Saturday, May 12, 2018

Cyprus to Turkey 2018

En route to Turkey 
first our encounters with the locals

April / May 2018

Our departure from Cyprus was delayed several days.
Wednesday the marina was host to a terrorist drill.  All marine personal would be needed for their event and boaters were restricted from departing during this time.  The local Fire department, Police, ambulance, emergency personal etc… would be participating in and around the marina.  Actors playing the part of victims with ‘blood and wounds’ were staged at strategic points around the complex.  Helicopters swooped in and dropped cargo, divers, swat teams… pretty interesting.  All morning ‘pops, bangs, rat-a-tat-tat, and sirens echoed off buildings.  Jim was able to catch some action while trying (again) to reclaim our propane tank from the marine supply store… His route took him through one of the settings.  The wounded were being tended to while film crews got footage for the TV news and papers.   Police and emergency participants ‘secured’ the area… Kind of surreal …

The propane tank that was due to be returned the week prior, was still MIA.  Jim would check nearly everyday to be met with a similar response….” tomorrow, it will be here”… Like a promise written in sand.  At Jim’s polite insistence that the tank be returned full or empty by Thursday, our contract at the marina expired Friday and we MUST leave.. and not on a Friday because mariners DO NOT depart for a voyage on Fridays according to superstition… Finally the provider came through late morning Thursday.  Power cords and wifi (reluctantly) were disconnected.  We clear out with customs and police and finalize our marina bill.  The marina sent a tender to assist with the lines and we were underway.  6 months after arriving.  

A side note… once we were tethered to the dock after arrival, we did not go out for day sails etc… First; the marina has strict rules and require ANY vessel to report their departure and arrival with them.  A crew list is required and permission from the officials.  Also, being tethered to the dock meant power and wifi cords had to be unplugged and stowed and then we would have to stow all the things that would tumble about or break if not secured on a rolling, moving vessel.  So we stayed tied fast to the dock all winter.  

The sea was calm, next to no wind for our departure and most of the passage.  We planned for 2 overnights but secretly hoped for one.  Night shifts went well, 3 hours on, 3 off.  Motoring.  The dust of Cyprus behind us.  Cyprus is prone to weekly, multiple day dust events, that originate in the Sahara.  The weather reports are accompanied daily with air quality reports.  Often cautioning those with breathing difficulties to limit outdoor activities… The hills directly behind the city of Limassol were often obscured with these dust clouds.  This will not be missed.  

Later afternoon brought winds for sailing, the sails went up and the engine off.  5 hours sailing at 4 - 7 knots… The mountainous coast of Turkey began seeping through the dust (ahhh) off to port.  If we were REALLY lucky we could just maybe make the marina at dark… But, the wind absolutely and completely died.  We doused the head sail and within seconds the wind clocked completely around, main still up, and began blowing with a steady 25 knots topping on 30… The cabin below started revolting and the loose items jettisoned out and about… The squall passed but our hopes of anchoring were in question. Wind out of the west with no protection…  

We called the marina.  
The conversation went something like this… ‘We will arrive after dark.  We need a dock…” Turkish marina man(TMM) , ‘a doc?’… J: ‘yes, a dock”… TMM, ‘Ill call you back in 5 minutes…’    5 m i n u t e s    l a t e r  …. TMM, ‘ hello, what is the emergency?’  J, ??? ‘no emergency, we need a dock…’   TMM, ‘yes, what is the nature of your medical emergency?… ‘  J… realization hits! … ‘We need a berth… not a doctor.”   TMM… ‘OK… we will be ready for you”
So… our fault.  We need to use more universal language… in the Mediterranean they have berths… not docks… easy to see the confusion… 

We noticed a boat skirting the shore at a high rate of speed.  then turn sharply… toward us.  Pirates?  no.  Coast Guard?  yup.  Prepare to be boarded… just in case.  Kathy stowed the ‘extra’ boxes of wine out of sight and waited as they approached, did a circle around the boat then hailed Inishnee.  Jim responded.  Questions about crew and destination.  Previous port etc..  Another circle of the boat and we were alone again.  

