Not quite snow yet, but nearly there. We arrived late Tuesdy back in Vancouver and it has been non stop since we landed. Lots of catch up time with the kids who are both doing really well. Edwin is still working at Finest At Sea managing their Granville location, and enjoys taking every opportunity he can to get up to the slopes to snowboard and film. Amy is in the midst of taking exams at UBC and still works part time at Show Case. We are off to Sun Peaks ski resort, where we have rented a place for the season, on Thursday. As Amy has to work boxing day we are coming back for Xmas for about five days and hope to catch up with more people then. Let us know if you are around. We will return to the interior after boxing day with the kids.
It feels like a long time ago since we were in Marmaris, but it has only been a couple of weeks. Time sure can fly by. Our last six weeks there were very busy getting Ta-b ready for the winter and also for our big trip next year. We have decided it is time to move back to the Caribbean and will leave Turkey next May. It will be with very heavy hearts as we have come to love the country and feel very much at home there.
Our plan is to sail up to Venice as fast as possible, grabbing the favourable winds via the Greek Islands and the Corinth Canel so we will hopefully be there before the end of June. It will be busy whenever we are there, but we have been told that July-September are when the tourists are to be avoided. We have a few other boats that we are going to cruise with and the idea is that we will then move down through Croatia and Montenegro in July before we have to start heading west.
So Ta-b is getting the "full monty" in preparation for crossing the pond again. Russell has been up and down the mast about 8 times inspecting the rigging, cleaning, oiling, taking off instruments and double/triple checking everything. Our to do" list is being added to and thankfully some of the items are being crossed off slowly. We now have new cockpit cushions, tender seat and helm seat - all looking quite smart. A carpenter has also helped us redo our cockpit table and galley floor which has always been an eye sore.
Time in Marmaris is not all work as there is always a fun group of liveaboards to reconnect and make new friends with. The weather stayed warm and sunny up until we departed when we worked out that we had had eight months with only a few days of rain - pretty amazing we thought. It stayed kind to us on our landtrip up to Istanbul although as we headed north so it became cooler and cooler.
The buses in Turkey are fantastic and we had a very good trip to Selcuk where we spent two nights in a delightful family run hotel in the center of town. Ephesus, just out of town, certainly lived up to it's reputation and was bigger than we had expected. It used to be a port, but is now silted up and six miles from the sea, however during the 1st centry BC it had a population of more than 250,000 making it one of the largest cities in the Mediteranean world. It is known for its theatre, which was capable of holding 25,000 spectators (38 meters high) and also the library of Celsus. The library was built to store 12,000 scrolls and served as a monumental tomb for Celsus and is an incredible sight to see. The excavated terraced houses were also very impressive and are covered with protective roofing to protect the fantastic mosaics and frescos that they have uncovered. We thought we were ruined out, but Ephesus is a must if one ever visits Turkey. As is buying a rug that we did for the first time in Selcuk - what a terrific experience, especially as we ended up with two (one for my brother's 60th birthday present) for less than what one would have cost elsewhere. Yes we bargained VERY hard.
After a few days it was off to Gallipoli, again by the wonderful bus system. An emotional day was spent visiting the sights on the peninsula where thousands had perished, many so unnecessarily, while learning all about the history of Anzac Day. The campaign during the First World War to capture Constantinople (such a lovely name, one I prefer to Istanbul), which was won by the Turkish, lead to the foundation of the Republic of Turkey eight years later under Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, himself a very successful commander at Gallipoli. Ataturk is revered in Turkey, every business/home has a picture of him and there are statues of him everywhere with huge ones in each town square. I love the plaque he made for all the soldiers who died (see photo gallery).
We stayed in Bakirkoy overlooking Marmara Denizi in Istanbul with Desmond and John "Awaatea", as Desmond has rented an awesome apartment there for four months. Wandering around the marina and exquisite malls close by was quite the eye opener, one even had a huge fountain which every half hour did a display like the Bellagio in Las Vegas. We suddenly realized we were back in midst of commercialism, a weird feeling after so long.
