Archive

Archive for September, 2010

HARVEST MOON OVER TURKEY

September 25th, 2010 1 comment

Now that it is officially fall in Turkey, the sunsets are becoming even more spectacular.   Clouds that form during the day burst with color as the sun sets. 

Sunset at Baba Adasi

Sunset at Baba Adasi

We enjoyed the arrival of the Harvest moon while anchored off a small island called Baba Adasi about 25 NM east of Marmaris.

. . .Harvest Moon rising.

. . .Harvest Moon rising.

The daytime sky is also quite different this time of year.  The sky is now filled with fluffy cumulus clouds that tower over the mountains.

 

Clouds hang over the land. . .

Clouds hang over the land. . .

in bold contrast against the stark coast.

in bold contrast against the stark coast.

But the only rain we have seen is far off shore.

 

Rain at sea but not on shore

Rain at sea but not on shore

The temperature is still in the mid-80’s during the day and 60’s at night, but there are lovely breezes.  Make that very light breezes, not the kind for sailing—much to Kent’s dismay.

Categories: Europe, Turkey Tags:

TURKISH GHOST TOWN

September 23rd, 2010 No comments

Not having reached the so-called “ghost town” of Kayakoy (or “Kaya” as it is known locally) by hiking from Cold Water Bay we decided to visit by bus from Fethiye.  The 8 km bus ride from the main bus stop in town cost 3.5 Turkish lira (about $2) per person each way and the 30 minute ride was much easier on Kent’s knees.  It also gave us an opportunity to see some of the inland countryside as the bus took us up over a ridge and back down to the valley which Kaya overlooks. 

1000 abandoned houses are scattered over the hillside

1000 abandoned houses are scattered over the hillside

Originally a Greek village, known as Levissi, the town was virtually abandoned and fell to ruin after a 1923 population exchange after the Turkish War of Independence.  At the time that the Greeks gave over the town to the Turks, they left behind some 1,000 houses, two large churches, and numerous chapels along with schools, fountains, cisterns.  The town starts at the valley and was built up the steep hillside.

 

Low walls separated properties

Low walls separated properties

One of the two churches sits high up the hill (known as the Upper Church) and another is at the valley floor (the Lower Church).  The climb to the Upper Church was steep.

The old knees got a work out climbing to the Upper Church

The old knees got a work out climbing to the Upper Church

The remnants of cobbled walkways, stairs, cisterns, fireplaces and ovens are visible through the broken walls.  Over time the town has been reclaimed by nature.  Trees grow through old buildings that still show the traditional blue paint of their Greek origins. 

On the left the remains of an old Chapel

On the left the remains of an old Chapel

Steps, a chimney and fireplace--all that remains of a home

Steps, a chimney and fireplace--all that remains of a home

Vine covered window on the past

Vine covered window on the past

The Upper Church has been ravaged with time, but still shows its past glory in some of the mosaics and architectural details. 

Walled entrance to Upper Church

Walled entrance to Upper Church

Stone Mosaics lead to the main entrance

Stone Mosaics lead to the main entrance

Ornate carving can still be seen under the dirt & decay

Ornate carving can still be seen under the dirt & decay

Vaulted ceiling of interior

Vaulted ceiling of interior

Upper Church in foreground seen from still higher up the hillside

Upper Church in foreground seen from still higher up the hillside

Then passing along the ridge through the upper part of the abandoned town we found the location were the path we missed from Cold Water Bay came through the ridge from the other side of the mountain. 

We followed the red paint marking the path we missed from Cold Water Bay

We followed the red paint marking the path we missed from Cold Water Bay

Can you see the path through the ridge?  We couldn't either!

Can you see the path through the ridge? We couldn't either!

Going down the steep path leading to the Lower Church on the opposite side of the village from where we started was challenging as the stones were slick from age and covered with loose gravel.

 

Looking down into the valley--Lower Church in distance

Looking down into the valley--Lower Church in distance

Lower Church

Lower Church

The Lower Church (which was reportedly used as a mosque until the 1960’s) is in better repair than the Upper Church and the brilliant blue paint and icons that originally adorned it are still visible inspite of its decay.

 

Lower Church is Ornate

Lower Church is Ornate

Frieze with orthodox icons

Frieze with orthodox icons

Portrait of Christ in horseshoe shaped garland

Portrait of Christ in horseshoe shaped garland

Many of the architectual features remain unchanged. 

Arches and blue paint

Arches and blue paint

. . .intricate carvings, and

. . .intricate carvings, and

. . .marble, and

. . .marble window casings, and

elaborate stone mosaics adorn this church as well.

elaborate stone mosaics adorn this church as well.

