Freebirdie's Sailin' Blog

22 November 2011 | Seattle
01 August 2011 | Santa Maria di Leuca
03 July 2011 | Greece
15 June 2011 | Gulf of Corinth
05 June 2011 | Athens
28 May 2011 | Poros Greece
25 April 2011 | Symi Island
13 April 2011 | Naxos, Greece
20 February 2011 | Istanbul, Turkey
30 January 2011 | Ephesus
28 January 2011 | Marmaris
16 January 2011 | Selcuk, Turkey
31 December 2010 | Marmaris
24 October 2010 | Cappadocia, Turkey
16 September 2010 | Marmaris Turkey
26 August 2010 | Fethiye, Turkey
19 August 2010 | Marmaris
03 August 2010 | Larnaca Cyprus
01 August 2010 | Mediterranean Sea
30 July 2010 | Ashkelon Marina

Leaving Turkey

13 April 2011 | Naxos, Greece

Hoscakal Turkiye... Good Bye Turkey....

After 8 months in Turkey, maybe our longest stay in one place to date.... It took almost 2 weeks out in the Maramaris Bay after leaving the marina to finally pull up the anchor and depart for Greece.

For us, Turkey was much larger than we realized. There was soooo many places to go and ancient sights/sites to see. Being out on the Datca Peninsula slowed us down some as it took almost 2 hours to get to the main highway to get started. We managed to see most of the highlights though and enjoyed meeting the Turks and being a part of their country for a short time.

Our last big adventure there was highlighted by "my" (judy's) two "adult children" who came for a short visit. Considering they live in different states with jobs, families and animals, it was quite a feat for them to arrange their time off, together. Stefaney flew from Seattle to Chicago where she met Christopher then they flew together to Istanbul. One more flight to Dalyman and a shuttle van the last hour and a half to the marina in Marmaris.

What a thrill to see them together in such a faraway place!
We only had a few days and the weather didn't exactly cooperate so we switched gears from sailing to land touring. Letting them sleep in the first morning we headed out to our favorite restaurant, La Fortuna for wraps for lunch. Then we went into the town of Marmaris and climbed up the hill to the castle. Of course we had to go to the bazaar before returning back to Freebird.

The next morning we drove to the ancient site of the hillside tombs and chartered a river boat up the Dalyran river (where they filmed the African Queen Movie). We had a tasty lunch before leaving for Fethiye.

Fethiye is our favorite stop along the Turkish Mediterranean. We stayed there early last season and would have liked to have been there for the winter, but no there are haul out faculties for Freebird. We walked through the market and had homemade soup on that cold, wet night before returning back to Freebird.

It really was great to share our "home" where we've been this past season with our family. Dave managed to take us for a day sail on the first sunny day before they left. It was their first sailing experience. We dinghied into town and while Stefaney and I hit the market for souvenirs Chris went to the Turkish Bath.

Before you knew it, sadly, it was time for them to leave. They had scheduled 2 days in Istanbul before leaving and I was meant to fly with them. Unfortunately I came down with a severe ear infection so ended up taking the overnight bus instead. I met them at the pension the next day.

Dave was busy getting the last minute departure procedures for Freebird squared away. (We had been together to Istanbul in February to go to the boat show so that made it a little easier for him to stay behind ~ and WORK!!)

I was able to schedule an appointment at the Italian Embassy that morning before they arrived to get our Visa's for Italy organized. What a big load off of our minds!

Instead of taking the bus back to Marmaris, I flew back on my reservation and really screwed my ear up for the next 4 weeks. Not only was that a painful mistake but hampering in every way.

Dave managed to break one of his teeth while I was trying to recuperate and then the inverter completely stopped working, so all 3 of us needed repair before we could leave Turkey.
Now we are holed up at the Greek Island of Naxos. We've been here for the past 3 days waiting out nasty big cold north winds. Summer's coming soon we hope.
More on the Greek Islands to follow.

More Photos


20 February 2011 | Istanbul, Turkey
Dave and Judy

Thursday 10 February, 2011

We're off to Istanbul! We along with 80 or so other sailors are guests of the Marmaris Yacht Marina. Every year they provide this fun trip to this extra special city. They include round trip charter bus transportation, lunch, a wonderful full day excursion on the Bosporus Strait and VIP tickets to the Istanbul Boat Show. We feel like royalty.

We left the marina around 0800 in two busses. With stops for lunch and potty breaks we arrived at the Side Hotel and Pension just before midnight. Long day...

Our base camp is located in the center of the historical area of the Sultanahmet where we will spend the next week exploring. We have elected to stay longer and will not be returning with the rest of themarina guests on the bus. We will fly home 6 days later.

Friday 11 February

Istanbul is about 500 miles north of Marmaris. Our first day is spent on the Bosphorus Strait on a luxury tour boat. It's COLD, but sunny. We enjoy the live music, drinks, and a delicious seafood lunch. This body of water is surrounded on both sides by the city. One side is the European side & the other is Asian. Lucky for us the sun is trying to keep us warm as we pop in and out of the cozy cabin to enjoy the sites of this picturesque old metropolis.

