So with the fridge on the fritz it was back to Gϋmϋȿlϋk (you remember good old Gue-mue-schleuk, of course) where we waited for our newest-best-friends the refrigeration guys. Chief repairman was Mutlu, which we learned through painful internet translations of Turkish to English means "Happy" in Turkish. We were anything but "Happy", yet the emails kept coming in from "Mr. Happy". Good grief!
But every cloud has a silver lining and this one was a classic 1963 wooden gaff-rigger schooner named Silver Heels. The history was fascinating, as it was built in Camden, Maine and the French couple, Jean-Jacques and Teresa dreamed of owning her for years. She finally came on the market and J-J and Teresa have been living aboard her for about three years now. "Silver Heels", by the way refers to the magical phosphorescent wake that we leave when sailing along at night - truly beautiful. And a delightful time we had with the SH crew, Jean-Jacques preparing a delicious French chicken and risotto dish which we shared in the classic wooden salon of Silver Heels. Hopefully, we'll catch up with the later this season.
The fridge repairs were getting tedious and the wind was the typical Aegean Meltemi - too strong and on the nose. So we turned to sewing - hey, why not? And Craig created a great cover for the gas tank of the dinghy outboard - very practical, if not hugely exciting. But that's living on a slant. The second sewing project had a bit of glamour and practicality to it. We now have summer curtains to replace our heavy upholstery ones so, in season, we change out to lovely ivory colored curtains that provide some shade and diffused light and look fresh and new!
Aren't I lucky to have a personal tailor aboard?
07/23/2013, Lakki, Leros, Dodecanese, Greece
June 30 to July 10 found Sangaris again in one of our favorite places - Lakki, Leros. The arrival on June 30 was perfectly timed to celebrate Sandra's 80th Birthday (hard to believe, isn't it?) and what a photogenic birthday girl she was. (Incredibly, Chris actually picked out the beautiful blouse - whatta guy!!)
Deep Blue had sailed "full on" all the way from Sicily over the past several days, so the reunion was special, indeed, and carried on right through the 4th of July. In company with Fred on Escape Key - yes those actually are Stars 'n Stripes shorts on Fred (top right) - we all "dressed ship" with flags a-flying and had a good old American barbecue.
It was Chris' last meal before flying off the next morning to Athens. Bad news was he'd injured his knee just upon arrival at Lakki; incredible good news was he found a top-notch orthopedic surgeon two blocks from the dock (operative word - "incredible"); and talk about a "house call", the surgeon accompanied Chris and Sandra on the plane to Athens, did the key-hole surgery and flew back with them the next day; best news is Chris is totally on the mend (read more about it on their blog - sailblogs.com/member/deepblue.
Finally, the "Deep Blue Crew" has met the various criteria one needs to become a Commodore in the Seven Seas Cruising Association. Fred on Escape Key and we on Sangaris were pleased to sponsor Chris and Sandra to that lofty height and their Blue SSCA Associates burgee flying over the Code Flag "K" -Kilo - is the traditional signal from an Associate that they have met the qualifications and are seeking sponsors. They'll soon change out that blue Asssociate's burgee for the red swallowtail Commodore's flag. Welcome aboard, mates!
You can see us all on Deep Blue in the bottom right pic, with Sandra sitting aft, Fred above, Katherine and Chris behind, Craig at the transom gate and C&S's good friend Rosemary King, who was visiting from the UK, sitting on the transom.
A few days after our new "SMEV" galley stove (a three burner version) arrived in Leros and Craig had engineered supports to fit the newly sized gimball (which lets the stove swing and remain horizontal when the boat's on a slant) we were off to Lakki town's butcher, baker, fresh veg market and wine store to stock up and start cooking!! Supplies were plentiful and, with a plan to move on (back to Turkey), we may have overdone it on some selections less available there. But that evening, ready to try out the new stove, opening the frig for ingredients was shocker. Everything was warm!! The frig had totally packed up!! The ice cubes were dripping!!
So, using all 3 new burners, I started madly searing and sautéing some of the meats we thought would be better to save cooked and on ice and Craig dashed back to town with a cooler to ask the butcher to put in his freezer ... and to buy ice. We hoped that the next morning might yield either good results with our system (doubtful) or a refrig technician through the marina. No such luck. So, with our cooler back and more cubes aboard we sailed over to Turgutreis, TK to meet with our sailmaker to receive our new mainsail and bimini top. That all turned out fine and we were connected with a good refrigeration technician, but a Freon re-charge was not the issue. We needed to order a new compressor that would arrive and could be installed the following week.
Having just heard from friends Karyn & Steve that they'd returned from the USA to their boat in Didim, we decided to complete the triangle and sail north, back to where we started three weeks before. The weather was calm for anchoring outside the marina and making frequent dinghy runs to "Threshold" where we could visit and 'rent' space in their frig. It was a fun three days between the two boats, but it was soon time to sail south to Gϋmϋȿlϋk to meet up with the frig repair team from Kaan cooling. Four days later, we were still not fixed, another new (larger) compressor would need to be ordered. So that's the plan for next week! More repairs! But, in the meantime, we have a very special occasion to attend ~ Sandra and Chris have sailed all the way from Sicily and anchored in Lakki, Leros, were waiting to celebrate Sandra's birthday with us! More about that happy reunion on the next blog!
