MARCH IN ALANYA
11 April 2023
Spring is in the air in Alanya as evidenced by these tiny pink blossoms springing from the bare branch. The travel lift is busy dropping boats back in the water, owners are returning from their winter homes and we, along with two other boats, are preparing for a May departure from Turkey.
Our dinghy will be picked up today and taken to Antalya for repairs and maintenance. Alanya is definitely a tourist town with very limited services for boats. Sail work , dinghy repairs, marine refrigeration and electronic technicians all come from Antalya which is about 70 miles away. Eric has updated our Navionics charts and, along with our two buddy boats, studied anchorages along our route to Tunisia.
We opened Pandora's Box when we had a new Step Down Transformer built to our specifications and added a "Soft Start" to our Hi/Vac system. In an attempt to make sure that all would work correctly Eric had to rewire the boat. Wire colors, used in the building of the boat by the builder, were not consistent with a U.S. boat. In certain areas an Australian color scheme was used. It was not the 12V system that needed to be changed but the 115V wire color scheme. In some cases, due to location and lack of space, he was not able to completely change the wires themselves but to change the color that the wire represented at the end of the wire. This isn't complicated to do but must be done correctly. The real problem comes in making sure that devises are set up properly and polarity of the wiring is correct and plugs, where used, are correct. With his worn copy of BOATOWNER'S ILLUSTRATED ELECTRICAL HANDBOOK by Charlie Wing, the job was done and now all is good. There was, however, one glitch.
After many, many hours of working and thinking that all was good he forgot to check one pair of wires at a connection which resulted in taking out most of the electrics of the hot water heater system. Now we wait for parts from the US being delivered by a cruising friend returning to her boat in Alanya. What can we say------we live on a boat!
21 February 2023
Turkey has suffered the deadliest disaster in its modern history-----massive earthquakes--7.7 and 7.6 . The devastation, loss of lives and massive infrastructural damage is unbelievable. The aftershocks continue. The first quakes were on February 6 and yesterday (Feb. 20) there were two quakes over magnitude 6.
Flags flew at half mast for a week after the first earthquake.(See Photo)
Collection points can be found all over Alanya. The need for everything is overwhelming food, water, toiletries, clothing (especially underwear), hot plates, suitcases, toys, the list is endless. I belong to an expat group that is knitting and crocheting squares to be sewn together for blankets, I am not a fast knitter so its a good thing there are many women knitting!
Hotels throughout Turkey have opened their doors to the victims. The week after the first quake Alanya had 8,000 displaced people staying in various apartments, hotels and homes. Dailey, requests are made on the Alanya Expats Group Face Book Page for information on businesses that are giving discounts on purchases for donations, hairdressers who will donate their time, medical and dental facilities, on and on. The Disaster and Management Authority (AFAD) continues to help victims safely collect their belongings recovered from the wreckage.
The rescue stories are amazing and heartwarming. Family pets are helping rescuers to find family members, a newborn with the umbilical cord still attached to the mother was saved, though the mother died, children and adults were rescued who had spent days under rubble. Veterinarians from all over Türkiye have rushed to treat rescued animals.
In Antalya (about 60 miles from Alanya) an earthquake victim arrived at a hotel with her 4 cows. With the permission of the hotel a temporary animal shed was built in the garden of the hotel allowing accommodation for the victims with animals. So many stories.
21 February 2023
As I write this, Eric and I are in the UK. After spending two Holiday seasons in Turkey we are totally enjoying more familiar Christmas traditions, music, food and family. We did, however, have a special mission to accomplish. Eric's dad, a former RAF pilot, passed away several years ago and his ashes were scattered from an RAF plane over the waters of the Firth of Forth, somewhere near the Three Bridges: Forth Bridge, Forth Road Bridge and Queensferry Crossing Bridge. Eric and his two brothers were not able to be in Scotland when this took place, and Eric has always felt a lack of closure. We contacted the Edinburgh Marine Academy and on December 16, along with Eric's cousin Gardner and two young men from the Academy, we motored on the waters under and around the Three Bridges and nearby islands. Eric sprinkled a small bottle of scotch on the waters, a gift for his dad. Mission accomplished.
