12 September 2023
Magical, magical Kastelorizo! We stern tied to the waterfront quay in front of multicolored buildings. Stepping off the stern of Pied-a-Mer we handed our papers to our agent and immediately ordered ice cream and wine at one of the many restaurants that lined the harbor wall. The afternoon was spent walking the narrow streets (battling the many tourists), finding the only ATM in Kastelorizo and hiking to the castle ruins. Early the next morning we left for Lindos on the island of Rhodes.
04 September 2023
Our last blog post was about spring in Alanya, this post is about Fall in the Pacific Northwest. Now to fill in the last five months.
Most of April was spent getting ready to leave Turkey, destination--Tunisia. Our new boat insurance required that we have a portable Bilge Pump with enough hose to reach the width of the boat. Getting the portable bilge pump was easy but finding the correct size hose was difficult. A simple garden hose did not allow the needed water pressure. We looked all over Alanya and finally ended up ordering hose from New Zealand. We thought that there would be enough time to have the hose sent in time for us to leave May 1 with our two buddy boats, but that didn't happen. This was not a real problem as we still had some things to take care of to ready the boat for traveling and we had "goodbyes"to say to our marina family. As it turned out the hose arrived late the morning of May 2 and as soon as I picked it up from the marina office Eric said,"We are going NOW" and we left. No goodbyes!
We motored overnight to Bilal’s Beach and we’re joined the next day by our buddy boats sv Joana and sv Nocona Moon. After two nights at anchor we motored to Kas where we cleared out of Turkey and then motored 3 nm to the small island of Kastelorizo where we cleared into Greece.
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”.