Freebirdie's Sailin' Blog

22 November 2011 | Seattle
01 August 2011 | Santa Maria di Leuca
03 July 2011 | Greece
15 June 2011 | Gulf of Corinth
05 June 2011 | Athens
28 May 2011 | Poros Greece
25 April 2011 | Symi Island
13 April 2011 | Naxos, Greece
20 February 2011 | Istanbul, Turkey
30 January 2011 | Ephesus
28 January 2011 | Marmaris
16 January 2011 | Selcuk, Turkey
31 December 2010 | Marmaris
24 October 2010 | Cappadocia, Turkey
16 September 2010 | Marmaris Turkey
26 August 2010 | Fethiye, Turkey
19 August 2010 | Marmaris
03 August 2010 | Larnaca Cyprus
01 August 2010 | Mediterranean Sea
30 July 2010 | Ashkelon Marina

The Final Flight

22 November 2011 | Seattle
Dave and Judy
Our ten year odyssey comes to an end
Impossible to describe our feelings
Was it all a dream?
The dream of a lifetime
We lived it
We felt it
We tasted it
We loved it
How fortunate it is that dreams can become real
The faces
All those beautiful faces
Friends... all around the world

The time has finally come to let our Freebird go. Like a father I watched her leave my life. After seventeen years of creating, building and sailing she is now a memory. As I walked away, I took one last look over my shoulder. She is still the most beautiful (to me) boat in the marina. (World)

During our almost 10 years of voyaging we:
Sailed over 35,000 nautical miles
Visited 36 countries
Anchored in 263 different places
Spent 125 nights at sea

Peter and Tina Dreffen had called from Florida 12 days earlier. They wanted to see more pictures. We scrambled and posted 60 photos on Picasa web albums. They emailed with an offer. We made a small counter offer and the deal was done. A few days later they arrived in Southern Sicily to test sail, survey, and take possession of Freebird. They graciously allowed us to remain aboard for 3 more days while we unloaded our remaining possessions. Fortunately, Freebird is in good hands. The Dreffins are very accomplished sailors. They will take good care of her and plan to continue her legacy. We caught our already scheduled flight to Florence for 6 days ...... then on to Seattle.

Now, being homeless, we are staying here in our dear friends Cyn and John Wagoner's home. We are so thankful for their hospitality. Our new car is parked in the driveway (with compulsory insurance policy). We've acquired the mandatory mobile phones, and it's cold and rainy outside. Yesterday we fought the traffic into downtown Seattle for our long over due medical checkups.We will soon set up a "base camp" in our townhouse on Camano Island. What next? Those beautiful smiling faces are calling...............

Italy 1

01 August 2011 | Santa Maria di Leuca
Dave and Judy

1 August
Santa Maria di Leuca
39 47.8'N:018 21.7'E

After 8 hours of beam reaching across the Ionian Sea we finally arrived in Italy. Our first port of call was the little tourist town of Santa Maria di Leuca. We headed into the marina and found there was only one space for a catamaran. We took it. After squaring Freebird away we headed to shore. Walking the esplanade, our first stop was for............PIZZA! Hey, we're in Italy. Judy found the post office and Dave found a cappuccino. We headed for the port office to pay for our moorage. This turned out to be our only night at the dock here. 65€/night. The next day we anchored outside the marina where we hung out for a few days, swimming, and enjoying the view of the shore. During the day a multitude of small power boats would anchor all around us. Their decks were covered with scantly clad natives. They were doing the same as us, mostly watching each other. Everybody was on holiday and having a good time. In the evening we shared the anchorage with just a few other cruising boats. About midnight we would attempt sleep accompanied by the pounding drone of three competing disco clubs on the beach. We knew it was dangerous out here...

5 August
39 05.2'N:017 07.5'E

Next, we crossed the gulf of Taranto (arch of the boot) 9 hours motoring. We were in company with our friends, Tim and Rose on board Rendezvous Cay. Having had a dose of marina fees we opted to anchor in a shallow corner of the commercial port. It was hot, sticky and a foul rotten egg odor permeated the place. Dave and Tim took off in our dinghy for the town. We were hoping to acquire sim phone cards for our cell phones and internet modems. We parked the dinghy in a corner and climbed the high wall to the quay above. Heading into town we asked along the way "dovey vodafone per favore" People would laugh and point. After about an hour we found the store in the piazza. With our communications problems solved we headed back to the dinghy. It was getting dark. Guess what? The Dinghy is GONE! This is a bad thing. With adrenalin pumping we start frantically looking around the large isolated quay. A man in a sparkling white navy uniform is talking to some people close by. We approach and notice they have our dinghy tied up nearby. Making enquiring gestures (language barrier), I indicate that it is my dinghy. We are given a stern lecture, none of which we understood. Standing like bad puppies, we waited while a phone conversation ensued. Finally we were told "Go!" Without any prompting we jumped in the dinghy and headed for our boats about a mile away. After a restless stinky night we departed Crotone the next morning at daybreak.

6 August
Roccella Ionica
38 19.65'N:016 16.02'E

A day sail brings us to Roccella Ionica. Since there is no anchorage close by, we reluctantly head for the marina inside the breakwater. We squeezed in a slip with inches to spare. We have big balls now so we don't worry as much as we used to. We bought some big ball fenders (remember Santorini??) that help us cushion our arrival and departures. If you have big balls, you have less stress in marinas. This is a nice marina and it's only 20€/night! Score!

We can tolerate this for a while. The bikes are assembled and we head out for exploration. A three kilometer pedestrian/bike way heads along the shore toward town. Again, it's summer and it's scorching. The beaches are wall to wall umbrellas with smoldering Italian tourists underneath. That evening we head straight to the restaurant close ashore. Pizza! The best we've had in a long time. They sell it by the meter and you can order one half or more meters of pizza. One family had the length of the entire table from end to end with a single pizza. Later we notice that the area on the esplanade is being set up with hundreds of tables. We ask, what's up?. Every night people come from miles away to eat here. A typical night they will feed 900 hungry Italian pizza connoisseurs. Wow! Lucky us. We just have to walk down the dock. We are still getting accustomed to the late dinner hour thing here. Typically people don't show up for dinner before nine and then most restaurants are just barely starting to fill. Things don't really get going until after ten. Everybody comes out, couples, kids, families, rollerbladers, ....EVERYBODY. Music often goes till three/four AM.
We made some new friends here. One morning on my (judy's) 3rd try to buy a cooked chicken, (bet you didn't know you had to sign up on a waiting list the day before, me neither) Well, this wonderful woman explains patiently to me, mostly in Italian, to sign up for the next day). I do. Then the next morning as we sit having "our coffee" (fresh OJ) and can't find the post office, that same angel is sitting next to us! She is back to our rescue again. Pina spoke some English, but called her husband Mauro to explain the route. While we sat visiting with her, Mauro and their two delightful daughters arrived. They are all dressed in their beach gear. So Cute!! We invited them to the boat later that evening. The affair turned into dinner when Pina took Judy and brought back home cooked local food. Yum! Judy was in heaven when little Giorgie & Marta fell asleep on her lap. We really enjoyed getting to know them and look forward to connecting in the future. Wow! We have our own real Italian friends!..

