25 January 2020 | Scarborough marina, Redcliffe Peninsula, Queensland
16 January 2020 | Christchurch
22 December 2019 | Christchurch, New Zealand
16 December 2019 | Christchurch, Canterbury, NZ
28 November 2019 | Christchurch, SI, New Zealand
19 November 2019 | Picton, Marlborough, NZ
04 November 2019 | Collingwood, Tasman, South Island, NZ
04 November 2019 | Collingwood, Tasman, South Island, NZ
29 October 2019 | Nelson, South Island, NZ
22 October 2019 | Christchurch, Te Waka o Māui, New Zealand
15 October 2019 | Scarborough, Queensland
05 October 2019 | Scarborough marina, near Brisbane, Australia
16 August 2019 | Southport Spit, Gold Coast, Australia
06 August 2019 | South Stradbroke Island, Gold Coast, Queensland
15 July 2019 | Boatworks, Coomera River, Gold Coast
25 May 2019 | Biggera Waters, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
12 April 2019 | Coomera River, Gold Coast, Australia
02 April 2019 | Southport, The Gold Coast, Australia
16 March 2019 | Southport, Gold Coast, Australia
09 March 2019 | Currigee, South Stradbroke Island, Gold Coast
A Gentle Grecian Gyration
15 May 2011 | Bozuk Bükü, Turkey
Geoff - North winds, clear blue skies
Pic shows Bozuk Bükü, a bay on the Bozburun peninsula opposite Rhodes and Symi; Rhodes township in the distance; Saraoni is hardly visible at the rear of the anchored fleet. Goats, dry, rocky hills, ruins from antiquity scattered in abandon, clear sea and clear blue Mediterranean sky - quintissential Turkish coast.
From the last blog post in Kaş we have passed the Yedi Burun, the capes we walked along a few weeks before, Fethiye and it's gulf, Marmaris, Rhodes, laid off to port, and now we are on the end of one of those gnarly Turkish fingers pointing out into the Aegean. Symi lies a few miles to the North West, Tilos, Nisyros and Kos a little further. Less than two weeks till our Turkish stamp expires we are ready for our gentle Grecian Gyration - North along the Dodecanese chain, West across the Aegean, through to the Ionian. Here a right turn would take us to Albania and Croatia, straight on for Italy and Malta. We expect to turn left for the Peleponissus, under and out back with a zig zag or two for Crete.
There's a little more of the Turkish coast still to see. Bozburun, the Yeşilova and Hisarönü gulfs and Datça where we will clear customs and Turkey. There's a lot more we will miss, but we need a life time or two more to see everything in the world!
The weather is not yet settled into it's summer pattern. The odd low meanders its way over from the West, turning the wind light and Southerly for a day or two or three. This gives those of us heading North or West a chance to make progress, but the end of the Southerly often brings clouds, rain and a storm. The return to settled high pressure brings the North West winds back with a flourish and we explore from a good anchorage write, walk and plan.
Friends and contacts are now widely scattered. We get emails from people we have been travelling with who are now in the Galapagos and Greece, Italy and the Chagos archipelago, Thailand and Israel, the Phillipines and Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand. Sometimes it seems a small planet we are circling.
Anchorage by the new Kaş marina
07 May 2011 | Bucak Deniz, Kaş
Alison and Geoff, sunny, calm and hot
This time, despite the bad reviews in the Turkish Pilot, we decided to anchor in Bucak Deniz near the new Kaş marina rather than the usual Liman Ağız, which has limited opportunities to get ashore.
The few days that we have been here we did a walking circumnavigation of the Çukurbağ peninsula, walked to and fro from town a few times which only takes 10 minutes and today walked up high into the hills behind the town.
We have had in excess of 30 knots of wind from both the NE over the vertical cliff behind Kaş and from the West straight down the channel and not a drop of swell has entered the anchorage. The holding seems to be very good in sticky mud beneath sand in 12-15m deep, the anchor being well dug in as we found after shifting once while here because of a too close neighbour.