We arrived in England to sunshine, but boy was it cold. Jamie's 60th was a fantastic evening and we were able to catch up with many friends that we had not seen in a while. We partied all weekend as many people had come from afar for a few days and we were also able to see all of my family, so a memorable event. I also managed a few visits to my mum; she was on good form, such a blessing as she is not at all well.
So now we are into the build up for Christmas, and on that note, before I sign off I would like to wish everyone a very merry Xmas and a wonderful New Year - stay happy and healthy, hugs to you all, love Jane.
10/28/2012, Marmaris, Turkey
It was with heavy hearts that we left the Gocek/Fethiye area of Turkey. We felt that summer was starting to come to an end as we made our way to Marmaris even though the weather was still gorgeous.
We spent a few days at Yat Marine connecting with old friends before we left Ta-b to spend a couple of weeks in England. We had a family wedding to go to and also a friend's 60th. My cousin Alex's wedding was fantastic and luckily the rain did not arrive until we were settled in at the reception. We stayed at a lovely pub in Hind's Head and it was wonderful to get together with so many of our family there. Then it was off to see Alex and June "Sonsy Lass" in Cardiff and we had a great time catching up. They live in a delightful town called St. Fagans and we had a lovely sunny day at St. Fagans castle and grounds. From there we headed down to Exeter and Plymouth before meeting up with Peter "Excellence" for his (and Russell's - they are kind of twins) birthday. We had an excellent evening with several friends, a fun way to celebrate together.
Our next port of call was Salcombe to visit Caroline and Simon who have recently built an eco house. Their new home is fantastic and we had a great couple of days exploring the local area. I used to spend summers in Salcombe as a child and luckily it does not seem to have changed much. Devon is a stunning area with delightful single lane (high walled) roads, little towns and a fascinating coastline.
It was not far to go back to Dittisham for Peter's 60th birthday partly. A group of us from the EMYR rally were there, so there was a lot of reminising while we ate, drank and danced the night away. Dittisham is a charming village on the river Dart and the next day a large group of us went on a boat trip down to Dartmouth which Peter had arranged. We last visited Dartmouth and Dittisham on our first boat Waatea, so the area holds special memories for us. Definitely one of our favorite spots in England.
The last few days in England were spent back in Poole where my brother Jamie lives. It feels like one of our homes (with Ta-b and Vancouver we have a few) and we always enjoy our time there and my mum is in a home close by so we were able to visit her each day.
Our plan on getting back to Ta-b was to go off for a week, but the marina had a jumble/BBQ that we wanted to sell some of our stuff at so we stayed put for a few days. Then the weather started to change. We have had two fronts come through with another expected in the next day or two, so we have had a bit of everything and have decided to stay put and slowly get the "to do" list done and get Ta-b ready for the winter. We are due to fly out of Istanbul on 28 November and plan to drive up there, seeing some of the sites we have not yet seen on our way.
Whilst we were in Cyprus we headed down to the southern Greek side where we had a wonderful four days with our friends Jim and Elaine of "Jenna", who very kindly lent us one of their cars so we could explore the area. It is very different from the north, the Greeks have been spending lots of money (yup our taxes) on the infrastructure, it is cleaner, newer, more touristy and a lot more expensive, even property is twice the price. We wonder if the two sides will ever become one, it is hard to imagine.
Back in northern Cyprus we spent a very interesting evening with David and Kathy of "Mashona" with their friends from Israel before returning to Ta-b. We had to delay our departure because of a public holiday long weekend, but it was worth it as we were treated to a spectacular air display that went right over Ta-b which broke the sound barrier as it did its aerobatics - wow nearly blew our eardrums off!! We also enjoyed the fireworks, and the navy who all stood on the decks to salute as they left the harbour.
We have never experienced heat like we did in Cyprus. Luckily we were at anchor most of the time where it was approx. 40 degrees by mid day and the water was a cool 33 degrees. On land apparently it was up to 45 degrees. So we were happy to leave the heat and head back to Turkey. We had a good sail most of the way to Alanya where we anchored off the marina, we were the only boat at night, but it was crazy during the day with all the gullets/pirate boats. After checking back into Turkey we linked up with Nev and Sarah of "TaraLee", provisioned up, watched the opening of the Olympics, and then took off again for the ancient city and harbour of Side. A bit touristy, but a fun place to spend a few days.
