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BABY, ITS COLD OUTSIDE!

February 21st, 2011 No comments

February is winding down and the ground hog says that spring is around the corner, but you can’t prove it here in Montana where it is snowing everyday.

The skiing is good. . .but getting to the mountain is challenging.

The skiing is good. . .but getting to the mountain is challenging.

For the first few weeks, it was nice to see the white stuff and the skiing was great. Kent and his son and granddaughter, Elizabeth (nicknamed “EB” age 4), burned up the mountain in fluffy powder.

EB on the chair lift. . .

and charging down the slope with her Dad trying to keep up.

and charging down the slope with her Dad trying to keep up.

Snow is nice. . .but I miss the sea!

For those of you who wonder how we have spent our winter. . .

First, we spent December in Marblehead where we visited with family and friends.

In Marblehead Santa arrives by lobster boat. . .

and greets the children. . .

before Jolie gets her turn.

 Then we spent Christmas in Missoula with the Bradford clan. 

Bradford Family Christmas

We have enjoyed the time with the grandchildren.

Carousel Rides. . .

and crafts. . .

with Grampy's Little Princess!

Grandson Nate has those Bradford baby blues. . .

and loved Grampy's Christmas tree.

But now winter seems very long and we are longing to be back in Turkey. It has been wonderful to spend time with family and friends, but Destiny—our destiny is thousands of miles away and we can’t wait to get back to the cruising life.

The turmoil in the Middle East has put our plans for the Eastern Mediterranean Yacht Rally (with stops in Cypress, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Israel) on hold indefinitely. We haven’t decided where we will venture this summer, and the possibility remains that being in the Caribbean next winter would be welcome. Will keep you posted. In the meantime, we just look forward to being back on the water. . .and far away from SNOW!!!

Jolie chills out

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LIFE ABOARD DESTINY–Adventure or Life Style?

September 15th, 2010 1 comment

For those of you who may wonder what we do day-to-day when we are not sailing or traipsing around ancient sites, in some respects it isn’t any different than our day would be no matter where we were.  There is food shopping, laundry and general boat maintenance that takes a lot of time.  Things that routinely are accomplished in little or no time on land, take on a whole new dimension when you are living on a boat.

For the past week we have been in Marmaris Yacht Marina where we now have a contract through April 15th of next year.  This will be our base of operations through the winter and we will return to the States from early December through mid-March. 

Shopping for groceries, for example, often entails taking a cart and bags to the store by dinghy and then loading everything into the dinghy for a trip back to Destiny.  Once aboard, the bags have to be off loaded from the dinghy, then moved down below and finally stored in cupboard or fridge.  The number of times that we go up and down the companionway everyday accounts for our general state of fitness. 

Then there is the matter of finding things that we need.  Whether replacement batteries for the boat, dog food or a groomer for Jolie finding the thing or person that you need can be exasperating.  There is no word in Turkish for “dog groomer” and so far we have struck out on that issue.  Fortunately, I bought a hair clipper set for Kent and Jolie for Christmas, so in a pinch I can trim Kent and he trims Jolie.  When we ran out of canned and dry dog food, I had to make Jolie food from table scraps and rice.  Unfortunately, once I found dog food she decided that she liked the “homemade” food better and getting her to eat what dogs eat in Turkey has been a battle.

For boat parts, batteries included, Kent has struggled to find the most basic things.  If he needs a stainless screw of a certain size, you can almost bet on the fact that the marine store will not carry it.  The batteries that cost us $60 each in the US will cost four times that here before the 18% VAT and delivery.  Labor on the other hand tends to be less expensive, and we have gotten an incredibly good price on some upholstery and canvas repair/replacement.

Laundry is accumulated until we find ourselves in a larger town or marina which has a laundry service.  I must admit that I really wanted a washer/dryer on the boat, but now find that a wash/fold (and occasionally ironing) service is very nice.  I am probably one of the few cruisers carrying an iron on board–Kent drew the line at an ironing board so I use a towel on the corian counter top.  I love ironed pillow cases and clothes—even more so when someone else does the ironing.  OK, so I’m a little spoiled. 

Speaking of clothing, most of the things in my closet never leave it.  I have several things that I wear constantly—most notably a few cotton dresses or pareos purchased from a little boat in a Turkish anchorage.  That and bathing suits are the dress of the day.  Kent generally has a wet bathing suit on the line, and rotates wearing three of them throughout the day.  Neither of us has had closed shoes on in months and Kent has fallen in love with his Crocs—actually fake Crocs that cost 6 euros.  As for me, my Reef sandals are getting worn out while my “sexy” sandals stay in the closet.  Comfort is the name of the game. 

