting ready for yoga in the clubhouse
We are very fortunate to have this space for our yoga sessions
Plenty of reading material in the clubhouse

In between the yoga and the games sessions, there have been plenty of other things to occupy our time.

There are some beautiful flowers in the marina gardens

Jonathan has done some maintenance such as greasing the anchor windlass, removing and renewing sealant in various spots and other jobs. We have put all our winter clothes away because the weather is now deliciously warm (but not too hot!)

I have been trying out more new recipes and we have both been studying a language on-line ( Jonathan French and me Turkish).

Cooking up a storm
This was delicious!

One of the ladies on the dock we were on previously was writing an article for a Turkish yachting magazine and so one day all the occupants from the boats on her dock gathered for a photograph to be taken.

Getting ready for the photo session
Even the dogs were included!
Getting organised – still with our masks on!

I have continued to take photos of things I see on my walks round the marina that catch my eye – beautiful flowers, yachts named after birds or animals, etc.

More lovely blooms
Smell this rose!

One night we had a wonderful birthday celebration for one of our fellow yachties and another evening we had a pizza and film night.

A curry night birthday celebration
Mmm cake!
The pizzas here aren’t too bad and are really well priced

Last weekend was Mother’s Day (a different day to the UK) and I was was wonderfully surprised to receive to big bouquets of flowers and lovely messages from my two beautiful children.

Beautiful flowers delivered to the marina. A miracle considering the complete lockdown!
And another happy delivery!

Lockdown has whizzed by and hopefully we will be out of the marina and back at anchor very soon. Unfortunately we have to wait for an oil seal to be delivered for our electronic gangplank (passarelle), a pressure washer that has got stuck somewhere due to the lockdown to be delivered, a credit card and our residency cards that also should have been delivered and for me to be registered to go in the queue for a Covid vaccination (Jonathan is now registered but there’s been a slight complication with mine.)

Flowers on the way to the shops

Hopefully all these items will be ticked off the list quickly so we can once again drop the lines and start enjoying sailing and dropping the anchor in gorgeous spots on the wonderful coast of Turkey.

Anniversary celebrations and a pre-lockdown escape

This week we celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary on board our very comfortable Lagoon 420 catamaran in Finike Marina, Turkey.

“It was 35 years ago today ….”

Such a contrast to our tiny (28 foot) traditional cutter rig timber cruising yacht on which we spent our first wedding anniversary in 1987 in Ballina, New South Wales, Australia!

Our pride and joy having a day out with friends in Papua New Guinea

Although there wasn’t room to swing a cat in our little boat we loved it and had some great adventures in her in the Coral Sea, the highlight of which was an extended visit to Papua New Guinea.

In the intervening years we have had some wonderful anniversaries in fabulous places but it was particularly special to be celebrating our 35th on board once again.

Another anniversary – our 25th – in New York

Due to Covid lockdown restrictions we couldn’t go out to celebrate so we did the next best thing and ordered a lovely home delivery meal of fresh grilled fish, chips and salad (a loaf of bread came with it too!) – washed down by a very pleasant Turkish wine of course.

Our 35th celebration !

Talking of food, we have discovered that the fruit and vegetable shop we found on our first visit to Finike in August last year, not only delivers to the marina but also can buy herbs and other produce not normally found at the local market and shops.

This week he gave me a “menu” of goodies he could procure at the wholesale market in Marmaris and we ordered lots of fresh herbs, some fennel and “American” style capsicums, as well as some of the other “normal” fruit and vegetables.

All the “special” items our local fruit and veg man can obtain for us

We have been in Finike for over a month now and have been itching to get out and about and swing at anchor for a while. John and Sue on the catamaran Catabella felt the same way so we planned a short to trip to an idyllic little bay north of Finike called Çineviz Limani.

Here come the marina staff to help us with our lines

The day before our departure we heard that Turkey was going into a full lockdown for 17 days in an attempt to decrease the number of Covid cases before the summer season begins. This meant we had to go out for the whole lockdown or for only two days.

Sadly we had appointments and various bits of work scheduled in the following couple of weeks so we had to choose the two-day option.

Leaving the marina at Finike is very simple as one of the marina workers comes alongside in a dinghy to assist you and instruct you if necessary.

After helping us – on to S/V Catabella

As we slid through the water on our way out we passed S/V Catabella as Sue and John dropped their lines.

Letting go S/V Catabella’s lines

What a great feeling it was as we motored out of the marina! It was a sparking morning with scarcely a ripple to disturb the glassy surface of the water.

What a great feeling it was as we motored out of the marina
Farewell Finike!

We headed out as far as the fish farm just a short way off shore and then turned north for the four hour trip.

Going past the fish farm
Just behind us S/V Catabella skims through the water

Unfortunately the sail we were looking forward to didn’t eventuate as there was just no wind at all although about an hour before journey’s end we did roll out our foresail hoping to catch the few breaths that had begun to whisper across the water but had to give up and roll it back in fairly quickly.

There was scarcely a ripple to disturb the glassy surface of the water.
So calm we could see this turtle several metres away sunning itself

The coastline in this part of Turkey is rugged, wild and imposing and we enjoyed spotting the many caves in the limestone cliffs – lots of places for pirates to hide!

The coastline in this part of Turkey is quite wild and rugged.
There are loads of caves waiting to be explored!
Looks like there have been some rockfalls here!
There were people on the beach of this tiny little rocky island (spot the boat!)

As we approached Çavuş Burnu to start the approach to our anchorage – Çınevız Limanı we had spectacular views of Mt Olympos (Tahtalı Dağı).

A lovely clear view of Mt Olympos (Tahtalı Dağı) in the distance.

We were fortunate to have such a clear view of the whole mountain as apparently the peak is often covered by clouds, particularly in summer.

A closer view of Mt Olympos and still so clear

After we had settled John and Sue came over for gin and tonics and fish cooked on the barbecue. Lovely!

Buying the fish was quite the experience.
They were mostly very small so there wasn’t a huge choice
Sue and John arriving
Gin and tonics to start with

We couldn’t have been happier with our anchorage. Sunday and Catabella were the only yachts there, the sea was calm, there was no swell, the scenery was fabulous with awe inspiring cliffs dropping sheer into the sea. Bliss!