Next stop was Tekirova a fantastic spot to anchor and explore the ruins of Ancient Phaselis. Yes we are nearly ruined out, but not quite. The backdrop of the mountains was stunning, the snorkeling was fantastic and and at night we were the only boats there with "TaraLee". From there we went to Cineviz before heading into Ucagiz in Kekova Roads. What a delightful spot with restaurants all along the front for us to enjoy. At 15 TL for bream or bass with salad and chips, it was a no brainer (about $7) and the restaurant also does a free water taxi service.
Kekova Roads is an area under a preservation order. The site contains preserved ruins, above and below water, of numereous ancient Lycian settlements and tourism has remained fairly low key apart from the daily boat trips. The small village of Kalekoy is dominated by a castle which is worth the hike as the views were spectacular. We spent quite a few weeks exploring the many anchorages in the area including Karaloz, Sicak, and Gokkaya Limani where we had a lovely little bay all to ourselves which we shared with 2-4 turtles. We met up with "KintuKani" and "TynaTwo" and enjoyed a 66th birthday party ashore, the Turkish love to party and made a big cake and we ended up dancing the night away with the locals. We also took some old friends from England out for the day, we shared our favorite spot Aperlai with them. Mustafa put on a lovely lunch for us over the water, after we had walked and swam over the ruins in Asar Bay.
In Kas we caught up with lots of old friends. There is a fantastic market on Fridays and a delightful bay opposite called Bayindir Limani to anchor. There is a fantastic restaurant/beach in the SE corner where we tied up for a night, watered up and enjoyed a lovely dinner. Kas is a charming town and we had some great days and nights out. We can understand why quite a few of our friends have chosen this spot to winter over.
While we were in Kas we also spent some time over at the Greek island of Kastelorizo. Lots of charm as all the Greek islands have, but a tad expensive. We were also invited over to Kalkan for a night to stay with Vicky and her friends who we had had on the boat in Kekova. The house that she had rented was amazing, two pools, hot tub, media room, gym and stunning view - we felt like VIPs and had a fantastic evening with them in town.
It was now time to move on and leave this stunning area. After spending a few days in Kalkan, a delightful little town although a tad touristy with lots of English, we picked up our friend Derek and made our way to Gemiler and St. Nicholas Island (yes Father Xmas). We were surprised at how busy the area was, but still enjoyed ourselves and before we left had a fun meal ashore at Karacaoren where the snorkeling was great off the reefs.
Fethiye was our next stop where Derek left us to go to Marmaris and we spent time anchored off Yacht Classic Hotel/Marina. What a great place, they allow boaties to use their facilities and have a small dock where boats are only charged a minimal amount as long as they have dinner at their restaurant. Here we met up with Robin and John of p"Panthera" who we had not seen since Italy and their friends Alex and Ruth off "Lucky Lady Lucy". Being New Zealanders we all got together with "Awatea" to watch the Tri Nations rugby and ended up as a large group in the evening, along with our friends Shirley and Andrew "Amazing", at the fish market. Fethiye is known for its fish market, not only do they sell great fish, but they cook it. For 6TL per person ($3) you buy your fish and then take it to one of the many restaurants around the market who cook it and serve it with salad, bread/chips and special house sauces. Where else can you do that and at such a crazy price I wonder?
The sailing around Fethiye and Gocek is fantastic. The wind always comes up by noon and we have had some wonderful trips back and forth across the bay. So far it has always died down at night and we have enjoyed several anchorages with friends. The highlight a few days ago was our friend from Cape Town, Andre's 60th birthday; which we celebrated at Yacht Classic with about 7 other boats. We had cocktails and appertisers on "Kintukani", dinner at the restaurant and finally nightcaps of some South African liquor. A memorable evening for everyone and a fun EMYR reunion.
