We are settling into the liveaboard community here at Marmaris Yacht Marin. We just got a spreadsheet with the liveaboard list, and we have 76 yachts in our community. But only a handful have kids. 'Mehari', the 37-foot Dean cat from Arizona has, as one of the net jocks put it, "more kids that you can count". And Emil and Peter are a couple of 4 and 5-year-old brothers who show up everywhere and anywhere. But other than that the kid situation is pretty quiet. Thank God for Maggie (15) and Levi (14) on Mehari. Will is REALLY enjoying having someone his own age around. And I am enjoying getting to know Eric and Rachel (mom and dad) as well as the 3 other girls.
It is good that I picked up this USCG Masters License stuff this winter. It gives me something to do. Don't get me wrong. I still have a very long list of projects. It never ends! But the studying breaks up the day nicely. I try to spend 2-3 hours/day on it -- usually in the morning before Will and Ruth wake up. And now that Will is on Christmas break, he and I have even more time during the day.
We are learning the ways of liveaboard. On the nice days, we open up all the hatches and air the boat out. It is still pretty warm here. Yesterday morning our thermostats were 4 deg. above the 66 deg. setpoint. For those of you doing the math, that is 70 deg. at 0630!! So we open up the boat on the sunny days and that (we hear) will help keep the mold down. Mold is a common problem, and one we (Ruth) are making sure to address. On the cold nights we get a lot of condensation build up on the windows and we have the morning ritual to soak it all up and rinse it down the galley sink.
We saw the colorized version of "Miracle of 34th Steet" with Richard Atteborough (?) last night at movie night. It made me homesick seeing all those Christmas decorations. But not a week goes by that I don't stop and pinch myself that I am actually doing this. So I guess we are just gonna have take the bad with the good.
And tonight was quiz night and on our 2nd night we won!! We got to split up the winnings amongst the 7 of su and the Nelsons netted a full 13 TL (that has to be a whopping $8!!). We don't quite know what to do with this landfall. I mean, imagine what it could buy in a marine chandlery -- a roll of tape, a key chain, the list is endless! And, of course, we have to organize next week's questions.
I had the marina diver dive our prop this afternoon and put on a prop zinc at the end of the shaft/prop. MaxProps come with it. I had 2 shaft zincs and a prop zinc when I left Rhode Island a year ago. But I think sitting in the marina at Charleston took its toll. By the time we got to Spain we had nothing left! The 2 shaft zincs had gotten spun off and the only thing left of the prop zinc was the 3 allen-head screws!
I dove the hull in Menorca and put on the 2 shaft zincs holding my breath on multiple dives. It was a bit tiring, but a lot cheaper!! But that was in the summer when the water was a lot warmer.
I was going to add the prop zinc on when we haul this spring. But when Eric of Mehari told me he measured 2.3V in the water at his boat, I couldn't wait 3 months to put the zinc on! I had them dive it today.
It was a pretty sunny day today and got a lot of little things worked out. Got the tach working again, though I am not sure I can take all the credit. I did a major 'wire wiggle', cleaned some terminals on the sensor unit, scratched my head a lot, and did an Irish jib to the great Tach God in the Sky, and presto! The tachometer started working! Not sure how or why, but sometimes it's better not to ask!
Tomorrow I go to the senayi (industrial center) of Marmaris and try to find a plastics guy to make a bunch of different parts for the boat and do a few other errands.
Finally, THIS IS SO COOL. Caleb sent this to me. You have GOT to check out this link. Seriously. http://www.snopes.com/photos/natural/maiken.asp This is one very, very good reason to go cruising!!
The storms have been rolling in here one right after another. A couple of lows in the Med have caused this to be one of the wettest Decembers in recent history, according so some of the liveaboards who have been coming in for awhile. Lucky us, eh? But we get sun/dry breaks in between and when we do we all come scurrying out of our boats like little mice, doing all the outside projects on our lists. (My list, I sense, is a bit longer than the others'!!)
Yesterday was 'shore power day'. Will and I worked in between rain squalls getting shore power into the boat. The day before (Thurs.) I had found an older Xantrex marine battery charger. I had looked for an automotive charger -- and even bought one. But then some more research told me I can't use a wet cell battery charger on a gel or AGM-type of battery. I'll cook the batteries. So I returned the automotive charger and hunted all over Marmaris looking for a cheap gel charger. I finally landed in a 2nd-hand shop and bought this Xantrex for 150 euro ($225).
I had buyer's remorse when I realized that this was a gel charger and not an AGM charger. But when I went to the skipper's de-stress forum on Friday at noon (a weekly Q&A meeting among skipper's in the MYM bar), I got my question answered. The topics yesterday were on battery testing and starter motors. (Starter motors? I feel like an expert now. I should have given the talk!!!) Anyway, the battery guy confirmed for me that gel and AGM are similar enough I can use the charger I bought.