The route in is shown in the pic above - no issues here. The only drawback is that it can get pretty rough in the entrance in the afternoon if the westerly is blowing with any strength.
On our way to Greece
06 May 2011 | Kaş
Alison and Geoff ; Sunny, moderate westerlies
Left Finike on Monday with the predicted easterlies and rather swelly conditions. Everything toppled over in the boat after 6 months house like conditions. It was great to be at anchor, however, in lovely Kekova and then on the following day, another sail to Kaş with wind more predictably on the nose.
We are now anchored in Bucak Deniz, 5 minutes away from town and under the wall like cliffs behind. Will be leaving tomorrow for Kalkan, then Fethiye with lightening westerlies.
The general plan from there will be to sail to Marmaris and then the Datca peninsula, hop over to Symi in Greece, then joggle our way up the Dodecanese chain to Patmos or beyond as the meltemi allows.
A Right Republican Rebels' Ramble
29 April 2011 | Finike
Geoff - Westerly, 20 knots out to sea
Even here in Republican Turkey, the small nuclei of Brits have gone bonkers with the Royal Wedding Day. We couldn't bear to suffer the shallow, sycophantic silliness so off we went up into the hills above the shimmering sea.
The spiny oaks were full of catkin flower, their canopies humming with the busy attention of native bees. A tortoise strode purposefully across the Belos road and snakes slithered across our path. The landscape was green with many wildflowers still flourishing, but the weather was now getting close to the 'too warm for walking' stage.
Descending down out of the narrow gorges into civilisation we arrived in the middle of the Presidential Cycling Tour - the colourful lads and lasses on super duper wheelies had powered all the way from Fethiye today. This was easily the biggest event to hit Finike since the hail storm: helicopters hovered, the police escort was fit for ...er ..royalty and the streets buzzed with Finike citizenry. Turks get a bit confused with some of their new, modern ways. They have spent the last two decades doing their upmost to dispense with anything to do with two legs or two wheels and here all the attention is on a bunch of cyclists!
The wind is due to turn south easterly on Monday. We are nearly ready to leave with just food to get, so Monday should be our day for leaving.
We're off - in more ways than one!
26 April 2011 | Finike
Alison, clear, seabreezes and 24 degrees max
We're off the hardstand at last and are off sailing within a week! The days are passing fast as we make our plans for our five months of Greek Island cruising with a small amount of that time still to be spent on the Turkish coast, ending for the winter on the island of Crete at the Aghios Nikolaos marina.
Poor old Saraoni was niftily hauled out by the 80 ton travel lift onto the hard stand for antifouling, painting and polishing for 10 days. We worked quite slowly as there was plenty of time to do all the necessary out of the water boat jobs. As usual we were tucked away well out of reach of any potential complaining neighbours.
The sound of the mosques in Finike were considerably louder than at our berth in the marina and there was quite a lot of midnight grinding being conducted on gulets who we assumed were racing against time to get boat maintenance jobs out of the way before the mad rush of the summer holiday season. There was quite a generous area around the boat to spread out all our paint cans, brushes, glues, sealants and other environment unfriendly semi toxic substances.
Anyway the weather was no big hindrance, slightly on the cold side. Now we are back in the water and ready to go in a few days.
Hoş Çakal - last steps on the Lykia Yolu ?
11 April 2011 | Finike
Geoff - windy
A weather window for walking - neither hot nor cold, the days are now longer. We dolmüşed it down to the town of Kınık three hours away on the coast highway, with packs loaded to the gunwales with camping gear. We intended to walk through from the greenhouse laden plain behind Patara Beach to Kabak near Fethiye. This would take us along the tops of the Yedi Burun - the Seven Capes - the jutting out bits of Lycian Turkey that are notorious for swirling currents when the offshore wind is blowing up against the 800 m cliffs.