I have gone on a bit, well it has been a long time since our last blog I suppose.
The gallery pictures will tell you more with their captions - enjoy.
07/15/2012, Girne Cyprus
After the EMYR finished we decided to leave Ta-b in Herzilya's marina (really cheap) and go walk about as we wanted to spend some time in Jordan and Jerusalem/Bethlehem.
There are only three crossings into Jordan, we bused south to Eiat on the Red sea as it is easiest to cross from Israel. It was weird crossing on foot through no man's land, but it was certainly quiet and quick as we only saw two other couples. We did not see much of the Red sea as we wanted to get to the Wadi Rum desert, the home (and movie) of Lawrence of Arabia, which we had heard so much about. It was stunning, deep red with huge mountains/rocks everywhere amongst the desert. We had a jeep to ourselves with two guides and spent a magical evening in a Bedouin camp with one other Italian family. The Bedouins were charming and we had lovely evening under the stars listening to their music, drinking the sweet sage tea everyone consumes in great quantities, and learning about their lives.
From Wadi Rum we bused up to Petra and stayed at a gem of a hotel (thank you trip advisor). It had a ton of character with a lovely pool, and turkish bath which helped get rid of any leftover red desert sand. We spent the afternoon exploring ancient Petra, ranked the eighth wonder of the world and justifiably so - it is magnificent, my pictures do not do it justice. We also went in the evening when they have it lit by candle lights, a very special event. The next day we hiked up to the monastry (quite the hike, most people seemed to go by donkey) which gave us the most spectacular views and then covered what we had missed the day before.
We also met a great guy called Raami, whose mother from New Zealand, met and married a Bedouin from Petra in 1978. She lived with him in a two thousand-year-old cave carved into the red rock hillside, learned Arabic and gave birth to three children. We bought her book which tells her extraordinary story, sadly she was away visiting family in New Zealand so we were unable to meet her.
From Petra we went to Amman via the Kings Highway visiting Shobak Castle and the Mosaic Maps in Madaba, and then onto Jerash, one of the largest and well preserved sites of Roman architecture in the world outside Italy. We thought the Italians were crazy drivers, but in Jordan everyone is on their cell phone, they do not mark the two way roads and so everyone makes them three, kids hang out of windows, they use their horns the whole time, it is wild!!
We decided to cross back into Israel from Amman, it was a bit chaotic, but we were in Jersaleum by lunchtime and were able to check into our hotel early. We stayed at the four star YMCA International, just by Jaffa gate in the old town, a fabulous building with terrific food which we would highly recommend. We ended up staying there four nights, as three was not enough! I think we covered most of the main sights, there were some great tours, and we ended up spending a whole day in the Holocaust Museum, an emotional, but fascinating experience. We also went to Bethlehem in Palestine so are totally holied out - 180 different religious churches in a very small area. For the same cost as a tour we hired a driver and guide and went in the back entrance, not even having to show our passports at the check point. Apparently it can take up to an hour with a regular tour to get across - weird.
Back on the boat we reflected on our time spent in Israel and Jordan. Taking politics and religion aside. Firstly we did not realise how small Israel is, most of it being on the coast. We were also interested to learn that they all go into the military after they leave school - men for 3 years and women for 2 years. Certainly not a bad thing as we saw no lazy slobs around, just proud healthy fit youngsters, although it must be hard to be on standby the whole time as after they finish they get put into the reserves. We found Israel to be a rightfully proud, tolerant and resourceful country with very friendly people. The changes they have made since 1948 are incrediable, they have reclaimed a huge amount of the desert with their recyling of water from the north and are now able to support the country totally with local produce. They have restored most of the old buildings and their infrastructure and new buildings are well thought out. We think it is a lovely country.
Jordan was also delightful, however you could tell that only 100 years ago they all lived as Bedouins or farmers in their tents and caves. It was scruffier, dirtier and the cities just seemed thrown together. Most of the women (and men) were fully covered (they must cook in the heat) and donkeys, horses and camels were still a regular form of travel. They all seem to smoke and most are small and lean.