The wind piped up again and we again questioned going in to the unknown marina after dark with a “hazardous underwater wreck” squarely at the mouth of the marina entrance… or motoring in circles all night just off shore… OMGosh… Kathy has a realization… ‘We did NOT give the customary toast to the sea ‘gods’ upon departure of the voyage!  This was remedied quickly, with sincerely apologies… The wind died down to a respectable (seriously !!!) 5-6 knots.  The sun set and and we closed in on the coast and the marina.  We switched on the spreader lights, Kathy on the bow, Jim and the wheel.  Around the ‘wreck’ and through the break wall, stay clear of the HUGE bow sprint of the ‘pirate ship”… there were several… when down below in the dark appears a tender… no lights..  Marina Man to the rescue!  “follow me…”  we wove our way around, eyes bulging to find the tender in the dark… with no lights! He guided us to our ‘berth’ and helped us secure.  Very uneventful… Thank you sea ‘gods”!!! et all…. Dinner; taziki, pitas and a bit of grog.  
We slept like rocks
And woke up to rocks… a huge frickin’ mountain range of rocks backdropping the marina.  Stunning.  

We re-settled the boat.  Then went ashore to clear customs etc.  Paper work and stamps.  A few rules and regulations to note.   Then the Marian man… aka TMM says.. ‘by the way, what was the medical emergency?…’  As it turns out, he was the man on the phone last night.  We apologized and explained that our country calls the berth a ‘dock’  and that we should have used the term berth….  He was quite understanding… 

The marina has a lively live aboard community.  Gatherings and outings.  We rested.  Explored the town a bit.  Were greeted by shop owners with promises of good prices and a cup of tea… Tea is king here.  All day.  Hot and sweet.  sip while playing cards or backgammon.  Chatting with friends.  etc.  Turkish delight (candy) is every where… Showers and dinner out.  Cassoulette, served on a clay baking 

dish, bubbling from the stove… DO NOT eat immediately… have that steaming hot tea or a chilled wine but DO NOT attempt to put the stew near type mouth… it’s hot ALL the way down… experience the best teacher.  

An early night. hit the pillow by 10pm… Jim woke to a noise on deck.. We are bow in to the cement pier. the boarding ladder suspended over the dock… yes, dock.  He went topside and found the ladder grinding on the cement… He lifted the ladder just as a cat jumped from our sail cover onto the deck next to his feet… we gave the international gesture (its a Turkish cat) to get the heck off the boat … lowered the ladder and the cat obligated… As Jim made his way aft, the thought occurred to him… Only one cat?  he batted the sail cover and out pop another cat… Jim ‘gestured’ to him to vacate, which he did; jumping onto the next boat and off their ladder… As boat visitors go, well take a cat over rats, or bugs or pirates ANY day… but, we will make sure the hatches are secure… 

Touring Turkey
We met several cruisers at G-Marina Kemer, our temporary home base.  They were very helpful giving us information on local attractions, shopping and places we would / should stop at as we make our way along and around the Turkish ‘Riviera’ coast the next 6 weeks.  

Wolf, our berth mate, took us to the fresh market held once a week.  Amazing.  Tons of fresh produce.  A fish market too.  Local honey with or without the comb.  Cheeses and breads.  Garlic with dirt still clinging to their roots.  Artichokes, peeled while you wait… seconds, then plunged in a water bath.  Green sour plums, beans, lettuce, quince, pomegranates, peppers, eggplant, strawberries, oranges…  and lots, LOTS more.  
and Turkish Delight!

Over night the street transforms into the clothing market.  1 kilometer in length.  Jeans, shirts, dresses, shoes.  Turkish towels. Leather belts and purses.  Jewelry; plastic and silver.  More Turkish delight! Tea cups… which are small hourglass shaped made of  glass.  Hot to hold… a few dry goods like you might find at a dollar store… 

Our new friends told us about ‘Fire Spitting Mountain’…a short bus ride, x2, to the seaside village of Cirili, then on to the National Park.  Hike up the old trail till you find fire coming our of the mountain.  The legend says the a greek youth called Bellerophontes with his flying horse Pegasus, killed the fire spitting dragon Chimera… Flames rose out of his mouth as he took his last gasp of breath.  Science tells us the fire is from natural gases… that burn 24 / 7… At the base of the fire are are the remains on an old settlement.  Possibly a church.  