When the boat comes back to the dock we are so motivated to get up close and personal to the city that we decide to skip the bus ride back to our hotel. We instead choose to walk back through the city. Our walk takes us along the historical waterfront, by several very old mosques (one which was on fire, fully engulfed in flames, we had to detour), across a bridge full of fisherman, through the Egyptian Spice market, and up and down the narrow cobble stone back streets. We stopped for coffee/cocoa at a local restaurant and enjoyed nosing around every kind of imaginable shop

We walk....and walk....and walk... guess what? Yep! Were lost! It's getting late and we ask several times for directions..... We always get a courteous response Turkish! So we head into the night.... Finally, we see some familiar faces coming our way. They're a young Turkish couple on their honeymoon who are staying at our hotel. Yep... The hotel is just around the corner..... "Yes, of course we knew that", as we do an about face and head in the direction of our base camp. I'm sure from the looks on our faces they knew we were hopelessly lost....and COLD. Oh, but I forgot, Dave was soooooooooo cold he stopped at the first tailor shop we passed and bought a cashmere wool coat complete with hood. You'll probably notice in some of the photos Dave looks like an Eskimo pie!

Saturday 12 February

All equipped in our complementary bright red "Marmaris Yacht Marina" jackets and matching baseball hats we pile on the bus for a day at the boat show. We're issued "VIP" passes and greeted at the Marina booth ("our home away from home") by the marina owner, Mr. Bilgin, (nice guy). This "booth" consisted of an exclusive area for "Marmaris VIPs" only (that's us) . There was classical violin, guitar and flute playing as we are served C/T, juice, even WINE at our white cloth clad tables. This is our headquarters for the day. Tough duty. We've never done a boat show in quite this way before. Still, our feet got tired. Next year we're recommending they include foot massage. We ooood and aaaad at all the new wiz bangers and decided that old Freebird didn't need anything.....that we could afford. Returning to the hotel for a late afternoon rest we regained our strength. Later that evening we wandered around the corner to a quaint little Turkish café for a really scrumptious dinner. Good thing we only had to waddle around the corner back to base camp for the night...ZZZZZZ.....

Sunday 13 February

The Side Hotel provides 'breakfast". Dave's idea of the morning meal and the Turkish approach are quite different. (They actually serve fresh cucumber, tomato and olives + bread, cheese & a boiled egg), not that he ate any of it except for the bread and butter....So what does any good American do? Yep! It's off to Starbucks we go. After a Grande Cappuccino (Dave) and not so Grande Hot Chocolate (Judy) and some nice gooey pastries, we're prepared for a day of adventure.

First stop, The ancient Basilica Cisterns. Now remember if you will......IT'S COLD. These are cisterns and sunshine. But we were brave and wandered through this amazing antiquity. We clamped an audio tour on our heads and learned some stuff. It was built as a water supply for the palace in the 6th century. It was made using 336 columns which were pilfered from Roman ruins and are some of which are the best masterpieces of sculpture from the Roman period. I'll let the pictures to the talking. Also check out: Click

Next stop: the Hagia Sophia.
Hagia Sophia was rebuilt in her present form between 532 and 537. When the Ottomans conquered Constantinople in the 1400's they turned it into a mosque. Remarkably they covered up some of the original Christian artwork that is restored and visible today. It was declared a museum in 1924 by the father of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. It has been preserved as a national treasured site ever since and now a protected UNESCO Heritage Site. Check: CLICK.

Again, we clamped on the audio tour and bumbled our way around this awe inspiring structure. We've heard that it was the model for the famous Blue Mosque.

By now we're really hungry! We stumble onto a "pub" where they served hamburgers and stuff. Dave was thrilled as he is ALWAYS searching for a burger or pizza. The comical part was the Bing Crosby Christmas music playing in the background. Good hamburger though... Nice and warm too... A short walk and we're back in base camp nursing our exploding head colds.

Monday 14 February
Valentine's day

Today we take care of business. We head to the American Consul to add pages to our passports and make some notarized copies. The one hour cab ride takes us to the fortress like structure on the top of a hill way way way out of the city. We had to make appointments so we were about 2 hours early. We tried to enjoy yet another Turkish breakfast at a restaurant across the street. No Starbucks in the neighborhood. DARN Business completed, we jumped a bus and transferred to the tramway which took us back to our neighborhood where we had lunch at a sidewalk café and wandered the streets looking for that elusive valentine gift. Check! Earrings did the trick. Now we both have head colds, not just Dave and are not the most fun to be around. But still we managed to head out for a special Valentines night dinner. After considerable amounts of wine, topped off with a nice selection of antihistamines, a romantic night back at the hotel consisted of mainly snoring.