We couldn’t have been happier with our anchorage
The cliffs were awe-inspiring
It was beautifully calm – and no swell!
Sunday at anchor – photo credit Sue S/V Catabella – thanks Sue!

That night I looked for the full moon – it had been so bright the previous night in the marina but in the dark anchorage it was even more magnificent – a great silver orb reflecting like a lantern on the stillness of the calm seas surrounding us.

The moon rising brightly over the marina the previous night

This is what you miss staying in a marina – the magic spun by being on your own in an isolated spot where you can feel that the moon is shining just for you!

A great silver orb reflecting like a lantern on the stillness of the calm seas surrounding us.

The following day, after a relaxed start we took our dinghies over to Cirali Limani, the beach where the ruins of the ancient Lycian city of Olympos can be found – about two nautical miles from where we were anchored.

On the dinghy going to Cirali Limani
Cirali Limani ahead
The first signs of a ruined city perched on the rocks as we near the beach
The landing was pretty tough on the feet!
Who doesn’t love peering through a hole in the rock!

Both the guidebook and the sailing pilot were rather lukewarm about the ruins of Olympos (established around the 4th Century BC) saying they were “much overgrown and in a ruinous state” but we were absolutely enchanted!

The remains of a bridge over the channel which must have been navigable at one time
A leafy boardwalk beckons us in
A monumental tomb from the 3rd Century AD
The house of a wealthy Lycian family
Posing for the camera! Photo credit John and Sue from S/V Catabella

Yes, the ruins were set amongst overgrown trees but that really added to its charm.

The overgrown trees added a certain charm
I was reminded a little of Angkor Wat – definitely a little mysterious

It reminded me a bit of Angkor Wat in Cambodia – a little mysterious and with an atmosphere that made you feel that you might walk along a passage or turn a corner and suddenly find yourself in another time with people in strange clothes and speaking a completely different language.

There was an atmosphere that made you feel you could turn a corner and suddenly find yourself in another time with people in strange clothes and speaking a completely different language.
We really enjoyed exploring the ruins
On our way to another part of town
Some beautifully carved stone

Definitely a place that sent a few delicious shivers up my spine!

An incredible fig tree had spread its branches through the ruins
We wandered away from this part of ancient Olympos

We wandered away from this overgrown and mystical part of ancient Olympos and found ourselves in a paddock full of glorious spring flowers including a mass of vibrant red poppies.

Just a few of the vibrant red poppies we found
Such an amazing vibrant colour against the white of the daisies

Soon we were amazed to find that we had entered another part of the city – just as intriguing but with a completely different atmosphere.

The other part of the city had a completely different atmosphere
There were the remains of some formerly magnificent buildings

Here were Roman temples, early Christian Churches and a Bishop’s palace.

This anteroom in the Roman Temple had obviously been used later by the Christians
It was amazing to see the remains of paint on the walls of the anreroom
Jonathan pointing out the remains of a delicate leaf pattern
There were more remains on the hill in the distance

All the buildings were in a poor state of repair but the presence of a large crane gave us hope that restoration work was in progress.

Some restoration work had been done
The size of these walls indicate the grandeur of the city 2,000 years ago
The impressive entrance to the Roman Temple

The remains of the Roman Temple, such as they were, still enabled us to imagine the grandeur of the front facade of the Roman temple. Built in the first half of the second Century AD, to honour Emperor Hadrian, the temple had an impressive facade made out of cut stone blocks.

An artist’s impression of the temple facade
Using the artist’s impression we could visualise how the entrance must have looked
Jonathan showing how massive those blocks of stone were

After a lovely wander through the ruins we found a small restaurant open only for “takeaways” (due to Covid restrictions) but who allowed us to sit in their garden while they prepared some delicious gozleme for our lunch.

The cafe’s shady garden
Gozleme – delicious!
More buildings on the way back to the beach
This channel must have flooded once upon a time judging by the thickness of the wall

We arrived back to our respective boats and had a couple of hours of relaxation in the beautiful surroundings before a sumptuous roast dinner on Catabella.

We arrived back at our boats for some relaxation before dinner. S/V Catabella at anchor

We would have loved to stay longer and explore Olympos a little bit more and also try and find the Chimaera at the other end of the beach that we had motored to on our dinghies. The Chimaera consists of two outcrops of volcanic rock where escaping natural gas is permanently alight. Homer described this phenomenon as “a fire breathing monster part lion, part goat and part snake”. I really want to see that!

Alas, lockdown was starting at 6 pm and we had to get back in time to collect the dress, long pants and shorts I was having made by the local dressmaker from fabric I had picked up at the market for less than 10 Australia dollars.

Trying to explain what I wanted using Google translate! The Dressmaker’s son was trying to participate in an online class, poor thing.

Adalet, the dressmaker, had rustled these up in just a couple of days and we were anxious to pay for them before lockdown as she wouldn’t be earning much, if anything, during the 17 days when everyone was having to stay home.

Modelling my new dress – very cool for the summer

The journey back to Finike was once again gorgeous with calm seas, no wind and no swell.

Calm seas, no wind, no swell

The peak of the majestic Mt Olympos was still visible but the lower slopes were encased in a circle of low thick cloud – very atmospheric and a sight that will remain in our memories.

Mt Olympos hiding behind a thick cloud – just its peak visible
S/V Catabella following in our wake
The clouds were doing some odd things that day

We arrived in good time to go to the dressmakers and stock up on wine (supermarkets are not allowed to sell alcohol during lockdowns) and be back in time for “pre-lockdown drinks” on C-arm with some of our yachting compatriots.

More strange cloud activity
Pre lockdown drinks.

It was so great to get away – even though it was only for two days – as we felt thoroughly rejuvenated and ready to face lockdown with reasonable equanimity.

A Day in the Life…

No dramas or exciting news to report this week so instead I thought I would take you through a typical “Day in the Life” on S/V Sunday in Turkey.

S/V Sunday in Turkey

Every morning before the break of dawn (around 4.30am!) the “Azzan” (Call to Prayer) reverberates round the town from the mosque on the hill above the marina.

Often we don’t wake up – even though the call is broadcast at incredible volume over loudspeakers. Sometimes we do “come to” then lie awake until the next call – heralding the sunrise – which happens at around 6am, at which time we finally fall into a fitful sleep for a couple of hours.

The mosque on the hill above the marina
In this photo the mosque doesn’t look that close but believe me its PA system is mega loud!