We took the ferry boat from the marina to the nearby city of Antalya built on one of the few flat planes in the country.  Turkey is 80% mountainous.   Antalya supports nearly 2 million people… Highlights were the old city wall high on the only hill.  Difficult to penetrate.  The old city has been transformed into shops and restaurants.  Several parks too.  Lots of ways to spent your money.. Our friend Larry asked to to find one the the “shy’ carpet dealers and maybe we could persuade him to sell us a rug.. We did find one… but he wasn't so shy… He was friendly and offered tea… we chatted an while then parted ways.  No rugs for Inishnee this trip. 
Turkey is also a cat loving nation.  There are a few dogs, BIG, but the cats out number them.  And they seem  to have a mutual respect for one another… Several business put out trays of food and water for the strays.  Along the main road along the old city there is even a cat house… actually several.  A keeper is there to look after the the cats and a few dogs. Donations gladly excepted.  Another area even had a condo for cats… many boxes in a screened in house.  

As the time neared for us to catch the return ferry, we strolled along the water front admiring the tour boats and fishing vessels.  One of the Gullet Boat Captains, Torgai (sp?), invited us aboard to watch him make a net which he will use as a gangplank support netting.  Jim tried his hand at knotting… Torgai was a very patient tutor.  Jim managed to get a few knots made… just a bit ‘off’ from the captains… we hope he’ll think kindly of us when he looks at the slightly different knots…   

We also got a tour is one of the big day tripper boats based here at the marina.  The Kaptan, Faith Murat Kaygusuz invited us aboard “Medusa” and conducted the tour.  His boat is currently being refurbished and out of commission…   These boats are made to look like pirate boats with a mythological theme…  and a Disney attitude.  They hold a hundred or more tourist each. 9 of them!  Everyday, precisely at 10 am the parade starts. The exodus of ships, one by one.   Each boat has its own theme song and is proudly broadcast for all to enjoy… They go for several hours.  Anchoring about 8 miles from here at a bay with an ancient archeological site both above sea level and below…  *it’s on our list of places to anchor… 

Having exhausted most of the nearly attractions… we decided to go to Cappadocia… 
Amazing.  Stunning.  A fairy land of stone.  
There was / is soooo much to see and soooo many pictures… it will get its own blog post…

till next time, safe travels all…


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Cyprus 2018 the final chapter ... for now

We made it through a winter / spring in Cyprus.  
Lots of adventures and lots and LOTS  of time in one place.  
We got to know the island pretty well, taking side trips every so often.  Visitors coming and going.  Seasons changing.  
With spring came our first visitors, Carrie and Lauren… their adventures are captured in the last blog.  

After their departure we had a couple weeks to settle in to winter on Cyprus.  Chilly but very doable with our portable heater.  We frequented our favorite restaurants often to breakup the monotony of staying put so long… a total of 6 months for Inishnee, crew 4 months… having gone back to the US for the holidays.  

Our German family, the Holzloehner’s, came for 1 week.  Dirk and Heika took an apartment near the old castle close to the marina while Jan stayed aboard.  We ate breakfast together daily then explored together, some familiar some new.  They rented a car, Jan the designated driver.  A day in Nicosia with an afternoon exploring the occupied Turkish side of the capitol city.  A few bargains made their way into the packs for home.

We happened down a side street bordering  the Cyprus side  green zone.  The military (both sides respectively)  have numerous outposts along the entire boarder with ‘no mans land” between governed by the UN.  A nice chat with the young man with a very big gun… allowed pictures of the bunker… and the cat, but not the buildings…*  it’s hard to crop sometimes   

Historic ruins with plenty of old rocks near Paphos for the guys while the girls stimulated the economy amongst the shop keepers in town.   

The Holzloehner's took a day on their own through the mountains; waterfalls, vineyards and orchards.  The snow melt was ushering in the spring flowers.  

An afternoon in Larnaca.  The ‘cat’ mosque and waterfront, the focus of our time there. 

Evenings were enjoyed with libations of wine, beer, good food; on board and dining out.  Lively conversations of families and sailing filled the hours into the wee hours each night.  