We found their langage easy to learn and especially enjoyed "moomooshkin" (no problem) and "Yallah" (lets go). Jordan is a stunning country and the people are so wonderful, we are glad we did not miss it.
So where are we now? Well a week ago we left Israel and sailed a couple of hundred miles back to Monastry Bay in Northern Cyprus to chill out. The EMYR should come with a health warning as our immune system is shot, both of us got what Russell affectionately calls the Jordan Jig while we were away travelling, although Russ much worse than me. What a way to Detox (difficult to get booze in Jordan) and get fit (walked/climbed up to 6 hours a day) and loose some of the weight we had put on. In Monastry we were at anchor for about four days swimming/snorkeling/exploring/reading/cleaning and catching up with chores. We have just arrived in Girne via an anchorage off Karpas Gate and are anchored off the marina. We plan to tie up for a few days, when we go off to explore the rest of the island, and are off to a BBQ at our Turkish friends tomorrow night. Sadly, even with our special discount, the cost is 60 euro a day reduced from 89 and that does not include electricity or water, so we will not be staying long!! Next stop Turkey.
07/13/2012, Girne Cyprus
So now onto the second half of the EMYR rally; which proved to be very hard work for the organisers so we really appreciated the way they looked after us. We were originaly going to go to Lebanon from Karpas Gate in Northern Cyprus, but our itinerary had to be changed as Lebanon wanted us to enter from Turkey instead (only an extra 140 nm or so ...). So off we went to Mersin, the furtherst East we got in Turkey. Yet again we were treated like VIPs and they put on the most spectacular evening for us including some local dancers who were fantastic.
Then, the day before we were due to sail to Jounieh in Lebanon, we were advised that the authorities could no longer welcome us because of the unrest in Syria. It was a real blow, especially as the rally for the second year in a row was missing out Syria and we had also travelled all the way back to Turkey. Two wonderful countries we sadly were not going to see. So it was with heavy hearts that we instead returned to Karpas Gate who kindly put us up again. The plan now was to leave Famagusta, on the south coast of Northern Cyprus, to go to Israel. A few of us decided to go to Monastry Bay for a few days instead of staying at Karpas Gate Marina. We ended up being six boats at anchor, a beautiful spot, and enjoyed a couple of great pot luck evenings together.
The sail from Famagosta to Haifa was 160 km and not having a lot of wind we motor sailed most of the way. It was strange to see so many other boats around us at night, and we hung back to keep out of everyone's way! It was interesting as we had to follow certain waypoints to keep the Israeli Navy happy, they asked us to check in once we were about 20 miles out and came alongside each boat for all our documents before we entered the harbour. The Carmel Yacht Club hosted our visit and somehow managed to fit all of us into their marina even though they only had five berths available!!
We were hosted to a cocktail party and walk along the reclaimed Kishon River by the club, on our first evening which was fascinating - it showed how we can, turn back the clocks, environmentally. The next day we were taken to Nazareth and Galilee, among other sites. The church in Nazareth was like a gallery with all different types of murals from various countries, Canada's was very original and done in wood, I could have spent a day there. Galilee was interesting with people being baptised in the River Jordan; which has water rats and huge mean looking catfish, I wouldn't have gone near the water, however holy the place is!!
That evening we were treated to a magical party at the Kishon River Park with a backdrop of Haifa's twinkling lights. We are the only Canadian boat on the rally this year out of 33 boats, and I was proud for the first time to hold the flag and make a speech - even though I was a tad nervous in front of all the local dignatories.
The next day we went to Akko, an ancient harbour city which had a stunning synagogue just outside of the old city with the most amazing mosaics recounting the history of the Jewish People. We loved Akko with its ancient crusader city being unearthed under the newer city, with its tunnels, vaulted ceilings and outside its cobbled streets and bazaars. That evening we were hosted by yacht club members to an evening in their homes, we had a delightful evening with Tamara and Giora Reder and their family. Then the following day we were shown around Haifa before our evening departure south for Ashkelon.