The first day was an uneventful slog through agro industrial no man's land, gaining blisters as our reward, but we secured a nice, solitary campsite at the western edge of Patara Beach, under the ruins of Roman Pydnae.
The second day took us up the rocky slopes to a lovely green campsite amidst an olive grove and almond trees, surrounded by mountains near an ancient Ottoman cistern. The gaps in the wall were a bit disturbing (a badger's swimming pool?) as we reached into its depths for water, but we suffered no stomach aches as a result. Anyway we always boil suspect water for a minute or two to be sure. There was quite a cacophony of bird sounds as the new day dawned. No doubt using the open cistern as their watering hole. As it turned out there was a modern, sealed cistern only 500 metres along the track which we discovered early the next morning.
By the end of the third day we had traversed most of the capes, with their sheer drop offs down to the shimmering, turqoise waters in the coves below. Cloud and rain threatened, then delivered, and we camped in a small, stony space near a waterfall, which echoed amidst the call of the keçi herd nearby. By this stage our new petrol stove had run out of fuel as we underfilled it from the start without really testing how much fuel it would use over three days, so we lit a fire under a pine tree - it kept us warm, dry and fed.
The last day had perfect weather and perfect walking as we skirted the steep walls of Kabak valley. Last year we had stared at these same walls, wondering how on Earth anybody could traverse them, but an ancient mule path had been etched into the cliffside and although little used today still demonstrated its medieval engineering brilliance. There were a few tricky bits, rough and tumbling scree slopes, which if they had been in New Zealand and Australia would have been littered with signs warning adventurous walking to keep clear. Kabak was our end of the line - we had walked the "first" stretch of the Lykia Yolu between Ovaçik and Kabak last year. Our second dolmüş of the trip took us out along that scary road to Fethiye for a comfortable bed in a pension near Ece marina, then back to the boat the next day ladened with Saraoni's boatyard "presents".
Spring in full swing in Finike - April update
04 April 2011 | Finike, Turkey
Alison and Geoff - 15 degrees
April has brought vacillating climatic activity - Southern Turkey is not sure if it wants to cling on to winter or advance into summer. The winds, as usual here, are light, but now definitely favouring summer's West.
Occasional cloudy, drizzly days appear between Mediterranean blue skies, but the snow on the higher peaks behind the coast is receding, despite occasional reinforcements as reducing storms pass.
We have been busy on Saraoni in a now bustling marina. Online writing, updating our Finike Walks
website, planning and boat jobs occupy our time; we have many people with which to while away the social hours and bits of the Lycian Way are still unwalked. World news commands attention as amazing events have unfolded this year both political and natural.
The enigmatic "Sky Cave"
- the Gök Mağara
- was eventually discovered only 20 minutes walk around the coast from the marina. A small colony of bats shrieked their disapproval from an inaccessible black hole as we scrambled down to the cold, clear pool inside the main cave. We then marked the access point from the coastal highway with black spray paint so others could find it!
We led a group of yachties along the lovely coastal path to Gelidonya lighthouse with Spring's green growth all around and plenty of wild flowers blooming.
Our bikes are revitalised and we discovered the dam that feeds the agricultural plain at the top end of a Kumluca gorge.
Our plans for the year are now more solid. We leave for Greece in early May, making our way up against the wind as far North as possible along the chain of the Dodecanese islands maybe as far as the Eastern Sporades. Then we'll zig zag through the central islands - the Cyclades- as wind allows. We have discarded the idea of a second winter in France and Spain in favour of Crete - it gives us all next year to sail through to the Atlantic and plenty of time to explore Greece. Crete is by all accounts a great place to visit, so we are looking forward to berthing the boat at Aghios Nikolaos
in the North East.
By early October we should be in Nepal, walking in the Himalayas and exploring as many wildlife sites as we can.
We still have one section of the Lycian Way to complete - the best bit - between Patara beach and Fethiye and will do that soon- the boat is due to be pulled out of the water on 15th April for a much needed spot of TLC.
Carpets, seabirds and mosques - where Europe meets Asia.