Tuesday 15 February

Today was our bazaar day. The mother of all bazaars. To be specific, The "Grand Bazaar". Wandering aimlessly would best describe it. This place consists of 61 streets with over 3000 shops. The old cobble stone streets have been covered with arched masonry. It's truly a National Geographic moment. As we pass by the shop owners shout out.."Hello! Where are you from? (Don't we look Turkish?) Duh, I have my dark pea coat and watch cap on just like every other male here...America we say... I love America, they say! "Come and look at my beautiful carpets/leather/clothes/ kitchen sinks".....I want to be your best friend" Thanks, maybe later.... One minute later the process is repeated. Sometimes we actually stop and have a conversation. Some of the shops are full of mysterious treasures and interesting smells. Always we are offered Turkish tea and a seat. It's the way business is conducted here in Turkey. Most of the time, we come away unscathed. Sometimes we succumb and take away some rare hard won treasure. Bargaining is the only way and they are the pros. We're like putty in their hands. In the end it's good feelings all around.

All this work! We're famished. We head into a back corner kabob house. It's loaded with locals (peacoats everywhere). It's warm and friendly. We enjoy a nice Turkish lunch. After some time we were able to find our way out of the market and jumped on the tramway back to the hotel. Judy's head cold was in full bloom., the living dead, she hit the sack. Dave caught up on some reading and had a quick dinner with our friends who were leaving the next day. Sure, guess who gave me his cold???

Wednesday 16 February

After our late "breakfast" and saying good bye to our friends we jumped on the tramway and headed to the incredible Dolmabahce Palace. The weather has turned incredibly cold, 1 degree. YIKES
Nice little place. 135,000 square feet, 285 rooms, 44 halls, 68 toilets, 6 Hamams (Turkish Baths). I really can't describe the opulence... It was built in 1856 for the Ottoman Empires 31st Sultan. It housed his many wives and family members. The last Sultan moved out in 1924 when it's ownership was transferred to the national heritage of the New Republic under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Dolmabahce palace has great meaning for Turkish people since their supreme leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk had used this palace as a residence, spent the most serious period of his illness and where he passed away on 10th of November 1938 at 9:05 AM. All the clocks in the palace are stopped at this time.

Lots of photos: Click

We finished our day mostly on foot again wandering the streets. Stopping for lunch and then later coffee. That night we had one of the best meals we have had in Turkey. Testi Kebab. Our dish was ceremoniously brought to our table in the clay pot it was cooked in over an open fire. The pot was cracked open and the seductively delicious contents were served with fresh bread, salad and a wonderful dry red Turkish wine. We found ourselves still at the table savoring every morsel two hours later.

Thursday 17 February

We're off to yet another wonderment... This one takes the cake. Topkapi Palace was constructed in 1478 and was used as the administrative center for the Ottoman Empire and residence of the Sultans for 380 years. There are 300 rooms, 9 Turkish Baths, 2 mosques, and 1 hospital in the complex. The 3building's called the "Treasury" houses and displays some of the most valuable historical artifacts in the world....stuff like an 82 carrot diamond. Oh and surrounded by ~ oh ~ another, oh ~ 90+ HUGE diamonds. Then there is the TopKapi Dagger, a full set or chain armor, diamond/emerald encrusted. Amazing
The Harem housed 300 to 500 of the Sultan's wives, concubines, family and servants Wow! Busy guy. Again this is worth a look: CLICK
This was all a bit overwhelming. We returned to the streets yet again for continued exploration.

Friday 18 February

Last Day: After a late sleep in we packed up our luggage, checked out of our base camp, and headed for Starbucks. I know this seems like a lot of Starbucks but you must understand that in our lifestyle for the last 9 years we have been deprived of things like Starbucks/ (Baskin & Robbins for judy). We probably won't see another one in a while. Not that it's life and death. It's just fun to indulge when you can. After a final assault on the streets of Istanbul we boarded the airport shuttle for the one and a half hour ride to the airport.
Bye Bye Istanbul, Hoscakal.

We arrived home to Freebird at 2300 hours. A storm was blowing 60+ knots as we drug our luggage down the dock. She was waiting patiently for us to come home. We rocked to sleep as the storm winds blew across Turkey.



30 January 2011 | Ephesus
Dave and Judy

We've joined up again with Gwen on her overnighter to the ancient site of Ephesus. This area has been inhabited for ten thousand years and has been ruled over by just about everybody. (Romans, Greeks, etc.) It was the second largest city in this part of the world next to Rome for centuries. It's demise was mainly from the rivers silting up the bay, many earthquakes in this region, and constant take over from warring despots. Can't they just get along?