From Ashkelon we took a trip through the Judean Desert and Mountains to The Dead Sea; which being 400 meters below sea level is the lowest point on earth. It was quite the experience to float unsinkably on the highly saline water. We also visited Masada, Herod's mountaintop palace - quite the climb up, but luckily we got the cable car down. The morning before we were due to leave for Egypt I awoke to the distant sound of rumberling, but thought nothing of it until later. We had invited some Australians who were hitching a ride on another boat to join us for the leg down to Port Said, however by the afternoon our agenda was changing again as Egypt could no longer safely welcome us into Port Said, due to the unrest from the elections there, and it was decided that we would leave the following day for Herzilya instead. Sarah and Doug ended up staying on board with us until the end of the rally about a week later in Herzilya.
The locals in Ashkelon are used to living so close to Gaza (20 k away) and have recently got anti missles that are 95% accurate so we were told not to worry about the rumbling that I occasionally kept hearing. However, that evening we went out for dinner with some of our friends, and just as dinner was being served the sirens went off. I have never seen people jump up and move so quickly, it took us a second or two to cotton on, as about 50 people rushed to the back of the restaurant for the shelter that could probably only hold 10. Thankfully by the time we got there the sirens stopped and people were calmly going back to their tables. A couple of times we saw lights in the sky and once during the night the siren went again (not sure what we were supposed to do on our boat) Russ happily snored beside me and luckily it only went for about a minute. However, we were very happy to leave for Herzilya early the next morning - there's exciting, but that was a tad too much.
Herzilaya Marina was lovely, although on entering we got some garbage/rubbish around our starboard prop that Russ had to dive to sort out, and I had three spotters!! Sadly there is a lot of debris in the sea in the Eastern Med and we were the fourth boat in the rally to have had a problem. We were right beside a terrific beach where we did yoga and played rugby in the mornings with a huge mall with outside bars and restaurants to enjoy. Our last few days with the rally were a lot of fun, we had partied every night since the beginning and did not stop until the end when the marina put on our last formal dinner and dance - I think we got to bed at 4 am not wanting the party to end. We became a very close community and made some great friends. What a wonderful experience we had, we would recommend the EMYR to all our fellow cruisers, hopefully the countries we missed will open up soon and the number of participants will grow again, although sadly we do not think we will be visiting them in Ta-b as next year we plan to head west.
We started our adventure with the EMYR (Eastern Mediterrean Yacht Rally) at Marti Marina in Keci Buku. On leaving Marmaris we popped over to Rhodes in Greece to pick up a parcel of boat parts that we had sent from England (too difficult to send to Turkey) and although in transit we stayed the night as our new friend Nico was charging us next to nothing for his services and a berth and assured us that we would be okay to stay in Greece without checking in. We had a wonderful time exploring the old town and buying up goodies that we can't get in Turkey, including meat from the animal with the funny nose. Then a stop in Datca to visit the market, such a lovely village and a perfect place to regroup, before we joined the rally.
Keci Buku is a gem, with a backdrop of pine forests and a dolmus (bus) that goes regularily to Marmaris. We soon started meeting other boats and were treated to a fantastic party by the marina, with two live bands to help us dance the night away on the deck by the poolside. There are some delux rooms at the marina with their own private juccuzzis which we were temped to try out after midnight, but we held back (for once).
Our next stop was D Marine in Gocek, a 75 nm trip so a start of 0530 hrs and sadly we had to motor sail the whole way. Gocek is a delightful village and we were hosted a cocktail party by the marina so helping us to meet more of our rally friends. We have more than ten different nationalities; with a total group of thirty three yachts, and at each stop we are picking up more and more boats, with a few guest boats from previous years joining us for a leg or two. Sadly it is the smallest group for many years and the rumour is that we might be on the last one. Because of visas, political climate, entry and exit formalities it is becoming more and more difficult and the organisers have already had to work very hard this year. We have had to change our itinerary as boats can no longer go to Lebanon from North Cyprus. So we are having to return from North Cyprus to Turkey so we can sail to Lebanon; a trip of 180 nm which will be hard for many boats. Still the sailing community are a flexible group and everyone is looking after one another.
