Shortly after arriving in Turkey, we realized that Aisling has now sailed in four continents. We've cheated a bit, since nowhere else in the world can you find three continents in such close proximity, but it's a bit bemusing to think about the distance we will have to cover for the return trip to Halifax. Unfortunately, inside the gates of Yacht Marine, we barely realize we are in a foreign country. No mosque, no call to prayer, no ancient sites and no Turkish food. We are surrounded by English-speakers. Even though we are in the final days of Ramadan, the marina bar remains open all day and the liveaboards are permitted their usual happy-hour gatherings ( a big contrast to Tunisia). In short, we are in a vast insular compound where we are experiencing nothing of the Turkish culture. But we're absolutely sure we are in Turkey, because there is a large picture of Ataturk behind the desk of the marina's Customs agent. (apparently a legal requirement for government offices).
We're itching to get back underway to do a bit of exploring, but we've been held up by the process of collecting quotes for the work we hope to have done on Aisling's decks during the winter. Meanwhile, we are enjoying the little luxuries provided by the marina and rediscovering a social life. Our Dutch friends Jaap and Diana are berthed just steps away on Pontoon "India" and we were happy to meet their grandson Jay and to hear about their adventures since we last saw them in Lefkadha. They wisely scooted across the Aegean in late June and spent three weeks in Istanbul during the month of July before sailing down the coast of Turkey, hopping between Turkey and the Greek islands. Last night, we had a wonderful evening with CCA friends Bill and Karen Foss of Detente, who are moored at nearby Netzel marina. We met Bill and Karen first in Horta, later in Baiona and more recently in Tunis last fall, when we rendezvoused for drinks after bumping into them in the Bardo museum. We're hoping that Detente and Aisling will rendezvous in an anchorage before we return to Canada.
On Thursday, Deborah from the Canadian boat Chinook kindly invited us to go along with her to the Marmaris market. After a 20 minute bus ride through the shady parkland between the marina and the town, we arrived in the busy centre of Marmaris. Diana, who was seated behind us with Jaap, leaned forward to tell us "Marmaris has only 35,000 residents but over 150,000 tourists!" We will have to wait a while to see the real Turkey. But the market was fantastic, with a selection of fruits and vegetables that rivaled even the largest markets of western Europe. And such wonderful olives!!!
After weeks with access to only the weary offerings of the small vegetables stands in the Greek islands, we went on a big buying spree, then headed upstairs to walk through the clothing stalls. This section was jammed with the species of tourist that gives the rest of us a bad name; we saw enough bare sunburned chests and hairy pot bellies overflowing skimpy bathing trunks to suffice for a lifetime . The sounds of hawking and bargaining filled the hall... "Lady, you want a T shirt? Good price!"...."Only ten lira? No! You must be Joke-King" ...while the vast array of knock-off designer bags and assorted tacky treasures made me wonder if, somewhere out there, a vast factory is churning out identical merchandise for all the flea markets of the world.
The news from our Halifax friends is a lot more interesting than our news here. Hans and Dani reached the summit of Kilimanjaro yesterday -an impressive physical feat and a huge fund-raising success for Laing House. Congratulations! Meanwhile, closer to home, Nancy Lewis' battle with the Halifax by-law enforcement officers has turned her into something of a local celebrity. When a quorum of councilors failed to show at a hearing over a nonsensical unsightly premises citation she'd received for having a small patch of peeling paint on the side of her otherwise picture-perfect house, her cause was taken up by both the Halifax Herald and CBC radio.
Nancy has emailed us to say that her epithet should be "She Fought City Hall and They Didn't Show Up!" As you can see, Aisling's Science Officer is a force to be reckoned with. Bylaw enforcement officers beware, this woman has unlimited access to toxic algae!
Hope you are all enjoying a great weekend and all the best from Aisling 1 !