12 August
37 50.8'N

With Mount Etna erupting on the horizon Freebird sailed crossed the Strait of Messina. We anchored under the lee of the cape.

Visible on the cliff above was the old city of Taormina. The beach in front of Freebird was again covered with colorful umbrellas. The next morning while there was still room on the beach we landed our dinghy on the steep pebble rock beach. A short walk to a tunnel takes us underground to the street above and bus/rail station. We jump on the bus. The short trip follows switchbacks up the sides of the cliffs with stunning views of the Ionian Sea below. Old villas cling to the steep terrain with their bougainvillea covered walls, flower gardens, and grape arbors. From the bus we walked into the old town. After a coffee stop we were treated to the charm of the quaint shops, galleries, and narrow alleyways with peek-a-boo glimpses of Freebird far below waiting patiently. Looking up still higher is the ever present medieval castle towering above. We found a sidewalk restaurant for lunch before heading home for the day.

In a few days we returned to conquer the walk up to the castle in the blazing heat. Then we cooled off in the botanical gardens that cling to the edge of the cliff. After a late lunch we decided to walk home down the cliff side trail.

From our anchorage we watched trains come in and out of the station almost on the hour. So we got the idea to try out a little train travel. The next day we jumped on a train heading to Catania. Situated between the Ionian Sea and the slopes of Mount Etna Catania is Sicily's second largest city. It's a World Heritage site mostly known for its Baroque architecture. The one hour train ride was uneventful. On one side there was the Ionian Sea and on the other was Mount Etna. From the station we walked to the Pizaza Duomo. We could see a crowd gathering around the Cathedral. It was Patron Saint Day and everybody was decked out in their identifying white smocks, hats etc. We strolled along with the crowd and just enjoyed the spectacle. The fish market was a highlight. Every kind of fish was on display with the shop keepers screaming to come, buy at their shop. A cornucopia of sights, sounds and......smell. Not a bad smell....just a fish smell. We found a cafeteria for a quick lunch then we were back on another train to circumnavigate Mount Etna. This 5 hour jaunt took us into the country side and through small villages all around the mountain. The train was ancient and didn't have air conditioning. All in all, maybe not the best way to spend a hot day especially when for some reason???? we had to get off the train, take a bus & then get back on a different train??? When we were almost all the way back around we found a closer station and caught the train back to Freebird in time for a cool dip and a sundowner.

20 August
37 03.48'N: 015 12.13'E

In the late afternoon we rounded the headland with it's castle and slid into the large protected bay of Porto Grande, Syracuse.

It's still very hot. We spot Rendezvous Cay, Blue Moon, and Sonrisa anchored in the bay with us. All three of these boats sailed through Pirate Alley last year with us. It's sundowners and treats on Freebird. We blah, blah, blah until we are past ready to head into town for a meal and some more blah,blah,blah. We missed our team leaders though from Dream Keeper, Gar & Nicole along with Sundance, David & Betty that were in our "squadron".

We spent our time here doing the usual wandering and looking at ancient wonderments. (Museums, cathedrals, galleries, buildings, etc) I won't bore you with all that.

One peaceful Sunday morning we were minding our own business sitting in the cockpit reading when..... Blam-O! We jump up to find a large catamaran has drug anchor and slammed into our bows. The person on board doesn't seem to have a clue what's going on, she just stands there. Dave raced off in the dingy and jumped aboard and trys to ask what's up. She is Russian and doesn't English. She has been left on the boat for a week while the owner is away in London. Judy is franticly placing fenders (big balls) in strategic locations. Somehow we manage to avoid any damage. Judy calls on the radio for assistance (no one comes up) and then phones Tim on Rendezvous Cay. He arrives quickly and we figure out how to start the engines and up anchor. We spend an hour re-anchoring the loose boat. All is well, no harm done. Judy will take a few hours to lower her heart rate.

Thursday we headed into the "Patrone" to complete our application for Italian Residency. "He's on vacation, come back Monday" Okay. He's an advocate that helps people like us work through the bureaucratic messiness

While waiting for Monday we take a short bus trip to another "World Heritage City" ~ Noto. We are getting pretty used to our wandering the streets and sidewalk cafés for lunch. None of the stores are open after 1 when it is so hot out. This town is known for having some well preserved Baroque buildings. They are truly impressive.

We returned to the "Patrone" on Monday and he filled out our paperwork to send to Rome. The next stop was the post office. We entered the crowded lobby and took a number. An hour and a half later we stepped up to the window to be told " Come back at two" (In Italian). Okay, so now it's eleven thirty. We come back at two to the same crowded lobby and wait for our window to become empty. We weren't sure if we should use our old number, just walk up ahead of everybody, or get a new number.... Hmm... We ask one of the other customers and she grabs our ticket and rolls it into a ball and tosses it in the trash..... Hmm... We walk to the counter and all hell breaks loose. Everybody starts shouting and the counter person remembers us and explains that we are returning with an earlier number.... More yelling ....Then the Postmaster finally comes out and really shouts and things quiet down. All this is in Italian so we are immune, except we can feel their eyes staring at the back of our heads. But, we sure didn't want to wait for another two hours ..... Exciting!

One evening we spotted a Chinese food restaurant and couldn't resist a try. Not bad, but then nothing is ever as good as your old home town Chinese restaurant...

31 August

It's our last day at sea as we sail to Ragusa di Marina. We have reserved a space for Freebird for the next 8 months. We're going to take a break from cruising for a while and live as comfortably as possible on the boat. We'll have: lots of hot water, lots of cold water, electricity, internet, a nice little town with bakeries, beaches, friends, and maybe even a car to explore Europe..... or at least Sicily to start with.