The next day Eric and I spent several hours touring the Royal Yacht Britannia, one of the world's most famous ships. Launched in 1953, The Royal Yacht proudly served Queen and country for 44 years. During that time, Britannia carried The Queen and the Royal Family on 968 official voyages, from the remotest regions of the South Seas to the deepest divides of Antarctica. On December 11, 1997, Britannia was decommissioned at Portsmouth Naval Base.
Photo is celebrating my 79 birthday on sv Joana!
21 February 2023
This winter has been the warmest winter in decades, this according to locals. We, however, had our "winter fix" in the Happy New Year To All!
We had a wonderful time in the UK. The crisp, cold weather was refreshing and the rain reminded us of Oregon. We both agreed that we would have enjoyed a longer visit. Returning to the boat, we had many T’s to cross and I’s to dot! The first order of business was celebrating my 79 birthday with fellow cruisers—-two cakes, friends from far corners of the globe, lucky me.
For the last year we have been trying to decide, “Do we stay in Turkey another year or begin our trip back to Mexico/US”? One week we would decide to spend another year here and then the next week we’d think no, we want to return to fami- ly and friends. Final decision (there really is no final decision for cruisers), we are planning to begin the long trip in the spring. In order for us to leave for several things have to be addressed.
1. Extend our iKamet (residence permit) for 4 months. Our current one
year iKamet expires February 28. We have applied for an extension which would cover us until late June (which corresponds with our marina contract). With the influx of Russians and Ukrainians in Turkey, the iKamet process is taking much longer than in previous years. The paperwork for a renewal can only be submit- ted 60 days prior to the expiration date then we wait for an appointment with im- migration. We know of several first time applicants who have had to wait long af- ter their 90 day tourist visa expired to receive an appointment date. One of the families applied for a year iKamet in October ,this week they received their card and it was for only 6 months and expires in 7 weeks! We are hoping since ours is a renewal application rather than a new one, we will be granted the 4 months.
2. Next on the list : Boat Insurance. Currently our boat insurance is with Allianze Turkey which requires a Turkish address and allows us a to cruise the Mediterranean except for the eastern countries like Lebanon and Syria. We are shopping for insurance that will cover us through the Mediterranean, to the Straits of Gibraltar and selected areas in the Atlantic including the Canary Islands, Cape Verde islands, the north eastern edge of South America, and the Caribbean. We fall into several categories that prevent us from coverage, ie. we are American flagged, we dismasted, Lithium batteries. At the time of this writing we are work- ing with a company out of Canada, hopefully we will be able to secure insurance.
3. Inflation: Marina rates are increasing all over Turkey. In two years the fee for a berth at Alanya Yacht Limani has doubled. The cost of goods and services seem to increase weekly. Two years ago we paid 25 TL (Turkish Lira) for a Kilo of strawberries—-today we paid 60 TL. (US dollars $3.19). The American dollar al- lows us to pay these prices but for the locals it is very difficult. Wages seem to have not gone up more than ten percent in
the same two years. Rental housing has in- creased as much as a thousand percent! It’s not just inflation but the influx of Russians and other non Turkish arriving in Alanya. These folks are bringing a lot of money creating a situation of incredible difficulty for local Turkish.
On a brighter or warmer note...Alanya is experiencing the warmest winter in 50 years. We enjoy warm, sunny breezy days and comfortably cool nights. We have a favorite pastry shop where we can sit outside, enjoy cappuccinos and “people watch”.
09 December 2022
November has been a busy month. Finally, finally, finally after two years tied to the dock, we have been out on the water. Our new generator works beautifully, engines both working. We stayed out about three hours, was nice to be moving on the water, even if it was under engine.