We were astounded by it's size and magnitude. This time Gwen had our favorite driver Tansel and a new guide for us, the super experienced Mevroosh. They made it a grand time for all 12 of us sailors packed into their van. Our first stop was for breakfast. I just loved the Greek style chicken rice soup. Davey had lentil. Turks eat soup for breakfast. Fortunately for us the day warmed up and we were between storms. Last years group were rained out and never made it outside of their hotel.
Finally we arrived at the ancient city. We clomped around the ruins for 3 hours listening to all of the history and events of the inhabitants here. If you used your imiganation you could see what it must have been like a couple of thousand years ago. Beautiful marble sculpture and architecture. Water everywhere coming from beautiful fountains. Scantly clothed Goddesses around every corner...Oops! Gotta watch that imagination.

The Amphitheater held 25,000 spectators ~ amazing!!! (not if you were a Christian)

The Austrians have built an impressive building over an entire area of dwellings dating back to antiquity. Many of the wall paintings and mosiacs have been preserved along with the "townhouses" they were in. The infrastructure was very advanced with running water and sewer throughout.

After our big adventure Mevroosh rewarding us with such a tasty late lunch that we didn't even need our dinner later.
This intersection of Greek, Roman, Christian and Muslem historical sights centers around the town of Selcuk We waddled around the site of The House of Mary, the Basilica of St John and the last stop before calling it quits for the day the Ehpesus Museum. They were lucky to have any artifacts left as so many have been stolen by all of the worldwide museums.
Ephesus Museum

Our KoruMar Hotel Delux in Kusadasi was right on the water with a fabulous view of the harbor. It was a shame we missed the sunset.

We did catch it's scenic atmosphere the next morning though when we woke to another sunshinny day. Luck was with us!!!
We persuaded our driver to make a little detour for some Starbucks on the way out of town. We're off to wrestle some camels......

Check out More Pictures

Google Earth for much more

Turkey Recap

28 January 2011 | Marmaris

Merhaba (Hello) from Turkey. We've been here 6 months Feb 18th. We'll take our second ferry run to Rhodes Greece next Friday to renew our visas. On our last one Dave was so seasick we are hesitant to go this time. He has a bad case of "ferryphobia". We are only 1 day short of renewing our Visa's in Istanbul when we go to the boat show Feb 10th. RATZ!!! Bet he'd rather take that long cab ride to Bulgaria instead!
Turkey, man, it's huge! Way bigger than we ever imagined. There are so many different kinds of peoples here with this being Europe's back door and the Middle East's front door. Wow. Then there is the size, it's vast. Being out here on the Southwest corner makes it harder to travel as we almost have to go 2 hours before we meet up with the main road system to start to go anywhere. You can't even begin to believe all of the history/antiquities/cultures that have been here. It goes on forever. We won't forget the weather either. It goes from freezing and mammoth hail storms to so hot you could really melt. During this last year we've been the hottest we've EVER been, in our lives and for sure the coldest in the last 9 years... YIKES This current cold spell though might only last for a week. The winter season here is much shorter than ours. Because this is the convergence zone we do get some reprieves with cold bright sunny days.
When we choose Marmaris it was mostly to haul out Freebird and get her work done, do some sightseeing and hopefully get away someplace warm during these 2 cold, wet, windy months. Well, so much for that pipe dream. With the economy the way it is and our budget the real way it is, we are just going to sit this one out. We figured it can't be all bad though because then we do get to REALLY experience Turkey. Luckily for us, another cruiser in the downtown marina has been living here on and off for years, likes it and organizes wonderful trips for us visitors to take.

So far we have taken advantage of most of them. We've written about a few of them so far like the Aphrodesia and Cappadocia trips. We've left out our little day trips that we want to share now.
Our first day excursion from Gwen, her guide Tas and driver Tansel was the "Mystery Tour". There were 3 events for the day promised. The first one was to an historical sight. There was an mausaleum from the Greek/Roman era that was dedicated to---- eh, we forget.... now it's in the square for Ataturk. Have we mententioned him before? The father of Turkey, Mustafa Kemel. He united Turkey in the early 20th century. They adore him. There is not a busness, square, home that does not have his photo, statue or both. My dentist must have 20 framed portraits alone on the wall along with a sculptures and many other memorials.

We visited a traditional village and home site consisting of a raised home that allowed the animals to live underneath and the occupants to climb up a ladder to the 2nd story where they live. At night they unrolled their bedding to sleep.

It was homey and decorated with folkart +++ the all important Ataturk. Some of the old folks were there to greet us in their native dress. Catherine from The Southern Cross even donned a wedding costume for the occasion. Our last stop was in a traditional village where we mixed with some of the villagers, had Turkish coffee and teas while we watched them play games. Board games are so popular here. Every corner, stall, cafe is full of MEN playing "Okey", Backgammon and various other versions of dominoes and checkers. They play faster than lightening!