The Ionian Sea

03 July 2011 | Greece
Dave and Judy

July 3, 2011

Seven hours of mostly motoring brought us to the village of Vathi on the island of Ithaca. We anchored among the other yachts in a quiet corner of the bay. This big safe harbor attracts a lot of charter (you drive) boats. Chartering is a great way to spend a week or two in many of the most attractive cruising areas of the world. You just rent the boat, play, return it, and let somebody else take care of all the dirty work. These days, it sounds pretty appealing. Most charter-ers are reasonably knowledgeable in the ways of the sea. There are always exceptions. These exceptions make crowded anchorages ....interesting... Around about 2PM every afternoon they start arriving. This causes some stress among the crew of Freebird. You just never know what's going to happen. We have been ~ banged, slammed, smashed, drug down on, anchor ripped, etc. our share of times, usually with minor or no damage. So when charter boats start dropping anchor all around us, our antenna go up. It goes like this: Judy: "there's a loose one coming our way".... Dave: Keep an eye on em"... Judy: "They look pretty close"... Dave: "Naw, they're okay"... Judy: "you better look again"... Dave: #$#@%$#.! Then we go out on the bow and try and convince the offender that they are too close. This is done either by submissive begging, glaring at them with stern faces (stink eye) and selected hand signals, or a polite "Get the fuck off our anchor!" No approach is 100% effective. This is the biggest challenge we have found in the Mediterranean Sea. It's crowded. Close anchoring is the norm and we have had to adjust our tolerances. In the Pacific we used to spend our afternoons diving, kiting, or hiking etc. Here we are entertained with anchoring duels. All that said, we have met some expert sailors and lovely people in this neck of the woods. It's all part of the experience.

Ashore in Vathi we found tasty little restaurants, cafés, good bakeries, wine shops, and a small market, all the necessities. The town suffered severe damage in the 1953 earthquake. Most of the town has been since rebuilt and it's still an attractive place. We rented a car for a day and toured around the island. The views were spectacular. We had an exceptional lunch in a small fishing village. On the Fourth of July, we were the only American boat so our Independence Day celebration was pretty pathetic. (non -existent).

July 6, 2011
Meganisi, Levkas, Paxoi

We spent the next 10 days island hopping toward Corfu. Our days were spent swimming, reading, walking, finishing up small boat projects, and anchor dueling. We would occasionally head out for dinner at a local fish taverna. Sarah brought season 2 Glee with her so we got to catch up on that! Hurray! Or, we would just sit out under the stars and inhale that warm night air. We rented a car on two of the islands for sightseeing and coffee stops. Freebird got to sail a little between islands.

July 15, 2011

Corfu was the last and one of our most enchanting destinations in Greece. We spent over two weeks here anchored at the foot of the old Venetian fort on the bluff. It felt mystical to drop the hook where other craft have anchored for thousands of years. You could feel the history oozing out of the place. We took our dinghy up the narrow mote that surrounded the castle and tied up with the fishing boats. A stairway took us to the old town above, a town full of ancient stories. We walked the narrow alleyways on cobblestones that were polished smooth from centuries of countless footfalls. The coffee was good too.

Judy decided that this place warranted yet another trip to the dentist. The same tooth that we just got fixed in Athens just cracked off. The tooth saga continues....... One tooth, eight dentists, two far. What fun!

We said a sad good by to Sarah. She caught a flight back to Seattle. Luck would have it that the day she left there was yet another taxi strike. Fortunately the airport was easy walking distance. We fell back into the rhythm of living on Freebird all alone.

To cheer us up we rented motor scooter and "rode like the wind." Breezing into the countryside and along shorelines with azul crystal clear waters, we arrived at the Achillon Palace. This was the summer residence of the Empress of Austria built in the 1800s. Later it became Kaiser Willhem's residence. It's full of beautiful artwork, painted ceilings, murals, sweet smelling wisteria covered walkways, gardens with impressive fountains and sculpture. It all stands high above the sparkling Ionian Sea below. Quite impressive!

Our expedition continued around the island where we found a seaside café for lunch just inches from the beach.

We returned via center of the island through ancient olive groves, the grand old trees shading our path. Around every corner was a picture perfect view of the countryside with the sea sparkling far below.
An exceptional day!

So ends our Greek adventure. Next up.... Italy!

Gulf of Corinth

15 June 2011 | Gulf of Corinth
Dave and Judy

We're headed West through the Gulf of Corinth. The following is a summery of the stops along the way to reach the Ionian Sea

15 June

We spent the next 6 days in this bay with the small village of Epidhavros ashore. We have shifted gears and are in neutral. Our time was spent reading, swimming, and eating ashore with friends from other boats. Many evenings started with sundowners on various boats around the bay. We enjoyed walks around the area, especially up to the Greek theater. The source of our only excitement was a large power boat that kept insisting on anchoring on top of our anchor. We tried without success to explain that this won't work. He finally tied his stern to the shore in such a way that when the wind shifted we swung very close to him. For those non sailor readers it's important to understand that there are rules to the anchoring game. Number one rule: When arriving in an anchorage you must anchor in such a way that you stay clear of all boats currently anchored. This guy didn't read the rule book. Or most likely he felt that he was far above and beyond the rules. We were unable to convince him to follow the rules so we upped anchor and moved to an area that was already quite congested. As soon as we moved he pulled up his anchor and re-anchored exactly where we were... anchored....Hmm. I guess that was HIS spot.... He left the next morning, so we returned to "our" spot.... Then in the afternoon, he returned to start the dance all over again. So we played anchor tag with this bozo for about 5 days Hey! What else would we do for entertainment? We are rendezvousing with Judy's granddaughter, Sarah in Itea in a week or so and so, we should move on.

22 June
Corinth Canal

After an uneventful overnight stop in Korfos we got underway early for the Corinth Canal. This canal is the most expensive per mile to transit in the world. Lucky for us, it's only 3.2 miles long. Still it cost us almost $300 US for the 30 minute transit. The canal cuts through Greece saving a lot of sailing miles. After hundreds of years of attempts it was finally completed in 1893 after being started by the French finished by the Greeks. In the very early days the Greeks and Romans drug there ships across the Isthmus. Today you just hand them your credit card. The feeling is like sailing through a tunnel with the top removed. The walls are 250 feet above and the channel is only 75 feet wide. The walls are vertical.

Gratefully, we emerged through the canal to find nice sailing conditions, not a gale on the nose! We laid a course for Andikiron 25 miles away. As we approached the wind began to scream right on our nose (OH, here it is). We poked into the little harbor to find it full and dangerous to approach in these high winds. A quick look at the chart showed a promising anchorage around the corner. Thirty minutes later we were anchored in calm tranquil waters in our own private cove. We spent 2 days here doing the usual walking, eating, and swimming

24 June

Itea is mostly an agricultural town but it has a surprisingly nice city marina. We tied to the quay in the well protected harbor. After we put our bikes together off we went on a reconnaissance. It just so happened that there was an International Optimist Dinghy Regatta happening. When we returned to Freebird over 500 dinghies with kids at the helm were sailing out to the race course. Some of the kids looked like tiny tots, just one per boat. Amazing. On the horizon they looked like tiny butterflies. Fun to see!