One of the final evenings we decided to splurge and eat at the highly recommended “fish restaurant” behind the castle…. No reservations, it was still the slow season and a week night so we had no trouble acquiring a seat fro the 5 of us, only one other table occupied.  
No menu… it’s the catch of the day.  We were offered a look in the (petite) kitchen to see the days offering.  Clear as mud.  The fish of the mediterranean are unfamiliar to us.  Taking our seats, we though it best to inquire what the meal would entail and the price… 
‘5 of you… 180 euros….  !!!! Kathy blurts out… “for fish? … I’m out!’… ooops, sorry gang’  … she doesn't eat much fish and is NOT paying those prices for a dinner she's not ABSOLUTELY in love with…  
The rest of the group… ‘so what’s that include?’… ‘’full dinner, salad, fish, fried potatoes (french fries)… ‘’   
Group response… ‘ummh, is there another option, menu? …. beef, chicken?’  
Proprietor… Standing stern points to the door…’go next door!’  You try over there…’
Okaaay.  We stood up and went in the direction of the previously mentioned door.  
So.  2 doors down we reviewed the menu on the door … Meat, fish, vegetables…. affordable!  we’re in.

The owner politely sat us in the quaint old building and handed us menus.  We ordered beverages followed by dinners.  Jim lamb, Kathy chicken and Heika moussaka.  Dirk and Jan shard the fish ‘meze’.  A ‘meze’ is popular on nearly every menu we have encountered in Crete (Greece) and Cyprus.  It’s a HUGE meal of unending meats of your choice.  Salad and french fries to accompany the meal.  Usually around 15-20 euros per person but can be shared.  It’s a LOT of food for one person!  Impossible to leave hungry…  We all ate our fill… for less than half the price next door.  And… we were treated with an after dinner sweet served free of charge; common in Crete and Greece as well.

Jan and Dirk took the dinghy for ride out to Lady’s Mile; named after a military generals horse.  The general would often ride Lady down the beach that spans several kilometers.  
Kathy and Heika strung beads and shared stories.  They made several bracelets and anklets from the bead and seed collection aboard Inishnee.  Jim was coaxed into the fun too.  He drilled holes in several beach glass pieces Kathy had been collecting throughout the voyage.  New adornments for the female crew of Inishnee and Aloha; The Holzloehner’s Bavaria…. 

The week flew by and we said our goodbyes.  
Life aboard returned to a quiet, monotonous stretch… for a short time
Luckily, crew Inishnee had back up plans… Several months ago we had received a ‘ding’ of our phone stating ‘low air fare’ for the next few hours… so, we were off to Bulgaria.  *see Bulgaria blog post

and then… we were home again. In time for Easter.  Greek Orthodox Easter to be specific; which occurred the weekend after Easter in the US.  Easter is a several day event like in the US but … different.   Holy Thursday and Holy Friday quite religious services.  Most business open.  Holy Saturday the same.  However, Holy Saturday night begins the religious celebrations, near midnight.  A mass is held at the local churches followed by a bonfire to burn Judas in effigy.  *there have been notices on-line and in the paper asking people to hide their wooden ‘things’ so they wouldn't  be used inadvertently for the big bonfires… 
Fireworks are shot off and there is a bit of revelry in and around the area.  Holy Sunday, especially in the morning, is rather quite.  Beach picnics or family time.  Most non essential businesses are closed.  Holy Monday is an add on.  Relaxation and family time.  

The next few weeks took on a renewed interest for boat projects and provisioning.  Our late night return to Cyprus meant there were no busses.  The taxi wanted 55plus euros for 2 people for the 45 minute ride to the marina… Being resourceful, we surfed the net and found a car rental for 30 pounds (a British company operating in Cyprus)… which is the equivalent of 42 US dollars… for one week, which turned into 3 weeks with renewal.  No brainer.  
We made good use of the car stocking up an heavy stuff, laundry to the launderette, and several trips to the home improvement store.  And touring just a bit.
We took a trip east to see the Cyclops Cave, Cape Grecko in the Famagusta District.  The water was a stunning turquoise; many beach goers and small boaters.  The cave was pretty small.  3-4 ‘rooms’.   The fabled home of the one eyed giant Cyclops (Homers Odyssey).  Local legend says the caves were used by pirates to store their bounty… we found none.  

We also spent an afternoon back in Paphos and toured the Archaeological Site of Kato Pafos… a ancient ruins complex bordering the city at the  sea.  An impressive site featuring dozens of floor mosaics.  The largest, “the House of Dionysos’, has an enclosed structure with walkways several feet above the original flooring. 

 Other points of interest: the modern lighthouse backdropping the sea and the theater.  