At the moment it is Ramadan so I assume that between the two early morning prayer times devout Muslims will eat and drink to prepare for fasting during daylight hours. We on the other hand usually have a long and leisurely breakfast (after a lazy cup of tea reading the news on-line in bed) before starting the day’s activities.

Turkish potato bread for breakfast. A massive loaf – one slice is equivalent to three normal slices! Extremely delicious toasted.

On Tuesdays we go to the massive under cover market (quite often with other yachties) about 20 minutes walk from the marina, on other days we might go into town to shop at one of the stores or the local supermarket.

Always something new to discover on the way to the market. Jonathan and Heather from Amorgos Blue examine an ancient plough/seeding machine
An elderly cannon on the way to the market

At the market there always new wonders to marvel at – goats cheese presented in a goatskin carcass “pot”, dried vegetables hung on garlands that remind me of Christmas trees, some mysterious and unrecognisable foodstuff in a bucket or wild herbs on an upturned milk crate.

Yes, this is a real goatskin!
This reminds me of a Christmas tree!
No idea what this was!
Wild herbs on sale at the market

Weighed down by wonderful fresh fruit and seasonal vegetables we return to our boats to try and find room to store our bounty.

On our way back from the market we find what looks like the lid to a Lycian coffin
The Wisteria in Finike is glorious
The Wisteria perfume is captivating
Love the ducks here

There’s always work to do on the boat whether it’s servicing the engines, fixing “dings” in our gel coat inside or out and always cleaning! Being an AWB (Another White Boat) it is a constant slog keeping Sunday looking reasonably spruce. Every mark shows and with the dreaded red dust from the Sahara still lurking, keeping the decks clean is a major task. Then there’s the stainless steel to polish and the canvas to keep looking good. My approach is to do a little each day and try and keep on top of it. It’s not a great strategy – I think we need a full time cleaner!

Jonathan servicing the engine
The “Captain’s kit” for grinding and polishing gel coat
Putting our canvas back up as the sun is now quite warm
Dirty footprints – the bane of my life!

Then of course there are the normal household tasks that are the same for everyone wherever they live!

Our very kind Turkish neighbours in the marina brought over some delicious falafel one day this week so I baked a lemon drizzle cake to share with them.

These falafel were delicious!

As our oven has no temperature controls (it is either hot or hotter) our baking attempts have been very hit and miss. On this occasion the cake actually rose very well and tasted great even though it was slightly over-browned around the edges!

I was thrilled that the cake had actually risen!
A dusting of icing sugar masked the slightly singed cake bottom

We sometimes skip lunch if we have had a big breakfast but sometimes we have a salad and always cook a meal in the evenings.

Despite weekend lockdowns and other restrictions life is sociable in the marina. Some people prefer not to go aboard other’s boats but will stop for a (masked) chat as they walk past.

At weekends there used to be a socially distanced BBQ at the marina clubhouse but cooking together has been stopped temporarily due to Covid restrictions. Last weekend a few people met for a beer and a chat.

A Sunday catch up outside the marina clubhouse

Each day we work on learning a language – Jonathan is improving his school boy French and I’m trying to learn Turkish. We are both using the Duolingo App which is a fun way to learn.

Attempting to learn Turkish. It’s going to take me a loooong time

Often we chat via video call to our adult children and their partners, other family members and friends far and wide. We also keep up email correspondence with family and friends that prefer that method of communication.

Found this Sufi dancer on a walk this week

Over the last week I have thoroughly enjoyed a daily Scrabble session with Sue on S/V Catabella a few doors away from us. We have also had the pleasure of a couple of nights socialising with Sue and her husband John over a few wines. It was also fantastic to have a great evening catching up with Liz and Steve of S/V Liberte who we first met on the Kalimantan Rally in 2017.

Enjoyed socialising on S/V Catabella

One of the pleasant surprises we have experienced in Turkey is how very palatable and reasonably priced the wine is here. We have found some firm favourites and are keen to keep finding more!

Most days we try to go for a walk – at the weekends when we are in lockdown it would probably be just round the marina but on a typical weekday it could be round the foreshore to the mouth of the harbour or a longer stroll along the beachfront.

A view of the marina from around the foreshore
Arghh! There’s an elephant in the marina!
…and a grey hippo!

Of course there is always something new to see – the flash of a kingfisher (my favourite bird I think) or a beautiful view; a gorgeous tree or the comical antics of some young ducks.

Captured a flash of a kingfisher flying by
Then found it on this rock
Then managed to get another shot
This was my favourite though. Just wish I had a proper camera!
The tranquil view across the Bay
So good to see blossom!
Leaves and catkins bursting into bloom
Another gorgeous Wisteria by the water’s edge
So beautiful!
We love watching the antics of the ducks we come across
A group of juveniles stop by briefly at this feeding station made from an old door
These juveniles still had their yellow baby feathers on their head and necks!

On the first day of Ramadan we received the fright of our lives! Just as the Call to Prayer started at sunset there was an enormous explosion. It sounded as though a bomb had gone off! Our lovely Turkish neighbours laughed as we ran out to see what had happened and they explained the explosion was just a signal to the people in Finike that they could break their fast. Traditionally a cannon is fired but here the enormous bang seems to be made by a “whiz bang” rocket. The explosion never fails to make me jump – even though I’m expecting it – much to the amusement of our neighbours!

The evening ritual – our neighbours waiting for the “Big Bang”
…and they’re off! The plume of smoke from the rocket’s ignition still smoking

At least once a week I try to cook a new recipe – mostly trying to increase my repertoire of appealing vegetarian dishes.

red pepper (capsicum), tomato and bulgur wheat tray bake – yum!

This week it was a great choice – red pepper (capsicum), tomato and bulgur wheat tray bake with feta cheese from my sister Sarah’s second family cookbook. It was delicious!

The day usually closes with watching a movie or a couple of episodes from a TV series or reading one of many books we have purchased and stored electronically.

We love walking along the foreshore
More ducks having fun!
We have to cross this bridge over the canal on our walks along the beach
A dog enjoying the biscuits from the slot machine. We always try and put a few coins in.

And so ends another day of living on the marina in Finike, Turkey.

Cinderella your coach awaits!
A lovely stroll along the beach
I thought these looked rather scary!
The fishing boat harbour

Thank you Turkey! (Teşekkür ederim Türkiye!)