Our average day begins between 8 and 9 a.m.  Sleep comes easily after a day on the boat, or ashore, and we rarely get less than 8 ½ to 9 hours every night—unless we’re at anchor and the wind is blowing hard in which case we might not sleep at all.  If we aren’t moving the boat to a new location, our day may be spent doing boat chores, blogging or just reading by the pool at the marina. 

As I write, Kent is on his knees putting in a new float switch on the mid-bilge pump.  Yesterday, he was equalizing the batteries and the day before that he scrubbed the entire outside of the boat.  There is never a shortage of chores to keep him occupied—thankfully.  The only downside is that nearly everyday he cuts himself on something and we would do well to buy stock in a bandage company.  On the other hand, he is happiest when the wind is blowing 15 to 18 kts. on the beam and we are sailing somewhere. 

I just finished making a pan of lasagna.  We are having two other cruising couples from the States join us for dinner tonight.  Entertaining on board is great fun, although challenging.  We have broken most of the original glasses I started out with, and even a set of four replacements.  I recently bought six wine glasses since the four went so quickly, only to have one break the same day I bought them.   Despite that I like the feel of glass in my hand rather than plastic and will continue to replace broken glasses and use damask napkins instead of paper when we have guests—it’s so “civilized”. 

We have been fortunate to make some wonderful new friends from various parts of the US as well as Great Britain, Italy, Greece, Austria, Germany and the Netherlands while traveling through the Med.  One of the sad parts of this adventure is that the people, like the places we visit, are always changing.  While our paths may cross more than once, it is hard to stay in touch as boats head off in many directions. 

Between now and the end of November we will be in and out of Yacht Marina where we have met people who like us will winter here.  That provides a “cruisers’ community” for socializing.  The marina has an on-site restaurant (with excellent, reasonably priced food), a pool, gym, and extensive supermarket.  The nice thing about Yacht Marina (or Yat Marine as it is called here) is that the supermarket on site delivers to the boat.

Although many boats winter in the water, we will haul Destiny before we return to the States and store on land.  The weather has moderated recently from the astonishingly hot days of July and August to a more temperate 80 degrees during the day and 60-65 at night.  For the first time in months we are seeing clouds in the sky, though not a drop of rain has fallen since the day we arrived in June. 

Thanks to the internet and our generally reliable Turkcell 3G connection we are able to maintain close contact with family and friends by email, Skype and website.  Video calls to children, grandchildren and my Mom are a highlight for us.  The internet also provides us with daily weather forecasts and news.  I confess that I look forward to watching television when we are back in the States, but for now manage with video blurbs on CNN and email updates from NPR. 

So the question remains, has our “adventure” become a “life style”?  After more than two years, it is hard to imagine going back to a land based life in one place.  We have grown accustomed to being “on the move” and taking our “home” with us.  For now we are just grateful to be living and savouring what we have achieved–aboard Destiny.

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WHEN IN RHODES. . .

September 4th, 2010 No comments

This time last year we were in the Adriatric and traveled from Rovinj, Croatia to spend our anniversary (August 31st) in Venice—very romantic indeed.  So, wanting something equally memorable this year we left Symi, Greece on August 30th and arrived in Rhodes the day before our 7th anniversary. 

Windmills & Fortifications greet our arrival in Rhodes

Windmills & Fortifications greet our arrival in Rhodes

We had a reservation in the old harbor, called Mandraki—which was purportedly once the site of a 110 ft. bronze statue of Helios, the sun god, called the Colossus.  It is considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world—although there is a dispute about whether it actually straddled the opening to the harbor as many ancient drawings indicate. 

Once docked the entrance to Mandraki is off our stern

Once docked the entrance to Mandraki is off our stern

Whether it did or not, we were impressed to be entering the port through the deer statues that now greet visitors and be in view of the ancient fortification that protected the harbor.  Destiny was placed in a coveted spot (of course it cost us 100 euros for the reservation) with the mega-yachts.

Destiny in the "high rent" district

Destiny (center) in the "high rent" district

View of Deer Statue from Destiny at Mandraki Harbor entrance

From Destiny's mooring we see the Deer Statue in one direction. . .

and the fortification at the harbor entrance in the other.

and the fortification at the harbor entrance in the other.

Rhodes Town on the northern most tip of the Greek island of the same name is a UNESCO World Heritage site that reflects a diverse history that encompasses Greek and Ottoman influences.  There are Orthodox and Catholic churches as well as Mosques. 

Remnants of an early Christian church

Remnants of an early Christian church

. . .and nearby a mosque.