07 March 2011 | Istanbul
Geoff - cold northerly
Pic shows the Yeni Camii (New Mosque) near the Galata Bridge.
An early arrival in the heart of Istanbul was a bonus and we had had enough sleep on the train to cope with a new city. After dropping our luggage off at the hotel we wandered around the old city district of Sultanahmet. Giant mosques towered over us and the streets thronged with people. After a few minutes walk we were approached by a polite, youngish man trying to sell us kilims (carpets). To fob him off we said we would take his card, not knowing that it meant visiting his off street carpet showroom to get it! After a cup of çay we managed to escape his grip.
Surprisingly, even with the blustery weather, the streets were alive with all types of tourists.
Ferries plied across the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus, or you could take a walk across the Galata bridge or use the light railway. We did a lot of walking around and were quite amazed by the abundance of seabirds crowding around the ferries. Gulls, terns, cormorants and shearwaters seemed to find a niche amongst the ferries and floating restaurants.
The fish market was awash with fish and the bridge was lined with fishermen sporting professional rods and tackle. How did they prevent their lines from getting entangled ?
It seemed a wealthy city and a safe place to while away a few days.
We spent the second day on a cruise / ferry boat which took a couple of hours to get to the Black Sea zig zagging back and forth across the Bosphorous. We landed on the Asian side where we disembarked to walk up to the old Genoese fort. From here there was a sweeping view down the Bosphorus and into the Black Sea. We wondered how many ships had navigated these waters over the centuries? However, it would certainly be much easier under motor than sail.
We also visited Taksim square, on the European side of the Bosphorous, and Iklilal Caddesi - a carless shopping street, generally selling goods that could be found in any city but at least one could wander around for a couple of kilometres without being narrowly mown down by a vehicle. The Grand bazaar (Kapılı Karşı) was a vast, covered shopping area selling more or less anything and everything and one wonders what it would have been like a hundred or more years ago.
From Bucharest to Istanbul by the Bosfor Ekspresi
01 March 2011 | Istanbul
Alison - cold and drizzly
After a couple of days slithering around Bucharest we boarded the Bosphorus Express train for Istanbul. In reality only one of the carriages reached Istanbul as the others were destined for Sofia, capital of neighbouring Bulgaria. We travelled in a 6 berth compartment with only the two of us in it. The whole carriage had only 4 other travellers and the friendly Turkish conductor. Most of the journey was over night so we didn't really see much more than a glimpse of the flat, snowy landscapes of Romania's Wallachian plain and the Danube. It was quite slow but a very smooth ride so we could grab some sleep on the way. The train stopped and started at borders and at some Bulgarian stations. Before dark we did manage to get a glimpse of some deer foraging in the snow in a hilly part of Bulgaria. Dawn saw us arrive off the Turkish Sea of Marmara and the train worked its way round the coast into Serkiçi station, Istanbul.
A Pink and purple plane en route home to Saraoni
24 February 2011 | Bucharest
Alison - Snowy
It was the first time we had ever boarded a pink and purple aircraft. Even the Wizz Air flight attendants wore pink and purple! We didn't gasp at the leg room this time as this is our 4th low cost flight in Europe and we have had to get used to being kneecapped on these journeys unless we want to pay hefty fares. Still, the journey was smooth and on time, and the mainly Romanian passengers all whooped and clapped on our icy touchdown. We weren't sure if it was because they had landed safely or they were simply glad to be home.
The part of Bucharest's Baneasa airport that we arrived in was rather shabby, but it took us a while to get up the nerve to leave as the temperature was subzero outside and the roads looked dangerously icy. After about half an hour, we gingerly stepped onto the ice with our 30+ kg of luggage and a one and a half metre solid wi-fi antenna and made our way by bus into the centre of the city. The next challenge was finding the hotel. Eventually, we found the address after slipping and sliding all over the place. Bucharest's infamous feral dogs eyed us hungrily but all seemed to have tags in their ears. The hotel manager bundled us into a car and took us to an apartment block which was close to Revolution Square and snow capped Cismigiu park. We had inadvertently booked a studio flat for two days, which turned out to be warm, clean and comfortable and cheap at £20 per night.