So we ran wire and hooked it all up and it is working. Will and I kept an eye on battery voltages. This morning we are at 13.8V, which is a heckuva lot better than the 12.2V we have been running for the past 6 months. The lights are brighter. The water pump seems to be stronger. Everything electrical seems to be happier.
Next project will be to splice in a 15A fuse and also split off another cable before the charger. We want to run the cable over to the nav station and install a 220V receptacle plug. Then, if I can find a 220V-110V transformer like the kind they sell at Target or something for European travelers, we can hopefully run our bigger 110V loads (sewing machine, wheat grinder, etc.) directly off the shore power. Otherwise, the rest of our electrical loads will be either 12V from the batteries or 110V through the inverter.
It feels good to be 'plugged in' and save my batteries. One of the guys in yesterday's forum talked about a 40V battery vibrator that shakes the sulfate off the batteries electrically and keeps the plates clean. I think I might check into that. Not a bad thing while on shore power.
12/16/2009, Marmaris Yat Marin
No, my spelling isn't that bad! I am just copying what I see here in Turkiye!!
Yesterday a storm took out the road in front of the marina. The waves were so big from the storm that they broke over the rock shore and came down on the road with such force that it broke up the concrete. (OK, they don't pour their concrete roads with the same thickness as we do in America, but it was still mighty impressive!) The marina entrance is on this road, across from the shore. While I was waiting for a bus into town we had waves break over the shore, onto the road and then come washing down into the marina. There was a huge river of water, mud, and rocks. Everyone was running, looking for high ground! Later in the afternoon, after the waves had subsided, they had the backhoe out clearing the road and the marina. It looked like a disaster area there for a few hours.
During that same storm yesterday morning we had pea-sized hail. The larger hail was walnut-sized. I was down below and could hardly hear myself think! I was afraid the hail might damage something on the boat. But I haven't noticed anything yet. Weird, cuz the air temp. around here is in the 50-60 F range. That hail must've been pretty big up in the sky to land in the marina the size it was! All yesterday morning and the day before I was muttering to Ruth "I'm sure glad we're in the marina!" It was nasty out there!!
A few days ago the marina reported a small tornado! We were at anchor and it missed us, so we didn't experience any of it. But others in the marina felt it. I don't think it was big enough to do any damage. More like a water spout without any water!
And then last year a wind storm came through the marina that recorded gusts to 78k! I cannot imagine that. The strongest wind I have ever been in was 52k gusts, and that was enough to soil the underwear! 78k is unfathomable. They have videos of it if you want to Google or YouTube for it. I haven't. Some things are best left unseen -- particularly when you and your family are in that same spot!!
When we head to America for a month in a month or so, I guess we will just batten the hatches and pray. Not much else we can do.
"Safe harbor" is a bit of a misnomer when it comes to this marina.
12/14/2009, Marmaris Yacht Marine
We arrived in the marina on Sunday morning after our disastrous Sat. night watching Hydras drag anchor and worrying it was all our fault. (It wasn't!) The change has been nearly instantaneous.
They tried putting us in one Med-tie slip Sunday morning. But when we couldn't get the bow mooring lines up to the boat, we abandoned the spot and so they led us out to 'Alpha' dock. This one is on the edge of the marina and much more exposed to the weather. We spent Sunday there since the weather was so crappy.
But when nice weather came on Monday, I was on the prowl to 'upgrade'. I walked around the marina and found a couple of suitable spots, but the marina staff said 'no' for various reasons. We finally found a spot on 'hotel' dock, but after slipping into it, I found out the mooring lines of neighboring boats interfered with us, so we couldn't use it. By this time I am sure the marina staff had had enough of 'Time Warp'.
But they kindly persisted and put in a slip just a few boats down. It is the same slip they put us in originally Sunday morning! Only this time they showed us how to get the bow lines up to the boat. So now we are snug as a bug in a rug.
And just as well. The storm forecast for today hit us at 0630 and the wind is howling through the rigging as I write this. The difference is noticeable. My anxiety level is waaay down. But with the sound of the wind through rigging, I still feel a bit anxious. (I've already gone out once this morning to check on the mooring lines!)
There have been some unexpected advantages to living in the marina. This is our first time in this mode. One of the biggest, that I completely overlooked, is the ability to converse and discuss with other cruisers. For instance, I solved our 220V problem yesterday. I was looking into buying a stepdown transformer that would take the 220V down to 110V for the service entrance to the boat. But one of the guys here said all he did was buy a 220V battery charger and plug it into shore power and his batteries and run off 12V. That will suit our needs perfectly. I can buy a 65 Turkish Lira battery charger instead of the 670 TL transformer! There is one month's rent right there!