Anxiety levels during the time of Covid are high even amongst the most fortunate of us.

Jonathan and I feel exceptionally blessed to be on our boat in beautiful and fascinating Turkey. This week we feel doubly so, thanks to some generous and warmly given assistance we have received here in Finike with our application for a 12-month temporary residents visa.

“Sunday” tied up at Finike marina

Thanks first to Samet of Finike Yachting Shipping Agency who, after our unsuccessful attempt at making the initial on-line application, efficiently executed the process in just a few minutes and then magically had an appointment booked with the Turkish Immigration Department organised for just a few days later.

The online application form we filled in unsuccessfully

Samet then took us to Tarik’s car hire office and organised our transport. He also accompanied us to the Finike Marina Office to request an original copy of our marina contract.

To be honest after hearing from other yachties about having to get documents translated and the need to move between government departments in different parts of town, I felt quite anxious and wasn’t looking forward to this process at all.

It was therefore so helpful to have Samut’s advice and knowledge of exactly what the Immigration Office required. He just took all the stress away from getting everything organised!

View from the harbour wall
Finike from the marina

The day before we were to travel to Kemer for our appointment we heard that we would need to take a pink file to Immigration for all our documentation. We were reminded instantly of our disastrous attempts to find pink files on the island of Belitung in Indonesia when we were trying to extend our visas there. There wasn’t a pink folder to to be had anywhere on the island! In the end, we and our friends from S/V Yantara arrived with orange ones (being the nearest to pink we could find!) and despite their protests, the Immigration officials did allow us to use them!

Just before we started to head for the shops in Finike to search for pink files we received a visit from Seda who works at Tarik’s car hire/tourism company.

Tarik’s details

She asked us to bring our passports and a list of other documents to the office just outside the marina so Tarik, the owner, could check we had everything required. I went to the office with Seda and was surprised but delighted to see that they had very thoughtfully provided us with the necessary pink files.

The hardstanding at Finike marina

They checked all of our documents, took photo copies and arranged each one in the correct order in the file. Finally Tarik reminded me to bring the originals of all our documents and to be at the end of our dock at 8.40am where he would be waiting to drive us to Kemer – just over an hour’s drive along the coast from Finike.

The drive to Kemer was very pleasant

The whole process on the day went extremely smoothly thanks to Tarik who drove us there and walked us to the Immigration Office from the car park. He then drove us on to the Taxation Office and even went in to pay the fees on our behalf.

Lovely mountain views on the way to Kemer
In the very comfortable mini bus on the way to the Immigration Office in Kemer

We were driven back to the Immigration office to show the proof of payment and were issued with a receipt and even given our Visa numbers so we could organise (after a six-day wait) our Covid vaccinations without waiting for our official “Ikamet” (residency) cards to arrive.

There was loads of room!

We feel so grateful to Turkey for allowing us to stay as temporary residents in the country during these difficult times, especially as it’s virtually impossible to go back to our “home” country of Australia.

Waiting to be seen at Immigration

Flights to Australia are prohibitively expensive (think many thousands of dollars) if you can get on one that is. This, combined with the strong likelihood of flight cancellations and with two-weeks quarantine in a hotel at your own cost, has made our return problematical to say the least.

The tax office where we had to pay the visa fees

It is so comforting knowing that we have the certainty of having somewhere we can stay in our floating home for the immediate future.

The resident cat at the tax office

Huge thanks to Samet, Tarik (and Seda) for all their assistance. Other than paying for the car hire we were given all this invaluable help and support without any charge. We are so grateful!

That isn’t snow in the distance, the blanket of white is from the hundreds of plastic roofs of green houses – ubiquitous in Antalya

Another highlight of the week was a lovely pot luck dinner with Catie and Michael from S/V Alyse and Giles and Julia from S/V Elisabeth.

Enjoying a Covid safe pot luck dinner
Time to go home, it was getting chilly!

A visit from the beautiful (and massive) resident turtle in the marina was also exciting . What a magnificent creature!

A big old Loggerhead Turtle lives at the marina
Such a beautiful creature

We have explored Finike a little more, watched the snow slowly beginning to melt on distant mountains, and had more encounters with the friendly marina dogs.

Lots of snow on the mountains in the distance
The snow is gradually disappearing
Pas Pas (Mop) the most elderly canine marina resident
This handsome doggie loves lying in the sun
In the meantime, young Emma is always on the move

Cemal (Jamal), the technical manager at the marina and the hydraulic engineer came to look at our passarelle (gangplank) which is leaking hydraulic fluid.

Looking into our leak
Luckily despite the leak it still works

We also enjoyed going to the massive Tuesday market with Heather and Robert from S/V Amorgos Blue and Cate. We bought lots of delicious things to enjoy through the week.

The massive covered market
So much wonderful fresh fruit and vegetables (even the bananas are grown in Turkey)
Lots of wonderful nuts and dried fruits
Nuts anyone?
Buying some gorgeous dried apricots

Thank you Turkey for making us so welcome!

Ducks paddling furiously upstream

Drama as our anchor gets stuck and other stories

A stroll round the streets of Kaleköy (literally, Castle village) in the stunning enclosed bay of Kekova Roads, in Turkey, was a must before the dinghy trip back to our catamaran Sunday.

Strolling along the beach front in Kaleköy
There were of course, lots of steps in the village

We had just eaten our first meal out in a restaurant since December (and that was the first since the previous August) due to Covid restrictions. It felt ridiculously good!

We had a lovely wander round the village which clings to the hillside below the fortress

Feeling rather full we decided not to go all the way to the castle (more of a fort than a full-on castle) but we had a lovely wander round the village which clings to the hillside below.

Wasn’t sure if these berries were edible or not

Back on board Sunday we had an unexpected “flying” visit from David and Jaynee aboard Adventurous who were on their way to join their travel buddies on Imagine 2 – already anchored over the other side of Üçağız.

We had an unexpected “flying” visit from David and Jaynee aboard Adventurous

The next morning dawned still and warm and we had our first outside breakfast of the season which was really wonderful.

We woke up to this peaceful scene
Our first breakfast outside this season

At around 9 am we decided to haul the anchor and start our three hour trip to Finike marina.