The next couple of days we roamed around the icy streets looking at the gargantuan buildings built in the Ceaucescu era last century, large Christian churches, glittering billboards and the normal shops found in any large city. There was quite a dominance of MacDonalds and KFC and the food for sale in the Carrefour indicated that a lot of preserved sausage products and sauercraut were eaten by the Romanians. Despite the weather, the streets were as crowded, as we had found in London, and virtually everyone was wearing fur coats and greatcoats with hats to match.
We had contemplated a route back to Turkey via Brasov to bear and vampire country and then onto the Danube Delta and Black Sea coast but the cold conditions and likely public transport cancellations spurred us to deter that plan and head back to the sunshine of Southern Turkey.
The day Tony came to town
08 February 2011 | Luton
Geoff and Alison - grey and cold
Pic shows Tony Blair apparently on his way through Luton ??
We're in Luton - a dull, grey, gritty town on the Northern edge of London's sprawl - it once made hats, then cars, now it has an important airport. Not exactly a tourist spot, but it's home for many. A walk down Dunstable Road in Bury Park with the wail of the muezzin from a prominent mosque and the side streets awash with a fantastic array of fresh fruit and veg from around the world reminds us more of the many countries we have sailed through, than industrial Britain. Luton's friendliest, if tackiest spot, is the huge Arndale Centre - where everybody of all races smile and shop together in the warmth.
Luton has a darker side - here, the Stockholm bomber spent time in the University of Bedfordshire, the 7/7 bombers boarded the train to London from here on their fateful trip and the extreme right wing EDL (English Defence League) was born 18 months ago. Not long after our arrival the whole town centre remained eerily empty on its busiest day. Demonstrating neo fascists and anti facists gathered at opposite ends of the mall, separated by legions of seriously tough looking yellow jacketed policemen and women. Bury Park's vibrant main street remained closed as Moslem men, allies and boys and girls in yellow awaited possible violence, which fortunately never eventuated. Sadly, Britain's PM - by chance or design - chose this day to criticise multiculturalism, and was loudly cheered by the yobs. In the midst of Europe's recession, divide and rule tactics are dragged out to mask unpopular policies aimed at shifting the burden of debt reduction onto the poorest.
We thought back to our long journey from Indonesia through to Turkey and contemplated the graciousness, generosity and hospitality that we experienced almost everywhere (the Somali coast an important exception !). Living together is not always easy, but we often wondered how Indonesian, Malaysian, Thai, Indian and Arab sailors would have been treated if they had passed through our own homelands in the same way that we had passed through theirs.
Up Up and Away
22 January 2011 | Finike
Geoff and Alison; calm; drizzly
The crew of Saraoni is off to England for a period of, hopefully to top up the
Phone contact in England will be (44) 7550 328 010
Email : email@example.com
Plans for the cruising year are still a bit muddied. The boat will be hauled out eventually. We will sail Westwards through Greece, Italy, France and Spain. The 60 000 dollar question will be whether we go straight through the Straits of Gibraltar and complete the Atlantic crossing to the Caribbean or stay another winter in the Med.
Trips from Finike end in ruins
09 January 2011 | Finike
Alison, cool and clear skies
Pic shows Geoff at Patara - more in the photo gallery.
Christmas day came and went. The Christmas quiz; the social with 50 or so yachties on Christmas Eve; singing carols (!), and after a glass of mulled wine on "Katanne"on Christmas morning, we were off to do some more hikes along the Lycian Way. Hopping on a dolmus, we headed for the tourist town of Kas. A lovely coastal drive of about an hour. We stayed overnight in a pension which, being well into the Turkish off peak season, was extremely cheap, at 40TL, including Turkish breakfast.
