WilsonSailingChronicles

19 September 2016 | London, England
19 September 2016 | Reigate, England
25 November 2015 | Istanbul, Turkey
25 November 2015 | Istanbul, Turkey
25 November 2015 | Marmaris, Turkey
19 November 2015 | Turkey
19 November 2015 | Turkey
19 November 2015 | Turkey
19 November 2015 | Greece
19 November 2015 | Greece
17 November 2015 | Greece
17 November 2015 | Greece
10 November 2015 | Greece
10 November 2015 | Greece
10 November 2015 | Greece
10 November 2015 | Greece
10 November 2015 | Greece
10 November 2015 | Greece

The Tower of London & St. Pauls, Dec 2015

19 September 2016 | London, England
Reg
London Tower Bridge, the London Tower (essentially the monarchs historical prison) and St Paul’s Cathedral were our final day in the city prior to heading north to Sheffield. The river was interesting to me, and I confirmed that there is a sailboat accessible marina immediately downstream from the tower bridge. Neat place to moor for a week or two in the summer? The tidal drop is significant and it is hard to imagine the “river men”, who made their living-rowing people across the Thames in small skiffs, handling the currents with just their arms and a pair of oars.

The London tower experience was aided by the presentation and tour conducted by one of the Beefeater guards who made the site much more relevant with his history at the various points around the site. One could walk right past the place where one of Henry’s queens was beheaded without knowing the significance of the little square. The actual tower houses a museum with various artifacts of English military history, including armour and weapons. Access to the uppermost area was closed. This was where various people were imprisoned, while the nobility dined and danced on the floors below.

St Paul’s Cathedral was not a priority for me, we have seen many churches and cathedrals and one more just did not excite me. Even more so when we had to pay good money to enter. However we persevered and I am very glad we did, it was the highlight of my day. It turns out the cathedral choir was doing a final rehearsal of the Christmas special of Handel’s Messiah, and we got to hear it from directly overhead as we climbed to the top of the dome. The choir and orchestra were very good and I really appreciated their performance, particularly in the setting. The interior is gorgeous, as one would expect after decades of the aristocratic British donating boxes of money acquired throughout their empire. Photos of the interior were not permitted, but Phoebe loves to interpret the rules and captured a few surreptitious shots. From the cupola on the top of the dome we had great views of the city and the river. Amazingly the cathedral was not hit by Germans bombs during the blitz, and one of the famous photos taken during the war was of the dome and upper structure of the cathedral emerging from the smoke from the bombing in the morning sun after one of the worst nights during the peak of the blitz. This inspiring photo is available on a poster through the cathedral’s online store and a copy will be my birthday gift to myself this year.

Chartwell & Brooklands, near Reigate, England Dec 2015

19 September 2016 | Reigate, England
Reg
We decided that on our way to our House Sit in Sheffield England we would drop in on friends that we met in Mazatlan, Mexico. They were friends of fellow Canadian boaters we had met and we took them up on their offer to visit if we were ever passing through. Great folks who boat themselves on the coast of England.

Following are some of the places they took us to. Thanks again Diana and Ian of Reigate, England.

I am a great admirer of Winston Churchill and so a day visiting his home, “Chartwell”, just a short drive from our hosts’ home, was a treat. We were not allowed in the home (being decorated for Christmas season) but we did get into his art gallery where he painted, the various gardens including the summer garden where he laid the brick for a significant portion of the enclosing wall, and a small room detailing his military history during the two world wars and the south African conflict.

The grounds were beautiful and frankly my principal interest since Churchill spent a number of his most intense moments during WWII walking the grounds in deep internal debate. He had built a large heated swimming pool and a few accent garden pools starting from the top of the grounds, which drained to the large pond in the bottom of the basin then pumped and filtered to the top of the grounds to circulate yet again. The view from his rose garden overlooking the ponds, gardens and orchards would entertain a person for hours if in a contemplative mood.

After a great country inn lunch our hosts took us to Brooklands. It was a racing track with very high banked corners dating from the early 1900’s which has since been turned into a museum. Many early speed records were made here using cars and motorcycles. During the war it was converted into a manufacturing site for Vickers aircraft and consequently was targeted and bombed successfully by the Luftwaffe. Now it hosts a great display of old cars, bicycles, old motorcycles and planes both old and more recent.

They have a very impressive display of a restored Concord, and a great story to go with it, which we enjoyed very much. I squeezed into a Harrier jet and kicked the tires on old racing cars and generally experienced a great “guy” day.