Even if you're not a history buff, a stay in Leros would not be complete without a tour of the fascinating War Tunnel Museum, a bit west of Lakki town towards Merikia. The Italians occupied Leros for most of the years between WWI and WWII, but in October 1943 the Germans launched a full-on sea and air battle to claim the strategically located island. Days of air raids and bombings destroyed many of the islands buildings, set fire to port towns and sunk the Greek battleship "The Olga" and the British destroyer "The Intrepid".
It was a very destructive and fearful time for the island and its residents, but thankfully most locals were saved by hiding in munitions tunnels and bunkers built by the Italian military. Today, long stretches of tunnels are filed with countless war-time artifacts.
Here are a few more eerie scenes from our interesting yet emotionally charged visit.
This posting is about two weeks delayed, during which time we've been back to Didim, Turgutreis and Gϋmϋȿlϋk, Turkey. (That's the good old "Guew-muew-schluewk"!) But more on that later as most of that time, despite a very happy get-together with friends Karyn & Steve aboard "Threshold", has been about refrigeration repair ... still not yet fixed. This posting, then, is about our last stop in Leros with Rachel and Oli.
So back to Tuesday June 11th - Oli and Rachel's last day on the island - when we decided that a perfect send off and treat for us all was to tour Leros' backroads and goatpaths to see more of the landscape and a few highlights. "Moto-donkeys" (Scooters) were cheap and the preferred mode of transit, but we must give O & R credit, they'd done it all before on pedal bikes!
The scent and shade of Aleppo Pines, Cypress and Eucalyptus trees were a sensory delight as we wound our way to our first "look-out" point due west of Lakki town where Sangaris had been spotted by the "Sunday Morning" crew upon arrival the week prior. The view was breathtaking looking seaward over a rugged hillside with turquoise coves and along dirt paths dividing goat herds and local farms. Most of the track was rideable yet loose rock sections provided a chance for stretching legs and walking a bit.
Beyond the village of Gourna and its broad bay, we followed the road to the quaint Chapel of Agios Isodhoros built in 1892 on a rocky promontory, just above sea level. We understand that an ancient temple was uncovered at the same location, certainly a beautiful and spiritual site for many years! Lunch out was definitely on the agenda and, upon hearing that the Sangaris crew had never experienced "The Mill", we followed Oli and Rachel to Alinda town, on the island's east coast and had a delicious meal in a magical waterfront setting. The owner told us the mill used to welcome small boats delivering wheat and taking away grain from island outposts. Again, the view was unbeatable with Leros' medevial Pandeli castle high on the precipice above Pandeli.
More shady backroads led our way back to Lakki where cool ice cream was in order before a rest and last evening rendezvous for coffees to help keep Oli and Rachel bright eyed for their 2am ferry and flight on to Germany. Andio pals! See you next time!
So one month to the day after returning to Turkey we chucked the work duds and set sail on June 3 heading straight for a favorite anchorage of ours - Lakki harbor on the island of Leros. It was a bit of odd sailing that day (and continues to be) as we have no mainsail. Shockingly, after having sent it to the Sailmaker back in Didm for some minor repairs, he discovered that the material was totally deteriorated. He'd never seen anything like it, as the sail appeared in good shape, but you could easily just tear it with your fingers. Well, "boat" does stand for "break out another thousand", so we'll return to Didim in a couple of weeks to retrieve the new main they're making for us. Thankfully, our other sails are in great shape.
Our excitement, though, for getting to Lakki was that we had been in touch with pals Rachel and Oli on "Sunday Morning", whom we had met just last year and really wanted to reconnect with. We had a great reunion over dinner at a quayside Greek tavern in Lakki town - smiles all around - and will spend the next week or so with them, before they return to Germany, having just sold their boat - but another is certainly in their future.
Back at Lakki, then, the next day we buddy boated with Rachel and Oli up to Bleflouti Bay on the north end of Leros for some super strolls and views of our anchored boats in the bay. (Oh, ok, they beat us, but remember we didn't have a mainsail!) An unusual switch of the winds to southerly gave us a couple of excellent nights at anchor and then we scooted north to the next island, another favorite called Lipsi. Anchored off the brightly painted "Dilaila" tavern in the southernmost bay, we shared a great dinner and then, back aboard Sangaris, we fired up a Mexican Train (dominoes) contest (oh, OK, Oli won).
From May 3rd to June 3rd it was the "Fix" part of "Sail 'n Fix" with work duds and gloves the order of the (lonnnng) days. The "boys" in the "Yacht Works" shop fabricated the stainless steel frame for our long planned fixed bimini that Craig designed and went over with Rushen, the dapper young yard manager.