Time to haul anchor

At first the anchor seemed to be coming up fine but soon it became apparent that we were very stuck. Had we become tangled up on a rock? Or had we snagged something on the ocean bed?

The village of Üçağız and the gulets perfectly reflected in the still water

After a bit of manoeuvring to see if we could disengage whatever we were caught on we decided that we needed to find out our exactly what we were up against.

Slowly, slowly we pulled up the chain in tiny increments to avoid stressing our anchor winch. Soon the anchor was near the surface and we could see what had happened. It was caught on what appeared to be a massive disused mooring chain. It was incredibly heavy!

On no! Our anchor was snagged!

How were we going to get it off? Drastic action was needed or we would be stuck in Kekova Roads for ever!

Drastic action was required to get this incredibly heavy chain off our anchor

We needed to tip the anchor somehow to get the massive chain to slide off. Captain Birdseye cleverly managed to thread a rope through the “loop” of the anchor using the boat hook. What next though? We obviously couldn’t use the anchor winch to tip the anchor on its side. We then hit upon the idea of tying the rope off on the cleat on the starboard bow so the anchor was held in position and as soon as we loosened it off it tipped and the huge chain slid back off into the water and we were free!

We needed to tip the anchor somehow to get the massive chain to slide off.
Captain Birdseye cleverly managed to thread a rope through the “loop” of the anchor using the boat hook
As soon as we loosened it he anchor off it tipped and the huge chain slid back off into the water and we were free!

Soon we were gliding along towards Finike where we were planning to stay for at least a month while we apply for a one year residency visa, look into the possibility of getting a Covid vaccination, make dental appointments, get a few boat jobs done and do some land travel.

As with the Kas-Kekova Roads leg there was no wind so we just switched on the engines and enjoyed the passing scenery – rock formations, the remains of earthquake-ruined ancient buildings and the village of Kaleköy with the fortress rising magnificently high above.

Soon we were gliding along towards Finike
The remains of earthquake-ruined ancient buildings
The village of Kaleköy with the fortress rising magnificently high above

Nestled snugly in a small bay we saw the superyacht M/V Never Say Never which apparently you can hire for a mere 6,000 euros a day!

M/V Never Say Never which apparently you can hire for a mere 6,000 euros a day

The three-hour trip passed quickly and soon we were radioing Finike Marina to let them know of our approach.

The three-hour trip passed quickly
Finike in the distance
Soon we were radioing Finike Marina to let them know of our approach

Our call was answered immediately and in no time at all we were being guided into the marina by two staff members in a dinghy.

We were guided into the marina by two staff members in a dinghy.
Heading for our berth on “B dock”

Everything went very smoothly and we were soon tied up and ready to check in. As we have signed a year’s contract with Setur Marinas in Finike we are able to stay in Finike at any time within that timeframe without any extra payment.

Ready to tie us up

Although we prefer to be anchored out it is great to know that we can also stay up to one month in any of the nine other Setur marinas for a total of four weeks each. An excellent thing if we need to leave the boat to visit family (Covid permitting), go land travelling or family and friends visit us. No more luggage transfers by dinghy!

Sunday nicely settled

After a warm welcome from Marina manager Barbaros and his staff at reception we wandered round to get our bearings and on the way acquainted ourselves with the marina dogs Emma ( just one year old and an affectionate and playful little dog) and the sweet, deaf but perky, 15 year -old Paspas (Turkish for Mop).

Meet Emma
She is the friendliest little dog
Paspas (Turkish for Mop) is deaf but very perky

That day and the day after, several people stopped at our boat to say “hello”. However, it was very difficult to see who they were as of course their faces were covered by a mask and often a hat too. It was a case of “guess the guest”.

No guessing needed with Paspas
A welcome cup of çay

Amazing what a small world it is – especially in yachting circles – one of our “callers” was Liz Colman from S/V Liberte who we last saw several years ago in the remote Andaman Islands. Others we had met more recently last year in Turkey. It is always such a delight to reconnect with people no matter how long you have known them or when you last met!

Liberte (third from left) who we had last seen in the Andamans

Donna from Intrepid Kiwi, who we met along with Ross last year very briefly in Gocek, kindly offered to take us on a bit of a tour round town, along with another recent arrival to Finike, Heather, from S/V Amorgos Blue.

Donna took us to three department stores (supermarkets that also sell everything from pots and pans to furniture), to hardware street (browsing heaven for Jonathan) and many other shops (my favourites were reminiscent of shops from my childhood that were “old fashioned” even then) and other various points of interest.

We really liked the old fashioned shops
Underwear anyone?
Everything neatly stacked in this shop which was reminiscent of my childhood
The mosque near “hardware street”

When we had our first and very quick visit to Finike last August we had found a fabulous baker’s shop where delicious bread of all kinds is made in a wood fired oven. So we were able to show Donna and Heather this wonderful place and of course we all purchased supplies to take back to our boats.

You can just see the glow of the wood fired oven – the smell was amazing!
Heather from S/V Amorgos Blue buying bread supplies
Fresh out of the oven and still warm

The bakers is at one end of short covered laneway and the rest of the space is taken up with a fishmongers and a cafe/restaurant. Having walked our feet off we decided to take the weight off and have a hot drink. Two of us had delicious cappuccinos and the other two had çay – one “normal” and the other herbal, also declared “very good”.

The roof of the covered laneway
The fishmongers opposite the cafe/restaurant
Jonathan keeping his hands warm
Coffee time!

When we arrived in the marina we saw that the bowl at the bottom of the machine installed by a pet food company on the dock was empty. We all put one Turkish Lire (about 15 cents Australian or 10 Euro Cents) in the slot and for each coin a handful of dried animal food was delivered to the bowl. Such a great idea to feed the many local homeless cats and dogs!

The machine installed by a pet food company on the dock

Before going back to our boats we called into the boatyard to meet Donna’s delightful rescue kittens Huey and Louie. As we entered the yard Donna called out to them and they came scampering up, jumping like dogs trying to get picked up by her.

Huey and Louie
Donna getting a cuddle

During the week we caught up on all the normal “housework” as well as a few boat “projects” such as re-doing some old sealant in the galley that did not reach Capt’n Birdseye’s (or my) standards. He also did a great job replacing bathroom taps that had tarnished over the years with brand new shiny ones!