Today a handful of Turkish people live in the valley and Kaya is a national historic site–preserved from development.  But like many historic sites, it is also a tourist destination and with that comes business opportunity, whether it be restaurants or trinket shops that line the road below the abandoned village.

Oh yes, and camel rides!

Oh yes, and camel rides!

While the majority of the remains of the village are not ancient by modern standards, being only 400 or so years old, the story of the village that lost it’s population never to be occupied again is a compelling reminder of the extent to which wars change a place. 

The Turkish population that was “resettled” here never prospered and eventually abandoned the place–Greek “ghosts” perhaps?

Categories: Europe, Turkey Tags:

COLD WATER BAY

September 20th, 2010 No comments

 

Coldwater Bay is barely visible behind boat at entrance

Cold Water Bay is barely visible behind boat at entrance

We recently spent a couple of lovely days in aptly named “Cold Water Bay” site of an underwater spring flowing from the mountain high above that keeps the water deliciously cool even in the heat of summer.  I say “summer” because September in Turkey in no way resembles the changes we experienced in New England this time of year. 

Beach at Coldwater Bay

Beach at Coldwater Bay

The days are getting shorter, and the temperature has moderated a little making September much like July or August in New England.  There are more clouds on the horizon, but still no rain and the days are 80 F. dropping to mid-60’s at night.  There is still some humidity and little wind but that doesn’t detract from the pleasant temperatures and refreshing swimming. 

Destiny moored in Coldwater Bay

Destiny moored in Coldwater Bay

Our pilot guide says that this “miniature” cove will accommodate 5 boats anchored and tied to shore, but that doesn’t take into account the ingenuity of the restaurant owner who advertises that it will accommodate 15 yachts.  Ali is quite the entrepreneur and has built his business based on “customer service”.  Since all his “customers” arrive on boats, that means greeting them by launch and offering to assist in tying to shore.  He is so adept at positioning boats that we did not see one crossed anchor in the time we were there. 

Ali directs boats in. . .while Kent watches our anchor.

Ali directs boats in. . .while Kent watches our anchor.

A few of the 16 boats at anchor one night--Ali out did himself!

A few of the 16 boats at anchor one night--Ali out did himself!

Of course, being the lovely setting it is and with the draw of the cold spring, tripper boats also converge on the cove with one or two at anchor throughout the day, only to be replaced by another one or two as those leave.  So for a portion of the day there is Euro rock or Turkish music blasting away as hordes of shrieking vacationers jump into the icy water or enter by water slide from the top deck of their tripper boat.  We found that was a great time to run our generator without disturbing boats nearby as the music and chatter drowned out the noise. 

Here comes another tripper boat

Here comes another tripper boat

 

Cold plunge off tripper boat

Cold plunge off tripper boat

The views from Ali’s restaurant and the trail that leads to the so-called “ghost town” of Kaya just over the ridge are spectacular. 

High above Coldwater Bay. . .

High above Coldwater Bay. . .

majestic views!

majestic views!

We undertook the hike to Kaya only to get lost and end up circling the entire cove before making our way back down the mountain to Destiny. 

On the trail to Kaya--or so we thought.

On the trail to Kaya--or so we thought.

Finally we come out near Destiny.

Finally we come out near Destiny.

There were wonderful views, but the steep trek took a toll on Kent’s knees and we decided that we would see Kaya by bus from Fethiye rather than make a second attempt to find it from the cove. 

Since the only way to reach Cold Water Bay is by boat, all the provisions for Ali’s restaurant have to be brought in my boat and carried up hill by donkey.  For most of the day the two donkeys that share this duty rest in the shade.

Donkeys rest during the heat of the day. . .

Donkeys rest during the heat of the day. . .

until the provision boat arrives late in the afternoon.

until the provision boat arrives late in the afternoon.

From Cold Water Bay we took a dinghy tour of Olu Deniz which is a nearly landlocked bay about 2 km away that prohibits boats with motors. 

Gulets anchor just outside Olu Deniz

Gulets anchor just outside Olu Deniz

This was once a favorite anchorage for boats, but pollution was destroying the bay.  In the early 80’s the Turkish government banned boats from anchoring in the bay and prohibited any craft powered by an engine. 

A floating barricade keeps all but small boats out

A floating barricade keeps all but small boats out

Kent rowed while Jolie and I rode

Kent rowed while Jolie and I rode

We rowed a short distance into the bay, which is now surrounded by beach clubs that do little to enhance the natural beauty of the place.  Whatever pollution was saved by keeping boats from anchoring has certainly been offset by the mega-development that lines the once pristine beach. 