But all the rest "DIY" as we pulled the engine so Craig could "hug" it and replace some leaking seals while Katherine cleaned and polished the rails and topsides - these and a dozen other chores put Sangaris in (almost) Bristol condition and put us seriously into "let's go sailing" mode.
After 23 hours on May 3-4 of FLL-IAD-LHR-IST (and sore sit-bones to prove it), a quick crash at the Istanbul Airport Marriot - thank you G! - was definitely in order. Next morning though was super for a Bosporus walking tour through the moon-and-star land of Sultans, whirling dervishes, minarets and - coming soon - gorgeous anchorages.
Above we do a quick over-winter catch up, though, with a few Florida pics of our radio-controlled model sailboat racing, orchids on our Boca patio and a Christmas visit from Italian sailing pals Attilio & Maria from sistership Amel Santorin "Sisila". Then, with a layover at Heathrow we opted for a 'virtual' Tower Bridge & Big Ben stop, before boarding Turkish Air to Istanbul.
From our Bosporus walking tour, then, you see the view from Europe to Asia across the busy Straights. On the right are the Imperial Gates of the Dolmabahce Palace exquisitely located on the European waterfront. Unfortunately the queue was also exquisitely long, so we opted to continue our walk along the water's edge taking in the full-on marine traffic, including sailboats returning from the "Bosphorus Sailing Cup" further up the straight, which the banner Kath's holding was about. The little fish you see are the catch - not the bait!- for hundreds of fisherman lining the sea wall ... wonder if they made much of a meal at the teaming Ortakoy seaside restaurants? We took a pass on them and the plentiful nargile (water pipe) cafes and after Craig hit a perfect soccer head shot, we toured a very special gallery and the attached Palace Collections Museum - see the next montage below.
In the gallery then, to our delight, we stumbled on an unexpected private viewing by local artists, three lovely and very welcoming young women: Oya Metalar, Esranur Kahraman and Melike Deveci. They happily described the exhibit, called Mehasin-I Selatin and their personal artwork. Esranur, to Kath's left, had the best English and enthusiastically showed us their paintings with very fine detail illustrating themes from the years of rule by the Ottoman Sultans. In most pieces, gold leaf was used to illuminate images colored with acrylics, inks and water-based paints. The two page,' book-like' paintings represented individual Sultan's influence including distinctive robe patterns, floral and other decorative motifs, Islamic verse and each Sultan's signature. Other contemporary paintings complimented the more traditional interpretations, highlighting specific motifs on marbleized watercolor backgrounds. Esranur was very proud to demonstrate her fine brush free hand technique and the works of her teacher and fellow artists. What a lucky find for us as the exhibit is only open for two weeks!
No more pictures - our batteries died :-( but set just behind the gallery, in and above the old Dolmabahce Palace kitchens (ruins showing below a glass floor) is the Palace Collections Museum (5TL pp), a permanent exhibit where over 5000 objects from the last six Sultan's palaces are well-displayed. Beautiful textile, porcelain, glass, silver, photographic and furniture artifacts provide traces of the opulent life in the late Ottoman Empire. We ended our day at the Istanbul train station of Orient Express fame and, nearby, had an excellent meal at Pasazede - we highly recommend it!! (Take note Threshhold!!)
Just the name conjures up the exotic in this crossroads of Europe and Asia as we became total tourists for four days, having flown up from Didim before flying out to the US. The montages below that Katherine has crafted tell most of the story - we add just a few notes.
Classic ceramic tile work and street vendors with fresh pomegranate and tankards of tea surround the historic Aya Sofya church built by Emporer Justinian in 537, converted to a mosque by Ottoman Sultan Mehmet in 1453 and then to a museum by Ataturk in 1935. It's just down the street from the 1600's Blue Mosque with its six minarets - all of which and more were the view from our pension's rooftop dining. Makes you want to whirl like a dervish!
These scenes above are from the opulent Topkapi Palace, the home of the Ottoman Sultans from 1453 to 1839. The history and the artistry make it a magical place.
The Blue Mosque with its awe inspiring exterior, the blue tiles of the interior that give the building its unofficial name and the 260 windows surrounding the central prayer space. And, no, Katherine hasn't converted - that's awe in her eye.
Ah - the Grand Bazaar, with its tongue-in-cheek Shopping Mall sign. And it has it all - fruits, veggies, spices, baklava and other pastries, and the ever present blue "eyes" to ward off evil. We were struck with the dichotomy of the clothing - ultra conservative and plain full length dresses for the Muslim women next to gaudy and sexy night club garb, plus some fancy slippers - to wear under your burka, perhaps? Exotic indeed and the crowds were teaming.
Leaving the historic Sultanamet section of town and walking across the Bridge of the Golden Horn into the Beyoglu (say, Bay-oh-loo) section, we toured the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art where you see our intrepid photographer Katherine, well..photographing, and we have a great view looking across the Bosphorus to the Asian side of town. The old tram in Taksim takes you to the Galata tower. The two lower right scenes are back in the old section of Sultanamet with Aya Sofya and the old domed Turkish Baths.