Good work happening in the galley
It looks much neater now
The old taps were quite tarnished
One of the shiny new ones

One afternoon I wandered down our dock to say hello to Australians Jill and Shelley on S/V Eucalyptus. I had “met” Jill on an non-sailing related Facebook page (any other Chat 10 Looks 3 members out there?) so it was great to meet at last.

View from the marina. The white in the centre top of the photo is snow not clouds!

As the week wore on we met a quite a number of Finike marina residents – most of who had wintered over there but some newer arrivals too.

Meeting some of the longer term marina residents at a dock party

At a Friday night dock party we met a crowd of new people, amongst them were Roland and Dagmar a German/Swiss couple with three children. Roland very gallantly offered to go up our mast to fix the anchor light which had recently stopped working.

Roland going up our mast
His eldest son Florian helps with the safety line

When he got up there he found a loose connection and was able to fix it straight away which was absolutely fantastic!

When Roland got up to the top he found a loose connection
View from the top of the mast
Letting Roland down slowly
The rest of the family watch and wait

One of the absolute highlights of the week was a delightful visit from a rare Mediterranean monk seal. Apparently the population of this breed is estimated at less than 700 in the world and a group of around 100 of them live on the coastline of Turkey.

Can you spot the Mediterranean Monk Seal basking in the sun?

We were really fortunate to see this gorgeous creature especially as – after sunning itself some way from the dock and boats – it slowly swam right up to Sunday and came to literally an arm’s length away from me! After spending some minutes with me the seal swam sedately out of the marina.

The seal came right to our boat but I only have video of it. Here it is next door

What a fantastic welcome to Finike Marina!

The seal eventually swam sedately out of the marina
What a fantastic welcome to Finike Marina!

Hauling anchor – freedom! But wait. Stopped by Coastguards – twice!

We had a lovely last weekend in Kas with the crew of Polykandros, starting with a wonderful picnic in the grounds of the small Hellenistic theatre just outside the town.

Luca “posing” at the ancient theatre in Kas
Such a lovely place to meet

To get there we first took the dinghy to the very wobbly jetty near a fisherman’s ramshackle hut. We scrambled up the slope, skirting past the very noisy cockerel who was defending “his girls” by puffing out his feathers and crowing at the top of his voice while the hens pottered about scratching at the earth – totally unconcerned.

S/V Sunday in Kas anchorage (right of photo). The Hellenistic Theatre is just over the hill to the left. Photo courtesy of Yvette Jiang
Not much left of the picnic!

At the top of the slope we crossed over the road and found one of the paths that criss cross the hill which rises above the anchorage. As we walked we saw the remains of (more) ancient Lycian tombs, lots of very old and knarled olive trees and a huge array of glorious wild flowers. Spring has definitely sprung in Turkey!

S/V Sunday from the road
There are Lycian tombs everywhere in Kas
The wild flowers are just beautiful
The first poppy we have come across this year
There were so many wild flowers that Nina made some fabulous headdresses
Silke with her headdress

At the theatre we were introduced to fellow yachties Yvette and Martin and their son Jason from S/V Pisces 2. They had recently been in Finike Marina but first met the Whittaker family in Athens, at the Alimos Marina, shortly after we had escaped lockdown there, last June.

We met Yvette (in middle) and Martin (not pictured) from S/V Pisces 2 at the picnic (photo courtesy of Tim and Silke)

Later that day we had a last evening with the Polykandros crew. Fortunately the weather was very calm, unlike during the previous week, and we were able to sit outside and enjoy watching the almost full moon rise over the hills.

Watching the almost full moon rise
Our artist manikin – dressed in crochet work by Nina
A rare photo of Tim (he’s usually the one behind the lens)
A last cuddle with Ship’s Dog Lucy. And look – I got a headdress too!
A group shot before the Whittakers left (photo credit Tim Whittaker)

The following day was departure day for both boats but sadly in completely different directions. Polykandros was heading up the coast towards Fetiye while Sunday was going the other way, making for the Setur Marina in Fineke.

Departure morning – the reflections show how still it was

The morning was absolutely still – not a ripple in the water nor the slightest whisper of a breeze – so still in fact, that the yachts in the marina and the hills behind were perfectly reflected in the water. It was stunningly beautiful.

The yachts in the marina and the hills behind were perfectly reflected in the water
It was a stunningly beautiful morning

Luca had left his cap on board the previous night so we arranged to hand it over to him on our boat hook as Polykandros made a farewell “lap of honour” round Sunday.

Getting the anchor up on Polykandros
Luca’s cap at the ready for handover

It was really sad to say goodbye again so quickly but we will catch up again for sure.

Luca preparing to grab his hat
Yep, he got it!
Bye bye lovely Lucy
Farewell to the Whittakers

Later that day we also hauled anchor and left for the short three-hour trip to Kekova Roads – approximately the half way point to Finike.

And we’re off

We hadn’t been out on the water for more than 15 minutes before we were stopped by the Coastguard (border control) boat.

The Coastguards ask us to stop

It was a little unnerving waiting for the officers to give us the OK to leave. Had we transgressed a new rule? Were we on some kind of “banned” list? After checking our passports, ship’s papers and our transit log and spending an inordinate time on the phone checking with who knows what government department, we were sent on our way but not before a vital piece of paper came loose from the folder and blew away!

Jonathan receiving the man overboard victim

“Man overboard” I cried and while Capt’n Birdseye quickly untied the rope holding the coastguard’s boat, I kept my eyes trained on the errant piece of paper. Fortunately the coastguards were able to retrieve it and it was soon drying on our draining board!

We had a very pleasant motor to Kekova Roads – there wasn’t a breath of wind so we didn’t bother getting sails up.

A typical scene in Kekova Roads

Arriving back at Kokova was such a pleasure- we had last been there almost seven months ago and at that time this lovely spot had been very busy with lots of gulets and other tourist boats, cruising yachts and charter vessels.

Not another boat in sight

This time as we motored past Kokova island through one of the three entrances to this glorious and enormous fiord-like bay, we saw just one solitary fishing boat – such magic!

Until we met this solitary fishing boat

Under leaden skies we meandered along – past rocky islets with ruins on them, random craggy rocks and then the commanding Byzantine Castle built high up on a hill to fight pirates!