Last night was 'quiz night'. We went and met some other cruisers and it was a fun evening. The 35 people in attendance divided up into about 6 teams. We arrived late, so Will, Ruth and I were the only ones on our team. They asked us a bunch of sailing and non-sailing questions and we answered on pieces of paper, then got scored. We tied for 3rd out of the 6 teams which wasn't too bad given the fact we only had the 3 of us on our team! There are no prizes. It is all just for fun.
This morning we will get on the daily cruisers' net on ch. 69 at 0900. Sunday night is 'movie night'. The people who show up vote on which of 3 movies they want to watch. Last Sunday was 'King Arthur', but we forgot it was movie night and didn't go. I think I will bring my 'Horatio Hornblower' DVDs this coming Sunday.
And, of course, there are all the marina services: bathrooms, showers, chandlery, grocery store, and service shops (though these charge a pretty penny and we would do better to go into the town of Marmaris to the 'senai'. But I think it is going to be the exchange of information that may prove to be the biggest benefit of staying in the marina. Particularly as I try to knock things off of my 'to do' list. Many of these cruisers have "been there, done that" and will be able to direct me in the best way.
All in all, our spirits have been lifted and we feel like we might even be able to 'enjoy' this winter rather than merely 'survive' it. Turkiye (as it is spelled locally) is much colder than I thought it would be. We are now wearing coats when we go out at night, and I even wore a took last night.
Oh! And regarding today's pic...when you clear customs in Turkiye, the customs agents make you drop your drawers to confirm that you really do have a square butt!! No square butt -- no entry!
12/13/2009, Marmaris Yacht Marina
It is 0930 Sunday morning and we weighed anchor and came into the marina. After 3 storms, and 3 fire drills, I've had enough. We are going to get 3 months moorage here and take day trips to Rhodes or longer trips to see Fethiye and Finika. But I am done with this anchoring in/through the winter crap.
The anchorage has great holding. But the winds are so fickle. Last night we were getting blasted around with these violent gusts. It wouldn't be as bad if it was a steady 35 (like at Paros). We didn't much enjoy being in 35 at Paros -- where we were sailing on our anchor -- but at least it was better than placidly lying at anchor and then getting hammered by a blast. We'd be lying in our bunk just waiting for the next blast to hit us. When it came the boat would give a little shudder, then lean over on its side. Just not fun.
Adding to our long night last night was when Hydras woke us up around 2200. Actually, who could sleep?! But they got us out of bed by shining a bright search light through our porthole in the v-berth. I clambered into the cockpit to find their boat very close to ours. They had drug anchor and John was announcing to us he thought his anchor was fouled in our anchor! I felt awful. When we anchored I wondered if we were anchoring maybe too close to them. But it seemed OK at the time so we didn't do anything about it. But then this and I start getting worried. I have never been in that situation before. The thought that we contributed to Hydras' dragging, together with the wind blasts, made sleep highly questionable. All I could think about was 3 storms: 3 fire drills. First we drug anchor. Then our shore line parts in the middle of the 2nd storm. Now this.
So in the middle of the night they dropped their first anchor (and put an empty water jug at the end of it so they could retrieve it in the morning) and went off to deploy their second anchor. That seemed to hold.
In the morning we met up with John I immediately asked him if his problem was because of us. He told us 'no', that he hadn't put out enough rode for those conditions. I felt a LOT better. But I couldn't feel better for too long.. The wind had done a 180 and we had set our anchor for an easterly. Now it was a westerly and we were near a lee shore. The one little rock in that anchorage was about 30' away from us. I kept looking over at it nervously as John and I discussed our options. We weighed anchor expecting to see their anchor chain come up on the foul. But their chain did not come up. We hadn't fouled their anchor at all! I felt even more relieved!
We got the heck outta there and came into the marina. I am going to sign up for 3 months here in the marina. I don't need this crap! Maybe it will give me a better basis for fixing all the crap broken on the boat. We were going to have to spend a month here anyway when we went back to the States, so what the heck. It's only money, right?
So I'll start first with the batteries. Larry Robinson reminded me that the tach isn't that important. I know what rpm's the engine is turning just from the sound of it. And I have to remind myself, per the 7 Habits of Highly Successful People book, that while the battery situation is important, it is not urgent. So I just need to take a deep breath (and maybe a tall rum drink!) and get down to methodically fixing the battery situation.
Larry suggested charging each battery up individually and then waiting to see which (if any) lose its charge. So we will try that. More later.