Miscellaneous Thoughts and Events:
LAUNDRY--the marina has two home size washing machines, no dryers. We used to pay 5 Euros for 1 load of wash, now we pay 10 Euros per load and 12 Euros if you do not bring your own soap and fabric softener. Several of the live-aboards have washing machines on their boats, many of us do not. Research was done into finding a local to pick up, wash, dry and return, as has happened in many countries, or each of us taking our own in to town and doing the laundry ourselves. We didn't find a business or person who would do a pick up and by the time you took the bus into town, dropped laundry off, bus back to marina and then in and out again to retrieve clean laundry---it wasn't worth it. A few boats have purchased washing machines the last couple of months.
TALKING WITH JULIA- A Russian boat is across from us with a young couple on board, Ivan and Julia. Both work remotely from the boat. Julia and I meet twice a week for an hour or so and walk, talk and enjoy chai (tea in Turkish) and cappuccinos. While Julia's goal is to improve her English (which is quite good), she doesn't realize that I am learning so much from her. It is definitely a two way street.
ORDERING GROCERIES ON LINE-While we have our "standing" taxi ride every Tuesday morning at 10:00 for the Bazaar (produce) and Migros (grocery chain in Turkey) there are times in between Tuesdays that I need something. Migros has had a delivery service all through Covid but we had never taken advantage of it---why didn't we? Who knows? Anyway, I now find that it makes sense to order the "in between items" in addition to heavy or cumbersome things like toilet paper, paper towels, large bottles of white vinegar (so, so, so many uses for vinegar on the boat) and milk and juice.
BITS AND PIECES---
1. Made reservations for our December trip to the UK. We are flying Jet2 airlines. The price is very good due to their policy of charging for meals, snacks, even hot water and for checked in luggage. We had decided to only take carry ons and there lwas even an option to pay $65.00 USD to guarantee that your carry on would be with you in the cabin rather than being put in the hold (we really didn't care if it was in the hold as long as we weren't going to have to pay $65.00 for each bag). Very excited about this trip.
2. Am "baby sitting" sourdough starter for a fellow cruiser. It really is like having a baby! My instructions were to refrigerate and feed it daily.
09 December 2022
More about our Mesopotamia trip. One of the most interesting sites on our trip was 23 centuries of history on 3D display at the Necmi Asfuroglu Archaeology Museum- also known as the Museum Hotel. When construction started on this hotel in 2010, they discovered what ended up being the world's largest intact mosaic floor. Thirteen different civilizations (over fifteen centuries) are believed to have contributed to the mosaic, beginning in 300BC when the Greeks were ruling this area. Naturally, construction of the hotel was halted for six months while excavations took place. Then it was decided to shift gears and incorporate the antiquities into the modern hotel. The owners invested ten years in excavations and hotel construction---an absolutely amazing project.
The second site, Göbeklitepe, a UNESCO site was my reason for going on this trip. I had watched a Turkish series on Netflix called The Gift and was intrigued with the history of the area (the series was very good). This historic site is the oldest discovered temple in the world and was built between 9,000 and 10,500 BC. It is more than 6,000 years older than Stonehenge in England and the pyramids of Egypt. As of
2022, less than 5% of the site has been excavated. Göbeklitepe is the work of people who were shifting from hunter-gatherer lifestyle to a settled life and farmer-producer system. Göbeklitepe proves that hunter-gatherers before thousands of years were not living a modest and simple life, but on the contrary we're living through an effulgence phase. In Göbeklitepe, many people came together and formed the most advanced firsts of human history with their knowledge of architecture, engineering and crafts.
At one point we were only 5km from the border with Syria---there was still no sign of military presence, but then suddenly---we drove right alongside the border and did see a barbed wire and a wall less than a hundred meters from the highway. The wall is apparently 564 km long, 2m x 3m concrete. The space between the wall and the fence is mined, and a variety of electronic surveillance weapon systems are employed.
In Midyat, with Eric looking on, I had some henna applied to my hand.
This year we celebrated Halloween at a Turkish Disco which was quite an experience. We always say that cruiser midnight is 2030 but that night didn't even begin until 2300.