Early in the morning we set off up the zig zag mule track to Cukurbag, some 700m above sea level, part of the Lycian Way. Some impressive scenery unfolded behind us as we tackled the 2 hour walk. On the plateau, the normal Turkish farming activities were evident including keçi (goat) herding and fruit and veg growing. There were several minarets towering above the horizon as we closed in on the sprawling village of Cukurbag.
We made our way down the road to the main highway where we boarded a dolmus to Patara about 50 km further along the coast. The dolmus driver for an extra lira dropped us outside the "Flower Pension" rather than leaving us on the main highway. The owner was waiting to greet us, so we took his offer up of another off season deal of 45 TL for B & B. We hurriedly dashed down to Patara beach, comprising of 20 km of unspoilt beach and sand dunes, and had time to wander around the ancient Lycian city of Patara before nightfall. The amphitheatre could be clearly seen, but excavations were going on so we looked from a distance. It was once a bustling regional port but now sand has invaded the area and only canoes or small boats can navigate the inland waterway. The local belediyesi (council) had workers cobbling the road down to the beach, and they were carefully laying the granite blocks by hand. Access and camping on the beach after dusk is forbidden as it is an important loggerhead and green turtle nesting area.
The next day we followed an ancient viaduct to the periphery of Kalkan. The aqueduct had been built, presumably to bring fresh water to Patara from the Taurus Range over 30 km away - over 2000 years ago ! The four hour walk was generally flat and took us to Delikkemer, where the watercourse was raised on a stone wall and hand crafted limestone pipes carried the water across a 60 meter wide valley. It was quite amazing how much was still intact, and to contemplate the skills that had gone into the assembling of this structure.
The next trip was to the home of the legendary Santa Claus (St Nicholas). He was Bishop in the ancient city of Myra, although born in Patara - a long way from the North Pole ! Myra and St Nicholas' church, are both in or near the polytunnel surrounded modern town of Demre, 26 km West of Finike. The church looked a bit dogeared, but at near on 2000 years old, a bit of maintenance would probably be required ! However, the amphitheatre and Lycian rock tombs at Myra were quite spectacular.
New Free Online Walking Guide For Finike
03 January 2011 | Finike
Alison and Geoff
We have just produced a simple online guide giving details of 10 (actually now 11 !)walks around Finike to be used by energetic marina residents or anybody living in or visiting Finike. 10 less detailed walks in the Fethiye / Göçek /Skopea Liman area are included.
Just click on the link below and follow the links in the website to see or download your own version for free. Each walk can be viewed individually by using the "Finike Walks Index". The "Orientation Maps" give an idea of how to get to the start of each walk. The "Fethiye Walks Introduction" gives less detailed information about the Fethiye / Göçek / Skopea Liman walks.
It was felt important that the information was recorded in a place accessible to all, as information on most of these walks is otherwise not available. We will soon be leaving Turkey so if anybody who is staying on the Turkish coast wishes to take over the control of this website please contact us. As a free website it is now full, so any further walks (there are certainly plenty possible : Kemer, Kas and Marmaris all have equally great possibilities) would involve a payment to the website company for more pages and Megabytes!
10 WALKS AROUND FINIKE
Hail superstorm in Finike
30 December 2010 | Finike
Alison, cool, some cloud
More snowy pics in the photo gallery
Today we awoke to find the marina piled high with hailstones packed tightly in mounds and littering the decks of boats. It all started about midnight when we were jolted awake by a thunderous sound. A stream of hailstones were dispersing themselves around our saloon as well as heaping up outside our windows and pounding down on the decks of boats surrounding us. It all lasted about an hour or two. The morning revealed a fresh layer of snow on the mountain backdrop behind the town and up to half metre piles of hailstones engulfing the marina. There was enough "snow" around for young lads Sid and Wilf to make a snowman and chuck snowballs around. There were some damaged awnings but the picture in the town was a lot more severe and was undergoing a major cleanup. Parts of the main street looked more like Gatwick the last time we saw it. Some lower level shops were inundated with piles of debris and the benches in the park were partially submerged by piles of a brown icy mush. Cars had become encased in piles of hail.