We had such a fun day that when Gwen offered us to go to "Oil Wrestling" a couple of weeks later we jumped on it. Right at the last moment Dave bailed out with a filmsy excuse (doesn't enjoy watching men in tights) so that Catherine and I went together instead. We had a grand time of it. Oil wrestling is nothing like you've ever seen before ... ever. Of course there is a lot of postering, but the more fascinating part is that not only are they covered from head to toe with oil, but they annoint each other with it before the match. This men only event consist of the men wearing just short tight leather shorts and stalking each other. Points are gained when the opponent is controlled via a grasp on his lederhosen. So, when we saw each of the combatants shoving their hands down the front and back of their opponents pants we could NOT BELIEVE IT. What was that??? Disbelief on both of our parts. We tried to get as close to the wrestlers as we could to verify this. Sure enough. Two men, each with a hand down the front and back of their opponents shorts trying to flip them. Boy and they did too. Dave was really sorry he missed going to it. (This is written by Judy edited by Dave ...he wasn't sorry.)

Afterwards we 10 cruisers met up at the local eatery to discuss the event. Incredible. Just as we were loading back into our van we managed to get a photo of the hero winner. Great fun was had by all.
We are using our down time to catch up on our photos, blogs, logs, emails, minor repairs and the ever constant Freebird maintenance. (Ant nest in the printer yesterday, hot waterfall in the engine room Wed & so on.....)There are plenty of social activities here in the "home" too, like boulles (bocci ball) bowling, Turkish lessons, hiking, happy hours, parties, quiz nights, yoga, etc. Occasionally we escape the "compound" and head into town for shopping, dining shopping, mindless wandering, and more shopping. So here we'll remain until the warm spring sunshine draws Freebird and crew out of her watery nest.......


Camel Wrestling

16 January 2011 | Selcuk, Turkey
Dave and Judy

Oh boy oh boy, the long waited event is here. We've been hearing about Camel Wrestling from all of our sailor predecessors. Dave came ready to take on those critters.

It turned out that we won't be wrestling. The camels actually compete against each other. Darn!

As in most animal events, it's really more about the people. What a hoot! The sights and smells were really compelling. By in large the majority of the local spectators were men with a few scattered women to help with the food and kids. A complete cornucopia of attire covered the full spectrum from traditional Turkish to punk. Maybe it's really about eating in a festival atmosphere that makes it so lively and fun. All of the crowd carried, brought, cooked and consumed delicious smelling food the whole time. We had parked ourselves on the hillside sandwiched between a colorful array of folks. We were so glad we brought our chairs as advised by Gwen. Surrounded by smoking braziers and barbeques in every direction, our salivary glands were on overload. We were disappointed that we hadn't brought along our own delicious smelling meal. A smoky haze almost obstructed the view of the arena below. Several musicians with clarinets, traditional instruments and drums serenaded the crowd, sometimes playing two or more different melodies at the same time. Complete chaos!

At least some of the crowd was actually watching the event. The "beasts" would be led into the arena and they immediately began pushing and shoving each other. The competitors would push each other with their necks and try and push their opponent to the ground. Nobody seemed to get hurt, only just a little hit on the pride here and there.

Although the camels with bells, whistles, decorations and tassels, all slobbering appropriately were a spectacle, the partying spectators were the highlight. Our friend Tim was beside himself having not thought to bring some raki. He whined constantly until an enterprising young man came around selling it, whew! We shared a bottle to get into the spirit of things.

In a friendly gesture the men in front of us shared some of the tastiest soft shelled almonds we have ever had. Then the gang behind us offered Dave some savory chicken hot off the grill. Oh, he couldn't have been happier. He even shared a few bites with me, bless him. It was so painful to sit there among all of the cooking and eating.

After about three hours of photo taking, snacks and socializing it was time to pile back into our van for a much anticipated late lunch....drool

We took a walk around a hillside village and devoured a tasty lunch at a friendly restaurant. Finally in the late afternoon, we hit the road for our long drive back to the marina. Thanks to our wonderful guide Mevroosh and our driver Tansel.

More about Camel Wrestling

Happy New Year from Marmaris

31 December 2010 | Marmaris
Dave and Judy

After our visitors have left we were alone once again. We continued to sail and explore the anchorages and islands around Southwest Turkey. Then one day we were under sail and the weather turned cold and rainy. We looked at each other and in silent communication nodded. It was time to head for the barn. We haven't sailed in cold weather for years. We hope to avoid all such foolishness.

As we mentioned earlier, we have committed to a stay here in the Marmaris Yacht Marina until spring. We are prepared for winter now. Our heating system came out of moth balls, the sweaters come out of deep storage.... we're ready! It's strange to always have the hatches and door closed. The marina is about 20 minutes by a little bus from the quaint little town of Marmaris. We have rented a car with our good buddies, Tim and Rose on Rendezvous Cay so we can escape the compound at will.

We have been working on projects. The list is long but getting shorter. Freebird came out of the water for a week for new antifouling paint, a new saildrive transmission and new rudder bearings. We stayed in a little apartment onsite during that time. (bathtub for Judy!)