. . .and nearby a mosque.

The Old Town is surrounded by miles of restored walls that are considered one of the great medieval monuments of the Mediterranean. The walls are reported to be 40 ft. thick in places. 

Modern life exists along side the ancient walls

Modern life exists along side the ancient walls

Harbor peek through fortress walls

Harbor peek through fortress walls

Defensive moat was never filled with water

Defensive moat was never filled with water

Gates are located in various places around the walls and elsewhere.

One of many gates through the Wall

One of many gates through the Wall

Gates also lead to ancient religious sites

Gates also lead to ancient religious sites

In 1312 the Knights of St. John (inheritors of the Knights Templar) used their considerable financial resources to fortify Rhodes.  They built within the walls the Palace of the Grand Masters, which is located on the highest spot in the Old Town

Castle of Grand Masters dominates the Rhodes skyline

Castle of Grand Masters dominates the Rhodes skyline

Castle of Masters from Street of Knights

Castle of the Grand Masters from Street of Knights

Bell Tower from Castle of the Grand Masters

Bell Tower from Castle of the Grand Masters

Along the Street of the Knights are numerous buildings from their era, including the Inn of France, once a gathering place of the Knights, and now the French consulate.

Doorway on the Street of Knights

Doorway on the Street of Knights

Facade of modern French Consulate and former Inn of France. . .

Facade of modern French Consulate and former Inn of France. . .

adorned with ancient emblems

adorned with ancient emblems

The narrow streets that wind through the Old Town are overhung with flowers and lined with shops. 

Narrow streets shaded by bougainvilla

Narrow streets shaded by bougainvilla

Shops line Old Town streets

Shops line Old Town streets

There are old fountains, the remnants of medieval churches and government buildings. 

Jolie drinks at a fountain in Old Town

Jolie drinks at a fountain in Old Town

Typical Medieval Goverment Building

Typical Medieval Goverment Building

View of Old Town from Clock tower

View of Old Town from Clock tower

Set above the town on Mt. Smith is the remains of an ancient acropolis from Greek times. 

Remnants of the Rhodes Acropolis

Remnants of the Rhodes Acropolis

The new town surrounds the ancient city and sprawls in all directions from the walls that define the Old Town.  The west coast is lined with beaches and hotels.  Rhodes is the fourth largest Greek island and lies halfway between Athens and Crete. 

The west coast is urban chic with beaches and modern hotels.

The west coast is urban chic with beaches and modern hotels.

In addition to the ancient harbor of Mandraki where Destiny was moored there is a bustling commerical harbor that is host to vessels ranging from ferries to cruise ships.

Rhodes commercial harbor

Rhodes commercial harbor

. . .also hosted a Windstar boat we honeymooned on--small world.

. . .also hosted a Windstar boat we honeymooned on--small world.

Rhodes Town is lush with many parks and fountains.  The multi-cultural influence is seen in buildings and gathering places.  The Hamman (Turkish bath) built in 1515 during the Ottoman era still operates on a daily basis to steam away aches and pains in progressively hotter rooms.

The Hamman is heated with a wood stoked fire

The Hamman is heated with a wood stoked fire

 All in all, we spent four wonderful days exploring Rhodes and had another memorable anniversary.  Can’t wait to see where 2011 finds us on August 31st.

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GOAT LADY OF BOZBURUN

August 16th, 2010 No comments

 

Small cove off Bozburun

Small cove off Bozburun

We recently anchored in a small cove within sight of the small village of Bozburun in the Yesilova Gulf about 20 NM east of Datca.  Since the cove was very small leaving no room to swing on anchor, Kent took long lines to shore to secure us.

 

Oh no, there's a goat on my rock pile

Oh no, there's a goat on my rock pile

He had no sooner tied our first line around a pile of rocks on shore when a very curious goat came by. 

The goat carefully inspected our chain. . .hopefully he doesn't eat line.

The goat carefully inspected our chain. . .hopefully he doesn't eat line.

Before long it became apparent that there were goats everywhere on this remote spit of land.  They were strolling along the shore, chomping leaves off trees, and tucked into and on top of rocks. 

Not the most hospitable place even for goats with rocks and little vegetation

Not the most hospitable place even for goats with rocks and little vegetation

There are goats everywhere!

There are goats everywhere!

When we woke up the next morning, there was a small boat tied to shore and a Turkish woman, in loose fitting clothes and covered head, was unloading grass and water to feed the goats.  We watched as she hauled large 5 gallon jugs of water and poured it into containers for the many goats that came when she called them.