One of the key attractions of Itea is it's proximity to the ancient ruins of the fifth century BC city of Delphi. We became acquainted with Grant and Lorraine on the catamaran Matariki moored on the quay with us. They invited us to join them in their rental car for a visit to Delphi. We spent an memorable day with them roving through the ancient metropolis. This is truly a place to see, perched on a precipice overlooking the basin below.

Finally it is time for Sarah to arrive from Seattle. She's been touring the Greek Islands with her cousin and is scheduled to arrive back in Athens. We are a little worried because all transportation has been shut down by a nationwide strike. There are massive demonstrations in the streets. She has been stuck on the island of Ita waiting for a ferry for a few days. With help from their guide they managed to snag a ferry back to a different port Athens. We decide to rent a car and organize a rescue mission. We charged up our trusty GPS navigator and plugged in her hotel. Two hours later we snatched her from the clutches of the chaos. Okay, I might be over dramatizing a little. It turned into a piece of cake and there wasn't a demonstrator in sight...Happy Reunion! We stopped at McDonalds on the way back for a little comfort food.

Poor Sarah, she had a nasty head cold after partying for the last 10 days. We hung around the marina for a few more days while she recuperated. Not a problem, we're used to being in neutral.

2 July

No wind, motoring as usual, we continue on our way West. Our route takes us across the West end of the Gulf of Corinth and under the Rhion Andirrion suspension bridge. This bridge is an impressive site. It's the longest cable stayed bridge in the world. At 2,252 Meters long, it's a true architectural wonderment to behold.

Delightfully, the anchor goes down and the monotonous drone of the engines are silenced. We're anchored in the pleasant little harbor of Missalonghi. Our friends, Tim and Rose arrived the day before and have hauled Rendezvous Cay out of the water for some minor repairs. We head straight for the marina bar for a cool refreshment with some new and old friends. We're then whisked away by car to the village by the entrepreneurial restaurant owner for a delicious dinner in his "other" quaint uptown restaurant. The intense conversation around the table went something like this: "blah blah blah.... heads'.........blah blah blah. ... bilges...into the night......poor Sarah......

At 0600 AM the next day we're off to the Ionian Sea

Athens Greece

05 June 2011 | Athens
Dave and Judy
Athens Greece

June 5, 2011

We caught the early morning hydrofoil for the one hour "flight" to the city of Athens. Covering the same distance would take Freebird seven hours. Cheating! Yep, and we're proud of it. Let somebody else do the driving.

After some confusion we found the train to the city center. Twenty minutes later we emerged into the sunlit Monastraki Square. Towering above us looms the Parthenon. At our feet are time worn cobblestones leading in every direction to a menagerie of narrow alleyways. You think we might be hopelessly lost....Well, we are. Our hotel is somewhere out there. Not to worry, we have our trusty gps navigator. Oops....Battery dead... hmm, TAXI! After about a half hour our taxi drops us a block away from the hotel and about a block away from where he picked us up. There are lots of one way streets and it can take a long time to go one block. It's costly when you have "Dumb Tourist" written on your forehead.

Our hotel is one of many three star "boutique" hotels in the "Plaka" (heart of the old city). There is a little ledge that they call a balcony. If you stand there and stretch far out over the alley below you can see the Parthenon... It's a "view" room. Only the finest for the Birdies.

We hit the streets to explore our new surroundings. Most of the Plaka is pedestrian friendly. It's a hot 90 degrees F. So we are trudging along in search of various ancient wonderments. Yep, there they are in real life... just like in the National Geographic. Finally, we plop down for a cold ice coffee and orange juice. Lunch is a donar wrap. This has become our mainstay for food when we are on the "run" (trudge) Pork or chicken is rotating on a vertical spit. The cook then slices crispy, tasty chunks off and wraps them in a flat (tortilla) bread with onion, tomato, and tzatziki sauce. Fast, easy, inexpensive and real. Our kind of food.... Okay, Dave's favorite. Judy comes along cheerfully. She's such a good sport. Oh yeh, a cold beer is required to wash it down.... for Dave.

By late afternoon we are out of gas so we return to our luxury suit for a little nap. Judy wants to take Dave out for his birthday and has made a reservation at a fancy restaurant. We are again on the streets in the early evening. We find a Taxi and say "take us to this restaurant". He warns us: "The streets are full of protesters demonstrating, It's dangerous to go there. maybe impossible!" "Wow!" we say. "Sure glad you're here to guide and protect us, What do you recommend?".....Twenty euro later we arrive at his cousin's fish restaurant. Wow! How lucky! We have one of the most expensive shitty meals we have ever had. "Louie" calls his cousin to come and return us to our hotel for 20 more euros. As we are walking back to our hotel I glance at my reflection in a storefront window... Yep, there it is, flashing neon red, "DUMB TOURIST" right on my forehead.....hmm. Happy Birthday!

Judy wouldn't consider a visit to a city complete without a trip to the dentist. Athens is such a special place.....Why not a root canal? She has been struggling with this molar now since Turkey. I can't tell you how many dentists we have seen in an effort to fix this aching tooth. So, the tooth saga continues. Off we go to Dr. Feelgood for another try. This guy is supposed to be a top gun. He roots out that bad tooth and we're done once and for all. Right? Wrong! He only does the rooting thing he doesn't do any crowns or fillings etc. Judy will have to see yet another dentist or six to complete the project. To be continued.....

I won't bore you with all the sight seeing stuff. I'll just say that it is quite impressive. The Greeks have done a great job making everything accessible. The photos will do the talking.

On our last night we meandered out for the evening and found ourselves at a very romantic outdoor restaurant at the base of the Parthanon. We ordered some delicious food and wine. The full moon was rising over the ancient ruins towering above. Magical......

Six Islands - Eight Weeks

28 May 2011 | Poros Greece
Dave and Judy

We haven't had strong enough internet to post our blogs so..... here is our condensed story. We left our little hideaway in Symi and sailed to the island of Niseros. As the island appeared on the horizon we noticed many sails in the vicinity. Yep, it's a yacht race. People charter boats and join in regattas around the islands. As we are approaching the harbor we watch as the fleet headed in before us to completely fill the little harbor, they are rafted on each other, 32 of them... We decide that we aren't up for the crowds, noise and head around the corner where we find anchorage in an open bay. Soon our friends Catherine and Peter from the Southern Cross arrive and we anchor in company. It's a little rolly but we are all alone, just the two boats. We enjoy the solitude. ..... for about an hour. A big charter cat arrives... He tries to anchor directly on our anchor... We dance around and scream to show our disapproval and he moves off. As the evening progresses more and more boats arrive in our little corner. All are charter boats. Our quiet evening is gone but we are entertained as we watch "anchor dancing" by now, it's almost dark. The big charter cat has drug his anchor through the anchorage three times keeping everybody on their toes. We hit the hay hoping that nobody drags down on us or pulls up our anchor.