People and umbrellas clog the beach

People and umbrellas clog the beach

Small boats are allowed in the bay as long as they are not engine powered

Small boats are allowed in the bay as long as they are not engine powered

Pedal power is OK too

. . .however, pedal power is OK.

The sky over Olu Deniz is crowded with parachutes that launch from the top of the 2000 meter (over 6,000 ft.) high mountain, Baba Dagi that soars upward from the beach.  We saw 15 or more parachutes drifting over the mountain at one time–the colorful canopies resembling large soaring birds.  The chutists ride the thermals high into the air, hover in many cases as though suspended in air and then gently float to a beach landing.

Baba Dagi looms over the beach below

Baba Dagi looms over the beach below

We saw 12-15 parachutes in the air at any given time

Riding a thermal high over the mountain ridge.

For about 60 euros you can do a tandem flight—very tempting—will keep you posted on that.

Categories: Europe, Turkey Tags:

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.

Categories: Europe, Turkey, Uncategorized Tags:

ACROPOLIS OF LINDOS

September 6th, 2010 1 comment

About 25 NM south of Rhodes Town on the east side of the island of Rhodes is the Acropolis of Lindos which sits above two harbors.  

Approaching Lindos the Castle fortification is prominent

Approaching Lindos the Castle fortification is prominent

One harbor is very small and nearly land locked. 

 

Small harbor as seen from acropolis

Small harbor as seen from acropolis

The larger harbor, where we anchored Destiny, is protected by islands that lie just off its entrance.

Destiny at anchor in Lindos harbor

Destiny at anchor in Lindos harbor

The climb to the acropolis takes about 15 minutes and while it winds gently up the hill, it changes from smooth pavement to large stones about halfway up making it more suitable for the many donkeys that carry passengers to the top than for walking on foot.  Walking is doubly dangerous due to the donkey droppings along the way. 

Donkeys are the only transportation in town

Donkeys are the only transportation in town

What goes up, must come down. . .so the donkeys wait at the entrance to the castle.

What goes up, must come down. . .so the donkeys wait at the entrance to the castle.

The acropolis which was a sanctuary dedicated to the goddess Athena was first built in the 6th Century B.C. and then rebuilt in the 4th Century B.C. after a fire destroyed the original structure. The acropolis is set within the protective walls of a castle. 

Steep approach to the Castle

Steep approach to the Castle

The approach to the castle is by a steep stairway that passes a 2nd Century B.C. prow of a ship carved in the cliff. 

Carving of Lindian ship in rock

Carving of Lindian ship in rock

The acropolis has been undergoing a significant reconstruction through monies poured into it through the E.U. as is evident by the expensive equipment that dots the site. 

What once slaves built, machines now reconstruct

What once slaves built, machines now reconstruct

The results are impressive, however, as shown by these pictures of the reconstruction.

Part of main portico

Part of main portico

Part of Sanctuary dedicated to Athena

Part of Sanctuary dedicated to Athena

Ramparts surrounding acropolis

Ramparts surrounding acropolis

There are sweeping views from the castle and acropolis. 

Anchorage as seen from Castle

Anchorage as seen from Castle

The acropolis sits adopt sheer cliffs

The acropolis sits adopt sheer cliffs

Returning to the boat we walked through the village of well preserved 15th Century houses with uniformly distinct architecture. 

15th Century B.C. doorway

15th Century B.C. doorway

Lindos has many 15th century houses still in use. . .

Lindos has many 15th century houses still in use. . .

with typical stone mosaic floors.

with typical stone mosaic floors.

The water in the harbor is crystal clear which makes for wonderful snorkeling off the islands just outside its entrance.  The ocean topography is surreal.  The islands are like submerged mountains with only their tops visible and fan out in a moon-like underwater landscape of huge boulders that descends a hundred feet to the sandy bottom.

Islands protecting harbor seen from castle

Islands protecting harbor seen from castle

Despite its ancient allure, Lindos is also a very active vacation resort.  The harbor has a crescent shaped sandy beach lined with scores of umbrellas and tavernas. 

Acropolis above. . .beach clubs below.

Acropolis above. . .beach clubs below.

While the tranquility of the anchorage is sporadically interrupted by speed boats whisking people around the harbor on skis, boards and “bananas”, for the most part Lindos retains its charm.

Categories: Europe, Greece Tags: