TRIP TO THE U.S. May 2022
07 July 2022
After 2 1/2 years we are finally back with family and friends but our time in the US is passing much too quickly. What seemed like a long visit when I booked our flight is now seeming to be a short visit.
Normally leaving the boat in a marina requires very little preparation. 2 1/2 years ago when we left the boat in Krabi Boat Lagoon /Thailand we returned to find the power to our dock had somehow been turned off and the fellow who was checking the boat somehow missed this so our batteries had to be replaced. We have much more piece of mind this trip because before leaving Turkey we were able to get new VICTRON parts(which we held for many weeks in customs) that allow us, from anywhere in the world, to see the electrical state of the boat as long as there is an internet system between our location and our boat. We also have our friends on SV Joana physically checking the boat.
As "full time live aboard cruisers" we know that our chosen lifestyle is off the grid and this has never been more apparent than this visit. Eric and I agree that sailing on the open ocean is much much easier than driving on I5 from Portland to Seattle. We are overwhelmed with all of the choices at Fred Meyer, Safeway and New Seasons and, of course prices. Prior to leaving Turkey, in an effort to maximize time, I tried to set up several appointments. I was successful with some and not so much with others. While we have found medical care in Turkey to be excellent, we are still Kaiser patients and are long overdue for "wellness" checks. Since our last visit our primary care giver retired without, I might add, letting us know. We were assigned a new doctor who had no appointments until the end of June---not going to work as we return to the boat the end of May. We were able to see a rotating doctor who recommended a couple of follow up appointments which, of course, couldn't be scheduled in our time frame. Then there is dental work. We have both had dental work done in Turkey but Eric had developed an issue that required immediate oral surgery and since he is on Warfarin this required a Medical clearance. We have been, and are still at this writing, going round Robin Hood's barn trying to get the clearance. His physical by the rotating doctor 2 1/2 weeks ago needs to be redone for a required medical clearance for oral surgery.
Our trip from Turkey to the US involved researching Covid requirements for four countries--Turkey, Germany, Canada and the United States. We were armed with both digital and multiple hard copies of the following documents: Passports, Republic of Turkey Vaccination Certificate, Republic of Turkey Residence Permit, Covid-19 Antigen Test and two copies of the Combined Passenger Disclosure and Attestation To The United States of America. Passports were shown at entry for each country but we were only asked to present our vaccination certificates and Covid test results as we departed Canada for the US. No one asked for our Attestation form which, we had read, was required by United States federal law.
West Marine has become our go-to brick and mortar site with Amazon our "on line" store. Cartridges for our PFD's were our number one item from West Marine with 30A Marinco Locking Connectors in second place--neither of which we were able to get in Turkey. We have also found that getting boat parts through Turkish Customs can be challenging so hopefully by bringing things in with us we will stand a better chance of having parts we need, when we need them. Our buddy boat, SV Joana, needs a new Thirsty-Mate Pump and a Danish boat needs a Bullet /antennae--so in addition to all of our pieces and parts we will bring items for other boats. Cruisers returning to the states are very popular.
One of the biggest joys of our visit was meeting our great grandson, Jameson Alexander Howe. While we had seen many photos & videos and heard lots of gurgling and laughing via phone calls there is nothing like holding a cuddley baby. He is a joy! Naturally, we did spend a bit of time with Jameson's parents, Rachel and Thomas. We enjoyed time with Ali and his crazy dog Rango. Diego was still in Alabama, playing baseball for the University of Southern Alabama Jaguars.
We enjoyed our time in the states.
MARCH CAME IN LIKE A LION
06 March 2022
Well, here we are almost the end of March and we are still waiting for VICTRON parts that we ordered and paid for in December! Needless to say, we are very tired of waiting but we wait.
Eric has finished the solar panel project, replacing two panels. We now have about 820 watts which Eric feels is not quite enough.
The photo was taken on a stormy day. The waves came up over the
14 Foot retaining wall.
This winter has been much colder, wetter and windier than last “winter. In order to continue with my early morning walk I had to knit a wool scarf and a pair of mittens. This was my first attempt at knitting mittens and, just for fun, I used a different pattern for each mitten. My left mitten has a lovely cable running up the top side but the mitten is way too big. My right mitten fits but is plain and quite boring. Now, I will knit another pair that have cables and that fit.
We continue to enjoy Turkish cuisine and are fortunate to have a Turkish friend on our dock who brings us wonderful food that has been prepared by his mother. Often we don't know what we are eating but it is always delicious. Our weekly trip to the Bazar (produce market) gives me an opportunity to try different fruits and vegetables. I recently made quince chutney, we decided we liked mango chutney better. We've been enjoying kumquats but have yet to do anything with them other than eating raw.
I have made a concentrated effort this winter to learn Turkish. I am using a language App called Duolingo. So far the phrases and sentences have not been very useful in day to day conversation. I have not been able to work “Kadin tuzu yer, ben sütü icerim” into a conversation. “The woman eats the salt, I drink the milk”. My efforts are appreciated by the marina staff, they get quite a chuckle out of my attempts at Turkish.
FEBRUARY, FEBRUARY, FEBRUARY ——Where did you go?
27 February 2022
REPLACING SOLAR PANELS
It should be easy, but is it? If every solar panel was the same size so that it was simply a "drop in" no problem. Not only are ours not drop ins, for good reasons, the boat yard that manufactured the boat put them in for ethsetics rather than for ease of replacement. Almost every time we have had a boatyard do work on the boat, we have regretted it, so we try to always do as much of a project as we can ourselves. The two main issues with this project are:
1. We are doing them with the boat in the water and since the panels that are being replaced are the stern panels which are sitting over the water as opposed to over deck, every screw, nut, bolt tends to go somewhere else, like in the water.