We're back in the water now. Tied to a dock. This place is known for wind. We've had some too. We've seen 50 knots so far...hope that's the worst of it. Is's amaizing how loud things get when over 1000 masts are hit with high winds. It just screems! You can't carry on a normal conversation when walking down the dock. Last year a whole dock broke loose with all 20 boats attached and drifted away.....not good. The staff here are always checking lines. When we look out there, even in the middle of the stormiest, darkest nights, there they go, zipping around in their dinghy. We really appreciate them. For the most part though, the days are sunny and the winds calm to moderate. Today (Dec.31) it's about 55f/11C degrees with about 12 knots of wind and brilliant sunshine.....beautiful!

Out of all these boats here only a few are occupied. Most are owned by Europeans and just stored here for the winter. There are about 100 of us "liveaboards" here toughing it out. There is always something going on: walks, movies, bowling, Turkish lessons, ladies tea, sailboat racing, etc. Occasionally we take off on a tour for a few days. We'll write more about that later. Most mornings we start our day with either yoga or the gym. Our fitness center is pretty sad but we make it work. We're slowly but surly getting our flabby bodies back in shape. I am the only guy among the yogies but I don't mind. Hard to top being in a room with a bunch of athletic women. Most of them put me to shame but I keep coming back for more. Judy's in her element.

We celebrated Thanksgiving, Christmas, and tonight, New Year's Eve with our dock buddies at various restaurants in town and here at the marina. It's not the family and it's definitely not home.... but it's the best we can do.

Well, I better go now. I hear the wind in the rigging... better go check the dock lines.

We wish you Peace and Love for the New Year


24 October 2010 | Cappadocia, Turkey
Dave and Judy
This has to be one of the strangest places we have yet encountered. Our 5 day trip to Cappadocia began early in the morning ~ ODark30~ at the front gate of the marina. Our mini bus picked us and 10 other sailors up for the long ride. Our guide "Taz" was aboard and we all setteled in for the long haul. We stopped for lunch and then stopped again for the night at a hotel. Judy decided this was the time to have a very bad tooth ache. Taz found us a dentist that was open late so we took a taxi. Yep, she needed a root canal. What fun! The dentist was able to do the first half of the procedure but the tooth required a rest of a few days to complete the job. So off we went in the morning with a half done root canal ~ taking the meds & still aching, but almost tolerable, barely

We arrived at the "Star Cave Hotel" and checked in. The rooms were...... caves...... cut into the side of the cliff. The climate was cool and the heat hadn't been turned on. It was cold in our cave. We cranked on the steam heat and headed for happy hour with our friends. When we returned things were some what warmer but sill not toasty. We snuggled under our thick blankets. Early in the morning we awoke to a strange a blast of air...Hmm?? We poked our heads out of our cave and high above the cliff was a hot air balloon drifting by. Again we heard the sound as we saw the flame blast into the floating ball....little heads peering over the side.

After breakfast Taz herded us off to the first wonderment. He didn't tell us the local name for this valley but we all guessed it....Can you?
"_____ Valley" It's pretty obvious.....

The weather was perfect and the scenery was spectacular.

Our days were spent clamoring around/up/on/under the various sites. People have lived here in these cave houses for thousands of years. There are still people living here in the same cave houses after all this time. Everywhere we went there were churches. Many had the walls adorned with religious paintings from the 4th century AD.

We explored Derinkuyu Underground City where early Christians hid in exile. The tunnels descend to a depth of 85 meters and once sheltered tens of thousands of people. These people must have been extremely desperate to live like this.

We enjoyed meals out at the local restaurants in the evenings before retiring to our "cave" which was now warm and toasty with the heat on full blast. One night we went to a performance of the Whirling Dervishes and some belly dancing as well. OH MY ..........................

Early the last morning we all piled into our little van for the 12 hour ride back to Freebird. YIKES, TB, back after dark!

Check out Cappadicia

More Lycian Coast

16 September 2010 | Marmaris Turkey
Dave and Judy

Our visitors did make it. Anne and Jackie arrived well after dark. We changed their destination & surprised them with a taxi ride to the head of a small cove where we were anchored instead of going to "the city". The owner of the only small restaurant in the cove had his brother retrive them from the airport. We waited in the dark silence with our dinghy until we finally spotted their headlights snaking down the switchbacks on the hill above. A few minutes later we were all 4 in the dinghy with mounds of luggage. A ten minute dinghy ride and we were aboard Freebird. We were in heaven! Our family and mounds of booty from America! Bla Bla Bla all night... we woke in the morning to a warm Mediterranean day. The girls immediately jumped in the warm water for some wake up exercise.
Morning Exercise
The day was spent lazing around and caped off with a nice sunset dinner at the restaurant.

