Sunday, 31 August 2008

Week 21, Bodrum, Turkey

Dear Ethel, Family and Friends,

Our week started with the boat delivery. The company we did the bareboat flotilla charter with, asked us if we were interested in delivering a boat back to Marmaris from Orhaniye. The trip is the opposite direction than we did the flotilla trip. We were given a boat called Melisa, a 33 foot Beneteau, slightly bigger than we had before. The trip was fairly uneventful and we had light winds but mostly on the nose so didn’t get the sails up too much. So we motored for 5 hours each day. We stayed overnight at Serce Liman, which is a spot we stayed overnight with the flotilla. There is a boatman that will help you moor up using a lazyline on the bow and a shore line stern, so that we could sleep comfortably and not worry about an anchor. On Tuesday we had better wind as we were able to come back into Marmaris with the sails up on a nice broad reach... beautiful. The mooring back at the marina is a bit tricky as the waterways are very narrow, stacked with luxury yachts and have to reverse back into the spot. Got it on the third go, mission accomplished.

We had a rest day on Wednesday and took off again on Thursday to go to Bodrum. We took a bus into Marmaris and another bus to Bodrum, about a 200km trip. However as you leave Marmaris you climb 800m up to a great plateau where the city of Mulga is situated. It is the capital of the area also called Mulga which includes Marmaris and Bodrum.

We arrived in Bodrum about noon and searched for accommodation. The guide book says be careful where you stay as the nightclubs are very noisy. We found a reasonable hotel and it wasn’t until we looked out from our terrific balcony overlooking the bay that we say the sign for “Halicarnassus, the club”... only the biggest night club in Bodrum, maybe southern Europe. The guide book also tells us it has a laser light show that can be seen from Greece. Well I guess that’s what the double glazing on the windows is for. Louise put in her ear plugs and I think I felt the music rather than heard it.

Bodrum’s history goes way back of course and has a roman amphitheatre and the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, from 2000 years ago or more, but more recently, (600years ago) has one of the great Crusader castles, The Castle of St Peter. The castle was built by the Knights Templar, using the stone from the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus. It sits in the middle of the harbour and is in excellent repair. It is now a museum of underwater archaeology. It hold some spectacular treasures, the best being the golden chalice (see photo), aprox 3500 years old, resumed from a shipwreck. We spent a full day wandering around the castle and it was well worth the trip.

Bodrum itself is a large tourist town, offering the usual attractions, Gullet boat tours, Jeep safaris, carpet weavers and more plus the waterside restaurants, pubs, clubs you name it, you can’t walk down the street without people touting for your business. Most are overpriced some display all their prices in Euros or Pounds so it makes it hard work to find a place to eat that won’t rip you off. The Turkish dollar has also gone up, now worth more than the Australian dollar, so we are finding it very expensive.

Next week we are off to Ephesus and Pamukkale and will spend the week travelling there and back to Orhaniye.

All the best for now

Ric & Louise

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Week 20, Simi, Greece

Dear Ethel, Family and Friends,

Well it’s been a bit more exciting this week, still started the week helping out on Terry’s. It’s a bit like a lifestyle TV program where we wonder if Terry will have the boat ready by Friday when his first guests arrive. We were still painting on Tuesday and had to do a sea trial run in the boat before the end of the week. Wednesday we packed an overnight bag and went down to the marina with our passports.

We still had some jobs to finish on the boat before we left Turkey but did get under way about 2pm. We had a great cheer from the spectators in the marina as we left as they have been watching the slow restoration of the boat. It’s only a twelve nautical mile journey and as the wind was against us, motored all the way, and taking 2 and a half hours or so.

Simi is the closest Greek Island to Turkey and has a couple of different ports to arrive in. A lot of the big Gullet boats and flotilla cruises call into the main port of Simi. We chose to anchor in Pedi Bay, which is only a short bus ride away over the hill to Simi town and is also free mooring and no visa or passport checks. This is our first illegal border crossing. It seems an accepted practice with all tour operators in the region, as going through the formal procedures of border crossings is time consuming and costly and not worth the effort or expense for a day trip or overnight stay.

It was nice to be back in Greece again if only for the night. The architecture, scenery is so different and being so close to Turkey. We moored in Pedi Bay in the afternoon swam and had drinks on the foredeck and watched the traffic coming and going until after sunset. We motored ashore in the dinghy at a respectable 9pm for dinner at one of the many restaurants surrounding the bay. We slept on deck that night. The following morning we caught the bus into Simi town to do some shopping and sightseeing. On the journey back to Orhaniye that afternoon we unfurled the big genoa and sailed back into port. Terry’s boat is a big 70 foot wooden boat, it is not fast at all but built for comfort. It has 2 large cabins and a smaller one but all 3 have ensuites, It has a full galley, a comfortable saloon with seating for 8 people, plus the very roomy fore and aft decks. All in all, we had a very pleasant trip to Sumi and we stayed onboard again that night in the marina.