2. We have to do all of the fastening of the panel to the boat from underneath the panels while standing on essentially a ladder with boards over it---over the water.
Our iKamets (resident visas) expire on February 28. We met with our agent, Kamil, who made copies of our boat documents, current iKamet, new photos of each of us, a new year long marina contract and, of course, Turkish Lira! Kamil then sent us a message letting us know that our appointment with immigration is on February 25--which seems to be cutting it pretty close to expiration. Hopefully all goes well with immigration.
We are still looking at flying to the US sometime around the end of March, visiting with family, especially a new great grandson. Our plans are to leave Turkey the beginning of September and begin our journey back to Mexico. In true cruiser fashion, this scenario
Is subject to change---so, stay tuned.
09 January 2022
The month of December was filled with the Christmas spirit, holiday preparations, music, Christmas dinner with friends on Pied-a-Mer and a few changes in plans—-you know, the plans that are made in sand at low tide.
While Eric continued to work on the cockpit enclosure, batteries and solar, I pretty much did CHRISTMAS. For years I have wanted to make chocolate dipped candied orange peel, so I did. Popped into cello bags and tied with sparkly silver ribbon, they were used as gifts for friends. I knit miniature Christmas stockings as party favors for Christmas dinner. Each stocking was filled with Turkish chocolate and sported a Turkish Evil Eye symbol. For years I have collected buttons and when we moved aboard 10 years ago I brought all of the buttons with me——I had done nothing with them until early December when I made two button bouquets and used them for gifts. Not only did I enjoy making rather than buying, I was off loading “stuff” from the boat. Catamarans are very weight sensitive, am sure that 30 small buttons out of 200-300 made a difference!
Diane and I taxied into town and went to a huge Christmas Bazar.
There were many international food booths, craft tables, singers, dancers and, of course, a few Santas. Although the country is primarily Muslim it seems that all religions are accepted.
We spoke nightly with our friend Daniel who was helping me with my “Partner Visa” for the UK. Daniel had sailed with us from New Zealand to Papua New Guiana and currently living in Belfast,Ireland.
FOOD AND FRIENDS
04 December 2021
As a thank you to those involved in the "Passport Olympics" (aptly labeled by a Canadian friend), Eric and I hosted a luncheon at a local restaurant. Monique and I had been to the restaurant once and it was within walking distance for Metin and his mother and I knew where to tell the taxi to take us. I had done a bit of research on traditional Turkish food and had a list of items that I hoped to find on the menu----everyone laughed at this, especially the restaurant staff. Two of my items were on the menu, Eric and I ordered these---Pide and Lahmacun. 2:00 is an interesting time for lunch but in Turkey, as in many countries, breakfast is late, lunch is late and dinner is later! A few weeks ago we had been guests of Moniques at a birthday dinner for Eddy. We arrived by Taxi at the restaurant at 7:30 and were still there with after dinner liqueurs at midnight! Anyway, Eric, Monique and I had light meals but Eddy, Metin and Momma had full blown, what to me, were dinners. I tasted a national beverage and was told most foreigners don't like, but I thought it was delicious. It's called SALGAM. It is made from fermented dark turnips and violet carrots, has a tangy and salty flavor. It is served either spicy (which I liked) or mild. It reminded me a bit of a Bloody Mary with no alcohol. After we had eaten our meal we went to a nearby restaurant for a traditional dessert. Metin knew a restaurant which was off the beaten path and served only this dessert---not a tourist spot. The de”ssert, Künefe, is made with a spun pastry soaked in a sweet syrup and layered with cheese or clotted creme and chopped pistachios. The restaurant served several variations, we chose two kinds. It was interesting, once we were seated a server brought small pitchers of milk, little shot glasses and small white plates of sliced bananas. I was told that the milk and banana would cleanse the palate in preparation for the dessert! The Künefe is cooked on the metal plates that you see in the photo and then set on a liner as the plates are very hot.
Photo of Eddy, Metin, Momma, Monique and Eric enjoying Künefe.
WHAT HAVE WE BEEN DOING SINCE EARLY OCTOBER?
04 December 2021
A happy ending to last months "cliff hanger", the Passport Olympics! My new passport arrived on November 18. Backing up a little.......when the time came to work on electronic renewal form, I realized that I could begin to fill out the form, quit and then begin all over again. For the next few days I would work on the application, get caught up in something else, then start all over. Finally I completed and printed the form, made a copy of every page of my existing passport, addressed the large mailer and arranged with Metin to meet him at the Garanti Bank, main branch on Monday, November 1 to get the required cashier's check in USD. The check would only be good for 10 days and had to be in the hands of the American Embassy in Ankara within a week or the application would not be processed. The teller at the bank had never prepared a cashiers check, let alone one in US dollars , she spoke only Turkish, google translate would not have been sufficient for this mission. Without Metin it would have been quite a challenge, he again saved the day. We walked a few blocks to the PTT (Posta ve Telgraf Teskilati), the National post where I signed my application, enclosed my current passport and sent the envelope "express/one day delivery". I was pleased and surprised to receive my new "good for 10 years" Passport in just 17 days.
The Republic of Turkey was founded on October 29, 1923 by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk who became the first president of the Turkish Republic. 2021 marked the 93rd anniversary of this national holiday which is celebrated very much like the Fourth of July in the US. It was exciting to share this holiday day with the patriotic Turks. We joined locals with a ceremony at the marina, a parade of boats from the marina to the Alanya Castle, lots of flares, balloons, music, and a Turkish BBQ. We were guests on a charter powerboat which was decorated with red & white balloons (The Turkish flag is red &:white), very loud music, and lots of flares.
My current project is an application for a UK Partner Visa. Eric has dual citizenship but I don’t, I am eligible for a 6 month visa but we want to stay longer than 6 months. Stay tuned for that one!