The next morning we reluctantly decide to move on to another less stressful island. After 7 hours of alternating motoring and sailing we arrive at the island of Astypalea. Not one other yacht in sight. A few fishing boats ...peaceful. We are offered a mooring buoy for 5 Euro/night. We gladly accept after trying to set our anchor 3 times. The Southern Cross arrives about an hour later. They hop on the remaining buoy. Nice quiet place. We woke up the next morning and headed into the small village. Really, there is nothing here, not even a restaurant so we start walking toward the big town on the hill across the bay. It's a beautiful day and it feels good to get some exercise. After an hour or so we are picked up by a on the way back after delivering their fare to our bay. It was the ONLY car to pass us. We are dropped in the center of the hilltop village of Hora in the port of Skala. Judy finds the post office and we pick up a few bakery goods. The Venetian Kastro (walled in castle/fort) looming on the hill above us is calling but first we must have lunch. A sidewalk café does the trick. We are really enjoying the food here in Greece, especially the Greek salads and Souvaliki...We sometimes order a half carafe of local wine with our meal and sit and watch the action around us. Fun.

Up the windy cobble alley ways to the top we find the entrance to the castle. The views over the town below are stunning. We peek out of the small openings in the walls where archers could defend the fortress from attackers. Our imaginations run wild. What a great place for a game of hide and seek... Hmm....

We are under sail to the famous Greek island of Santorini. This island probably is what most people think of when they think of the Greek islands. We arrive at the fishing harbor looking for a place to tie up. The water is too deep to anchor around the island so there is no choice but to seek refuge in the crowded little fishing harbor. We are told to come along side the outer quay until a space becomes available .... "An hour" he says. Four hours later the wind has come up and we are being pounded on the rough concrete quay. The swell is high and is surging us up and down onto the solid dock like a rag doll. Freebird is taking a beating. Sand on the quay is blowing and getting between the fenders and the new topside paint. We are pinned by the wind on the dock..... Finally a fisherman loans us a large round fender (ball) and we just barely manage to power away from the mayhem. Once into the inner harbor we raft up on a large catamaran. They are Russians from a yacht rally and speak very little English. But we get their message..... come aboard for a drink! We do. Peter and Catherine from the Southern Cross join in and the party is in full swing. The owner/skipper is a giant of a man and gives Dave a bear hug that he is still recovering from...Pretty special....

The next morning we are ready to enjoy the island. Wrong!... The Russian catamaran is pulling out mid day and we must be around to relocate Freebird. Well, mid day becomes late afternoon and by the time we are settled in, evening has fallen, another Santorini day lost. The town is a 30 minute car ride away so we have to rent a car. Tomorrow then..... Wrong again! A fishing boat is coming in and we are in their spot. The manager assures us he will find a place for us..... We wait...and wait... finally a slip opens up and we move. The wind is screaming but we manage to squeeze in. The dust is blowing. As the sun sets we find our decks covered with sand drifts. It blows all night. In the morning the drifts have turned into dunes. Freebird is left to fend for herself while we rent a car with our friends and take off on a tour of the island...We're on our third day and we have only seen the teeny fishing harbor.

Our island tour starts at the marine supply store to buy some really big fenders. We returned to deploy them between the dock and Freebird's topsides. Then we were off to the big city. We wandered the streets and alleyways of the two main towns . Truly we can see why people flock here. The views are stunning, the alleyways are quaint, and the food is tasty. If only we had just come here on a cruise ship like everybody else. We could have saved thousands of dollars in damage and days of stress...I'll let the pictures tell the story...

With our tail between our legs we sail our sand bucket North toward Mykonos island. We anchor overnight on Ios island and with a light wind forecasted continue toward our destination. The "light" winds turned into 30 knots ~ on the nose. As we approached the harbor it was still blowing 30 knots. We poked our bow in to see if we should try for a slip.... Nope! We saw sheer terror in the eyes of the crews of the docked boats as we approached. A quick 180 and back to the open water... The next island over provided us with a peaceful isolated protected bay for the night. We don't like to go back so.... Forget Mykonos!

We sail on toward Naxos. It's still blowing hard but we find refuge in the protected harbor of the Hora. The Gates of Apollo are towering over us and only one other anchored boat. We do the usual post office, restaurant, walking tour over the next few days. The third day we rented a car for a little island tour. We spent the day winding through little vineyards, olive oil groves and small villages. The day was a respite after all of our anchoring, windy, sanding, pounding, scary days . Again, I'll let the pics tell the story...

Finally, the wind came around to the South and lightened and we were off to Peros island. We headed into the easy little village marina. The manager was waiting to take our lines in totally calm conditions. What a relief. We enjoyed riding our bikes around the town and one day rented a motor scooter for an island tour.
After a few days of civilization we decided it was time to head out to the anchorage. The bay was perfectly protected. On shore was a state park with trails to a lighthouse. We spent about a week here enjoying the peaceful tranquility.

Next stop, Syros island. We arrived at Finikas marina early in the morning to get a spot on the dock. We backed down to the quay just like we knew what we were doing. After we were all settled in and got the bikes up and running we went looking for lunch. A friendly little place and the free moorage was not too bad. Then the dock manager proceeded down the dock and announced that water and electricity were free until June 5th. We got out the shore power cable and tapped in. Full batteries, hot water, wifi..... life is good. We puttered around the boat for a few days, took a few walks and a bike ride or two. A highlight was catching the bus into the big city of Ermoupolis. This is the capital of the Cyclades island group and a cultural hub. The marble paved alley ways are lined with art galleries, cafes, and antique shops. Towering over the city is the large Greek Orthodox church on one hill and on the other was the very old medieval settlement of Ano Syros. It is topped off by Agios Georgios, the 13th century Catholic cathedral. This was a thriving community in the 17th and 18th centuries. We enjoyed lunch in a little local café and caught the last bus back to the marina. We liked it so much that we rented a car a few days later for some more exploration.

Onward to Kithnos for an overnight stop in a nice little bay. As we headed in, we noticed boats coming from all directions headed into this tranquil little bay too. By the time night fell we had 9 boats keeping us company. We played a little bocci ball on the beach at sunset, enjoying the warming weather.