Oh My How Time Flies!!!! Blog Catch Up Sept 2016

19 September 2016 | Canada
Phoebe
I had so much trouble with my computer this year so was unable to do a lot of blog work. Now back in Canada I am working on Catching up. Hopefully it will not be too boring. We had a wonderful time in the latter part of December 2015 up until we came home in July 2016 touring Turkey and Greece. Our short stay in Sheffield England for six weeks in Dec 2015 and the early part of Jan 2016 was fantastic despite the rainy English winter. Will be posting blogs with photo albums attached. Enjoy!!!

Istanbul, Day Three and Four

25 November 2015 | Istanbul, Turkey
Reg
Day three was intended to be a relaxing day by boat to the Princes’ Islands, a group of islands a hour by fast ferry to the south east in the sea of Marmaris, followed by a tour of the Çirağan palace. However, the driver of our tour bus was delayed in traffic and we missed the 9:00am ferry, which meant we would not be back in time to tour the palace. So revising on the fly we elected to enjoy some casual dining in the Ortakoy district alongside the straight of Bosporus and visit the reputedly most beautiful Mosque of Istanbul.

It was a beautiful day, little wind and calm seas and the passage of 1:15 hrs was very relaxing, someone else had to be responsible. The first island visited was the largest called Büyükada (Big Island). It is famous as a residence for several people that I had never heard of except for Leon Trotsky, who stopped here for 4 years after fleeing Russia. We were at the very end of the season and the multitude of restaurants assaulted us on the street since tourist volume was nowhere near what was required to fill them all. We took the mandatory horse drawn carriage ride around the island. Most of the horses were not in great shape and the phaetons showed the results of daily use over the busy season. We had a great lunch in a place the locals frequented and then gratefully left for the smaller island next on the agenda.

The second island was called Heybeliada (Saddleback) and this one I enjoyed. We were not assaulted, the people were helpful and courteous, and we enjoyed a great walk. The walk up started with a climb past the naval academy, transitioned to a stroll past the Christian and Muslim segregated cemetery in the pine forest on the backside of the island and final ascent up an eroded gravel jeep track to the peak. It ended as a very steep walk down through the town streets to the ferry dock. This descent was hard on the knees, however overall it was a nice break from sitting and the boat ride back was a great opportunity to recover. On our ferry return we had the most entertaining presentation of a vegetable peeler, and we along with at least 20 other people are now the proud owners of the Cadillac of peelers.

In our stroll through the streets of Istanbul the day before we had been intrigued with the many booths selling baked potatoes. They cut them, fill with butter and/or cheese and mash the innards then top them with dressings of your choice; onions, beans, corn, olives, hot chilies, yogurt and more. So Ortakoy had a special appeal for us as it is well known for the rows of baked potato booths, and the beautiful mosque. All this is true, the mosque is beautiful, we got some great pictures of it, particularly in light, and the booths looked appealing but we had no appetite. A nice beer in a side street was welcome and then our time was over.

But then an unscheduled treat; a cup of tea and pastries at an open walled restaurant on the top of the cliffs overlooking Istanbul and the Bosporus Bridge. Great!


Day four, started with a tour for guy stuff, the Koch museum of industry. Privately funded it houses displays of old cars, ships and ship models, trains from Mussolini’s Italy and Turkey and complex train models , giant steam engines, airplanes including the wreckage of a USA bomber from WWII retrieved from the Med, guns, a tank, massive cranes, trucks, and I could go on. The ships models and the steam engines intrigued me, the doll houses caught Phoebe’s attention. We had 2 ½ hours and we did not have time to see it all. I realized I was old when the cars I drove at 18 were on display, but at least they brought back some interesting memories.

Lunch, which was expected to be the famous “fish” restaurant by the fishing pier, was not to happen. It seems the restaurant had been demolished to widen the bridge, and our trip to the other side of Istanbul for the alternative “fish” restaurant ended in the same state, as that was also demolished for a new road. We did see in the circumnavigation of what was the original boundary of Constantinople some of the remains of the cities massive fortifications. Lunch became a famous kebap restaurant. I learned that Shish kebap is recognizable meat on a stick, whereas kebap is minced meat of mixed origin on a stick. I had lamb shish kebap.

Our final stop was a museum of Dioramas (scale models). We had no idea what to expect but given the choice between the Navy museum and this one, the vote went to Dioramas much to the surprise of the ladies. Our guide had never been there, nor recently to the “fish” restaurants apparently. It was amazing. It is a recently opened privately funded museum of a collection by a family of all things military concerning Turkey, some in human scale, some in miniature. It was again too much, 5 stories of display with just an hour. The manager came to greet us and wondered how we tourists had heard of the place. It was certainly off the beaten path but I think will become very well known.