Lycian Way - Belos - Ruins of ruins overlook Santa's old home
22 December 2010 | Finike
Geoff - clear, fine and mild
See Photo Gallery for pictures
A quiet interlude between the winter storms, although the browning snow is by now firmly in its seasonal home on the mountain tops. Christmas capers and boat jobs alternatively claim the attention of the marina residents.
We aim to find Belos, a ruined town 1000m up in the hills behind Finike.
Finike has three roads in or out - North over the mountain pass to Elmali, East to Kumluca, West to Kas, the latter both along the coast. On foot, the Lycian Way provides two routes - we take the Western route.
We pass the statue of the outstretched, clasped orange and supermarket BIM, left past the hospital and straight up the steep road - the BolDaĝ Caddesi - that follows the dry, rocky valley with its walls crowding in. Past an ancient cistern, the red and white markers run out, but the way is easy to find - just follow the gravel road as it switch backs high up above the valley. A few logging trucks pass us as they head up to the peaks to collect felled pine. We pass the first goatherders shed at the junction of two valleys - the western one leads down to GökLiman bay and here appears the green and yellow Garanti Bank sign to the Lykia Yolu clearly marking the stumbly, downward path we completed last month. We keep on, the gradient lessening, amongst the pines. A bored kangal stares at us and a huge herd of passing tinkling goats. The herder strides by in bright yellow boots, with a gun, a wave and a cheery merhaba !. What is there left to shoot up here? The path to Belos eventually parts from the road through a gate via a herders camp, towards the first wide view over the Western coast.
Shimmering sea and sky merge in a hazy horizon. Ten thousand greenhouses mar the Demre plain; Kekova and the Greek islands are in the distance. The gorge of the Demre Cay leads up towards snowcapped mountains. St Nicholas of Myra was Bishop down there 1400 years ago. He would probably have turned in his grave if he knew of the rampant materialism that eventually developed out of his legend.
Rocky slopes take us up to Belos - a pirates' refuge or a refuge from pirates ? Who knows - the ruins are in ruins - sarcophagi lie sprawling along the ridge - most are toppled - past earthquakes? Remnants of many walls, wells and buildings are scattered up towards the hill top, huge stone blocks, some with strange inscriptions. Who lived up here, when, and why? Turkey has so many ruins from different historical epochs- scattered across the country like litter/ cöpler. Here there are no signs, no information, no leaflets or guides, no ticket booths, no tourists, no excavations - only the scrub, goats and us are left to wander and wonder,
19 December 2010 | Finike Marina
Alison- Cool but fine
The superstorm that left a thick layer of snow high in the mountains and a touch of cool rain seemingly wasn't all we were going to get. On the 17th a flurry of notices appeared all around bare walls in the marina giving warning of an impending gale that was coming in from the west with strong gale SW / S winds. The normal activities of attending quizzes and the opera in Antalya went ahead as usual but the two Saraonis stayed behind, not really paying too much attention either.
At about 8 pm (or what some of us call "yachties midnight") a blast of wind arrived, with a creaking of rigging wires. The flapping of awnings and thwacking of halyards soon became deafening. The remaining resident marina inhabitants were scurrying around in the semi-darkness checking ropes and securing halyards. Cars came screeching in from outside, off-loading marina workers who hurriedly scoured any unattended yachts for chafed ropes and generally hung around as the storm belched out sustained winds of 50 + knots. Fortunately, barely a splash found its way over the sea wall, as the winds stayed more a less from a westerly bent. The opera attenders arrived back well after midnight ladened with Christmas goodies from the large hypermarkets in Antalya. They had missed most of the action. The rain came as the wind sharply changed direction and died, picking up at about 2 am again but nothing like earlier in the evening. No damage was done. except the lack of sleep from the ear-splitting noise of wind whistling through wires of several hundred yachts and gulets.