After seven hours of mostly motoring and we arrived at the island of Poros. This is one of the most picturesque places we have sailed into. All the stacked little house boxes with red tile roofs climb the hill where the clock tower ....towers. This was one of our favorite stops. We spent a night on the dock then found that they wanted 40 euro a night PLUS $$ for electricity and water. Dave kept his eyes peeled the next morning watching the anchorage for the perfect spot next to the White Cat Restaurant/Taverna. We spent 12 days enjoying the views of the city and the food at the White Cat. A day was spent on a four wheeler zipping around the island. Dave even spent a day on a bicycle and slugged his way around the same route. Since this proved to be such a secure anchorage we decided to board the hydrofoil for Athens for 3 days (more to come on this brave move).
We rented a car for a day tour of the Peloponnese Peninsula. We saw the massive Venetian Palamidi Fortress in the ancient capitol of Nafplio, the fabulous 4th century Epidaurus theater that is still in use today. Nice warm weather, fellow cruisers, clean air, sunsets, and yummy food.... Hmm we had to pry
ourselves away....

Greek Islands Part 1

25 April 2011 | Symi Island
Dave and Judy

We sailed out of Marmaris Bay for the last time. The day was perfect....10 to 15 knots ... a beat in smooth water. Freebird found her wings and we sailed most of the day. We arrived at a small bay with mooring buoys owned by the "King Neptunes Restaurant" at the head of the bay. The owner rowed out to meet us and took our bow lines to one of their buoys. We enjoyed the serenity of the moment..... calm and quiet after the chaos of Marmaris. A nice dinner was enjoyed at the restaurant and that night we slept sooooo good.

April 26

After our visit to Simi last fall with our guests, Anne and Jackie, we decided to sail into the town quay to fully experience this quaint Greek village. We were shown to a spot on the wall. We dropped our anchor and backed up to the wall and secured our stern as is the normal procedure for docking here in the Med. All went well. With the boat secure we headed to the various officials to check us and our boat into Greece only to find that (after here and there and back and forth....)all the offices were closed until 6 PM. Here in Greece everything closes down form 2PM to 6PM.

Just as we were heading out totry to check in again a mega 100 plus foot sailboat with the obviously rich owner standing at the huge helm (while 2 very young crew members raced around frantically and of course... the Babe, preening) proceeded to drag his anchor over several anchors including ours! The harbor was immediately in full chaos. The wind had come up and boats were blowing everywhere. We untied our stern lines and joined the calamity. Our anchor became hooked on some debris on the bottom and we were not even able to maneuver to defend ourselves from the bumper boat game in progress. Fortunately Judy was able to play with the windlass and free us. Freebird zigged and zagged dodging the disasters on all sides. We escaped into the open water unscathed. Our only option was the bay around the corner where we were last season. Sadly the wind had picked up and we had to beat into it. Unfortunately, it was not the best for protection or anchor holding. It's getting dark. We dropped the hook and backed down praying for that feeling when the anchor takes hold into solid ocean bottom. Bang! It grabbed. Relief.... We're secure. Not too bad, a little rolly but no bumper boats. We settle in for the night.
In the morning it's still blowing. Dave makes some coffee. Judy looks out at the small village behind the boat. Wow she says, it sure looks a lot closer. Yep, it is close. We had managed to drag toward the shore about 100 meters. And we're still dragging! Motor on, up anchor, re-anchor. There, should be good now.. We did this drill 3 more times during the day. We really don't want to do these "drills" in the dark. So, the last time, we headed out of the protection of the bay and turned into the teeth of the gale for a 3 hour pound. Finally we arrived at the calm tranquil little harbor on the South end of Symi Island.

A few other yachts were anchored there but there was plenty of room for Freebird. Two boats we recognized were among the fleet. "The Southern Cross" and "Just Jane" came by to welcome us to heaven... This time we really slept all night in peace. The next morning we headed into town on the bus to do the checkin. The ride was a highlight of our stay here. Fabulous views of bays and distant islands. Finally we descended down the switchbacks and dropped into Symi Town.

We completed our checkin with customs, immigration, and the harbor master. After a coffee and tea we were back on the last bus back to Freebird. We wandered around the hills for the next few days and enjoyed a visit to the 5th century Moni Taxiarhou Mihail Panormiti Monastery on the shore of the bay.

Well so far we have experienced the good, the bad and the ugly of the Greek Islands... Stay tuned

Leaving Turkey

13 April 2011 | Naxos, Greece

Hoscakal Turkiye... Good Bye Turkey....

After 8 months in Turkey, maybe our longest stay in one place to date.... It took almost 2 weeks out in the Maramaris Bay after leaving the marina to finally pull up the anchor and depart for Greece.

For us, Turkey was much larger than we realized. There was soooo many places to go and ancient sights/sites to see. Being out on the Datca Peninsula slowed us down some as it took almost 2 hours to get to the main highway to get started. We managed to see most of the highlights though and enjoyed meeting the Turks and being a part of their country for a short time.

Our last big adventure there was highlighted by "my" (judy's) two "adult children" who came for a short visit. Considering they live in different states with jobs, families and animals, it was quite a feat for them to arrange their time off, together. Stefaney flew from Seattle to Chicago where she met Christopher then they flew together to Istanbul. One more flight to Dalyman and a shuttle van the last hour and a half to the marina in Marmaris.

What a thrill to see them together in such a faraway place!
We only had a few days and the weather didn't exactly cooperate so we switched gears from sailing to land touring. Letting them sleep in the first morning we headed out to our favorite restaurant, La Fortuna for wraps for lunch. Then we went into the town of Marmaris and climbed up the hill to the castle. Of course we had to go to the bazaar before returning back to Freebird.

The next morning we drove to the ancient site of the hillside tombs and chartered a river boat up the Dalyran river (where they filmed the African Queen Movie). We had a tasty lunch before leaving for Fethiye.

Fethiye is our favorite stop along the Turkish Mediterranean. We stayed there early last season and would have liked to have been there for the winter, but no there are haul out faculties for Freebird. We walked through the market and had homemade soup on that cold, wet night before returning back to Freebird.

It really was great to share our "home" where we've been this past season with our family. Dave managed to take us for a day sail on the first sunny day before they left. It was their first sailing experience. We dinghied into town and while Stefaney and I hit the market for souvenirs Chris went to the Turkish Bath.

Before you knew it, sadly, it was time for them to leave. They had scheduled 2 days in Istanbul before leaving and I was meant to fly with them. Unfortunately I came down with a severe ear infection so ended up taking the overnight bus instead. I met them at the pension the next day.

Dave was busy getting the last minute departure procedures for Freebird squared away. (We had been together to Istanbul in February to go to the boat show so that made it a little easier for him to stay behind ~ and WORK!!)