The next morning we had a nice sail back to Fethiye for a of day shopping and tramping through the streets. It was pretty fun getting Annie into a Haman (Turkish Bath) hehehehehehehehehehe.
Fetheye Delights!
In the morning we headed out for 4 days of sailing/hopping toward Marmaris.
We anchored one night in a cove and the next day took a water taxi for a day trip to the ancient city of Kaunos. The ride meandered through a maze of channels in mangroves and swamp. This is the location where the movie "African Queen" with Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn was made. We stopped & fed the local turtles & bought crab later for dinner
Route of the African Queen
We wandered around the ruins and gazed with wonder at the ancient city.

After lunch in the small waterside village the girls went shopping and Dave found a quiet place to meditate.
Stress Relief
In the late afternoon our water taxi returned us to Freebird for our crab feed. The next day we finally arrived at Marmaris. We shopped and explored the old city and enjoyed strolling along the waterfront with it's quaint restaurants and tourist boats.
Old Marmaris
The next day we were off to Rhodes Island on a ferry. Our one Rhodes day was spent in the old city. We played tourist and visited many of the museums and historical sites.
Old Rhodes
Typical Tourist

We had a tasty lunch and were back on the ferry to Marmaris by 4:30. We liked the Greek Island so much we decided to go on our own.
Two day sails took us to the little Greek island of Simi. We anchored in a small bay not too far from town. We decided to take the bus to the village. The ride was worth the whole trip. We wound through the narrow streets, up and down hills with fabulous views.

The weather was crystal clear and warm. Finally arriving in the classic little Greek fishing village that has given up fish for tourists. We bumbled around the narrow streets bordered by whitewashed stone buildings.

Of course we stopped for coffee on the waterfront, duh! Later we had a great Italian meal for dinner. We spent 3 days here and celebrated Judy's 29+++ birthday.
Happy Birthday Judy

Our final stop with our visitors was to Bosburn. As we sailed up to the dock at the Aphrodite Restaurant and Pension the owner took our lines. After securing Freebird he invited us for a cup of tea. He welcomed us to stay on his dock as long we wanted. Of course he hoped we would have dinner in his restaurant. He offered to arrange transportation to the airport for Anne and Jackie so we didn't have to go back to civilization :>}} We spent a couple of days here.
Free moorage at the Aphrodite Restaurant and Pension
Not enough time was spent in the beach chairs catching up on reading and meditating.

He took us into town on his boat. We went to the local market.

The Aphrodite Restaurant produced some of the best food we've had in Turkey.

Sadly it was time for the girls to head back to the real world. They left at midnight in the dark, just the way they came....

Turkish Med Mooring

26 August 2010 | Fethiye, Turkey

Here we are in our 3rd week in Turkey. We skipped the Eastern anchorages of Alayna & Anatalya deciding we needed to get closer to where we were might stay for the winter instead. We spent a few days regrouping in Finike before hopping up the coast. More on that later...
Right now, it's Thursday, Sept 9th. We left the anchorage in Fethiye this morning after 6 days. We were anchored out in the bay to avoid the steep marina fees. Fethiye had some historic and interesting sights that we visited in between catching up with repairs & cleaning. We also crossed paths with our friends Fatty and Carolyn on Wildcard. We always enjoy hanging with them and they had the lowdown on the town.

For some reason, today was the day we decided to venture out. As it turns out, it is the first day after Ramadan or the start of their 3 day Feast Holiday. Probably their busiest time of their year! EVERYTHING was closed this morning when we left town. Out here, it feels like we are in Friday Harbor ( Lake Washinging during SeaFair) or the Last Labor Day weekend fling before school starts in the US. This anchorage (The Wall) maybe it should be named, Wall to Wall Gulets (Turkish boats) instead is jam packed with every type of marine vehicle known to man. It is like a revolving door. It is also the first time we've Med Moored ( back in with anchor out and tie to the shore) for real. It wasn't quite as scary as it seemed. But then again, the weather was totally cooperating and the spot we found wasn't totally crowded then. To protect the trees "bollards" have been provided for stern ties. They are marked with bright orange paint to help locate them. We choose our spot that had a bit of room between 2 very large Gulets. We put down 200 ft of chain in a very deep spot then backed up. Naturally the chain picks this time to jump off the gypsy and dump the lot ~ 300 ft, as we were backing towards shore!. Luckily we have the bitter end tied off... We recover, bring in 100 ft and slowly back up until the line (road )becomes taunt. We quickly launch the dinghy. Dave takes off to shore armed with line to tie to the "bollard". He is even in his crocs in order to go onto the sharp rocks. I am ready to adjust the boat if need be. We do have a side wind but Miss Freebird seems to be staying in line. I help to feed out the stern anchor road. Of course... there isn't any bollard there, so he now ties a line around a large rock instead, managing at the same time to keep the dinghy off the rocks. I'm really glad he didn't swim for it. I'm even happier that i didn't have to either. Phew
So now, we are attached to shore. Our neighbors to the port of us leaves in the late afternoon. Now our only CLOSE neighbor is a mega yacht with lots of children. Monohulls, catamarans, luxury power boats, gulets, dinghy's, tinnies, fishing boats, parasailing boats, bananaboats, cigarette boats, jet skies, snorkelers, swimmers come & go all day & into the night.
OMG, what a circus.