Also, the remnants of a Frankish Period castle that was destroy just 23 years after its construction by an earthquake.  Many columns and pillars are strewn about the area, too many to preserve / reconstruct it seems.  

Beenie and Denis 
What dear friends they have become over our time in Cyprus.  From the moment we knocked on their hull, s/v Lady Kate where they welcomed us aboard to many afternoons sharing dinners and conversations.  Originally from Ireland… now you know they are good people… They winter in Cyprus with short forays back to Ireland and farther north to Norway to their summer home s/v Narnia… They very graciously offered to take us on an excursion into ‘occupied Cyprus’, northern eastern territory.  … also known as The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).  

We quickly passed through the check point, Denis having done this dozens of times over the last 20 years of their tenure in Cyprus.  

First impressions… lots of open space.  A bit of agriculture but not nearly as much as the southern side cultivates.  Lots and LOTS of buildings under construction… but seemingly abandoned.  As we closed in on the city of Famagusta, we noticed the many acres of the nearby mountainside was decorated with a large (white stone?) Turkish flag… The occupied Cyrus Turkish Flag is the reverse of the Turkish country flag; red flag with white star and crescent moon.  We continued on to the green zone where we parked and headed to the beach.  
The once famous and lively beach resort town is now barbwire fences, police outposts and bombed out buildings… miles and miles of patrolled acreage.  Seems a shame.  

On to the next village.  A nice harbor and a small castle.  Great views.  forgotten name… 
Lunch stop.  Salamis Ruins.  Sitting near the sea, Beenie unpacked our picnic lunch.  Cheese.  Bread.  Fruit.  Short bread cookies and Beenie’s Boat Pudding!  what an unexpected treat… Even a glass of chilled white wine.  Behind us, the partially reconstructed ruins of an old city.  11th century BC old.  
Dozens of headless marble statues greet you as you descend into the site which encompassed a gymnasium and baths, Theatre, Basilica and even a Roman 2 story Villa… now in much disarray.  Archeologist have determined there was a meeting place and market. A temple dedicated to Zeus and even public baths, pools. sweating rooms and latrines.  Quite complex.  

The day continued to slip away from us so we continued on heading north and west to nearly the tip of the peninsula.  Rugged country.  Sparsely populated.  Villages every 20-30 kilometers…. Shepard's tending their herds outnumber the human habitations along our route.  We mad a late afternoon stop at a marina.  Boats well protected from the sea.  Very new and posh surroundings.  
Coffees for the group.  3 hot, one iced.  Biscuits complimentary.  Then back south with a bit of east along the north shore.  Mountains.  Quiet.  Windswept.  When we finally reached the ‘big city’ near the boarder check it took over an hour to negotiate.  Much traffic.  End of the work day.  And a big ass hill to get over with construction obscuring some lanes.  By dark we had made it to Nicosia.  Beenie and Denis made a stop at the hospital to enquire about a sick friend then we head south toward home.  

Back aboard we now needed to ready the boat for departure and the next port.  Turkey; the big one.   Project were ticked off the list… Check the rigging and the mast.  Vanish Companionway wood.  Free the hull of its beard… diver employed.  Tune the outboard… mechanic employed.  Provision… Fermented grapes liquid state, chocolate.  And a few fruits and veggies.  A galley garden was planted…again.  Brown thumb Kathy thinks maaaybeee she can keep the herbs alive at least across the Med…. one week into it and yellow leaves… not looking good for the little green guys future.  
And then… D*m%   IT !!!  We both got colds.  Snotty, head drowning, ear plugging crud.  Kathy followed Jim down to the sick house bunk and many hours were lost sleeping and blowing… snot.  Sorry.  Your little bit of discomfort on this issue is overridden by the crews crappy infection…. but, this passed too, as did the time.  With less than a week left on the marina contract and Turkey beckoning.  We pulled ourselves off the bunk and got back to work.   
Check the sea cocks.  Find travel cubbies for the herb containers. Stow the heater… and the many, many items that have been drifting around the boat without care because the boat hasn't moved more than a foot in 6 months…. Hurricane lamps bungie’d.  Take down the winter canvas covers.  
Say goodbyes to our friends… and shop owners.  one last dinner here… and there.  Check out with officials.  

Stan ilia sou/sas… 
    *greek for....
to your health