I was able to schedule an appointment at the Italian Embassy that morning before they arrived to get our Visa's for Italy organized. What a big load off of our minds!

Instead of taking the bus back to Marmaris, I flew back on my reservation and really screwed my ear up for the next 4 weeks. Not only was that a painful mistake but hampering in every way.

Dave managed to break one of his teeth while I was trying to recuperate and then the inverter completely stopped working, so all 3 of us needed repair before we could leave Turkey.
Now we are holed up at the Greek Island of Naxos. We've been here for the past 3 days waiting out nasty big cold north winds. Summer's coming soon we hope.
More on the Greek Islands to follow.

More Photos


20 February 2011 | Istanbul, Turkey
Dave and Judy

Thursday 10 February, 2011

We're off to Istanbul! We along with 80 or so other sailors are guests of the Marmaris Yacht Marina. Every year they provide this fun trip to this extra special city. They include round trip charter bus transportation, lunch, a wonderful full day excursion on the Bosporus Strait and VIP tickets to the Istanbul Boat Show. We feel like royalty.

We left the marina around 0800 in two busses. With stops for lunch and potty breaks we arrived at the Side Hotel and Pension just before midnight. Long day...

Our base camp is located in the center of the historical area of the Sultanahmet where we will spend the next week exploring. We have elected to stay longer and will not be returning with the rest of themarina guests on the bus. We will fly home 6 days later.

Friday 11 February

Istanbul is about 500 miles north of Marmaris. Our first day is spent on the Bosphorus Strait on a luxury tour boat. It's COLD, but sunny. We enjoy the live music, drinks, and a delicious seafood lunch. This body of water is surrounded on both sides by the city. One side is the European side & the other is Asian. Lucky for us the sun is trying to keep us warm as we pop in and out of the cozy cabin to enjoy the sites of this picturesque old metropolis.

When the boat comes back to the dock we are so motivated to get up close and personal to the city that we decide to skip the bus ride back to our hotel. We instead choose to walk back through the city. Our walk takes us along the historical waterfront, by several very old mosques (one which was on fire, fully engulfed in flames, we had to detour), across a bridge full of fisherman, through the Egyptian Spice market, and up and down the narrow cobble stone back streets. We stopped for coffee/cocoa at a local restaurant and enjoyed nosing around every kind of imaginable shop

We walk....and walk....and walk... guess what? Yep! Were lost! It's getting late and we ask several times for directions..... We always get a courteous response Turkish! So we head into the night.... Finally, we see some familiar faces coming our way. They're a young Turkish couple on their honeymoon who are staying at our hotel. Yep... The hotel is just around the corner..... "Yes, of course we knew that", as we do an about face and head in the direction of our base camp. I'm sure from the looks on our faces they knew we were hopelessly lost....and COLD. Oh, but I forgot, Dave was soooooooooo cold he stopped at the first tailor shop we passed and bought a cashmere wool coat complete with hood. You'll probably notice in some of the photos Dave looks like an Eskimo pie!

Saturday 12 February

All equipped in our complementary bright red "Marmaris Yacht Marina" jackets and matching baseball hats we pile on the bus for a day at the boat show. We're issued "VIP" passes and greeted at the Marina booth ("our home away from home") by the marina owner, Mr. Bilgin, (nice guy). This "booth" consisted of an exclusive area for "Marmaris VIPs" only (that's us) . There was classical violin, guitar and flute playing as we are served C/T, juice, even WINE at our white cloth clad tables. This is our headquarters for the day. Tough duty. We've never done a boat show in quite this way before. Still, our feet got tired. Next year we're recommending they include foot massage. We ooood and aaaad at all the new wiz bangers and decided that old Freebird didn't need anything.....that we could afford. Returning to the hotel for a late afternoon rest we regained our strength. Later that evening we wandered around the corner to a quaint little Turkish café for a really scrumptious dinner. Good thing we only had to waddle around the corner back to base camp for the night...ZZZZZZ.....

Sunday 13 February

The Side Hotel provides 'breakfast". Dave's idea of the morning meal and the Turkish approach are quite different. (They actually serve fresh cucumber, tomato and olives + bread, cheese & a boiled egg), not that he ate any of it except for the bread and butter....So what does any good American do? Yep! It's off to Starbucks we go. After a Grande Cappuccino (Dave) and not so Grande Hot Chocolate (Judy) and some nice gooey pastries, we're prepared for a day of adventure.

First stop, The ancient Basilica Cisterns. Now remember if you will......IT'S COLD. These are cisterns and sunshine. But we were brave and wandered through this amazing antiquity. We clamped an audio tour on our heads and learned some stuff. It was built as a water supply for the palace in the 6th century. It was made using 336 columns which were pilfered from Roman ruins and are some of which are the best masterpieces of sculpture from the Roman period. I'll let the pictures to the talking. Also check out: Click

Next stop: the Hagia Sophia.
Hagia Sophia was rebuilt in her present form between 532 and 537. When the Ottomans conquered Constantinople in the 1400's they turned it into a mosque. Remarkably they covered up some of the original Christian artwork that is restored and visible today. It was declared a museum in 1924 by the father of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. It has been preserved as a national treasured site ever since and now a protected UNESCO Heritage Site. Check: CLICK.

Again, we clamped on the audio tour and bumbled our way around this awe inspiring structure. We've heard that it was the model for the famous Blue Mosque.

By now we're really hungry! We stumble onto a "pub" where they served hamburgers and stuff. Dave was thrilled as he is ALWAYS searching for a burger or pizza. The comical part was the Bing Crosby Christmas music playing in the background. Good hamburger though... Nice and warm too... A short walk and we're back in base camp nursing our exploding head colds.

Monday 14 February
Valentine's day

Today we take care of business. We head to the American Consul to add pages to our passports and make some notarized copies. The one hour cab ride takes us to the fortress like structure on the top of a hill way way way out of the city. We had to make appointments so we were about 2 hours early. We tried to enjoy yet another Turkish breakfast at a restaurant across the street. No Starbucks in the neighborhood. DARN Business completed, we jumped a bus and transferred to the tramway which took us back to our neighborhood where we had lunch at a sidewalk café and wandered the streets looking for that elusive valentine gift. Check! Earrings did the trick. Now we both have head colds, not just Dave and are not the most fun to be around. But still we managed to head out for a special Valentines night dinner. After considerable amounts of wine, topped off with a nice selection of antihistamines, a romantic night back at the hotel consisted of mainly snoring.