Next stop was Kas, definitely a place we will revisit after the rally with a big beautiful marina with a stunning swimming pool, which a few of us ended up in (fully dressed) at the end of the evening party they put on for us. While we were there we took a day trip to Xanthos the ruined capital of Lycia and now a World Cultural Heritage. We also visited Patara with its 12 km of white sandy beach and ruins, Saklikent gorge and picturesque Kalkan town. We also went to the small historic and pretty Greek island of Castellorizo just off Kas on a friends boat for mothers day lunch, a lot of fun with a group of about 20 including the marina manager and his family from Kas.
With no wind we motor sailed to Finike via Kekova Roads and its sunken city where we anchored for lunch. After lunch we noticed a burning smell and having turned off the engines we located a problem with our starboard motor. Interesting coming into a marina with only one engine so it was lucky the mariners were there to help. We had to go into Marmaris to pick up our residents permits the next day, but with the help of another boatie we organised for our starter motor to be fixed and our spare one to be checked and even got back in time for the cocktail party.
We had a fantastic sail the following day to Kemer, Ta-b was goose winged most of the way and averaged 7.3 kn with a top speed of 12 plus. Kemer is very much a tourist town with lots of Russians and noisy hotels, a popular marina to winter over in and they were wonderful to us. At the formal dinner we waved our international flags, giving speeches and presents to our hosts from the local government. Next stop Alanya with another great sail, Ta-b is loving playing alongside the other boats in the rally, last count we are six Catamarans in the fleet. A large group from the rally went to Capaddocia for three days, but having been there we decided instead to get to know Alanya one of the wealthiest and largest cities in Turkey known as the "Turkish Riveria". There are a lot of liveaboards in Alanya who we got to know, some of whom are now on the rally.
Yet again the night before we left we were hosted a formal dinner by the marina pool, a beautiful setting.
Another great sail to Bozyazi where we spent three hours as "joker boat" (name of a tender here) helping all the rally boats dock in the heavy wind. We had a fantastic evening at anchor (no room for Cats at dock) on KintuKani a French 50' Lagoon, with a few other boats - certainly a party boat and boy can the French cook!! Bozyazi is a fishing harbour and the next day we were taken to the archaeological site of Anamurium city and the Castle of Anamur, both stunning sites (see pictures). That evening the fisherman and harbour master treated us to a terrific fish dinner on the dockside with local entertainment - a highlight of our trip so far.
Tasucu was our next stop and the last half of the day the wind got up to 35 knots and we just flew along with a max speed from Ta-b of 14 knots with the help of some surf. The fleet ended up anchoring in the commercial port; which caused some entertainment, as it was too windy to move the boats in the harbour to accommodate us. An early departure the next day to let the freighters in and dock up. Yet again the locals put on a great dinner and Neville of "Taralee" showed us what a great DJ he is as once again we danced the night away.
On our arrival in Girne, Cyprus we were treated to a Presidential Cocktail party at the Fortress, what a spectacular setting, we are seriously being treated like royality and were interviewed and photographed for all the local papers. We took a trip to Bellapais Abbey, St. Hilarion Kalesi (from where Disney got the idea of the castle in Snow White) and Nicosia the walled city which is shared by the Greeks in the South of Cyprus (lots of English food, including Ginger Nuts - yippee). We also got to play golf at the Korineum Golf and Country Club, what a treat, first time we have ever used a buggy too. Last night we had a pirate dinner and dance at the Dome Hotel which was a riot, the people on the EMYR really know how to party that is for sure. The last time I was in Girne, I knew it as Kyrenia (the British name), was in 1976 and although it has changed the harbour and castle are still unspoilt and lovely, it has become a very popular spot for British expats.
As I write this we are currently sailing, motoring, sailing with spinniker, motoring to Karpass Gate which is on the leg of Cyprus. We have two additional crew on board for the day from Girne, they are delightful and have already become friends - the Turkish people are so special.
I have rambled on a tad, so will end. Our pictures under EMYR in the gallery show our trip better than my words ever can. Enjoy and please keep in touch. Hugs