Hauling water for the herd

Hauling water for the herd

She called to some goats and shooed others away—with rocks thrown in their direction, as necessary.  After the grass was spread along the shore for the goats to graze, and water distributed, she sat on a rock and hand fed some of them. 

Fresh green grass is spread on the beach

Fresh green grass is spread on the beach

Hand feeding the goats

Hand feeding the goats

Chasing off intruders

Chasing off intruders

It was impossible to tell how she distinguished “her goats” from the general goat population.  They were all colors and sizes.  The ones she tended to shoo away appeared to be older, males with large horns, so we speculated that she kept the “bullies” away from the younger more fragile goats. 

This ram with 18 in. horns was not invited to dinner

This ram with 18 in. horns was not invited to dinner

Occasionally, several goats not in the “chosen few” would gather together and in a group start walking toward the woman and the food.  Sometimes, she just raised her hand and hollered and they took off the other direction, and other times they brazenly raced toward the food. 

The unchosen join forces. . .and wait.

The unchosen join forces. . .and wait.

She watched over her feeding goats for more than an hour, ensuring that they all had plenty to eat and drink.  It was obvious that she knew the moment she left the other goats would descend on what was left.  Eventually, she loaded up the water jugs, piled the other containers on shore for her next trip back, and raised her anchor. 

Keeping watch over her flock

Keeping watch over her flock

. . .then, time to go

. . .then, time to go

No sooner had she gone, than the other goats came trotting down the beach in groups and headed for the remaining food and water.  There was a little head butting among some of the males, but they all got down to the business of cleaning up the leftovers. 

Finally, it's our turn!

Finally, it's our turn!

Finishing off the feast. . .

Finishing off the feast. . .

Dinner's over. . .back to the shade

Dinner's over. . .back to the shade

In all likelihood at least some of these goats will end up on the woman’s dinner table this winter, providing food for her family.  In the meantime, she provides them with food and we suspect love. 

Once they were well fed, Kent and Jolie went ashore for her morning walk and had their own close encounter.

Jolie stands on a rock to get a look at the goats

Jolie stands on a rock to get a look at the goats

What an unusal and memorable experience.

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CAPTAIN BULLY

August 14th, 2010 No comments

On Friday the 13th, no less, we had an encounter with a gulet in Bozukale that left us shaking our heads in amazement.  We were swinging on anchor at the very head of the bay along with a half dozen other boats of various nationalities (French, German, Austrian) when just at twilight a large—and I do mean large—gulet entered the bay.  There are certain “rules” that apply to anchoring and one is that you make every effort not to cross or disturb another boat’s anchor.

OK so you're bigger, no need to bully us little guys

OK so you're bigger, no need to bully us little guys

There were numerous gulets already at anchor and tied to shore, and there were many spots open where this gulet captain could have easily anchored among boats his size and tied to shore as they were.   Bozukale is a very large and well protected bay, not one of the small ones where anchors are inadvertantly crossed as a matter of course.

Twilight is falling, but the Capt. can readily see he's dropping across anchors

Twilight is falling, but the Capt. can readily see he's dropping across anchors

However, this particular gulet captain decided that the best place for his vessel was smack in the middle of the “little boats” that were anchored and not tied to shore.  As he approached, I could see trouble brewing.

We're next in line as he backs across our anchor chain

We're next in line as he backs across our anchor chain

It became even more apparent when he started his turn to back to shore right across the bows of several boats—Destiny among them.  Kent was ashore with Jolie and I stood on the bow waving to bring his attention to the fact that he was laying his chain over our anchor to no avail.  When Kent saw what had happened he went over to address the captain directly about his disregard for the other boats at anchor, and did not receive any acknowledgement of the complaint. 

The next morning, we were trapped and could not leave until the gulet was ready to go which happened to be about two hours after we had planned.  Since the wind had shifted overnight our chain was now over and under his, making it necessary for us—and one other boat to move in order for the gulet to depart. 

Now its morning and we can't move until he does

Now its morning and we can't move until he does

The gulet capt. could care less that THREE boats had to move to accommodate his exit

The gulet capt. could care less that THREE boats had to move to accommodate his exit

The gulet from Bodrum is owned by a charter company.  While it was tempting to contact the company about this captain’s deliberate disregard for the other boats in this anchorage, we decided to caulk it up to Friday the 13th.  Hopefully, he will think better of his anchoring choices in the future.  He certainly didn’t make any friends in Bozukale that day. 

As a final insult he blew his horn and raised his fist at everyone as he motored out

As a final insult he blew his horn and raised his fist at everyone as he motored out

Most of the gulet captains we have encountered are very polite, professional and helpful.   This particular one we have nicknamed “Captain Bully.”

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