Tuesday 15 February

Today was our bazaar day. The mother of all bazaars. To be specific, The "Grand Bazaar". Wandering aimlessly would best describe it. This place consists of 61 streets with over 3000 shops. The old cobble stone streets have been covered with arched masonry. It's truly a National Geographic moment. As we pass by the shop owners shout out.."Hello! Where are you from? (Don't we look Turkish?) Duh, I have my dark pea coat and watch cap on just like every other male here...America we say... I love America, they say! "Come and look at my beautiful carpets/leather/clothes/ kitchen sinks".....I want to be your best friend" Thanks, maybe later.... One minute later the process is repeated. Sometimes we actually stop and have a conversation. Some of the shops are full of mysterious treasures and interesting smells. Always we are offered Turkish tea and a seat. It's the way business is conducted here in Turkey. Most of the time, we come away unscathed. Sometimes we succumb and take away some rare hard won treasure. Bargaining is the only way and they are the pros. We're like putty in their hands. In the end it's good feelings all around.

All this work! We're famished. We head into a back corner kabob house. It's loaded with locals (peacoats everywhere). It's warm and friendly. We enjoy a nice Turkish lunch. After some time we were able to find our way out of the market and jumped on the tramway back to the hotel. Judy's head cold was in full bloom., the living dead, she hit the sack. Dave caught up on some reading and had a quick dinner with our friends who were leaving the next day. Sure, guess who gave me his cold???

Wednesday 16 February

After our late "breakfast" and saying good bye to our friends we jumped on the tramway and headed to the incredible Dolmabahce Palace. The weather has turned incredibly cold, 1 degree. YIKES
Nice little place. 135,000 square feet, 285 rooms, 44 halls, 68 toilets, 6 Hamams (Turkish Baths). I really can't describe the opulence... It was built in 1856 for the Ottoman Empires 31st Sultan. It housed his many wives and family members. The last Sultan moved out in 1924 when it's ownership was transferred to the national heritage of the New Republic under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Dolmabahce palace has great meaning for Turkish people since their supreme leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk had used this palace as a residence, spent the most serious period of his illness and where he passed away on 10th of November 1938 at 9:05 AM. All the clocks in the palace are stopped at this time.

Lots of photos: Click

We finished our day mostly on foot again wandering the streets. Stopping for lunch and then later coffee. That night we had one of the best meals we have had in Turkey. Testi Kebab. Our dish was ceremoniously brought to our table in the clay pot it was cooked in over an open fire. The pot was cracked open and the seductively delicious contents were served with fresh bread, salad and a wonderful dry red Turkish wine. We found ourselves still at the table savoring every morsel two hours later.

Thursday 17 February

We're off to yet another wonderment... This one takes the cake. Topkapi Palace was constructed in 1478 and was used as the administrative center for the Ottoman Empire and residence of the Sultans for 380 years. There are 300 rooms, 9 Turkish Baths, 2 mosques, and 1 hospital in the complex. The 3building's called the "Treasury" houses and displays some of the most valuable historical artifacts in the world....stuff like an 82 carrot diamond. Oh and surrounded by ~ oh ~ another, oh ~ 90+ HUGE diamonds. Then there is the TopKapi Dagger, a full set or chain armor, diamond/emerald encrusted. Amazing
The Harem housed 300 to 500 of the Sultan's wives, concubines, family and servants Wow! Busy guy. Again this is worth a look: CLICK
This was all a bit overwhelming. We returned to the streets yet again for continued exploration.

Friday 18 February

Last Day: After a late sleep in we packed up our luggage, checked out of our base camp, and headed for Starbucks. I know this seems like a lot of Starbucks but you must understand that in our lifestyle for the last 9 years we have been deprived of things like Starbucks/ (Baskin & Robbins for judy). We probably won't see another one in a while. Not that it's life and death. It's just fun to indulge when you can. After a final assault on the streets of Istanbul we boarded the airport shuttle for the one and a half hour ride to the airport.
Bye Bye Istanbul, Hoscakal.

We arrived home to Freebird at 2300 hours. A storm was blowing 60+ knots as we drug our luggage down the dock. She was waiting patiently for us to come home. We rocked to sleep as the storm winds blew across Turkey.



30 January 2011 | Ephesus
Dave and Judy

We've joined up again with Gwen on her overnighter to the ancient site of Ephesus. This area has been inhabited for ten thousand years and has been ruled over by just about everybody. (Romans, Greeks, etc.) It was the second largest city in this part of the world next to Rome for centuries. It's demise was mainly from the rivers silting up the bay, many earthquakes in this region, and constant take over from warring despots. Can't they just get along?

We were astounded by it's size and magnitude. This time Gwen had our favorite driver Tansel and a new guide for us, the super experienced Mevroosh. They made it a grand time for all 12 of us sailors packed into their van. Our first stop was for breakfast. I just loved the Greek style chicken rice soup. Davey had lentil. Turks eat soup for breakfast. Fortunately for us the day warmed up and we were between storms. Last years group were rained out and never made it outside of their hotel.
Finally we arrived at the ancient city. We clomped around the ruins for 3 hours listening to all of the history and events of the inhabitants here. If you used your imiganation you could see what it must have been like a couple of thousand years ago. Beautiful marble sculpture and architecture. Water everywhere coming from beautiful fountains. Scantly clothed Goddesses around every corner...Oops! Gotta watch that imagination.

The Amphitheater held 25,000 spectators ~ amazing!!! (not if you were a Christian)

The Austrians have built an impressive building over an entire area of dwellings dating back to antiquity. Many of the wall paintings and mosiacs have been preserved along with the "townhouses" they were in. The infrastructure was very advanced with running water and sewer throughout.

After our big adventure Mevroosh rewarding us with such a tasty late lunch that we didn't even need our dinner later.
This intersection of Greek, Roman, Christian and Muslem historical sights centers around the town of Selcuk We waddled around the site of The House of Mary, the Basilica of St John and the last stop before calling it quits for the day the Ehpesus Museum. They were lucky to have any artifacts left as so many have been stolen by all of the worldwide museums.
Ephesus Museum

Our KoruMar Hotel Delux in Kusadasi was right on the water with a fabulous view of the harbor. It was a shame we missed the sunset.

We did catch it's scenic atmosphere the next morning though when we woke to another sunshinny day. Luck was with us!!!
We persuaded our driver to make a little detour for some Starbucks on the way out of town. We're off to wrestle some camels......

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Vessel Name: Freebird
Vessel Make/Model: Grainger MC420 Catamaran
Hailing Port: Seattle
Crew: Dave and Judy Howell
Dave started building Freebird in 1995 in a plastic shed on Camano Island, NW USA and launched her in April of 2001. He retired from the Fire Department in 1999 after 28 years of service. Judy Retired from dentistry in 1995 after 27 years. [...]
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