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".