Istanbul, Day One & Two

25 November 2015 | Istanbul, Turkey
Reg
We took a four day organized tour to Istanbul. A friend of our daughter Emma, who we had met in Spain, had said his favourite city is Istanbul, and I can see why he is impressed. It is home to 16 ½ million people, more than half the population of my country. It is the site of the Roman city Constantinople, and has been a centre for early civilizations since we humans ceased our nomadic existence.

Our hotel was in the core of the ancient city of Constantinople, and so convenient to all of the museums and major sites. Day one, after depositing our bags at the hotel and a quick lunch we went through a very large mosque’s courtyard for an explanation of the traditional layout of the iconic structure on our way to Istanbul’s famous bazaar. If you need spice or a taste of Turkey there were numerous opportunities. Phoebe purchased a pashmina to be used as a head covering for our visit to a Mosque later that day. The intended mosque was recommended due to its beauty, and being a bit off the beaten path gave us an opportunity to see a mosque with the traditional beautiful blue tiled walls without having to endure the crowds associated with the larger famous “blue mosque” in the core of the city. It is a functioning Mosque, with people in prayer and we were required to remove our shoes step onto the entrance mat without touching the outside floor. Inside our guide Taș (pronounced Tash) explained the rituals of Muslim faith within a Mosque, including the use of prayer beads. After the mosque it was a short bus ride, but some time, to a cable car up to Pierre Loti, an overlook of the city and the body of water that was the eastern boundary of ancient Constantinople, the Golden Horn. I was captivated by what will become a hit at home once I develop the franchise and take it continent wide, a spiral cut potato, deep-fried and salted!!!!

Day two started with an extended tour of the museum of archeology inside the grounds of the Topkapi palace. The walk within the palace grounds was memorable for the large sycamore trees overhanging the paved paths and the fall remains of the gardens. It was absolutely overwhelming, containing over a million articles, since the site has been a population centre for many centuries, with ancient Bronze Age, Greek, Roman, and Byzantine and Ottoman dynasties. The entire tour group felt it was too much to retain, but it was fascinating. Troy, or the remains of Troy, is only a few miles away and archeologists have been working the site for years. So a series of large-scale models are on display illustrating what they have categorized as the seven periods of Troy’s history starting about 3000 BC. We persuaded our guide to take time to tour the cisterns. The Romans funneled water via aqueduct (parts still standing) to the city and stored it in a below ground cistern. It was constructed with 336 marble columns they took from other sites and reassembled in Constantinople. Consequently there is no consistency in the columns design. Most notably two of them incorporate the head of medusa in the base of the column. Hot chestnuts were the temptation we didn’t resist, even if we were headed to lunch.

After lunch it was the Hippodrome, the one time site of horse and chariot races in Greek and Roman times. Along one side are two monumental mosques, the Sophia Mosque and the Blue Mosque. We did not tour these structures, as time was too short. Note worthy to me, the Sophia mosque was originally a Catholic Cathedral, in fact the largest in the world for 1000 years. In the centre of what was the track stands an obelisk from Egypt, actually just the top 19.6 metres. The magnitude of the Obelisk is diminished, as the original track on which it was mounted is now 6-7’ below the current surface. Thutmose III erected the original 30-metre structure in 1490 BC in the region of Luxor. It was transported to Constantinople in 390 AD and raised (How the hell did they do this???) In an adjoining building dedicated to Islamic art was a display of portions of the original Koran. Tall grandstands in stone surrounded this area for spectators in Roman times. It must have been even more impressive then. The final site for the day was perhaps the most impressive, the Chora museum. At one time a Christian church, built by a wealthy businessman about 400 AD, then a mosque until an earthquake, now a museum. When converted to a mosque the Christian images were covered in plaster but this has been removed to reveal the unbelievable mosaic art. Interestingly, one of them depicts the businessman kneeling offering a church to Jesus. Tiny coloured stones, attached to domes, walls, and arches. It is absolutely amazing workmanship and thankfully being restored. Waiting for the group to reassemble for supper we took a photo of a pedestrian street to give an impression of the density of the population, and thankfully found a quiet few to enjoy a tea and stroll through.

Yacht Marina and City of Marmaris, Turkey

25 November 2015 | Marmaris, Turkey
Reg
So, under threat of thunderstorms, we stayed at the marina. It was definitely the right decision. A few weeks prior to the arrival of the Berkeleys and Sakers the yard crew constructed 30’ tall structures with canvas covers over the trees around the offices. They also secured braces to the trunks of the palms. The bar staff said this was to protect them from the rain and winds. Made me wonder if it wasn’t overkill but sure enough, our dinghy was full to overflowing after one overnight deluge. We had 4 days of this, off and on, but time passed comfortably with the help of good friends, the standard 500ml beers, a bar with pool table, and apparently some spouse huddles when I wasn’t looking.