Friday morning I received an email from the Setsail crew, saying they would be back in Orhaniye this weekend and asked if we would be interested in a boat delivery back to Marmaris. It seems we can take the boat on Monday morning and deliver it back to Marmaris on the Tuesday evening, so we can do an overnight stay somewhere on the way. We look forward to telling you about that next week.

For the record, Terry's boat was finished on time and left today with his guests.

All the best for now

Ric & Louise

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Week 19 , Orhaniye, Turkey

Dear Ethel, Family and Friends,

Once again a quiet week in Orhaniye, work goes on in Terry’s boat, he has guests arriving next week and has to have the boat finished this week and take it out on the water for some sea trials before then. Apart from that we have attended another musical recital in the old church in the marina, this time we listened to Flute, violin and cello.

Thursday we did a trip down the Datca peninsula, catching the local buses along the way. Datca is the main town on the peninsula about half way down the 70km thin strip of land. At the end of the peninsula is the ancient city of Knidos. There are some impressive ruins to see including amphitheatre, Corinthian columns, impressive stone stairways and the plinth where the statue of Aphrodite once stood. The very end of the peninsula forms two bays either side of a land bridge and overlooks where the Aegean and the Mediterranean seas meet. We journeyed back to the modern day town of Datca and as it was late, we found a room for the night and ate at one of the many restaurants on the water front. There is a nice walkway to follow from the sea front around to the harbour as well. We enjoyed Datca finding it a quieter place to stay but still offering a good choice of food and accommodation and not so many pesky tourists. LOL

We are going in to Marmaris tomorrow night to see some opera, it’s very cultural here as you can tell. Apart from that we have been lying low, working on resumes and job applications for work back in Asia.

All the best for now

Ric & Louise

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Week 18 , Orhaniye, Turkey

Dear Ethel, Family and Friends,
It has been a quiet week news wise as we have settled into the village lifestyle here in Orhaniye and not done too much at all. The weather is still really hot, but fortunately our small apartment is high enough to catch the breeze. However we did go to the supermarket in Marmaris to buy an electric fan.

Most of the week I have been down at the marina helping Terry work on his boat, he has a charter in a few weeks time so a deadline is approaching. I’ve been enjoying it and it’s good to feel useful for a change even if I have felt like I have done a full weeks work. Friday night was the 08/08/08 party at the marina, starting with a BBQ followed by a belly dancer and lots of dancing till late, so that was a fun night.

Our biggest piece of news is that we have booked our return journey to Asia, leaving here 19th September. We had planned to go up to Germany and Scotland on our way back, but it has worked out too expensive to do it that way, so we are flying out of Istanbul direct to Bangkok. I’ll stay in Asia and look for some teaching work while Louise will fly back to Australia to see her mum and take care of some business and join me a couple of weeks later. We will be doing some travelling around Turkey before we leave.

Our future plans still include visiting Scotland and Germany, buying or hiring a campervan and travelling through the western Mediterranean. But first we will stop back in Asia and find a 6 or 9 month contract and return to Europe next year.

All the best for now
Ric & Louise

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Week 17 , Orhaniye, Turkey

Dear Ethel, Family and Friends,
Sad to say our Flotilla sailing trip is over, we sailed into the small village of Orhaniye that has a reasonable size marina. I’m happy to say we all arrived back in port safely and no damage and a great time was had by all. We had a final dinner together before our English friends had to depart back to England the following morning. They were all very generous passing on their supplies of food and beverages that they hadn’t used over the week. We have also organised some accommodation here in Orhaniye as well.

Orhaniye is a small rural village in a tranquil lush bay with a mountain range surrounding it. The marina lies at the mouth of the bay and provides work for most of the locals. The marina is also the main focal point for tourism in the area apart from one restaurant that attracts jeeps safari tours, so it is peaceful most of the time. Every house has a produce garden as well as goats, sheep, chickens and cows. So fresh eggs, butter, cheese, apricots for jam, olives, vegetables and bread is baked next door to where we live. Seafood is plentiful and cheap, 12 lire for a whole fish in a local restaurant. There are small local buses to catch into Marmaris if you need to, once a week to shop maybe.

On our second night here, we were having dinner in the local restaurant and a group of expats came in. We heard the Australian accent first. An Aussie, 3 from the UK and a South African. They invited us to the marina the following night for a music recital in an old Greek Church ruin with fabulous acoustics, a trio playing a number of popular classical pieces very surreal. The following night we had dinner on Terry’s (the Aussie) boat. Terry and his girlfriend Christina hosted dinner on board Kontiki and following that we went to the bar where a Latin American band was performing.

As it turns out, Christina has a one bedroom apartment in the village, but is now staying on board the boat with Terry, leaving her apartment thing leads to another, so we are now staying in Christina’s apartment and I’m helping Terry with some work on his boat in preparation for a trip to Sumi in Greece next week some time. It was market day yesterday so we got to stock up on the fresh produce for the week Last night at sunset we all took the tender dinghies out to the Byzantine Island fort in the middle of the bay for a BBQ dinner.

We feel we will be happy here for a month as we will do some day trips around and plan for what’s coming next.

We have posted our photos from the Flotilla week on the internet

All the best for now
Ric & Louise