We tried something new this time. The cruiser's net had warned of high winds so we decided to Med-tie against the bank. Then John off of Halsey suggested we adda 2nd shore line. So we got out our 300' of Mega-plait that is sea anchor rode and tied that off of port-side stern cleat.
Then the wind picked up yesterday and swirled and gusted like it did last time. WIll and I looked out the hatch and I noticed we were getting mighty close to the lee shore. So Will and I sprang into action to run the mega-plait over to the shore on the starboard side of the boat. The line we had there was kinda small, especially for the gusts we were getting.
No sooner had we launched the dinghy (no small feat in that breeze!) than sure enough, the starboard (weather) shore line breaks!! Now we have nothing to keep us from being blown up onto the mud on this lee shore. Will and I redoubled our efforts.
Using the one shore line, I pulled myself to the shore with the other bitter end of the 300' of line. I ran up the shore barefoot, across the rocks, and got the line around the same tree as previous and got a bowline tied off. (All of this is being done, of course, in rain and high winds just to add a little "effect" to the whole situation!)
I pulled myself back to the boat and hopped aboard. By this time the depth meter is reading '0.00' and we are feeling aground. But it didn't feel like we were hard aground. (Unfortunately, I have some experience in these kinds of matters!!) Anyway, we get the weather shore line around the starboard winch and I quickly winch in the slack and then start to slowly put some strain on the weather shore line. Then Will and I started to wait to see what would happen.
Sure enough, we started to feel a little floating action. Depth meter still said '0'. But I gradually winched on more shore line and ever so gradually we floated the boat off. In a lull we were able to switch the line from the winch to the stern cleat. I am not sure why we couldn't have left it on the winch, it seems to be pretty well anchored to the boat. But we know the cleat is, so that is where our confidence led us. Time to rest, right? Not exactly.
About this time I look over at the shore and notice that in my haste I had gone around the wrong tree. It wasn't a bad angle, but there was a tree that offered a much better angle at keeping us off the mud. So back into the dinghy I go and haul off again for the shore. This time I waited for Will on the boat to feel a lull. He released the shore line and I untied it and ran further up the bank and found my new tree and re-tied a new bowline.
I was thinking/hoping Will would then take up the slack. Only he wasn't! So I hauled back to the boat as fast as I could in my dinghy, jumped aboard --- handing the dinghy painter to Ruth while I went for the weather shore line Will was holding. I wrapped that sucker around the winch and winched it in as fast as I could.
We were still floating, so no damage done. I winched in a bunch more and watched the depth meter rise from 0.1 to 0.4 meters. That means we had a little over a foot under the keel. Not a ton, but enough. After that we went down below and hunkered down for the storm.
I was kinda upset with myself for having another 'emergency' two storms in a row. But I also tried not to beat myself up too bad. We had never tried anchoring this way before. As it turns out, we needed to shorten up our shore lines a ton and put some strain on the anchor rode. I learned we want the shore lines and anchor rode firm, but not taut. There needs to be a little give so when the gusts come the boat can deflect it a bit. But we had our ground tackle waaay too loose. At least we were able to learn without it costing a bunch.
t was also good that we recognized the weakness in our system and chose to do something about it when we did. Had we waited, we would have been well behind the curve when that shore line broke and we probably would've gotten blown hard onto the mud. Next time we are using the mega-plait for both shore lines!!
In other news, I met a couple of kids! OK, I am not as excited as I am excited for Will. Levi is 14 and Maggie is 15 and they are brother and sister. (Will is 13.) They are off a 37' Deam cat here in the marina. Once this weather passes I am looking forward to (finally) giving Will some friends his own age! They are cool kids -- from Arizona! They have similar cruising plans as us, so who knows? Maybe you'll be hearing more about them in the future.
I got the port head (finally) installed yesterday! Yeah!! It only took about 6 weeks to do it, but it is done. That adds holding tank capacity to our living situation, so that will help. But on a downer side, I continue to wrestle with the charging system. I don't know if we are just using that much juice, if we have a leak somewhere, or what is going on, but I cannot get the batteries past 12.4 V no matter what I try. I am emaling the alternator/regulator folks and monitoring it all very, very closely to see if I can find the trouble. We are running out of petrol for the gas generator, too! (Wish I had that wind generator yesterday!!)
And the refrigeration system needs a mechanic cuz we aren't getting the plates to frost up like they should. I suspect a leak, but we'll go to the senai today hopefully and I can find a mechanic who can help. Those are 2 big issues -- refrigeration and charging. So even though I got the port head installed, I really didn't get too much of a chance to gloat and celebrate cuz I had to turn my attention to the charging. (Not much I feel I can do on the refrigeration other than pay someone.)
Hopefully things will get resolved soon.