Yat Marina Marmaris is reported to be the biggest marina in the Mediterranean. With capacity for 750 yachts in the water and 500+ on the hard it seems a credible claim. They have two travel lifts, one for boats we are used to and a larger beast. The 330 tonne travel lift, with wheels taller than a man, moves large yachts, some 150’ long and stories high, onto hard standing for maintenance with ease. Marmaris Bay is also the home to two other marinas, Netsel in the town proper and Albatross midway between the two. Consequently the yachting community is well served with skilled trades people and many competing chandleries.

During one sunny break we headed to the town of Marmaris to see the sights and maybe get an idea of where to go for the last night dinner. Marmaris is quite western, likely due to the strength of the tourist industry. Women dress in traditional Muslim fashion, some very traditional, and some in bare midriff and tattered jeans. Men “hang” in assorted cafes drinking tea and playing backgammon or work hard. Hotels abound and cover the waterfront for miles going east from the main street. Restaurants and shisha bars cover the waterfront going west to Netsel marina. Fountains and statues with tiled sidewalks along the waterfront make a very comfortable place to stop and people-watch with a beverage or a smoking rubber tube stuck in your mouth. Yes, Sue Saker had to check smoking a shisha off her bucket list. Seems we were inspired to add it to our bucket lists so we could check it off as well. So much for independent thought! Fortunately we men elected to not partake of the “Turkish” bath experience. Peter was adamant that no man was going to massage him or wash his armpits (I think was even more worried about other pits) and Mike and I stayed so he wouldn’t feel isolated. I think Mike was keen to go but….anyway, the “girls” went and finished much later than planned with no happy faces. Seems it was far less than expectations so a proper Turkish bath is still on the agenda for some. While the girls were getting rubbed and stuff we guys walked the bazaar. The Marmaris version is a large series of original streets covered with an arched roof and lined with all variety of shops. Leather, souvenir, women’s clothing, shoes, handbag shops abound with the occasional barber shop, that offer shaves as well. Tea houses, restaurants and ATM machines loiter around the various entrances. None of us “boys” bought a bag, but an Ouzo and order of fries passed as a multicultural snack on our second tour through the bazaar, a Turkish beer motivated the first.

All in all it wasn’t the coastal sailing we had planned but I for one had a pretty good time running with plan B.
Vessel Name: Three Sheets
Vessel Make/Model: Lafitte 44
Hailing Port: Sarnia Canada
Crew: Reg & Phoebe Wilson
About: We hail from a little village called Bayfield on the shores of Lake Huron in Ontario Canada. We have retired, released our worldly possessions and have set off on our next adventure.
Extra: We crossed the pond and arrived in Lagos Portugal in June of 2014. A great trip across thanks to our crew Peter Berkely and Mike Saker. In between visits home we are now sailing in the Med. We have enjoyed the Balerics, Sardinia, Sicily, Greece and are now in Turkey.
Three Sheets's Photos - El Cardonel Anchorage, Isla Partida, Mexico
Photos 1 to 23 of 23 | Main
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Peli
Large Cacti during our walk to the other side of the island.
Massive amounts of broken and washed up shells
This is the remains of all the oyster shells that were discarded from managed oyster farm
A little blue heron, brown head and neck and gray blue body.
The shallow clear waters of the anchorage
I know you are sick of Pelicans but we never grow tired of them - this is a young juvenile
Boat in the El Cardonel anchorage
A big blue heron in flight
The salt water mangroves which we hiked along over to the east side of Isla Partida
A view of the rocky shore on the east side
There was no clear way to get down to this rocky beach it was basically a cliff
View looking back towards the west side of the island where we were anchored
Amazing amount of beauty here, this was probably left behind by someone who may have tried to live on the island.  We know that someone did try to raise goats here
These small soft seeds we noticed at the bottom of the bigger cacti so we assumed that they were the seeds
View of another beach in the same anchorage
This is a little harder to see.  At first I thought it was a Little Blue Heron but on closer inspection I think it is a Reddish Egret
Two Mexican tourists hamming it up
View looking west onto the anchorage
Another beautiful evening sky
Our first snorkeling attempt on this trip.  Was not too clear but still a lot of fun
I believe this was a type of angelfish.  They were really beautiful and quite large.  They hung out along the edge of the rocks
Not sure what this guy was but he was fair sized as well
 
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