Finike - Snow in the mountains
13 December 2010 | Finike
Alison and Geoff - wet and wild
Back in Turkey after escaping the freezing conditions of Northern Europe we had a week of fine, warm weather with lovely blue skies before the winter's first real storm brewed in the Aegean - after drenching the Turkish coast with rain and snow (down to 500 m) it veered off towards the East - Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and Egypt got the full brunt with their worst weather for 20 years or more. In Finike, the wind was from the west, so we were quite well protected - the views of the snow covered mountains when the clouds cleared reminded us of where we had been only a week before!
The temperature remains at 10 degrees or less, another front is passing through and we have finally submitted to buying an electric heater!
Finike - A stroll around the countryside.
10 December 2010 | Finike
Alison - fine, clear skies.
After coming back from England we were in the right mood for a bit of touring around the area. First of all we took a three hour walk high up and behind the town where we had some superb views of the coast and mountains. The second trip was to the ancient city of Arykanda, some 30 km inland on the mountainous Elmali road. This we did by dolmus. The third was a circular 20 km cycle ride through the citrus orchards which are currently ripe with fruit. This trip took us past the ancient city of Limyra, dating back some 3000 years. The amphitheatre was remarkedly intact, especially considering greenhouses and grazing animals were scattered amongst the ruins. The next day, the wind and rain set in and we had to submit to buying a heater to keep warm.
Britain - life in the deep freeze
03 December 2010 | Letchworth Hertfordshire
Geoff and Alison - absolutely freezing !
Pic above shows a re-encounter with a rather frigid Trafalgar Square - see photo gallery for more pics.
We're back in the country of our birth for a business trip. For the last 25 years we somehow always seem to end up coming back in the middle of winter and this time we struck Britain's (and Northern Europe's) coldest early winter weather for ages. Globally warming, according to all the scientific evidence, but locally freezing! Fortunately we had decided not to do the usual mad motorway dash around to see our relatives and confined our stay to Hertfordshire and North Somerset, courtesy of spare rooms - and the hospitality of sister Mary and brother in law John. Britain has had a recent right leaning change of government and is still wallowing around in economic recession due of course to the fallout from greedy financiers, so it was time to take stock of changes since our last visit. Snapshot observations of our short stay : the royal wedding anouncement was made just after our arrival - maybe it was deisgned to keep the attention of the masses away from the recession but it seemed to underwhelm most people- Brits seemed more buoyed by the news of a reversal of Ashes cricket fortunes in normally formidable Australia; the Lib Dems in Britain's first coalition for a very long time did a complete policy u turn on university tuition fees and had the students out demonstrating in the freezing conditions in force. Our wander through central London gave us a few goosebumps seeing an icicle covered Trafalgar Square for the first time since placard waving during the 1985 miners strike and number 6 buses plying the route from Aldwych to Cricklewood - we had worked as conductors on these for a while in the eighties; the technology has as usual moved onwards and upwards with many people sporting i phones, online access to public transport was very good and it surprised us how many people were using buses and trains even though they semed very expensive after the many countries we had been in over the last couple of years. It was hard to work out how to get around despite the information as there were so many competing transport companies. A bright spot in the sea of ice and fog was the discovery of Britain's waterways and the people and their boats that live on them. An attractive, almost secret parallel way of life survives the suburban normality around it.
We never seem to give England a chance to show it's best but we were glad at last to collect our new, if expensive, chipped NZ passports with their new silver fern motif and inside pages with rather odd patterns showing waves of migration (or waves anyway) and then be able to return to a warmish Turkey!
Now sitting in MacDonalds at Gatwick Airport on our way back to the boat in Turkey. When we eventually boarded the plane it departed down the runway and then decided to have a meal stop for three hours in an aeroplane layby. A couple of the passengers wanted to get off the plane through fear but after a visit to the flight deck to see the pilot they changed their minds. Finally in the sky we arrived in Antalya at midnight!