Today was our FIRST day of clouds & breeze. Maybe, just maybe the heat is lessening. I'm not going to say this out loud but, the flies & mosquitoes seem to be abating too. SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, don't let them hear it. Rumor also has it too that come the 15 of Sept (1 wk from now...) ALL students will be back in school. We might survive afterall! EUREKA. Just in time for our visitors. They might have timed it perfectly for their 2 week visit.
No call to prayer out here either. What a relief. Looking forward to a night of uninterrupted sleep....ZZZZZZZZZZ

The Lycian Coast

19 August 2010 | Marmaris
Dave and Judy

We are so far behind in our writing.... Sorry. I'm stiitng here at Marmaris Yacht Marina, in Turkey. We have committed to be here for the upcomming winter. Finally I have some time to catch up with our blog. This will be a brief summery of the last month or so.

We left Finike and sailed a few hours to an area called Kekova Roads. Anchoring in small little bays in clear water with nothing to do but enjoy the solitude, we reslish this time that we are cruising again. There's a little resturant ashore and we head in. In fact, there are actually two resturants. They compete for your business by waving you in from their dock. We chose the one that had the flags fluttering to indicate a cooling breeze. The weather is still very hot. We are greeted by the owner and his son. They take our line and help us secure the dinghy. We practice our Turkish with, "Merhaba" (hello). They laugh and we laugh....hmm, must not have gotten that quite right. They seat us in their gazabo at a table with a white tablecloth. Looking into the kitchen I see they are building a fire in the oven. We spend the next couple of hours relaxing with good food and drink. The breeze was soft and warm. Freebird sits in the distance suspended in the deep Mediterranean blue sea. Now this is more like what we signed up for.

The next day we head into the little town of Ucagiz which is the center of this area. Wandering the streets, we strike up a conversation with a carpet dealer. He invites us in for tea. The conversation soon leads to Freebird and our wayward lifestyle. He offers us moorage for the upcomming winter at a very reasonable price. We are so tempted. The only problem is that we must haul the boat out of the water for maintainance and repairs. We love the little village. We hold the idea for our possibilities for the future. That evening we enjoyed a nice meal at a bayside resturaunt. At the end of the meal the owner hands us a big bunch of fresh basil and some flowers to take back to the boat. How nice is that? We are feeling the hospitality of the Turkish people.

A short sail brings us to the Greek island of Kastellorizon. This is an old picture perfect village located in a horseshoe bay on a small island.

Our fiends on the yacht Silver Fern are anchored near by and they give us the lowdown. We head into the town and look for coffee. It's everywhere! Little waterside cafes where you can sit and watch fisherman bring in their catch. Perfect people watching too.... All shapes, sizes and colors.

Later we climb the 500 plus steps to the old montistary on the hill above. What a view!

The next morning we headed out for some dinghy exploration with our friends Bryce and Martha from Silver Fern. In our two dinghies we followed the rocky steep coast for a few miles. We were told about a cave and we were hoping to find it. We noticed a very small arch that didn't look big enough for a dinghy to fit through. We tried anyway. If we timed it right, crouched in the bottom we could slide through between swells. We popped into darkness blinking to try and adjust our eyes. Soon an eerie blue light came up from the depths below. We jumped in the water with our snorkels and fins. We couldn't get over the feeling that somebody was watching us. After a half hour we found out who it was. In the back corner of the cave a seal was hiding and watching our every move. We swam with him briefly until he vanished.

A sunny eight hour sail finds us in the town of Fethiye. We anchor off the town center next to our friends Captain Fatty and Carolyn on the yacht Wild Card. Fatty is the author of a handful of published sailing books and quite will known among the sailing community.

This is where we hope to meet our guests arriving from Seattle in a week. Carved in the cliff above the city are ancient Lycian tombs.

Fethiye is the start of the famous trek "The Lycian Way" a trail through ancient archeological sights stretching for 500 kilometers In the anchorage, you can count seven mosques visible from the boat. It's getting close to the end of Ramadan. Five times a day they all emit their version of the call to prayer. The result is an eerie mixture of wailing and chanting from seven different sources.... simultaneously (distorted over a loudspeaker)..... It's interesting at five AM. We walked up to visit the tombs and enjoyed the view of the city with the bay and Freebird at anchor in the distance. One night we dine with Fatty and Carolyn and catch up on sea stories. Tomorrow?? Maybe a Turkish Bath.............

Vessel Name: Freebird
Vessel Make/Model: Grainger MC420 Catamaran
Hailing Port: Seattle
Crew: Dave and Judy Howell
Dave started building Freebird in 1995 in a plastic shed on Camano Island, NW USA and launched her in April of 2001. He retired from the Fire Department in 1999 after 28 years of service. Judy Retired from dentistry in 1995 after 27 years. [...]
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