Under a leaden sky we pass rocky islets with ruins on them
The commanding Byzantine Castle built high up on a hill to fight pirates

We entered the anchorage outside the little village of Üçağız through the all-important port and starboard markers. There are so many rocks lurking under the water that much caution has to be taken!

The port and starboard markers indicating the way in

Safely anchored opposite the remains of what was once the ancient Lycian port town of Teimiussa, we were visited by another couple of Coastguards who once again wanted to examine our paperwork and made more phone calls.

Here we go again!

The chief pointed to our Turkish courtesy flag and shook his head tut-tutting. “New, you need new”. We looked up and sheepishly agreed. It was looking very faded and rather tatty!

Some time later the Coastguards depart
Our rather tatty and faded flag!

That night we enjoyed a long sundowner while we watched the full moon rise in all its glory.

What a gorgeous moon!
Moonbeams sparking on the water

It felt really good to be tying up at the wonderful fish restaurant on the quayside of Üçağız belonging to Hassan although sadly it was all closed up and none of the family appeared to be around.

One of the main streets of Üçağız

Wandering through the tiny streets it was a pleasure to see the village hadn’t been spoilt like so many others have by the growth in tourism. Sure, there were some restaurants and guest houses but nothing has been built to spoil the charming rustic character of the place.

Nothing has been built to spoil the charming rustic character of the place
Lemon season is here!
Spring is here!
Üçağız is still a fishing village at heart
More fishing boats

It was surprising to see how many ancient tombs were dotted around the village – often used as shelters for the local chickens and others just occupying random spots in the car park, people’s gardens and in laneways.

Ancient tombs were dotted all around the village
Some of the tombs were used by chickens for shelter
These tombs were right next to people’s homes

Before long, we had come to the end of the “modern” village and following a pathway that went cheek by jowl to the front door of the last cottage, we found our way to the ruins of Teimiussa.

Sunday at anchor in front of the ruins of Teimiussa
Little is known about these ruins

Apparently very little is known about these ruins but inscriptions on the tombs indicate they could date back as far as the 4th century BC.

Could these be fortifications?
Inscriptions on the tombs indicate they could date back as far as the 4th century BC.

There are ruins of a necropolis, but no city walls or other major structures – possibly these could have been damaged by earthquakes and just slipped into the sea.

The tombs are made from local limestone
Me – amongst the tombs of Teimiussa

The tombs are absolutely magnificent – made from local limestone, many have been carved into the cliffs but others have been carefully placed on site with stone wedges to level them up. Without exception, these tombs have been robbed – this must have been a problem even in the ancient times, since many of the tomb inscriptions are apparently curses against desecrators!

Many of the tomb inscriptions are apparently curses against desecrators
Jonathan examining some of the tombs
Wondering if the compass carved into this one means it was built for a sailor

It was poignant to see the holes ruthlessly bashed into the sides of tombs and lids “dangling” half on and half off with just enough room for a robber to reach in and snatch jewellery and other precious items belonging to the long dead.

The hole bashed in the tomb wall in order to steal its valuables is just visible in this (not very good) photo
The lid removed just enough to reach in to steal its contents
Definitely no body in this one!
One of the tomb lids just cast away to the ground

The day was still young so we made our way back through the village and hopped aboard our dinghy for a little ride around.

A beautiful green lizard sunning itself on the rock
On the dinghy and getting closer to the rocky islets

The good captain suggested that we should go for lunch in the village of Kaleköy so we puttered over to the small harbour that lies in the shadow of the castle fortress.

The fortress at Kaleköy
The village of Kaleköy under the shadow of the castle

There was only one restaurant open so that’s where we went!

The restaurant had been patronised by sailors from many different countries
Our dinghy tied up at the pier

This was the first proper meal out for months (because of Covid lockdowns) so we really enjoyed ourselves. It felt like such luxury to be eating at a table in the sun, with a crisp cotton tablecloth and an ice cold beer (our first this year!) in frosty glasses straight from the fridge.

We so enjoyed sitting in the sun with cold beers
Mmm delicious hand cut chips

Calamari, hand cut chips and a beautiful salad never tasted so good!

It tasted so good
We decided to forgo the dessert, not sure that “sweat” sounds that appealing!

Near gale force winds and red rain!

It was an eventful few days! Some great things, some not so great.

On Sunday we entertained aboard S/V Sunday for the first time in seven months – one of the good things that happened!

Lovely to get out Jonathan’s Christmas gift from our daughter and son-in-law (the decanter) and give it a work out!
It felt very strange entertaining after months of no shared meals.

Our guests were the crews from Polykandros (who we spent three months in lockdown with at Alimos Marina, Athens) and A B Sea who we met only recently at Kas marina.

Lucy was enjoying her cuddles but the nibbles looked more exciting!

By coincidence (but not entirely surprising as the live-aboard yachting community is a very small world) the Whittakers from Polykandros and Aannsha and Baz from A B Sea already knew each other so it was a very cosy and enjoyable night.

The delicious lemon drizzle cake made by Silke and decorated by Luca and Nina
It was a very cosy dinner

Just as everyone was leaving, the weather suddenly started to change for the worse. Fortunately everyone got back to their boats safely but as the night drew on it became quite nasty with winds blowing up hard. Definitely one of the not so great things that happened.

Soon after they arrived back the crew on Polykandros had to reanchor as they were stretched out on their anchor chain and were perilously near rocks. By this time the wind was really howling and the weather and darkness made reanchoring very challenging.

We stayed up on anchor watch until 1.30 am but went to bed with our iPad open at an anchor watch app and slept fitfully for a few hours.

At 4.30am we were woken up by the sound of roaring like an express train – the wind was now raging at 50 knots, gusting at 70 knots. The noise was really quite scary. Around 5.30 a big gust seemed to take us rather too close for comfort to another yacht on a fixed mooring so we hoisted our anchor and moved to a spot far away from other boats or any other hazards!

Checking the wind speed, anchor placement etc as dawn breaks

We were safely reanchored just as the dawn call to prayer boomed out on the crackly sound system belonging to the main mosque. I have never before been so glad to hear this call signalling that the sun was about to come up!

We stayed on board all of the next day and reanchored again in a better and more comfortable spot as more wild weather was predicted. Fortunately that night, although windy, it was not nearly so bad as the previous one – although we did wake up a couple of times when a “bullet” went through.

Storm? What storm?!

The following morning the sky looked extremely threatening – massive and angry looking clouds with a distinct reddish tinge were building above the hills surrounding Kas.

The sky turned a very threatening colour

Having just cleaned the decks from the last red dust rainfall we weren’t looking forward to seeing what was about to eventuate.

You could see those clouds contained something more than rain!

Then the skies opened spreading sticky red dust all over the boat. The red sand had been carried on the wind all the way from the Sahara Desert. This fall was much worse than the last one!

And down it came – dirty red rain

Not only did it stain everything it landed on, the red sand apparently also carried various poisonous substances we didn’t like the sound of including lead, zinc, chromium, vanadium, arsenic and nickel! Not exactly cool refreshing rain!

Nasty red sand stains everywhere
The red sand apparently also carried
various poisonous substances we didn’t like
the sound of

We had to cancel our dinner date aboard Polykandros that night as it was just too risky. The normally smooth calm waters were whipped into a frenzy every time the wind blew up and we didn’t want to get in the dinghy in that sort of weather.

The sand had been carried on the wind all the way from the Sahara Desert
Ugh what a mess

The following day we had a very pleasant morning tea on Polykandros – the Whittaker’s had moved to the marina for a few days to recover from their terrible night during the first storm.

Photograph of Polykandros courtesy of Tim Whittaker showing the wild weather – even in the marina!

Later that day we started the clean up from the “red rain”. Arghh what a mess!

Before and after phot!
Our cockpit table was filthy!
Cleaning up the dinghy after the red rain

We had a lovely time at the Friday markets with the Whittakers – it was great having helpers to pick out the eggs and choose the best looking strawberries.

Lovely to have helpers at the market – choosing eggs in this photo
So many wild herbs and greenery
Big wheels of butter on sale
Getting to know a friendly dog at the market
The range of nuts was exceptional
One stall even had nettles for sale

While at the market we met an interesting dive boat captain at one of the vegetable stalls. His name was Levant and he gave us the recipe for a delicious soup called Tamini with fresh garlic, celeriac, leeks and mange tout (snow peas). Or maybe his name was Tamini and he came from Levant or perhaps that was the soup? Anyway, I have now made it and it was really delicious (I added a good squirt of lemon juice, a stock cube and some noodles!)

Love these Turkish cotton dressing gowns!
The Levant-Tamini soup – delicious
Despite the wild weather there were moments of calm – Polykandros back on the water after a few days in the marina (taken from Sunday)

That afternoon Luca and Nina came over to Sunday to have their first drawing class with Jonathan since we left them in Athens. Luca did some amazing cartoons while Nina and Jonathan concentrated hard on drawing one of our “grand ducks” from our grandpet calendar made by our daughter-in-law Sarah in Brisbane, Australia.

Nina’s excellent sketch of our grand duck Affy

Once again the wind blew up suddenly around 6 pm just as Jonathan was about to drop Luca and Nina back to Polykandros (who was now at anchor once again). We were a bit concerned that they might be frightened but they seemed to relish the rocky ride home.

Never mind the weather, there was a lovely pasta sauce to enjoy with fresh vegetables from the market

Later that evening the sea calmed down and a beautiful full moon rose. A lovely end to a mixed bag of good and bad over the previous few days!

Sunday in the moonlight (courtesy of Tim Whittaker)

At anchor and a joyous reunion

Back on the boat again we spent a week settling back into the rhythm of life on board. The days were filled with reorganising everything – finding homes for winter clothes, rearranging linen and towels, restocking the pantry, reinstalling the water maker, getting the sails back on, scrubbing the decks and fenders, cleaning and reinstalling the outside window covers and catching up with washing and “indoor” housework.

Getting those sails back on

The beautiful mild weather we had been enjoying during the first week here in the delightful harbour town of Kas, Turkey, had turned to much cooler weather with high winds and lots of rain, interspersed with occasional sunny spells.

The threatening sky on our first night aboard
Hmm that’s what was in that big black cloud
But there’s always a rainbow to cheer you up
And then the sunshine and blue skies are back for a while

We were fortunate to be moored on Arm C of the marina. – very close to the supermarket which was very handy as there were quite a lot of heavy items that we needed to restock.

The supermarket at the end of our “arm”
Dumping our bottles in the recycling bins on arm “C”

The downside of being at the end of this particular arm was that it was in direct line with a vicious wave pattern whipped up by the high winds that caused Sunday – a Lagoon 420 catamaran – to pitch and twist on her lines.

Hard to photograph the conditions but believe me it was wild !

The first night that Sunday was in the marina we stayed in the apartment that we had hired and the following morning we arrived to find some marina employees hard at work making repairs to the decking on our arm. It seems the bucking and twisting on Sunday’s lines had caused a couple of bolts to sheer overnight. It sure was rough on the end of “C” arm!

It sure was rough on Arm “C”

We had to rearrange our lines and add a couple more to provide more stability and stop Sunday moving around quite so strenuously.

Bad weather coming from the other way now!

Having recently stayed quite a few months on and off with our daughter and son-in-law who follow a plant based diet made us think more about trying to eat much less meat in our diet. This has meant all my go-to meat based staple meals had to go and I needed to establish a new repertoire.

Captain there’s a leek, and it’s a big one!
Learning to blanche almonds as we couldn’t find them here in Kas

So I have introduced meals for the winter months such as vegetarian versions of Chilli Con Carne, Shepherds Pie and South Indian Coconut Curry and also added new recipes like Turkish style Ratatouille and Almond, Aubergine and cauliflower Balti. All highly delicious, nutritious and easy to make. Plus we have enjoyed the new textures and flavours. Each week I will be trialling a few new recipes to see how we like them.

Aubergine and Cauliflower Balti coming up (recipe courtesy of my sister Sarah’s cook book part II)

Once again we loaded up with vegetables, fruit, eggs, fresh herbs and lovely spices at the Friday markets and even bought a wooden pestle and mortar to crush spices with. Of course we stopped for Gozleme – cheese and spinach and banana and honey this time – delicious!

Half of this gozleme had disappeared before I remembered to take a photo!

Between food shopping and boat jobs we also had some great walks around the town – revisiting places we had discovered previously as well as visiting an ancient temple (the original building was 1st century AD and later additions were from the 3rd Century) for the first time.

The tallest mast in the marina
Some of the beautiful wooden gulets (tourist boats) on the hard being refurbished